Septembre 9, 2017. J’ai la nausée! Testing 50 mile ultra marathon fuel & toe socks. Je ne me sens pas bien. WARNING – this is what runners really talk about…



Bonjour Monsieur, Comment allez-vous?  Moi, aujourd’hui, Je ne me sens pas très bien.  Je suis malade.  C’est mon genou and mon estomac.  J’ai mal au genou ET j’ai la diarrhée.  Aussi, J’ai vomi.  Pourquoi?  Je cours beaucoup ET j’ai mangé des gels.  

I think that would be enough information to get my message across to the Doctor don’t you?

“Où sont les toilettes?”  / “Where is the bathroom?”  I said to my running partner (in English) as I ran the last of the 15 planned miles.  “C’est loin, et ce n’est pas proper – voulez-vous marcher?” / “It’s pretty far away and not that clean – do you want to walk?”  He replied.  “Non, mais courir vite!” / ” No, but run fast.”  I said half heartedly.


Marathon Fuel Test:

Rewind to 2011 and my first full marathon.  The 2011 marathon training plan had me fueling about every three miles with what runners call GELS.

Most runners love these little energy packed pockets of nutrition, scientifically formulated to fuel you on the run and easy to carry.

Running fuel is big business.  Fueling early and regularly helps to keep the body’s energy level where it needs to be – up, up, up.

By the time I was done with the 2011 marathon, I was nauseated and had severe intestinal cramps.  No after party for me.  A few more similar experiences and I stopped using gels.  I tried several brands, some with caffeine and some without.  I experimented with different brands and thicknesses and drank the correct amount of water, but for whatever reason these pockets of energy continued to upset my stomach.  I have friends that this is all they use – with no problems.  It’s just my stomach.

I’m super impressed with the ingredients and some are even organic.  I’m just not able to use them, so for the last six years, I’ve fueled with real food and plain water only.

I know if I could just use these products I could run farther and faster – there’s always hope right?

Back to now – While prepping for the 50 miler, for some strange reason, I thought it would be okay to try a new gel I saw at the running store.  The 50 miler in November is a LONG run and I want my body to have all the help it can get, thus the fuel test.

During the run, I used 2 gels…and drank plenty of water.

About 10 miles into the planned 15, I knew I was in trouble.  You’ll be happy to know, I made it back to the car and back to the house but I was sick for the rest of the day and drained literally and figuratively.

OK – that’s never going to happen again.  I also missed the second 15 miler of the weekend (not too sad about that one).  I used the time to practice my French lessons.

I’m glad I tested the fuel, I’m not glad I got sick.  I wanted to see if anything had changed with MY stomach.  NOPE, and now I know what NOT to do on race day.

I’ll continue to test fuels – but it’ll be real food fuel.  Thinking baguettes, dark chocolate, water and sea salt.  Maybe some marshmallows and baby food.

Boring, but should keep my stomach from falling apart, while still providing the carbs and sugars I’ll need for the 50 mile trot.

Marathon fuel test was a big fat FAIL!

Ne paniquez pas!

Marathon Sock Test:

Rewind to the August eight hour endurance race and la ampoule issue.  The remnants of Hurricane Harvey came through my area on fuel and toe sock test day.  Which was perfect for testing the new moisture wicking toe socks.


Fantastique!  Parfait!  J’aime mes nouvelles chausettes. / Fantastic!  Perfect!  I love my new socks.  My feet felt great.  Thank goodness!  With the stomach issues, the last thing I needed was une ampoule.  

I had heard about toe socks, but never tried them.

After 2.5 hours of running in the rain, my feet were wet, but not blistered and actually in pretty good shape.  Not the most attractive piece of running gear – but definitely effective.  I’m a toe sock convert.  I have to admit all the amazing things I’d heard were true.

Toe sock test was a GIANT success!

Knee Update:

J’ai mal au genou. / My knee hurts.  Oddly enough, mon genou / my knee was fine on the 15 miler, but a few days later on a 5 mile run it fell apart.  Mileage wise,  I have the base I should at this point and I’m not worried about the runs I missed this week (yet).  And I know my knee issue comes and goes and seems to be related to tight calves and age.  I even read increased joint pain could be associated with hormone levels and a women’s cycle.

I’m going to continue to train and pray that on race day – it’s a GOOD day for the knee and not too closely associated with a certain woman’s cycle…

It is what it is.

Knee Plan:  Continue with good nutrition and hydration, calf massages, hip strengthening exercises and joint supplements.  And to stay on soft surfaces and monitor the wear and tear of my shoes.

Ne paniquez pas!


P.S.  Today we are runnng a 13.1 mile trail race in the hills of east-central Kentucky – Red River Gorge.  I won’t be testing fuel!  I will be wearing toe socks and a knee brace.






Author: suzlearnsfrench

My name is Suz and I'm addicted to France and all things French. I can't speak French, but I'm working on it. I've been working on it for 33 years. I'm married to a man who is half French and our running joke is "my next husband will be full French." However, I'm never giving this one up.

5 thoughts on “Septembre 9, 2017. J’ai la nausée! Testing 50 mile ultra marathon fuel & toe socks. Je ne me sens pas bien. WARNING – this is what runners really talk about…”

  1. Oh la la! I do hope you are recovered and per-lease do not be tempted by anything Gel again. Who knows why but you are clearly horribly allergic and sickness and diarrhea really is not needed at this stage in your 50-mile journey. And the knees. Protect the knees. I was once and Olympic Oarswoman and the one thing I was not allowed to do was run for fear of damaging the knees. Very complex and tricky they are. Your French improves step by step. My gentle correction this week is that in French body parts are not owned. We don’t use the possessive mon or ma but le or la so it would be j’ai mal a l’estomac for example. Clothes tend to be the same so we would say j’ai porté les pantalons et une veste 🙂 Keep doing what you are doing – it’s amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and adding the correction. I really need this type of help – see now I know the rule – I probably read that in the lesson but it didn’t make sense until your note. Merci!

      An Olympic oarswoman – ok super cool! I’d love to read about that – have you written any articles on that time of your life?

      Never thought that maybe there was an allergy issue – great point.

      Have a great day !


      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t written about that time, but I will.

        I’m sure there must be an allergy. And they are pesky critters. For example my daughter has thrown an allergy to several fruits in her twenties to the extent that she was hospitalized on account of a strawberry. Harsh.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading your blog! Your personality really shines when you put pen to paper. I might be a little bias but I still enjoy seeing your updates pop up in my inbox.

    Liked by 1 person

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