Another Addiction

After the first of two loops of the Pemberton Trail 50K, my plans for the second half of the ultramarathon trail race quickly went by the wayside.

Prior to the race, I left a drop bag with a clean short sleeve running shirt and some energy gels.

Distracted with the task of filling up my water bottle, I forgot all about the “goodies” in my drop bag. Feeling surprisingly good, both physically and mentally, I focused on the treats spread out on the table: oranges, bananas, M&Ms, cookies, orange gummy slices, Pringles and boiled potatoes next to a container of salt.

During stops at earlier aid stations, I enjoyed bananas and orange slices. I’ve been a fan, particularly of citrus, during races for a pick-me-up.

Trail races, particularly ultras, often are known for their food spreads. At the halfway point, I was intrigued by the potatoes wedges. I grabbed one and dipped it into the nearby salt before popping it into my mouth. The sensory overload caught me by surprise.

Quickly, I snatched another and felt gluttonous, even though the wedges were relatively tiny.

“These are addicting,” I proclaimed to another nearby runner, a stranger who also stopped to look at the offerings. He said he hadn’t tried boiled potatoes and salt before.

“I haven’t either,” I replied. “That’s all I need is another addiction.”

But another healthy addiction is quite OK with me.

My running addiction has changed over the years: from a runner’s high to the thrill of racing marathons. Now I face the likelihood of ultrarunning as an excuse to overload my senses with simple foods that are salty or sweet.

It wasn’t a possibility I considered three weeks ago when ankle problems hinted I might not even be able to finish my first 50K. There were a few times I wondered if it was even smart to try.

Overall, though, my legs feel good, and a 4-mile run this morning – less than 48 hours after finishing the Pemberton 50K – went surprisingly well. It has me energized and excited to keep running.