Friday, 15 October 2010

Why so angry

As a long distance runner I am used to the moments in long races and challenges where I find my mood go really dark. I have angry thoughts, depressive thoughts and have felt tears well in my eyes. Examples of when this happened was at the Crawley 12 hour in April 2010 when I was feeling rubbish and a good friend realised it and said "You're in a dark patch now Jerry, you know where you are, you'll come through it you always do" It was an incredibly insightful observation by her.

Another time which I still have regrets about was during the last 2 miles of the London to Brighton in September 2009 when my good friend Michael came trotting up from behind to keep me company as I was by myself but I just barked "Don't f&%*ing cut me up OK" there was no reason for this but I was in a horrible down spiral and just wanted it to end.

So why does this happen?
This is one of the prominent symptoms of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar , it is angry, depressing thoughts and if you are like me and a quiet depressive, they are DARK thoughts. So, as your body moves into the latter parts of a long distance run and it is not receiving the glucose it needs to perform, the brain whose main energy source is glucose, is the first organ to be affected. Neurones begin to shut down and coordination begins to be lost, the individual's judgements are impaired and moods change, the body goes into self-preservation mode.

This, as I have said has happened a few times and sometimes just the action of having a hot cup of sweet tea or simple sugars in the form of a glucose gel can pull you out of it and move on.

So remember mood change can be a symptom of hypoglycemia, your personal judgement will be impaired so be aware of other runners especially around the 18 mile and 28 mile mark.


  1. So now of course comes the question if this is why, when feeling depressed, even without any exertion, we head for the fridge and a piece of cake feels so satisfying, at least till the guilt sets in. I am just wondering if in those circumstances our bodies misread the signals.
    Interesting tidbit. Thanks, Jerry.

  2. Hi Ewa
    Yes, it will make you feel good especially if it is chocolate cake. It is often percieved as a cultural thing, men get a bottle of whisky, a woman, chocolate and flowers..a linkage with a love token...possibly.

    However the biggest thing is chocolate triggers the release of endorphins similarly to what we get as a "runners high" and also the sweet taste releases cake is great apart that too much is a bad thing.