Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bigger and Badder Than Me

You know I have a very strong stomach, something I've come to realize after 5 or so years of doing Ultra. I can drink any sports nutrition drink, eat anything at the aid stations and keep on going. The worst experience I had was at the Cascade Crest Classic 100-miler in Washington state last year. As part of my caffeine strategy I had 2 Starbucks brand mocha frappucinos sent up on the course on two different aid stations. The first one at 30 miles went down nicely and it gave me the boost I needed; however the second one positioned on the 3/4 mark of the race had been sitting in the drop bag all day and for most of the night, by the time I got to it the milk had gone a bit sour. Drank it anyway and for the next two hours suffered for it:) Lots of bathroom stops but even then it didn't slow me down much. In between my emergency potty breaks I was cruising just fine and after two hours I was back normal. Secondly because I lived in the Philippines for almost 12 years before moving to the US, I have never had any problems drinking and eating in the local establishments, especially here in my province where sanitary conditions are not always ideal. I've gone to eat at questionable places and drank water out of the tap with no problems. Well I'm telling you all this because yesterday something laid me out, just knocked me on my butt.

Yesterday by 1:30PM I had about three meals, part of my strategy of keeping the meals healthy and light but eathing often. I was good too. I indulged but not too much and I managed to sneak in a couple of salads and some fruit to my diet. However by the time we made it back to our farmhouse at 2PM I was experiencing the most excruciating stomach pain. It's like someone punched me in the gut and left their fist there. Constant pain that only got worse and worse. I got sick, hit the bathroom many times and was having cold sweats. I was dehydrating fast but drinking water only made me feel worse. I can't even remember the last time my stomach hurt, this level of discomfort was new to me. I always hear about runners having race ending stomach issues in ultras and I've alwasy wondered what that might be like - well I wonder no more:)!!! Made me think of Olga and how tough that woman really is. It was just grueling. I kept telling myself that this should be nothing compared to a 100-miler and something in the back of my head would scream back "yeah this is worse!". Finally one of my cousins sprang into action. He bought some medicine and and Gatorade. Here in Philippines over the counter stuff are sold as individual pieces, you almost never buy a box's worth. It's like buying cigarettes individually instead of by the pack. Often times it will be a brand you won't recognize especially if you are from the US and there's no way of knowing if it's expired or not. Smart thing to do would be to bring your own remedies but like I said I have never had problems. I was wary of the strange looking tablets but I was desperate however so I took one, after an hour when it seemed okay I took another. Finally by 5PM or so, feeling better, I fell asleep for a couple of hours. By the time I got up I was much much better but dehydrated. They got me a couple of bottles of Gatorade and I bought I few more on the way to my grandmother's house. They also handed me more medicine, all different and looked nothing like the ones I took earlier:)More so no one could agree on how often I should be taking this stuff so I followed the 4 hour rule. By 9PM I was strong enough to rally everyone for a late movie and while I used the bathroom several times during the show, it was because I had drank too much Gatorade.

Today I'm still a little shaky but I think I'll be alright. We are trying to figure out what happened. My uncle thinks I had indigestion, eating to fast and all that. I don't know about that one, he's never seen me choke down grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches while running. One my cousins thinks it was the ice they used in my smoothie. According to her, sometimes the ice is made from water that's not too clean. Hmmm...never had a problem with the local ice/water. My best guess is that it was something I ate the night before. Whatever it is I'm treading lightly for awhile. I was going to hit the track today but I think I'll wait another day. Whatever it was, was bigger and badder than me.


  1. Hope you're stomach is back to normal!

  2. stephen goldmann5:21 PM

    came on fast, went away in 24 hours or less? you had a staph infection my friend. that comes from 1 of 2 things. unclean hands and backward farming techniques. in asia it could be either or both. 'salad' is usually the culprit over there. might take you a bit to get your asian stomach back again rick so be careful! i'd stick to baluk and other cooked stuff for a bit ;). glad you are having fun. at 430 this morning i did our park route. was thinking of you. have some adobo for me. mmmmm adobo.

  3. Thanks for the well wishes everyone.

    Stephen the only time you'll see me running at 4:30AM is during the end of a 100-miler, you crazy, crazy guy! Thanks for the tip on the salad. Definitely avoiding uncooked food.