Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Two other things from the Momentum Race..

First, the smell!!

As I ran through the evening in Virginia, I kept smelling the same smelled like food of some sort, very familiar, except I could not put my finger on it. The odor would come and go in certain areas of the trail.Finally, around 3am, I recognized it! Sliced cucumbers! Something in the woods smelled like cucumbers!

I came home and googled it..and it was not a race hallucination.

"trans-2-Nonenal was identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis as the cucumber odor in the cucumber/farinaceous subgroup of mushrooms with farinaceous odors". Of course, I then had to look up "farinaceous" which is, Farinaceous or mealy. Often compared to the odor of cucumbers, watermelon rind, or an old grain mill. Common in many mushrooms, including Polyporus squamosus, Agrocybe praecox, Mycena galericulata, Tricholoma sejunctum, Clitopilus prunulus, and Entoloma abortivum Believe it or not, the cucumber/farinaceous sub-odor has been upheld by chemical research (Wood et al., 1994) as a valid distinction, and the chemical trans-2-Nonenal has been identified as being responsible for it."

Of course, when I told my husband about the cucumber smell, he whipped his head around and said "That was a copperhead snake smell" and you know, I googled that too!

"Copperheads smell like cucumbers. You may have heard someone say you always know when a copperhead is around because it smells like cucumbers. This is both true and misleading.

Yes, copperheads and most other kinds of snakes give off an offensive odor when molested, cornered or captured. This defensive odor, produced by glands at the base of the tail, is given off at will and may also be mixed with feces. To some individuals this musk may smell somewhat like cucumbers"
Given that I had seen plenty of mushrooms around the trail, I would have to go with the cucumber mushroom smell, not big dens of copperhead snakes all over the race

No fainting! Or rather, as Mongold or Casseday would say, no vasovagal syndrome. I was prepared for it though. I changed shirts after I finished, then went to sit outside in the colder air, waiting for that familiar roaring in my ears, to know it was time to slide off the bench and put my feet up higher than my heart.

It didn't happen. WTF? Maybe this only happens after I cross the 75 mile barrier (all fainting and puking stages have been after 75 miles before). I was quite happy to sit on the bench, resign myself that I was okay, and went back inside to eat a pancake or two!

I've been very tired after this race. OR maybe three races in three weekends-a 50K, a marathon, and 24 hours- is around my limit. This was pretty much my fall racing weekend, although I've been eyeing the Presque Isle Run in two weeks. It's more the fact that many friends are doing the race than anything else. So who knows, you may see me sooner than later!


  1. Wow you puke after 75 miles. We have something in common. I just get there faster like 16 miles :)

  2. WOW! What a great job at this 24 hour run and the two previous weekends Kim.

  3. I love the research that went into the "smell".


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