The popsicle that saved my life

Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. But it did save the last bit of my 15-miler today!

Why?  Because here’s some rather obvious advice: don’t set out on a 2+ hour run on an empty stomach

Seriously.  I’m such an idiot sometimes.  I’ve been running for years and I know this.  Yet this morning – after lingering in bed until the very last second – I headed out the door, eyed the Clif bar on the counter and thought, I probably should.  And then: eh, I’m not hungry.  It’s only 15 miles.  I’ve got a Gu.   I’ll be fine.


Three miles up through Chelsea and Midtown to Central Park, and I felt great.  Met up with Megan and meandered around the road loop and the Bridle Path, chatting and watching the NYC Tri racers on the home stretch of their run.  After a few more miles, we grouped up with a handful of teammates and looped the Bridle again.  I still felt awesome: mellow pace, great conversation, shady Bridle path…the minutes ticked by quickly and easily.  At some point around the 1:20 mark we took a quick water break and I realized my tummy was kinda rumbly.

Hmm.  About that Clif Bar on the kitchen counter.

I ate my Gu, figuring that would be good enough, and we continued along.

Over the next 30 minutes, things went slowly downhill.  I was kinda tired.  My stomach felt gross.  But still, chatting with the girls was a nice distraction, and I figured I could tough it out for a couple more miles.  At the next water stop, however, I started to feel headachy and a little woozy.

“You guys,” I said.  “I think I’m done.”  And at that point, I really thought I was.  I’d gone 1:50 in 90* heat –  good enough. Feeling shaky and a little dizzy, I bid the girls farewell and shuffled back to the outer road loop to buy a Gatorade or something before making my way to the subway.

A Gatorade.  Or…a popsicle!

A rainbow popsicle.  Oh. My. God. This popsicle was possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten.  I think I even closed my eyes while eating it.  Seriously, I wished it were three feet long.  In that moment of rapture, I’m pretty sure I would have traded my unborn children for another one.

After resting in the shade with my popsicle for a couple of minutes, I felt like a new woman.  So I picked myself up, tossed the wrapper in the trash, and ran the last 30 minutes as I’d planned to.

Those last three-ish miles weren’t anything to write home about – slow and kinda painful.  But I did them.  2:20 total running time and somewhere in the neighborhood of 15+ miles.  All on a Gu and a rainbow popsicle.

Coincidentally, on our run Megan and I were chatting on the subject of running nutrition and fuel and I was saying that I needed to get better about it. Um, yeah, ya think?

All in all, a great run – even in spite of the late-game meltdown.  I love having teammates to train with – so much easier and more fun than logging long miles alone.

Next time, however, I’ll definitely eat breakfast.

Today’s EAT: I’ve been oddly not hungry at all today.  Long runs do that to me sometimes – I don’t feel sick or anything, but food just isn’t appealing.   When I got home I forced myself to munch on some fruit and cheese, a slice of pizza and some shredded wheat.

After an afternoon nap, however, things turned around and I was suddenly ravenous.  The cure?  A cheeseburger from Five Guys.  Nothing fancy – just ketchup and mustard.  The hubs always goes nuts with the toppings when we go to Five Guys – onions, mushrooms, all sorts of other stuff mashed in there.  Not me.  I like my burgers pretty simple.

Today’s DRINK: Red red wine!

Cheap wine, cute label, fairly decent.  This Red Truck Pinot Noir is nothing special, but alright for the price.   It’s kinda sweet and mild – I think it’d be a good red wine to serve to someone who doesn’t really like red wine.

Today’s RUN: 15 miles today on top of 8 at yesterday’s race made for a pretty decent mileage weekend – especially considering that last weekend I couldn’t run at all because of my Achilles!  Thankfully aside from a little tightness in the calves, everything felt fine today.  Good riddance, injury!

Total for the week: 37 miles.  Not bad considering I only ran five days!

Today’s QUESTION: What do you put on your burger – whether beef, turkey, veggie or otherwise? Are you a plain jane or a topping-whore?  I am definitely a plain jane, but I do like lots and lots of ketchup 🙂


19 responses to “The popsicle that saved my life

  1. Yuck, I’m a plain jane. I have a fear of ketchup. It’s a long story. Cheese and bacon only!

  2. It’s physically impossible for me to get up and run with an empty stomach. I can definitively imagine how tough it could have been!
    I haven’t trained properly for a long time and I’ll be slowly back into it. I have to say I kind of miss these long runs.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. I added you to my blogroll since I too appreciate all three things… Lately I just eat and drink though 🙂 This soon will change.

  4. There is this place across the street that has Kobe beef burgers. On those burgers with the exception of the homemade tartar sauce, dijon mustard, cheese and lettuce I feel that other toppings would be a disgrace to the mighty Kobe cow. Damnit, now I am hungry… and trying to lose a little of the weight I gained recently. Tom is like Drew though. Maybe it’s a midwestern thing.

  5. I like to put vegan monterey jack cheese, spicy brown mustard, a bit of ketchup, lettuce/sprouts and a slice of a firm tomato.

  6. I was just thinking today about how I do need to improve my nutrition. If I weren’t a runner, I’d be fine, but I want to optimize my energy. The whole idea of timing meals is interesting, and completely foreign. I want to learn more!

    I put all kinds of crap on my burger. In the past month, I’ve had sauteed mushrooms, pickle relish, cranberry sauce, mayo, BBQ sauce…

  7. oooh Red Truck! I didn’t know they made a Pinot. Sweet!

    Oh and ummmm fantastic run! I kind of hate that everyone kicks my ass at running, but its also good motivation to know there are tons of other people who are sucking it up and not dying out there. So…way to not die out there!

  8. Oh my gosh. Just found this blog and love it.

    I’m totally stupid about fueling up for long runs too. A lot of the time, I just don’t do it. Same mentality you had for yesterday’s run: “eh, I’m not hungry, it’s only 15 miles…” …only to be later destroyed by my nutritional laziness.

    Burger toppings? Good cheese. And the occasional slice of avocado. And the deluge of ketchup goes without saying, right?

  9. I totally can’t run – even 3 miles – on an empty stomach. I make myself eat something small even if I’m not hungry!

    Burgers: cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, pickles…not “the works,” but not plain jane, either!

  10. I love my burgers with ketchup, mustard and onion … just like the McDonald’s burgers I grew up on. If I’m feeling fancy I opt for mushrooms and swiss. Yum!

  11. I’m a topping-whore, but sometimes keep it pretty simple with no veg, while Dan is usually a meat and cheese kinda guy and rarely wants veg on his.

  12. Mmm burgers. I’m not a fan of too many toppings. I like a burger with mustard and ketchup, lettuce, tomato. Onions only if they’re cooked!

    I actually feel the same way post long run. Generally I’m not hungry right away but once the hunger hits, watch out!

  13. Avocado, always! It’s my condiment for any burger or sandwich!!

  14. I’m a total topping whore! I love it all: mushrooms, onion, avocado, tomato, lettuce, etc.

  15. I never tried avocado in my burger but looks like it’s a must-try.
    Usually in mine:
    – between bottom bun and meat: mayo, (real) Dijon mustard, oinions, and relish
    – between meat and top bun: ketchup or BBQ sauce, sweet pickles, eventually mushrooms if available

  16. just lettuce and tomato does just fine for me! no other condiments necessary. (i do like mustard, but only on hot dogs.) I don’t even put ketchup on fries!! I figure they actually taste good enough on their own, no need for anything extra 🙂

  17. You know better than to run on empty. Also, you should have gone for the Gatorade instead of the popsicle.

  18. I just read Megan’s blog from Sunday and now you’ve confirmed it. Definitely saw you girls on the Harlem Hill when I was doing the tri!

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