I’ve been running since I was eight, and there’s one milestone I’ve never hit as a runner.
I’ve never vomited after a run.
I know that sounds disgusting, but it’s more common than you think. Runners are competitive creatures by nature and will push themselves just to beat the person in front of them. (My dad used to work out with Navy SEALs, and he said that in those workouts, no one stopped unless they were blacking out. Which is, you know, insane, but I guess that’s what happens when you go on a run with a SEAL.) Combine a tough workout with fluids or food in your stomach, and you may have a nasty surprise waiting for you at the end of a run. It’s never happened to me, which tells you that I’ve never pushed myself hard enough to reach that point. But off the top of my head, I can think of several people who throw up after a run, sometimes regularly.
My group ran around 8.5 miles this morning, and it was a tough run. I had gotten minimal sleep and did not bring any water with me, wrongly assuming there would be some on the trail. Our route took us through some beautiful parks that were windy, hilly, and rocky. I kept in front for the first half, but fell behind by the last mile since I stopped to drink water when there was finally some available. The last mile seemed interminably long, and I was grateful when we finished.
Two women in my group came up to talk to me afterward. While we were talking, I was guzzling down cup after cup of Powerade and water. “You should probably slow down, Jenny,” my more experienced self said, but the thirsty self said, “I DON’T CARE, I’M THIRSTY. FUCK, WHERE’S THE POWERADE?” I had consumed enough fluids to make me look three months pregnant. Then all of a sudden, I felt a wave of nausea hit me. I moved away from the women; they had just complimented my running, and the last thing I wanted to do was look weak in front of them. I didn’t want to look rude, so I said, “Excuse me,” and hurried away from them before I could vomit on them.
I walked to the back of the parking lot, heaving a couple of times. Throwing up is a foreign concept to me. I’ve gotten sick maybe twice in the past 14 years, and that was only because I had too much fun, not from running or an illness. Luckily, I was able to keep everything down and did not get sick.
Every runner knows that you A. don’t drink too much before a run and B. sip water slowly afterward. But even the most experienced runners sometime need a little reminder of why these maxims exist.