Bonking in the Gatineau Park

Regular readers of this site will know by now that I’m a slow learner. And this was clearly emphasized on Sunday…

Sunday started out innocently – I met up with a solid group of trail runners at the Visitor’s Center in Chelsea for a long run. These folks run regularly thanks to the great community that Dave and Lise have fostered and nurtured through their Natural Fitness Lab. I’m new to running with this group and don’t know a lot of people but each time I’ve been out on a Tuesday run, I’ve had an excellent experience – meeting  new people and simply enjoyed being out on the trails.

I’ve wanted to go on a Sunday long run for sometime, so this past Sunday was the day. I started well, felt good (new shoes were super comfy), I was even talking and running at the same time. We ran up Penguin and along Ridge Road for a bit and then ducked onto some fun twisty trails – things were still going well and then all of a sudden they weren’t. I had lost complete contact with the group, could barely run up or down the hills and was feeling very wobbly.

Luckily the group waits to regroup at all intersections, so I wasn’t left behind – but I was so woefully behind that I knew I was slowing the gang down. I couldn’t figure out what was happening. Lise made the executive decision that I should head back and not continue with the group up to Kingsmere. Thankfully one of the guys in the group (Wayne) volunteered to guide me back. It was rough – I had to walk downhills and was struggling to even keep pace when walking. I  sucked back a Chocolate Cherry Clif Shot and drank a bunch of water – this kind of helped.

But boy oh boy was I struggling. Finally we made it back to the Visitor’s Center – and I promptly sat down with a big bottle of water to recover a bit and talk to others. What struck me was that everyone wanted to know how I was feeling and then I got some excellent advice on what likely went wrong and how best to recover from this. I was quite embarrassed that this had happened – don’t get me wrong, I have no problems being last – it was the holding everyone up and forcing people to change their plans that I felt badly about.

In assessing what could have caused this massive bonk to happen, I realized that I simply have been doing a poor job of eating – yes, this is not the first time I’ve written about this. On Friday I did a two hour mountain bike ride on basically a fruit smoothie and then salad for lunch and supper. Saturday was more of the same, an 80 km road ride on puffed rice  cereal, a fruit smoothie and salad. Sunday I ate puffed rice cereal for breakfast and four rice cakes with peanut butter before heading out for the run. So not a lot of carbohydrates here…. Same mistakes I’ve made in the past. There was likely some cumulative dehydration that occurred over the weekend as well.

All this to say though – I did have a lot of fun on Sunday. I’ll be ready for this Sunday and be sure to stay on top of my nutrition through-out the week. It is so easy to make small mistakes each day that result in the big mistake. Luckily for me I was with a good group of people who were understanding and patient.

(Tonight I did listen to my body and I skipped the Tuesday night trail run – my sore throat from the weekend has turned into a chesty cough. After two people told me that it wasn’t a good idea to exercise with a chesty cough, I decided to listen…)

2 thoughts on “Bonking in the Gatineau Park

  1. We all learn those lessons! Eating well is vital and those long runs are very tough for us new folks. I may un on Sunday so we could join and do a shorter loop also

    Keep up the good work!

    • Hey Amanda!
      Thanks for the comment. Yes, this eating and running business is hard to get used to. A three hour ride is so different physically than a three hour run. I’m hoping to come out on Sunday – depends on this darn cough.
      You’re doing awesome this summer – thanks for the encouragement.

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