GI distress finally hit me yesterday. I’m not sure what it was but I am glad it happened yesterday which is 3 weeks prior to Ironman Texas. I got started at 10:30am which is about 3 hours later than I would normally start as well as 3.5 hours later than the race will start. I am hoping that this had something to do with it and not what I was consuming.
I went out to the lake to swim 2.4 miles in my new race kit as well as the TYR Torque swimskin to see how it all worked together. As soon as I got there I noticed a ton of sail boats but the were out pretty far. What I finally noticed as the handful of people on jet skis. This made me nervous right away because who knows if they know how to control them and whether or not they were drinking. I immediately decided to that I was going to swim close to the shore line and go about 1/4 mile and turn around and do this repeatedly until I got the 2.4 miles in. As soon as I started swimming I could feel just how cold the water was as well as the turbulence being created by the boats and the jet skis. It was choppy enough from the winds but toss in the additional chop created by the boats and it was rough. I swallowed a lot of water and after about a mile I decided to get out because the jet skis were getting closer and closer. My safety was more important than getting in the 2.4 miles.
Ass soon as I got out of the water I felt a rumble in my stomach. Then it hit me, and I needed to rush to the bathroom. I went to the baseball complex and with my luck the door was locked. Really? I got back in my car and rushed to a port of potty and I took care of it so to speak. After I was done I started analyzing my breakfast which was the same exact breakfast before every long training day. Bowl of granola with coconut milk, rick cakes with honey and sliced banana and a smoothie. Except this time I had a second smoothie because I wasn’t going to be starting until 10:30a and I think that along with the gallon of lake water I swallowed did the damage.
The problem was that every time I had to let one go I was afraid for myself. My stomach never felt like it was going to revolt but I had the fear of God in me. As I was running I decided that my name for the run was going to be Gassious Clay. I was just having the worst gas and air bubbles. It was not a lot of fun but I slowed down and it started to get better. I got through the 3 hour and 40 minute run without anymore issues, other than some dehydration because there was not a lot of water out on the road.
As is typical, when I run into a situation I go looking for some advice and head right to the inter-webs and Google it. As luck would have it Competitor.com had an article about easing GI distress during a long race. It made a lot of sense for the future, but I’m still not sure it was because of anything that happened other than the late start and having to change-up my breakfast habits. If I had eaten my breakfast at 4am as usual and able to take care of my bathroom scenarios this would not have been an issue.
That being said here are the 3 tips that were provided in the article:
» Slow down. Yes it’s a race, but sometimes slowing down can actually save time in the long run: “One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve received is that it generally takes less time to settle an angry stomach than you’ll lose if you try to race through it,” Rapp says. Slowing down will lower your heart rate and allow more blood to get to your stomach for better digestion.
» Tune In. Drink some plain water once GI troubles strike, advises Hoffman. “It can dilute the sugar concentrated in the stomach, and ease the acidic feeling some.” Rapp goes the opposite route and drinks Coke when things go awry, highlighting just how individual nutrition requirements are and the importance of experimentation in training. Both dehydration and overhydration are major causes of GI trouble, so try to listen to your body to determine if you need more/less fluids or perhaps more/less sodium.
» Stop eating. This is a pretty general recommendation from all the pros. Even with a stomach of steel and a fueling equation that she sticks to like glue, multiple 70.3 champion Kelly Williamson dials back on the calories and fluids when she starts to feel too full. Eating more when your GI system is struggling will only exacerbate the problem.