Dr. Viper has diagnosed the problem from Saturday's 10K. It wasn't that I started too fast. Or that I pushed too hard in the end. Or that I was hexed. Or that I didn't drink enough. The problem was I barfed. Plain and simple.
Had I not upchucked, I would have surely smashed my previous 10K. Hitherto Saturday's race I have always been able to choke back any regurgitation or wait until I crossed the finish. When I stumbled to a walk at the intersection and retched in front of the the cop and race staffer, I wondered why this was happening.
After a few brainstorming Sessions last night, I finally have the answer.
This fruitful post first sprouted in May after I helped inspire Marcy to cover all the bases and write about the one bodily fluid she hadn't covered: vomit. It was in the comments of that post that I revealed for the first time ... the Puke Threshold.
We runners know about lactate threshold. And we drinkers know about puking. For both activities, there is a point at which you can no longer hold it back, and that is the Puke Threshold.
This is not a static line. Akin to all things running and drinking related, the Puke Threshold can be improved upon. Drinkers can improve their tolerance by drinking more. And likewise, runners can improve their tolerance by running more. But more specifically, by running harder and faster.
If you don't practice the ability to keep it in, you won't be able to do it come race day. And that's where I failed. Typically, during intervals and tempo workouts, I will approach my Puke Threshold, either during a repeat or as I practice my finishing kick at the end of a mid-distance run. However, except for the last-minute 800s last week, I had not done any high-intensity runs for weeks. This is no way to maintain anti-honking skills.
To improve your Puke Threshold, you must push yourself. Feel that tightening in your guts. Relish the oh lordy moment. Enjoy your ability to not disgorge on bystanders. Practice is the only way to recruit those fast-clench fibers you'll need on race day.
If running harder and faster improves your Puke Threshold, then I'm sure drinking harder and faster will do the same.
But remember, if by chance you have to spew, please do so in the proper receptacle.
Run well and drink well.