June 1, 2014

Apples, Bodily Functions, and a Garden of Eden

Can you find the apple?
It’s called chunder, but when the natives say it it sounds more like chundah. In certain quarters it’s simply barfing, ralphing, yaking or even spewing.

Whatever the term, this bodily function is no stranger to ultra runners. The challenge for us, of course, is trying to identify all things that contribute to tossing our cookies, and avoid these things at all cost.

Of all the fruit in Eden, who among us would’ve guessed that the apple would be the forbidden one? The one fruit that describes the larynx in our throat (was it stuck in Adam’s throat?). Forgetting the religious connection, the apple has a metaphorical reputation that is, well, a little concerning. A reputation that became all the more concerning last weekend.

We were standing on the top of Mt. Baden Powell at the highest point of the Angeles Crest 100 mile endurance run, and we could see forever. When I looked around, everything seemed so surreal.  A gentle wind blew, and gliders soared in and out of the mountain’s contours. It was, at least from my perspective, our own momentary Garden of Eden.

That was the time Howard, one of the runners, pulled out an apple. Apparently not a good idea, as said by Rob M who remembered suffering by way of the apple on a run 40 years prior. But that bit of knowledge didn’t save the apple. It didn’t save Howard either. Eating the forbidden fruit in our momentary Garden of Eden had its consequences (please refer to the first sentence in this post now...).

Ok, lets forget the Garden of Eden for a minute. That apple was there just to lure poor old Adam to prove we humans are weak and will forever need redemption. Right? But why was Howard treated so poorly after eating an apple? Could it be the high fructose content in apples? Or could it be their high sorbitol content? Or could it be the fact that sorbital restricts the absorption of fructose, which can cause stomach issues even in people sitting on a couch at sea level?

One thing I’ve learned in the sport of ultra running is that there exists a tree of knowledge. Each branch on this tree is actually the knowledge of every individual runner. There are times we need to tap this tree of knowledge, and take notes. And there are times when we don’t. Which reminds me of a something Mark Twain once said: “man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”

Don’t eat what doesn’t fall far from the tree!


it's all about pace said...

live and learn... fabulous view to be sure

Cory Reese said...

Wow. That Twain quote describes ultramarathons PERFECTLY! So, so true.