Monday, April 19, 2010


Yes, that's a PR.

Yes, that's my best race pace (9:45).

Yes, that photo was taken with the finish line in the background, but No, I had not yet finished the race.

And OH NO, that's not the Sub-60 10K PR about which I've been whining for OH SOME TIME NOW.

Why? Well, while I hate to blame the tools, but there were some tools at play, here. Namely, ME.

Yes, I am a major tool for doing the #1 Thing You're Not Supposed To Do On Race Day. Specifically, try out new, untested stuff. Especially, nutrition type stuff.

Yet, there I was, in the car being grandly chaffeured to the start line by my beloved Bubba, just asuckin' down a vanilla bean Gu as though I'd been doing it before every single race I've run which I have not. In fact, up until last weekend, I'd not used Gu as my pre-training or pre-racing nutrition of choice like, ever.

Now, in my defense, I did use it during my 5th and final pre-Mermaid Test 10K and, apparently not as a result, ran my fastest 10K pace to date (still, to date. *sigh*), so there was *some* testing before race day, but I KNEW as I was sucking it down in the car (wow, that sounds porny) that I was rolling the dice on my race well-being. And, as it turned out, I did worse than that. I sunk my own battleship.

See, there's this thing with Gu. It has this fine balance that one must find and strike for one's very own self before relying on it/trusting it to help one perform on race day. And that is a very tenuous and specific Gu : Water ratio.

For me, this ratio WAS (on a very cool, clear day) 1 Banana Gu : 2 giant gulps of water + 1 giant gulp of (unsweetened) iced tea. 15 minutes later (per the instructions on the Gu "lid"), I trotted off a successful and pain-free 57:47 Test 10K during which time I felt strong and good and like my kidneys were a healthy and peaceful component of my internal organs.

When I rode in the car on the way to the (stinky, buggy, humid, overcast, warm) baylands on Saturday morning for the race, I decided to go for the Gu a big second time in a row, and sucked down 1 Vanilla Bean Gu : 2-3 giant gulps of water. One hour later (because the race got postponed by 15 official minutes - lame), I hauled off and tried to kill myself via the kidneys.

See, what happened was, in combination with the humidity coming off the baylands and the clouds of bugs hatching off the water, the apparent lack of adequate hydration caused my kidneys to revolt at the 2.5 mile mark and then continue their dissension until such time as I dragged my nearly dead and seizing carcass across the finish line 30 seconds behind my PR goal.

Despite getting water (and, thus slowing down) at the 2 mile, 3.5 mile and 5 mile (ugh, it was Gatorade, I spit it out) stations, my kidneys wanted to tell me all their problems and be a general pain in the back for most of my 6.2 mile tour.

Terrific super fun!

And as much as I tried to stay in the low 9s, high 8s pace - I daresay I looked down and spied paces in the 10s more often than I care to count. Boo on that.

And boo on the giant hatch of Who Knows What bugs that emerged in time to stick to our faces as we made the turnaround at mile 3.5.

And boo on the stinky baylands being stinky again even though last year they were as fresh as a god damned daisy. 

And boo on me for not going far enough into the water with the Gu so that I could arrive at the finish line and take a pleasing photo for Bubba who was positioned perfectly to do so. Sorry, man.

I can't wait to see what the race photographers captured because YIKES.

Anyway. I'm in the market for another local 10K, so you'll probably be hearing back from me on this rant soon. And I do hope it doesn't go on too much longer because I was really looking forward to spending the hot summer months not getting up in the 5s to go run before the sun came out.

Regardless, I will be re-evaluating my pre-run nutrition strategy and, at the very least, including a lot more water.

And, you know, trying not to be such an enormous tool about it. Though - no promises.


  1. Well, goo or not, that's about ten times (or more - I have not idea!) faster than I could run it, er walk it. You rock Finny!

  2. Oh I can't say anything except CONGRATS because a PR is a PR...although ack! SO close to your goal.

    I think Gu is devilsh (I keeled over on a really long run somewhere near Bozeman). It gives me a stomach ache and then I bonk. I much much prefer Hammer gel...something else for you to consider as you sort out the hydration/fueling factor.

    Listen to me talking like I still run all the time! Don't listen to a thing I say. EXCEPT you are awesome and that photo of you is adorable. Oh, and your Bubba is the sweetest driving you there and waiting at the finish with the camera. Cutie.

    xo friend

  3. Oh, that is maddening! Still, congrats on an awesome run! You'll definitely get it next time, if you still came that close even with the kidney revolt.

  4. I'm sorry you were just a half minute shy of your PR, but at you PR'ed girl!!!!!

    I have never used GU's or anything similar. And now I don't think I ever will. Yikes. I had no idea you had those demons to fight during your race. You're the man. Er ... uh. woman.

  5. Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. I've made the gu mistake before. Specifically, on a long not-near-my-house-or-another-place-I'd-like-to-poo locale, I made the mistake of gu + gatorade. And then I had to find a bush. And another bush and ended up crying.
    It wasn't pretty.
    I am super proud of you for pulling this out as bravely as you did! Lesson learned. The gu? it's what comes out of your kidneys in lieu of pee if you don't get enough plain water to go with it.

  6. I'm so glad I have you to keep me updated on all this crazy hydration shit. 20 years ago when I ran, we just drank water and did just fine. But I was also 16 at the time, so I could do anything, relatively speaking.

    And I don't care if you missed your goal, Yay for a personal best!!!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

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But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.