The Cries of an Empty Stomach

22 Feb

I just returned home from a full day of medical tests. Nothing too invasive, just four very bizarre balance and hearing tests in an attempt to figure out what the hell is wrong with my head.

I know, that was an easy one. Go on, make your jokes. I’ll wait.

In order to prep for these tests I had to deprive myself of the only drug I still do (unapologetically, I might add): caffeine; and I had to fast for five hours leading up to the tests. Not because they were taking blood or anything but because one of the four tests involved being masked, strapped into what looked like a rotating electric chair, locked in a pitch black closet and forced to follow a red dot with my eyes and straighten a red line with two joy sticks, all while making small talk with the doctors who were sitting outside of the closet monitoring my “performance.”

After that horror concluded, I was led into another room, masked again and again asked to follow the dot. This test came with an added bonus round though, during which the doctors shot water into my ears (alternating between cold and warm; right then left) and made me list off girls and boys names for various letters of the alphabet while they recorded data. My most inspired moment came when one of the doctors said, “Boys names that begin with the letter S,” and the first one out of my mouth after Sam was Shlomo. Only a born and raised New Yorker.

Anyway, apparently, the last two tests were the ones that required an empty stomach. For obvious reasons. Sitting in a swivvle chair in the dark can make one very very nauseous. But the first test was at 8:45AM and I didn’t get into the chair until 12:30PM. So file this under, “I wish somebody would have told me” because, had I known, I would have eaten breakfast when I got up at 7AM. Whatever.

By the time I got out of there it was 2:15 and I hadn’t eaten anything since 8PM last night. Luckily, I brought a couple of my Recovery Monday Bars with me. So I gobbled those down along with the best (not really) cappuccino of my life.

I am starting to normalize. And as I type, I have a homemade Mediterranean pizza cooling down on the counter. So I should be even more normal soon. But I gotta tell ya, my body does NOT like going that long without food. 18+ hours with nothing but water? I was supposed to get in an hour bike today but I’m going to make Wednesday my rest day this week and make-up the bike on Friday.

Anyway, it all got me to thinking about an awesome article I read in this  month’s Runner’s World, entitled RUNNING ON EMPTY. It’s all about the misconception that cutting calories and dropping lbs will automatically lead to faster finishes and impressive PRs. It’s also the first article I’ve encountered that describes something called “Disordered Eating,” which should not be confused with an eating disorder. Read the article for the proper distinction.

It’s a really insightful and scary article about what can happen to athletes when they don’t fuel properly. Then another interesting article made its way into my inbox today from It refers to nutrition as the FOURTH DISCIPLINE for triathletes. I think this is a great way to look at fueling. I saw a guy lose his legs half-way through the Rohto Ironman 70.3 Miami this year and it was one of the scariest things I have ever witnessed. He was kaput. His legs went, then his eyes went, then he was totally unresponsive. I got to watch his poor wife absolutely lose her mind while she watched her hubby be wheeled away in a medical truck.

Race-day nutrition and training nutrition are obviously different in a number of ways but whether you’re half way through a race or you’re heading out for a long run, you still need to properly hydrate and fuel with calories. Otherwise, you’re screwing yourself.

Last week my coach sent out a document detailing our calorie requirements for different workout days based on specific metrics and I was surprised to discover that I should be eating way more than I thought on days that I do a mere 60 minutes of training. It increases for longer training sessions, obvs. Now, I like to eat so this is not necessarily a bad thing. Of course those calories have to come by way of nutrient-rich, whole foods that deliver the biggest carb/protein/fiber bang for their caloric buck and not by way of the taco truck.

So with all that said, since I don’t feel like I’m spinning anymore and my pizza is singing to me, I’m gonna jump offline and fill my tank in prep for tomorrow’s 2,000 yard swim in the morning and bridge repeats in the evening.


4 Responses to “The Cries of an Empty Stomach”

  1. Silvana Roncal February 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    I loved reading your writting. Hope the test results are all ok and the only issue was lack of proper nutrition or an ear infection. Keep us posted! love, S

  2. iwanttobeatriathlete February 25, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    Your tests seemed more like torture to me… I hope you “passed” them.

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