things that are weird and or disgusting

Just some more post-race notes...

I did what I thought was a great job of hydrating in the days before the race and all the way up to the race start, with mostly water and the occasional powerade zero.  I took a Gu just before mile 4 with some water, and I felt the boost a few minutes later.  I took another one around mile 7 because I wanted some oomph heading up the hill, but I never felt it.  About 2 miles later, I reached for something and realized I couldn't close my hands all the way.  I looked down and my fingers were swollen to almost twice their normal size.  I freaked out a little, but didn't want to tell Beth because I didn't want to stop (race logic at its finest).  I tried to take another Gu around mile 10, but only got a little bit in my mouth before I dropped it because I just couldn't hold onto it.

Looking back through all the video that Jon took, I can see that in the later miles of the race, I'm puffy and swollen everywhere - not just in my fingers, but in my arms and face.  In the moment, I had no brainpower to troubleshoot the problem, but as soon as I got home, I asked Dr. Internet about it.  The internet (which is obviously always right, just like your Garmin) thinks that it's a problem of not enough salt possibly combined with too much water.  When this happens, your body can lose the ability to absorb calories properly, which might be why I didn't feel the boost from the Roctane, and also why I horked a bunch of it up at the finish line - it was just sitting in my stomach.  The other internet thinks that it could be over-heating combined with one of these issues.  This is the first time I've ever raced in warm weather with only Gu - other races I've used a combo of EFS/Perpetuem/Shot Bloks - and I wonder if maybe I wasn't getting the electrolytes that I needed since I was sweating more than expected.  In triathlon racing, I usually take some Tums along the run as well (calcium = electrolytes), which I didn't do on Sunday.  But this kind of swelling has never happened to me before.  You guys are part of the internet, what do you think?

The intense swelling that went on also caused my feet to poof up - which usually happens a bit on long runs like it happens to everyone.  But this time, they were so swollen that it caused about 6 different kinds of blood blisters on my feet.  (Avert your eyes).
I felt my feet start to burn a bit in these places around mile 8 or so, but didn't realize how bad it was until I finally got my shoes off after the race.  I had the imprint of my socks in my feet for about 30 minutes.  I could feel my feet expanding as I sat in the cool morning air, and getting my feet back in my shoes to jump in with the poet was not a happy experience.
Part of it was my fault - we were running a bit late on time in the morning, and I didn't get to do the pre-race body glide session that I like to do.  On a regular basis, I don't use body glide, but I like to lube everything up before a race.  I did borrow a smidge of Beth's chapstick (she was thrilled) to grease up my inner thighs, but I didn't get the chance to do my feet, my HR strap/boobie area, my hip (where the Gu was pinned), or my underarms, and I have chafing in all of these places, plus my inner thighs anyway.

I certainly don't want to point at any of these factors to "explain" my race on Sunday - I had the race I did because I went out hard and fast and blew up - but none of it has ever happened before.  It would be easy to chalk it up to a weird day, but I want to think about it so I can prevent it moving forward.

The other odd thing that happen is shoe-related.  In the weeks leading up to the race, I was fairly convinced that my shin problems were stemming from too much running in the Ravenna - the lightest stability shoe in my rotation right now.  Based on that, I didn't run in the Ravenna but instead ran mostly in the Asics 1260 and occasionally the Adrenaline.  My shin problems continued, but I figured that was because they needed time to heal.  On Sunday, I raced in the Ravenna.  Not only did I not have any issues during the race, my shin splints have magically disappeared since.  I haven't been out running yet - that'll be a fun project for tomorrow or Friday - but all of the ache and point-tenderness I had is completely gone.  So maybe the shoe expert was right all along and it's time to trash the Adrenalines.  I did find an incredibly cheap pair of the Saucony Guide, so I think I'm going to run in those and the Ravenna for a while and see if my legs can deal with the so-little-stability-it's-almost-neutral shoe.  Which is exciting.

So, hit me with your science.  What do you think?


  1. I am sure that Beth will be using that chapstick again.

  2. What size do you wear? I ask because I have several pairs on my shelf of the Asics DS Trainer and the Saucony Fasttwitch 3, both of which were light stability shoes. Neither works for me now, as I seem to have become a neutral runner. Thus, they're sitting on my shelf until I get off my rear and list on Craigslist

    But if you want to give either a shot, just lemme know. (Pending Beth's approval). I'll happily donate a pair of either to the cause for free.

    Fasttwitch 3's are in size 7.5; DS-Trainers in size 8. For comparison, I wear a 7.5 in the Kinvara.

  3. the swelling is def salt with no water, especially if you were sweating a lot. my fingers swell sometimes but not that much. i use these strips called all strips and they are sort of like listerine strips but just electrolytes. easier to take than those dumb pills.

    and sorry about your blisters and boo-boos. that doesn't sound fun at all. but consider them all badges of painful honor. lol!

    have a very happy thanksgiving!

  4. Overhydration is a common problem in ultras, so I am familiar with this. Even if you're drinking sportsdrink and/or taking electrolyte caps, you can still overdrink.
    There's a weird photo of me at mile 90 of the Vermont 100 and I'm PUFFY. I had gained 6 lbs!! And I was taking a lot of Succeed, I just overdrank.
    Interestingly enough, ALL blisters (in running) are a result of under- or over-hydration. Fascinating science!
    To feel smart read this:

  5. Puffiness was from not enough electrolytes/too much water. Happens to me all the time. That probably contributed to the extra chafing and blisters.

    You already know my opinion about the shoes. The DS trainer (Cristina's comment) is an option, but its Asics so no. The fasttwitch might be a little light, but I don't know that shoe too well. You have a good plan right now. Stick with it!

  6. I've never had my fingers swell up like that; it's a new one on me. You're supposed to practice your hydration and nutrition strategy before race day! Being unprepared is not something you usually do. strange.

  7. My fingers swell but not that much. Guess i need to do better on salt as well. Sorry I missed your race--going to catch up right now!

  8. It's hard to tell for me, I'm always puffy.

  9. I definitely get the puffy fingers when I do a long run, more so in warmer weather.

    I am not particularly good about hydrating well in advance of a race. On long runs, I drink Nuun to get some electrolytes, which I'm guessing helps. During the Richmond Half-Marathon, however, I just drank the water at a few of the water stops, no powerade, and consumed 3 Clif Shots.

    Maybe Beth is right about the water vs. salt issue.

  10. The only thing better than simply asking the internet is crowdsourcing via the internet. This always goes well.

    I've never had this problem, at least not to an extent that I noticed it (probs because I take in electrolytes like crack), but like everyone else, I'd say it was the electrolyte/water balance. See, the internet wins again.

  11. A) you are super flexible
    B) your poor feet!
    C) have you been peeing non stop since the race? Shedding all of that extra liquid?

  12. OWWWWWW--- how did you even manage to finish with those kinds of blisters? Hydration is such a tricky thing sometimes!

  13. Ouch those blisters look SOOO painful! I am amazed you were able to run with those.

  14. Wow-I have never even heard of such a thing dealing with the hyrdation. I do know that blood blisters can be the most painful things in the world.

  15. Eeewwww those blisters. Your poor feet! How did you get shoes back on and run again?

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. All I can contribute is that before the one race I ran in warmish conditions (OK, it was like 75, but it was out-of-season hot in February in SF), the race directors sent us something the day before suggesting we might want to have some extra salt before the race to ... do something. I can't remember if it was about better absorbing food or more effectively hydrating (SCIENCE!) but I licked a spoon full of salt that day anyway.

  17. Sometimes I think I am the dumbest nutrition/hydration person on my runs. I was worried when I started doing the Roctane/Gu Brew combo that I was going to be retaining water like crazy due to the high sodium content in both and the amount I was taking per run. But that never actually happened, clearly I needed more.

    I'll be interested to hear what you change and do! :) I'd like to say hope you are resting, but I know you were back at the gym on monday! Have a great thanksgiving!

  18. Wow I've gotten puffy fingers before but never to that extent. Usually for me it is heat related. I'm catching up on blogs so I need to go back and read your race report!

  19. Those are some pretty rad pants you're wearing.

  20. What!? Chapstick is NOT an effective anti chaffing lube? Someone call their PR dept now!
    Yuck. Sorry you had such a miserable blister/chaffing experience. Swolley sausage hands usually mean an imbalance...Training for my ultra this summer, I started taking Endurolyte tabs along with my fuel because I cannot tolerate sports drinks when racing. The salt tabs don't taste but help balance all the water I'm taking.
    You'll find what works for you!

  21. I have the swollen fingers after every race, and occasionally after some tough workouts. Let me know what you figure out (after I stalk your comments). The first time it happened they were so swollen I didn't have any lines on my knuckles... it was gross.

    And my toe looked like your feet x100. I hope you're all healed up now.

    I'm still crying inside that I didn't get to see yo fine ass in person. :(


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