A quick scan back over my ultra races this year points out one thing. I throw up, a lot. Pretty profound huh? Everything this year has pointed toward growth as a runner. Speed is up, endurance is improved, body is more durable. In a nutshell, the physical aspect of my running has improved. What has not improved is my ability to deal with the nutritional aspect of a race.
I'm not sure if it is mental, a lack of something in terms of day-to-day diet, too much of something on race day, a combo of those, I have yet to pin it down. The one thing I can say for certain is "I'm doing something wrong." I've tried several things.
Electrolyte drink plus salt pills and a gels every half hour.
Just water, higher concentration salt pills, chews or beans on a steady basis
Water, higher concentration salt pills more frequency, Amino Acid supplement to help feed off of fat to hopefully reduce calories
These are all failed attempts to keep food down. In the beginning of the season I would have a race, mess up my stomach, throw up once then come back. At Javelina last week, I continued to throw up from about miles 47 on every hour or so with a brief break where I stopped eating and went close to 3 hours before stepping off the trail to empty my stomach again. My ribs hurt, my abs were sore, my throat raw, and I had simply had enough of this routine to do it for another 6 hours.
So here I am after a failed last race of the season. I'm not going to try to convince myself that I am happy with my decision to drop. In fact some part of me wishes I would have just kept walking and dealt with it. Another part of me knows that even if I would have finished, I would not be happy with how it played out. I did not go out to just finish the race. I went out there to run a fast 100. Not Hal or Evan fast, but Travis fast. That goal kept slipping and slipping, along with the stomach problems and low energy for the calorie deficit made me throw my hands up and say "no more" at mile 80.
The bright side? I feel good. I could go run right now if I wanted to. I am really excited about that. A few years back, 80 miles would have laid me out for a while. I don't have the desire to run right now so I'll probably hold off a few more days or even a week, whatever feels right. I also am already thinking of next year.
See, that's the thing with a race this long. Lots of things can go wrong, or right. Finding that formula is what keeps me coming back for more. My muscles are continuing to adapt to the needs of this sport, now I have to put in the work to get my stomach to follow along. I grossly overlooked how serious I needed to take this subject and it came back to bite me. Back to the drawing board... which is kinda fun.