The Purpose of the "50-Mile Dolphin Dash"

Welcome to my blog leading up to the American Cetacean Society's 2nd Annual "50-Mile Dolphin Dash" fundraiser run on Wednesday, July 6th, Monterey, CA. I'm willing to shed 50 miles worth of blood, sweat, and (possibly) tears to raise funds to attend the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in St. Helier, Jersey (UK), where ACS will be speaking out against commercial whaling and compromises to international whale protection measures. I'm also the Executive Director of ACS, so I put my heart and "sole" where my mouth is.

Support the Dolphin Dash with a tax-deductible contribution:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Salt of the earth...

Saturday was the most beautiful day in San Pedro history – sunny, clear, and gorgeous. My original plan included an early trip to The Corner Store for coffee, perhaps a 30-35 mile run, an early dinner at the Lighthouse Cafe and a trip to Barnes & Noble - in short, a perfect Saturday. Fast forward to mile 15 on the run (the turn-around point) – feeling, feeling great! How about 5 more miles... or 10 for a 50-mile loop?

When you’re solo on a very long run, you have to stop for food and water, whereas with a support crew, you’re literally handed everything you need – salt tablets, glucose, food, fluid, etc.  If you did nothing for nine hours, you’d be hungry – now imagine you’re burning at least 15,000 calories - you've got to replenish that fuel. I’ve heard of runners eating whole pizzas on their runs. And, since you’re sweating so much, you need to replace not only fluid, but electrolytes.  You need food, water, and salt. 

First stop - 7-Eleven Store (Rolling Hills, mile 18.5) - two bags of Fritos, two waters, two Snickers Bars, and four Motrin. I pay and tear open the Fritos on the spot, and add three packets of salt, to the alarm disgust of the perfectly coifed soccer mom behind me purchasing a Diet Coke.  No point in explaining; I realize this doesn’t look rational. I quickly eat one bag of Fritos and one of the Snickers, stuff the others in my shorts, which I imagine appears even sketchier than my Fritos attack, and run off, grateful that I don’t actually know anybody in this town.

Second stop – Ranch Market (Malaga Cove, mile 35) – large iced coffee and a bag of salty chips. I pay, open the bag of chips, add five packets of salt, shake the bag and quickly nom them down. I take a few packets of salt and put them in the pocket of my shorts. A gentleman ordering a sandwich does a double, then a triple take, with the expression that suggests he’s observing an asylum escapee. Immediately, I feel better. After ten minutes, the cramped muscles in my legs disappear.

Funny thing about ultrarunners – if you get even two of them together, very quickly the conversation will turn to the topic of salt and the virtues of consuming excessive amounts of it – how to get it, how often to take it, the best absorption delivery, how much to take, etc. The topic of food, salt, and ultrarunning merits attention as a stand-alone topic – more on that later.

Last stop – 7 Eleven (San Pedro, mile 47) - two orange juices, taken with two glucose tablets, and three salt packets. I stop to pound out the lactic acid in my quads on the curb, which cannot appear anything less than lunatic fringe.  It’s cold, it’s dark, and here’s a deranged, inappropriately dressed, sweaty woman, double-fisting OJ, using it to first to beat up her legs, then guzzling it down before eating salt packets and tearing off into the night. I half expect somebody to call the police.

I was never happier to be home. When I arrived, my cat Fellini was waiting outside.  He can sense craziness coming from a mile away (apparently).

Out: 12:30 pm     In: 9:15 pm   Weekly mileage (Sunday to Sunday): 114 miles 

Easter Sunday strategy:  Rest.  Advil.  Sleep.  Hydrate.  Eat.  Re-gain 4.4 pounds.  No problem.       

June 17th suddenly seems very doable... I’ll be ready.  BYO salt lick.

Happy running, 



  1. okay I had to comment. First, I found you when I finally completed my own blog profile and saw "others" who liked Dave Brubeck, second, I clicked on 'you' because I was reading about "Cetaceans" to my kids and had never heard the word before so it caught my eye, and third I'm running my 1st half marathon on June 19th for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. Although it is hardly 6 degrees of separation - it was a weird path to find you and thought I'd share! Good luck on your run and I will visit often.


  2. That's some coincidence, Stacey! Glad you found the blog. ACS's website ( has a ton of great cetacean-related educational resources for kids - check us out!

    Good luck with your marathon - you'll do great! If I can help or offer any advice on a comfortable and positive finish, do drop a line ( Your finish will be a happy moment. Happy running, Cheryl