Thursday, October 16, 2014

Needs Salt

Limping across the line at the LBI 18 Mile Run
I will eventually get around to completing a full race report for the running of the 41st Annual Long Beach Island 18 Mile Run. I have been putting thoughts together on this for the last few days. In the meantime, I thought I would try to capture one important lesson learned around mile 14 of this long, straight race.

I hear often that you should never experiment during a race; that it is not the time to try something new. This is what long training runs are for. Test your nutrition, break in your shoes, see that a pair of shorts holds up and does not chafe around your sensitive bits.

What I did not consider going into this one were the things (or one thing in particular) I do regularly on long runs that I left out of my race day plan.

I sweat when I run; a lot when it is hot and/or sunny. I also tend to lose a lot of salt, with dried residue on my face, clothes, etc. After suffering through a hot 50k last year, I learned to carry S!Caps to help replenish the salts I’m losing to ultimately assist my body in water absorption. When I start to feel sloshing in my gut, I know I have waited too long.

The LBI race was not hot, but it was straight and exposed to a constant sun. Around mile 10, I wiped my brow and felt a sandpaper-like grit across my face. By mile 14 I was getting electric shocks through my right hamstring. Everything else felt good and my nutrition and hydration was right on.

But I forgot the salt. As I staggered on I knew the cramping was going to get worse until it would force me to stop a few times and stretch the legs. For anyone who has not had this type of cramping before, it is an interesting experience. The pain I can take. It’s the locked, seized muscles that I find hard to maneuver.

I limped this one in having to slow down considerably over the last few miles.

Lesson learned the hard way. Carry salt. While I will always hope I do not have to use it, there will be comfort in knowing that it is there when I do.

Little Joy - The Next Time Around