The prairie outside our front door. Notice the faint trail along the fence. It is one of the trails created by pronghorn antelope that we run on.
This entire, crazy, eight days of fasting has been one of adjustments. At first it was getting adjusted to the hunger pangs, then it was learning to deal with the one banana before my run and how it bothered my stomach. I’ve had to learn to wear more since my body doesn’t heat itself very well without fuel. Remembering not to stand up too quick has been an important adjustment. Next, it was realizing that the banana just wasn’t working out, learning about juice fasts and then adjusting to that. Lately I’ve found it harder to make myself drink enough water.
And, all along, I’ve had to deal with the energy-zapping load of running every day.
It was cloudy, twenty-four degrees and almost no wind. My pace felt a little quick when I started but I let it go since I could tell that I had more energy than yesterday. The prairie had received an additional dusting of snow and the path was slippery. My legs had adjusted to the lower weight, so the light, prancing feeling that I had for a couple of the runs was gone, but I still was running comfortably. Only a third of a mile in, the tank went dry. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but on all the runs,except yesterday’s awful one, I could tell the exact moment my body ran out of what few calories I had ingested for that day. On other days it was hard to deal with and slowed me considerably. Today, it was as if my energy production system flicked a switch and immediately began using my remaining stored fat for fuel. It might be hard to believe, but I think I’m becoming hyper-attuned to my body’s functions; I swear I can tell the difference between when it is burning those few carbs and when it is burning fat.
This run was, by far, the best, most sustained effort during the fast. My mile splits were 9:50, 9:12 and an 8:35 pace for the last .45 of a mile. I have taken in a total of approximately 630 calories during the last seven days and fourteen hours. On my runs alone I have burned about 2400 calories, the equivalent of what I burn on an average day. I find it amazing that I was able to accomplish a run like this.
I’ve had some runs that felt good on my legs, because of the reduced weight and I was even able to get in some strides. Yes, I skipped my banana yesterday, but that two-plus miles was tremendously hard considering that I think of myself a long distance runner… long meaning marathon length or longer. So I was thinking that the succeeding days would only get harder.
So there is no explanation for today. Granted the six ounces of V-8 that I had an hour before I ran was much easier on my stomach and may have meant less energy going to the digestive process. But the amount was about thirty-five calories, exactly a third of what is in the banana it was replacing. I also had another good night of sleep, which I am sure helped.
What am I saying? Of course there is an explanation. My experience reinforces my belief that the human body is a tremendously adaptable, resilient and strong vessel. It may have limits, but very few people ever discover what those limits are. Even now, I know I haven’t reached them.