Marathon Journal: 8 Miles

January 12, 2010

I didn’t know if I was going to jog 4, 8 or 12 miles. After finishing up the 8th mile I felt my legs go a little weak. I don’t know why but this time I brought along a chunk of apple and some nuts to help get me through to the end. I usually just eat “Gu” energy packets.

So something weird is going down with my sinuses and I can’t tell if it’s because I’m still getting over my Christmas cold, or if it’s because I’m an old man or what. But after these last two runs my cheeks and eyes were pounding and red to a point of being almost purplish. I splashed cold water on my cheeks and BOOM there is this smell of pungent ammonia!

I looked up the symptoms on some running sites and it sounds pretty normal, the body can’t process enough carbs so it starts eating protein and can’t process all of the acid so it produces ammonia. Hundreds of other runners have the same experience and it only happens in the sinus, so that it smells like the whole room is full of ammonia but nobody else can smell it. I asked My Beloved and the kids, “Did you spill some bleach or something?” They thought I was crazy. I thought they were crazy that they couldn’t smell it.

The thing I didn’t read about was why it only hits me after I wash my face. I’m wondering if the cold water closes up the pores on my cheeks and chokes off the ability to crank out sweat so it triggers this other release in the sinuses. I don’t know, but now I get to experiment on myself with every run.

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5 Responses to “Marathon Journal: 8 Miles”

  1. Kathy Fullerton Says:

    OK, Doug. Somehow this feels like cheating. I had signed up through my church to do a half-marathon to raise money for Living Water International. The more you post about your training, the more convinced that I cannot do this in the amount of time left. We have had atrocious weather in STL, I am a beginner, and we are supposed to run the 13.5 miles in April.

    I broke my ankle on black ice nine years ago and am not a big fan of running or walking outdoors if there is a possibility of ice. It was a beautiful 40 degree day when I took my big spill. Anyway, it is good to hear about your progress. I wish you the best in your endeavors.

    BTW, I am going to get notified by email, even though I hate it. : )

  2. Lemm Says:

    Gosh. Don’t push yourself too hard Doug…I think your body is trying to tell you something. ><
    I hope you have a flask of water or something to stop dehydration…make sure you eat at least an hour before jogging too.

  3. chris Says:

    You ever run around the rose bowl?

  4. Bob McGowan Says:

    I would guess the sinus thing has more to do with your cold than getting old. I would also guess that the sudden surge of ammonia smell comes from warming your sinus up fast when you splash water on your face. When I first started running marathons I would always hit a bit of a wall around 8 miles while training. Good idea to take some GU or an apple. Keep the faith and make sure you get enough rest.


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