Things you learn when you get off your ass

You know – the whole “running” process has been enlightening in many ways. For those of you new around here, a year ago I couldn’t even run to the end of the block without wanting to die. And last weekend I completed a marathon. I only ran a little more than half of it – but I ran about 400 miles in the training process to get to that point. So, yay!

But – during the marathon? I learned something very very interesting. Something I hadn’t learned up until that point because I did most of my training in cold weather. The marathon was my first long run in severe heat. Which means it was the first time I spent 7 hours straight sweating. Let me tell you what happened…

At one point, maybe around the halfway point, I was wiping sweat off my face and my skin felt very grainy. Like I had walked through a dust storm of some sort. I just ignored it since I had bigger concerns, like the triple blisters on my feet. After my brother (a true athlete) joined up with me around mile 19, I wiped my face again and said to him, “My face feels like it’s covered with dirt. What’s up with that?”

And do you know what he told me? (And yes, you all probably already knew this and I’m going to feel really stupid.) It was SALT. Salt on my face. Evidently, there’s salt in sweat (which I knew that – duh) (or maybe not) so when you sweat a lot in the sun, the moisture evaporates leaving the salt behind on your body. I don’t know if I’ve ever had my face covered in salt before, but I did on Saturday. It was in my eyebrows, my hairline, and behind my ears. I was like a giant potato chip. It was incredibly disgusting.

Evidently, salt is really important when running long distances. I kinda knew that before the marathon, which is why I tried one of those Accelerade drinks at one of the aid stations. I described the taste of it later as “A mix between urine and dirty butthole.” It was the nastiest stuff I’ve ever tasted. But – I couldn’t stop drinking. My body wanted that shit (and I’m assuming the salt in it) in a DESPERATE way. I’ve never had my body make decisions for me before in such a demanding way. My mind was thinking, “Don’t drink it. It tastes like ASS.” But I kept grabbing it at every aid station. They even had a table part of the way in that had only salt packets. There were girls screaming, “SALT! SALT!” to the runners as they were running by. It was all quite a learning experience.

So – that’s your running lesson for the day. Salt is important. And it does not come out of your eyebrows easily. The End.

16 thoughts on “Things you learn when you get off your ass”

  1. My German grandpa was a POW in Texas after WWII and he told me they had to take salt tablets to make sure they had enough electrolytes.
    I’m still totally in awe of you running the marathon! Way to go!!!

  2. I can’t believe you used the phrase “only ran a little more than half of it”-like that isn’t amazing! I just walked up two flights of stairs with a 18 pound baby and a full laundry basket and I’m winded. Don’t sell yourself short.

    I wouldn’t have figured out the salt thing either. I think I would have assumed it was road dirt stuck to the enormous amounts of sweat.

  3. Whoda thunk it. I’ve never in my life ran so far I had salt sweating from my body. And, I probably never will. YOU GO GIRL!

  4. Thanks for the link to the article! The guy at Fleet Feet last week convinced me I needed an extra salty drink, not just regular Gatorade, for after my half marathon this weekend. Wrong!

    Hope your body is recovering nicely and you get out there this weekend for a comfortable run.

  5. I just ran my first half marathon in OKC and have had a blast following your honest journal of training, blisters, etc. Funny that I’m also a Kim with curly reddish hair….go figure that I totally love your sense of humor!!! Anyway, after the race I looked down at my arms and realized they were glittering in the sun like I’d put on body glitter. Yup they were covered with salt crystals. Even though I drank the powerade at nearly every station and after the race I swear I didn’t catch up on my fluids until later the next day. Ugh. I came out of it all with only one blister but a strained lateral arch in my right foot. Hoping that a week off will let me start running again because I’m currently eating my way through my house even though I totally realize I’ve made up for the 1300 or so calories burned from the run. Congrats on your marathon; after running just a half I am totally in awe of you!!!!

  6. I had to tell you that you inspired me (yes! you did!) with your post about Marathon Brain. I had to write one about Vacation Brain, which I am fixated on at the moment. Check it out if you are interested. http://iknowwhereyoucanfindit.blogspot.com/ Maybe one of these days, I will run a maraton instead of lying on the beach. But probably not.

  7. “A mix between urine and dirty butthole” That really paints a picture, doesn’t it?!! I’m going to be belly laughing about that all day!

    Did you know Jelly Belly is now making jellybeans called Sport Beans? You can go to sportbeans.com or link to it through jellybelly.com. I’m kind of interested to try these!

    And, Sonja, that’s a pretty normal thing for Texas. Football players especially will take the salt pills because they start their 2-a-day practices in the August heat and it can be easily over 100 degrees.

  8. I too look like a Pringle whenever I work out. I sweat like crazy, and you can actually see the salt on my face when I’m done. If you go to a running/triathlon/bike store, they’ll usually have single packets of sports drink mixes that will make one bottle. Handy for trying flavors. Nuun makes electrolyte only tablets that you drop in water, not sweet at all. Options are good!

  9. Okay, I LOVED THE SALTY EYEBROW COMMENT!!!! Hell, I get that after a mile or two in the heat.

    I have just started reading your blog recently and don’t know this, but how long did you train to run the marathon?

  10. Okay, I LOVED THE SALTY EYEBROW COMMENT!!!! Hell, I get that after a mile or two in the heat.

    I have just started reading your blog recently and don’t know this, but how long did you train to run the marathon?

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