Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The 4 letter word that will most impact my Pikes Peak Marathon

The 4 letter words that will be used this weekend for the Ascent on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday are sure to be plentiful, colorful and in many cases unrepeatable.  These are 2 tough mountain races that really test strength, mental focus, character, stability, endurance, and in many cases: humility - and these are often before each runner reaches the starting line.   After the starting gun goes off: 4 letter words let loose.

I have run both races, the Ascent 2 years ago and the marathon last year.  After running both races and each year doing better than I anticipated in regards to a finishing time - I am going into this years race with an uneasy feeling. 

Before I describe that feeling, let me write what it is not: it is not a lack of preparation.  I have trained hard, I have trained well.  I may be in the best running shape of my life, certainly recently anyway.  While I have had some disappointing training runs, I have had plenty of training runs that point to a good result on race day.

It is not a lack of confidence.  This comes from preparation.  I feel better prepared this year going in to the races and that gives me more confidence.  It helps tremendously that I have done both races, that I have put in many hours and miles on the race course itself.  I am more familiar with the course than ever before - so much so that I have begun to notice a couple of "new rocks" on the trail above tree line.  They weren't there a few weeks ago, either erosion from recent rains and snow up top, some animal or someone has caused these rocks to move from one side of the trail to the other.

So, the uneasy feeling I have that I mentioned above?   That comes from the 4 letter word that is likely to impact not just how I do during the race, but also before the race.  It may even prevent me from starting the race.  The 4 letter word: Bile.

For those reading unfamiliar with Bile - a definition: "a clear yellow or orange fluid produced by the liver. It is concentrated and stored in the gallbladder, and is poured into the small intestine via the bile ducts when needed for digestion. Bile helps in alkalinizing the intestinal contents and plays a role in the emulsification, absorption, and digestion of fat".

A week ago I woke in the middle of the night with noticeable stomach pain.  I thought it may have just been gas, indigestion or that I ate too much before going to bed.  After about an hour I eventually fell back to sleep, waking the next morning feeling fine.

Wednesday night / Thursday morning - I woke again, this time the pain was worse and seemingly not going to get any better.  I couldn't get comfortable, it was miserable.  I got up, I walked, I sat down, I lay down, no matter what I tried the pain intensified.  Finally, I drove 15 minutes to the hospital ER.  After 2 hours I was eventually released.  During those 2 hours I was put on a drip that included morphine and a couple of other things, I gave a urine sample, had my blood checked, was x-rayed and had an ultra sound.

Diagnosis: Gall Stones.  My gall bladder is diseased. A definition if you really want to read it is here.  My gallbladder needs to come out.  Fortunately they said it wasn't critical that it came out then and there.  But these stones don't pass and the gall bladder doesn't heal itself.  Sometime soon I will be having surgery. 

The cause: my Bile couldn't keep up with my diet.  Honestly that one surprised me when the doc told me.  I am eating more healthier than ever before.  But apparently not enough.  Specifically the things that cause this are fatty, greasy, spicy foods.  Things I eat that fall into these categories are pizza (cheesy and greasy), ground beef (meatloaf is a favorite) and of course ice cream.  Even though my diet has been decent - it has not been good enough to prevent this from happening.

So, while I wait to see a surgeon, my diet has undergone some changes, and continues to do so in an effort to avoid another flare up - before the race.  Gone is dairy (cheese, milk, ice cream), pizza, ground beef, ham, desserts, any kind of spicy stuff.  I am scrutinizing everything I eat that has fat in it.

The result: I feel quite weak at times, almost always nauseous, hungry and yet often hesitant to eat anything in case it sets of my gall bladder and ends me in emergency surgery.  And then of course there is this race coming up that I have been preparing for.  I asked the ER doc if I can run and he in essence said - maybe.  "You can try, but I don't know how much running you can do.  If it hurts - stop".

So, I left the ER, slept for a few hours, got up a little groggy - and ran.  If anything I wanted just to sweat out the morphine and other stuff in my system.  I started slowly and it was uncomfortable - my whole stomach area was tender to touch (still is).  But it didn't hurt to badly - so I kept going for a few more miles.  Eventually I felt better, turned around and ran back to my car - got in 7 miles.  For that moment - it felt manageable, not comfortable, but doable.  I have run twice since (Saturday 11 miles and this morning also).

The next test was to find food that I could eat that didn't do me in - a science experiment on my body began and is continuing.  So far: turkey, fish, chicken, pasta noodles (just boiled in plain water with no sauce), potatoes, bananas, apples, blackberries, raspberries, toast, orange juice, eggs, raisins, oatmeal, brown rice, grapes, spinach, romaine, peas, corn.  That's about all I have tried so far.  If anyone has gone through a similar experience as this and has food suggestions for me - I'll take them.

I need to carb up - not just before race day, but now too as my energy levels are quite low.  Last night I had pasta noodles, ground turkey and peas - that seemed to give me more energy for a 6 mile run up on the peak today. 

If I can hold on till race day I am hoping adrenaline will help.  I realize the mountain could do me in just as easy as my gut - but I want to give it a go and race the thing.  My race expectations are lowered but my ambitions are still high.  I am not sure where that will leave me.  But if you are out there on the trail on Sunday and a keeping track of 4 letter words - listen for "BILE!!!"

1 comment:

  1. Sweet (well not really)! Now I have my war whoop for you when we pass each other on the trail!