Luckily for me to ease into the training, this week our long run was only 6 miles (as compared to the previous week’s 9 mile run). So yesterday (Saturday), Mike and I headed out for our favorite 6-mile loop up to the Capitol, down the National Mall, to the Lincoln Memorial and back. I was feeling great! No calf pain. Our pace was pretty spot on – 8:55/9:00, about 30 seconds slower than our marathon goal pace. I felt some stomach pain around mile 2.5, near the WWII Memorial, conveniently close to a public restroom, so ran in to use it quickly. Some background here. I have IBS and running on a regular basis actually really helps my stomach issues. However, I often have stomach issues after races. I’ve realized that if I eat something (or drink chocolate milk) right away, I usually feel okay. I’m still trying to figure out what foods work best to eat before and after running (I think I’ll learn a lot after these 15 weeks of training). I’ve never eaten gels or chews before so I’m curious to see how those affect me.
Ok, back to the story. I felt like there was an air bubble in my digestive tract that wouldn’t go away. But the sharp pain had subsided so we ran down to Lincoln, turned around at mile 3 and ran back. Close to the Washington Monument (again close to a public restroom), I felt the pain again. It came on all of a sudden as if an air bubble moved around a corner in my digestive tract. Very strange feeling. So I tried planking. Typically, if my stomach hurts and I lay on my stomach, I’ll feel much better. Planking – an activity consisting of lying face down, sometimes in an unusual or incongruous location; both hands must touch the sides of the body.
So I planked (not on elbows but laying completely on my stomach, like the Office episode) on a stone wall near the Washington Monument. My stomach felt a little better. We ran only a few hundred feet more before the pain came on all of a sudden again. It was a sharp jabbing, very isolated pain. I planked again on the grassy area by the sidewalk then tried some yoga moves to help with stomach problems, ignoring the strange looks from passerbys. I just wanted to push this air bubble out. I actually felt much better after the planking and yoga moves and we were able to run pretty far, almost to the Capitol before I ran to the side of the path and planked on a bench.
This pain definitely took my mind off any worrying about my calves. I actually wasn’t that upset about my stomach because I knew what the problem was and that it’s not an injury requiring any sort of time off. When I started thinking about marathon training, one of my biggest concerns was my stomach issues. But I’m hoping that I’ll learn how to deal with the IBS issues better during the training weeks. I think my body just isn’t used to the running, all the bouncing on my stomach, after having taken 3 weeks off. Just one more plank on a sidewalk by the Capitol before making it home in one piece. The pain would go away as suddenly as it would come on. Back at home I rolled my stomach on the foam roller (not a typical use for it) and laid down for awhile before using the restroom. I still didn’t feel great after that because I was dehydrated, felt weak and really needed food.
I did feel better after… lunch at Chick-fil-A! I stuck with chicken noodle soup (for hydration as well as for being gentle on my stomach) and waffle cut fries with Chick-fil-A sauce, of course.
After running some errands in Virginia, we swung by the Dogfish Head Alehouse. I was hungry again so we got the hummus platter and beers. The hummus was homemade and delicious – surprising from an Alehouse! There was also a generous amount of warm pita bread that came with it. It’s my pet peeve when you don’t get enough chips for your dip or pita for your hummus. This was perfect and hit the spot!
To continue on our every three hour meal trend, we tried out a new recipe for dinner – Rachael Ray’s Everything Lo Mein. It was pretty simple, although quite a bit of prep. And made WAY MORE than 4 servings! However, leftovers are always a good thing! We’ll probably be making this again as it’s a great combo of protein, carbs and veggies. Oh – we replaced the water chestnuts with baby corn (so much better than water chestnuts).