“Insane hunger”

That’s what part of my training diary entry read this morning. At 3AM, I awoke with two urgent needs: first, do something about the ache in my thighs and calves, the dreaded DOMS*; second, eat something right now.

Random waves of ravenous hunger appear to be one side effect of combining high mileage with high intensity. And the hunger is of a particularly urgent, single-minded sort. It’s not, “Oh, I’m ready for dinner” hunger. It’s “I’m so hungry I’m going to eat that smashed Twinkie in the middle of the road” hunger. I was aware of this kind of “I’ll eat anything as long as it resembles food” hunger from reading about people in ultrarunning races. I had yet to experience it for myself until pretty recently.

But here it’s hitting me at odd times — typically either in the dead of night, or (more strangely) an hour or so after I’ve already eaten something substantial. There also is a delayed aspect to the hunger. Recently, I had two back-to-back days of extreme hunger in the early days of a recovery week. It started after a speed session and continued well into the next day, which featured a mere 7 miles of recovery running. The point being, I’d expect this sort of thing in a high mileage week itself, not in the days following one. I can only speculate that as my body consolidates the previous week’s training-induced stress and recovers from it, it’s demanding help in that consolidation and recovery from food.

I’m building muscle like it’s going out of style, and losing fat. So I’m guessing the demand for food (and craving for protein in some cases) is also to support that repair and expansion work at the muscular level. I have no idea what I’m talking about, by the way — this is pure conjecture.

In any event, I go with the hunger, getting up in the dead of night to shovel whatever appeals into my face, illuminated only by the 40 watt refrigerator bulb and with an audience of one bleary-eyed cat, confused by my sudden presence, yet hopeful that I’ll feed her too. Last night it was roasted sweet potatoes (carbs), spelt (more carbs) and prosciutto (protein, fat and salt). I wonder what I’ll need next.

*A problem easily solved with my favorite regularly smuggled controlled substance from overseas, the wonder drug from the UK, Solpadeine. It’s chock full of codeine goodness, and the effervescent variety works in about five minutes.

4 Responses

  1. 3am cravings…you mega-mileage folks are a different breed entirely. At least your diminishing BF gives you full permission to stuff your pie hole any which way you can. (still chuckling at Twinkie roadkill)

  2. Hey Julie!

    3AM hunger pains!! WOW!

    I’m not trying to comment bomb your blog, but I’ve been reading yours in google reader for a while, and I thought you’d be a great person to ask.

    My friend, and awesome runner friend Monika has a golf-ball sized cyst pressing on her heart and lungs. She is having surgery on Monday.

    To show her that we’re thinkin’ about her, I’m “collecting miles”. Since so many of us are training anyway, its an easy way to show a fellow runner you care.

    All you need to do is let me know how many miles you’ve run and I’ll add that to my tally. We’re aiming for 181 in two weeks, and we’ll start next Monday.

    You can read about the details here, http://www.kelseytoney.com/?p=285

    Again, sorry to hijack your comments.


    • Sorry to hear about your friend, Kelsey. I hope the surgery goes well for her.

      Heck, I can give you at least 180 miles from 3/16 – 3/29, so just add one mile and you’ve met your collective goal!

      I say up your mileage goal for this — but I say “up your mileage” to everyone who will listen. 🙂

      How about 362 miles in two weeks?

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