Saturday, 2 June 2012

Running on empty

My journey home from work yesterday was very weird.

I had been expecting to have to lug everything (laptop, shoes etc.) home over the weekend but it turns out that they want me back in the same office after the Bank Holiday and so I left all of the heavy stuff there. So, buoyed by the happiness that only a Friday afternoon before five days off work can bring, I fairly zoomed out of work on my bike.

The few miles to the railway station passed really easily and I noticed the lack of weight in my rucksack. Everything felt so smooth and easy and I whizzed along wearing a big grin and maybe even singing. On the final stretch home though l, things changed markedly. On a clear day, with light luggage and minimal wind, I found myself crawling in first gear up hills that that I almost top-out in third on a good day. I wasn't out of breath and my legs weren't burning with lactic acid or anything like that. I just had no power left in my muscles at all. Nothing. It was basically as though I'd run out of fuel.

This thought was compounded by the fact that the last two miles of the journey were spent fantasising anout ever more calorific foodstuffs. I started off very sensibly by imagining spooning down a huge bowl of muesli with fruit, honey and yoghurt but it wasn't long before I was mentally tucking into a Big Mac meal, large fries, full-fat coke, the works.

I made it home eventually, breaking no records on the way, and hit the kitchen like a swarm of locusts! After a couple of jam sandwiches (quick to make) and a large helping of pasta bake, I felt a lot better.

What's interesting though is it seems that when I'm low on fuel, far from craving the instant but short-lived high of sugary sweets or drinks, it's fatty calories and salt that my body wants. The only other time I've really felt like that was when I finished the Great North Run half-marathon a few years back. No Lucozade sports recovery drinks at the finish for me - I headed, almost zombie-like straight for the burger van and felt brilliant immediately afterwards.

As a learning point, I should probably carry some reserve food with me. I've tried those sports gel things before and frankly they're manky but I reckon a handful of wine gums would have seen me home in better shape. I'll stick a packet in my rucksack for emergency use I think.

I'll just have try not to scoff them when I get peckish at the office.

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