Failing to Fuel

MST Folk Art Center-Cravens Gap

Winter view from Lunch Rock on the Mountain to Sea Trail

Ten days ago was one of my worst run ever. Sure I was a little ambitious, picking a 10.22 mile run which went way uphill (1000 feet) but I could have done it. My  biggest mistake was not eating enough and not taking something with me.

You see I’ve done long runs of 9-10 miles where I don’t need anything, so I completely underestimate what this one would do to my body. All I had before I left home was a Cliff gel. One. That’s it.
I’m an idiot.

The run started fine. My goal was to do the Out and Back from the Folk Art Center to Cravens Gap following the Mountain to Sea Trail. It starts flat, then a light uphill, followed by somewhat flattish, a good uphill (which I stupidly thought would be the worst one, Ah!), then the trail follows the crest so it’s a little easier, and suddenly you hit this steep section. It was relentless and I walked most of it.You think you’re almost done, but then the trail goes downhill (which you know will be uphill on the way back) and then it goes on and on and on until you reach a crossing of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The uphill took a lot of my energy out. I think if I had taken some energy gels with me and had proper food prior to running it would have been hard but doable. Instead I started stopping a lot on the last 2 miles, checking the directions I had recorded on my phone, thinking the BRP would be right there. Well not so much. It took me  a whole hour to do 5.11 miles. I took a break at the gap and texted my husband so he wouldn’t be worried that the run was taking me longer than planned. But the rest was not enough, I needed energy and didn’t have anything to fuel because I left it all in the car.

I have to admit that the whole way back was a daze. I was low on energy and I knew it. I was only focused on returning to the car and eating the Larabar I had in my purse. I was worried about the risk of fainting but thankfully that did not happen. I did however walk in section I would normally run without any problem. I did stop. But I knew I was somewhat ok since I could still talk to the people I met on the trail.

Back at the car I chewed the Larabar slowly and processed to drink even more water. That was my second mistake. I think so much water on an empty stomach and a tired body did not go too well. Not to mention the smoothie I drank on top of that for fast refueling. I ended up feeling nauseous for the next three hours and so low on energy too.

So lesson learned, next time I go on a long hard run I need to have a running snack with banana and more and pack things with me. Better to have it and not need it.

Have you ever gone really low on energy during a run? What was your solution?