Mar 20, 2015

Yesterday I ran 50 km and the good news is, I didn’t feel the Achilles at all. The bad news is that it was the toughest run I’ve ever done. I have never felt so distressed while running, not even on the worst day of the world run. It was more than just discomfort. I felt like I had a serious illness and was about to collapse.

In hindsight, I now realise I ran out of available blood sugar, otherwise known as ‘hitting the wall’. There was also a fair degree of dehydration involved. I should have eaten and drank more. I’ve never reached this stage before, even when doing 50 km days on the world run without eating or drinking anything all day long. I guess my body was more adapted at that time. Yesterday I left after eating just a pear. I had also just registered the lowest body weight I’ve been at since finishing the world run.

I didn’t have too much energy available for the task at hand. I actually felt exhausted right from the start, with even mild hills seeming like mountains. But I was travelling along OK, until about the 22 km mark. Then I started to go downhill rapidly. Maybe I should have suspected something then but, funnily enough, I didn’t actually feel hungry or thirsty at all, despite the 28 C temperature in the shade, and probably 38 C in the direct sunshine.

I struggled through, determined to do the 50 km I’d set out for, but I just got slower and more distressed as the day wore on. Then I developed an ache in my abdomen, right where my liver is positioned. The liver is crucial in the provision of glycogen to the body for energy and, having run out of glycogen in the blood, I now think my liver was straining under the effort to provide me with enough to keep my body operating.

I was near to home after 47 km and decided to stop off and have something to eat – a banana in this case. I then continued to 50 km, definitely improving in those last few kilometres, but the damage had been done. When I walked through the front door on my way to that banana, I honestly almost passed out, with serious dizziness and blurred vision.

Not one of my smarter moments, but the good thing is, I got through it and learned a valuable lesson. I’m glad that’s never happened to me in the past, despite the hundreds and hundreds of 50+ km days I’ve run. If that had been my first ever run of that length, I’d be convinced I was completely unable to finish the Anzac Ultra 150 km and would pull out now. But I’ve been far, far more comfortable on runs of over 100 km, so I’m not concerned. I just have to do the right things in future. Why I was so low on blood sugar, I don’t know. But it’s an easy thing to correct.

I had a short run this morning and felt great. There was no soreness and the hills were a breeze. The slowness of yesterday seems to have left me feeling somewhat fresh, as if I didn’t even do that 50 km run.

Today I’m heading down the coast for a touch football reunion weekend – 30 years since a memorable first premiership for the mighty Comets.

On This Day

Mar 20, 2012

Distance today = 61.09 km; Total distance = 3761.86 km; Location = Williams, Arizona – 35 15.077′ N, 112 11.045′ W; Start time = 0858, Finish time = 1752

Had a huge day, with 61.09 km of running, almost 1000 metres of ascent, and a new altitude record for the world run of 2,130 metres (7,100 feet). The high altitude, combined with running uphill for 60+ km, all takes it toll, and I’ll sleep well tonight.

The highlight of the day was watching big clumps of snow, too heavy to cling to the branches of the trees any longer, continually falling and hitting the ground in an explosion of white powder.

I’ve been running on Route 66 for the past 30 km or so, and we’re staying right on an authentic part of the road tonight. The town of Williams is a real classic. It sustains itself with Grand Canyon tourist traffic, which allows it to maintain the original Route 66 feel. If you’re ever visiting the Grand Canyon, make sure you include a stop at Williams.

As has become usual when I have a long day, the GPS watch battery wasn’t up to the task, and I stopped it at 53.5 km, just before it ran out. It doesn’t seem to last as long in cold weather. I had my spare Garmin with me, and engaged it immediately. Therefore, you will find two Garmin links at the head of this blog.

You will also notice the new video at the top of the web site. This is the segment that appeared on Channel 12 in Phoenix last Thursday. I am wearing my official run T-shirt, featuring my great sponsors Next Digital.

Mar 20, 2013

Distance today = 50.20 km; Total distance = 18,220.85 km; Location = Longevelle sur Doubs, France – 47 27.146′ N, 06 39.439′ E; Start time = 0845, Finish time = 1700

More rain today, but it was relatively light. At around 10 C, the temps haven’t been too bad either.

The whole day was essentially alongside the Doubs River. I believe this is pronounced ‘doobs’, as in the shortened version of ‘fadoobadahs’, the saggy bit of skin and fat that hangs from the back of the upper arm if you hold your arms outstretched with palms facing up. That’s if you have fadoobadahs. Anyhow, it’s a very nice river, with high cliffs along much of the banks, which are heavily forested. I even saw a deer swim across the river this morning.

The first 16 km of the run was on very quiet roads or bike trails, although the remainder of the day was on much busier roads. The final 6 km was really busy, with no shoulder, and I did not like finishing the day that way at all.

We were not sure where we’d find accommodation, and expected to have to drive into the small city of Montbeliard. However, at virtually the exact spot I’d nominated to finish at, Carmel found a gite (B&B). She was very pleased, after yesterday’s difficulties. It’s a great place, with a very nice proprietor, Jipi. Our room backs on to the river, with a balcony and all. What a stroke of luck!!!

This region used to be part of Germany, until Napoleon reannexed it in 1793. It was also the centre of the German Renaissance in the 16th and 17th centuries. The landscape is very German looking, and the architecture is looking more German all the time. I should actually reach Germany the day after tomorrow.