I have been pretty successful at long distance races, place-wise, but
have had several episodes in recent years of stomach upset accompanied
with a little light-headedness. This happens primarily in distances over
13 miles, and I have had to stop or slow down to deal with this. My
pre-race fuel is usually a toasted bagel with jam, or a Balance Bar,
with coffee. I drink water before and during races, sometimes
alternating with the sports drink offered. Although I have practiced
ingesting PowerGel with no upset during long training runs, it didn't
offset the lightheaded/nausea attack in my last marathon (mile
21/D.N.F.!) When the gut stuff hits, it's usually in the last 1/4 of the
race. Any idea what might be causing this?-S.G.
Race nausea at teh end a race as you describe is often due to your body taking all the blood sugar it can for your skeletal muscles, leaving your stomach (a smooth muscle) without - hence the nausea. The light headedness supports the idea that you are short of blood sugar when you get to that point in a race.
One thought is for you to be much more careful about your management of your blood sugar. We use IDN products at our center - the Sportalyte drink has the ideal glucose content, and is highly absorbable - many athletes consider it to be a superior drink to other commercially available sports drinks. Their version of an energy bar - glycobar - is also a good produc that most of the athletes in our center use. Either way, you should train using the same fluids you will race with, and you should start drinking a glucose replacement drink early in long runs, and often - the glucose replacement drinks with 5-7% glucose per volume restore hydratio to 80% while water only rehydrates about 60%, and you make urine when you drink water. Also- water quenches your thirst - so you don't tend to drink as much. The key is to find a drink you like and drink a lot during long races starting BEFORE you are thirsty. You should get over it if you do ths. Oh yes - don't drink coffee before you race - it is a diuretic - which means it makes you absorb water into you stomach to dilute it, and you pee more - save you coffe for after the round. Rather, drink a tall glass of water.