The Aftermath of The Bonk

I shared my bonking story on Monday and how it will help me become a better health coach. Today I want to share with you all the other things that happened as a result of the bonk.

This is full transparency and raw. I cannot sugarcoat this because the effects are real.

I do not need a lecture from anyone. I did not plan on doing this to myself. This was not a toughness challenge that I was trying. This was a mistake that I will not repeat ever again. Do not think this is what you should do to become a runner. The reason I share this is so you can avoid it.

I have taken this whole week off of running.

The effects of the bonk. #running #runchat @runningblogs Click To Tweet

Yes, my bonk did that to me. I am wiped out you guys. I had signs of severe dehydration, that I still have some of today. My stomach still hurts when I eat. I poop 8 times a day and pee even more. My body is having a hard time hanging onto nutrients. I am mentally burned out too. I miss running, but my head hurts thinking about it just because my last experience laid me out. I thought it would be ok, then the night happened.

I couldn’t sleep. My stomach hurt so bad. I was so thirsty and was trying to drink everything. Water, coconut water, pop, juice, anything to just feel some relief. It was terrible.

My ankle is still sore. It needs rest. I have a big week of work coming up and so taking extra care of my body during this time means not taxing my ankle.

I have changed my nutrition and hydration plan to get out of this debt.

Right now I am at the point where high carbohydrate, dense foods taste really good and do not aggravate my stomach. Scones with peanut butter, banana sandwiches, oatmeal, beans. Nothing with peppers or weird vegetables. I can’t tolerate those things and just poop them out an hour later anyway. Dried fruit has been great. Banana ice cream and Oreos tasted wonderful for dinner on Sunday because I could get it down. Nothing is off limits if it doesn’t hurt to eat.

I’ve been drinking everything. Making sure to get sodium in with my fluids and making sure my drinks have sustenance. Water is refreshing, but coconut water is better. My electrolyte balance is whacked. It is taking me longer than one post workout breakfast to get it back. That’s ok, things take time and I understand.

I have modified my racing goals.

I put a lot of pressure on myself for this season. I quit the gym because “real runners” go outside. I built up my base more and stopped lifting the weights I used to (not crazy amounts but more than I do now). I traded the weights for miles and my cross training days for easy runs. The gym was good for the accountability. I would take days off because there was other stuff to do. I stopped doing that.

People who have been running longer than me may be able to do this, but I think the gym helped me see a balance that better worked for me.

On Sunday night, while I laid there in pain and my sweat, I thought about running. About how much I love it. About how I knew I would take some time off and how it was ok. I also thought about the passions that are growing in other parts of my life and how they make running a PR nice, but less a part of my identity.

I change the way I saw racing. I see it as fun, but not my life. Running is my life, my jot and what makes me excited to greet the day. Racing will never do that. Coming to that conclusion, I realized that if I PR in my next race, cool, but if not, so what?

Do I have to stop running? No.

Do I become less credible as a health coach? No.

I will be a good health coach because of my experience and my expertise. Not because I had a golden race or because I am fast. A health coach is someone who can relate to a client, find an outside perspective, encourage them and keep them accountable to their goals, while providing know,edge on living a healthy life.

I have those things and running did not give them to me. Running is my experience, but it’s not the reason I am a health coach. If I couldn’t run, I can still be a knowledgeable source of information to improve a clients life.

That is what it’s all about.

Coming back to the bonk, it sucks, but I have become my very own client. I am telling myself the things I would tell a person who went through this. I am reaching out for help, doing research and applying it.

I didn’t intend for my first client to be myself, but damn, what a lucky thing in the aftermath of a bonk!

When you have problems in your own life, does that affect your expertise?

I’m linking up with Amanda and Kate today.

31 thoughts on “The Aftermath of The Bonk”

  1. Girl I am so so so proud of you. This takes such bravery and courage to admit to oneself [especially one who is so passionate as yourself!!] that your body just needs a break. It sucks and its hard and it might seem unfair – but your body 100% NEEDS this time. I am so glad that you have come to realize this and didn’t blame it on other things [that’s totally what I used to do!!]. You are going to come out so much stronger and wiser for this! And you are going to be able to help your clients even better since you have this experience 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Kat! My body is thanking me right now and trying new things. I think this lesson in self care is so important for a happy life. I only hope I can convey this to my future clients 🙂

  2. Great post. When people see me they think I’m a runner and I “was”… I mean I used to run a lot more often. Now I absolutely LOVE the gym – I put a book on the elliptical or stairmaster and get a great workout in. I can stay in shape and still run a few times a week. In June I ran every single day as a test. I didn’t necessarily burn out but I didn’t absolutely love it. Last year in July I ran every single day and it was a blast. I’ve just been burnt out on running for a while. It goes in waves with me. Right now I’m in a down phase and that is absolutely fine! It doesn’t take away from my past pr’s. YOU already have those times in the bank – you ran a marathon, you’ve run half marathons. You have the expertise now. My friend is in the fitness industry and he feels like he needs to run a marathon to get the expertise. And I kind of agree… in order to counsel your clients, you need to have “been there”. And Ellie you’ve already been there AND some with your amazing first marathon time. So from here on out anything is frosting (or coconut butter) 🙂 You did it young and can now lay back or go for it at any point. Good luck and I’ll be following! (btw, I’m the same person who emailed you from

    1. Thank you Amanda! (I emailed you back 😉 I love hearing your feedback and also totally get what you say about the gym. I went yesterday for an arm workout and in 38 minutes (the app I used tracks time) I can say I had fun and am a bit sore today. It feels different and welcome 🙂

  3. LOVE IT! I love that you are coaching yourself as your very first client, and no one looks down on you Ellie for taking a week off or taking care of your temple. It’s such a good thing to step back, to rest, and to realize that our bodies do need time to repair and recover. I really love how you are walking us through this, because this helps me be aware of how likely it is to get burnt out or bonk if I’m going too hard. Thank you Ellie for so humbly sharing this.

  4. Awesome post, love! I am so happy you’re able to see where you went wrong and know what to do to correct it. Every experience brings us the opportunity for learning and I think that’s exactly what this bonk was for you! I know you’ll get thru this….heck you’re one of the best runners I know! And I know you’ll do what needs to be done to get healthy again. I have so much faith in you and love for you as a person. You got this, girl! <3

  5. The section about pursuing other passions and running being less of your identity really struck a cord. It’s something I’m struggling with right now, and this post was the encouragement I needed. I love your honesty, especially with something that’s difficult to write about. I just know you’re going to be such a fantastic health coach. I’ll be praying that the effects of the bonk disappear quickly 🙂

    1. Aw thank you Evangeline! I share more about my personal experiences and stuff like that in my new email list! I think you would enjoy it as well. I’m glad I could help, if you ever have a question or want to talk, I’m here for ya!

    1. Thank you Kristy! I was told to check out all the g-free recipes on your blog today because I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant (not celiacs thank GOD!)

  6. The same sort of thing happened to me. I was running minimum 45 miles a week and not giving my body any kind of rest. I took a week off and it was the hardest thing for me to do. Then I slowly started to get back into running. The good thing is that it is making me appreciate the small runs, where normally I would think I was lame if I ran less than 8 miles.. You will come back stronger. Our bodies need these breaks to be stronger. <3

  7. Wow. What an ordeal to recover from. I think it’s very wise to take the time off running. Something my fitness coaches often say is that, if we love stay fit, we also need to know when to take a break. We can’t do what we love if we’re injured, dehydrated or undernourished.
    You’ll be a great health coach!

  8. Ok let me throw this out there. Do you think you could be sick? Like a stomach virus or something of that nature? Bc maybe you were just a little under the weather, had the bonk episode, and then haven’t recovered since. Just throwing an idea out there. Good call on taking it easy. Rest up!!

    1. It’s funny you ask because I just got blood work results and I am gluten intolerant. I haven’t been absorbing nutrients very well, therefore it’s harder to recover from workouts and leads to fatigue. I also feel sick after eating lunch some days (usually after I hit the sandwiches hard). I also did very well on a lower gluten, higher fat diet when marathon training (I have since gone back to my regular eating after the race). Because I am not Celiacs (the doctor said I am not “yet”) I don’t really think I will go psycho about it and cut out all gluten, but I will be more mindful. Like I will expect my tummy to be a bit off after I eat a sandwich or something.
      I am totally happy taking this week break though, I feel much better already! Thanks Rachel 🙂

  9. love your vulnerability! This can be used as one of those experiences you have to shares its those you coach. “We need to take a week off because ….”
    From what I’ve read cross training really seems like the best thing for our bodies. I know when I run and do nothing else my muscles get so tight!

  10. Thanks for sharing this, Ellie! I love how honest you always are. The way you learn from things and work on taking care of yourself is awesome!! I know you will come back stronger than ever!

  11. Great post, thanks for sharing real struggles. I struggled a lot last week with heat, work stress, and women’s troubles which caused a minor bonk for my long run today. It’s really import to step back and take care of yourself when burnout happens.

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