The Dog Mountain Meltdown

This is not a tale of a romantic weekend, or how a lovely prince swept the princess off her feet. Instead it’s a tale of how grown adults can experience feats of grandeur yet crumble with child-like tendencies spurred by the often joked about, yet very serious, “hanger.”

This past weekend, Chicken Face came to visit for the first time since I moved to Portland. (For those new to the blog, Chicken Face is my husband. I know, the nickname makes zero sense and there is no amazing story. We’ll just have to deal with it.) I wanted to make sure that the weekend gave him a hint of the amazingness that Portland is, especially its outdoor splendor.

I ideated a few hiking options, but reconsidered when I was informed that my initial choices might be plagued by too many people. Instead, a friend referred a hiking spot called Dog Mountain. With minimal investigation, we decided that Dog Mountain it was! (I would later learn that my friend described the hike as “tough”; which I apparently glossed over.) We were eager to explore, catch up and take in the scenery on your less than average hike.


After a morning walk, coffee and muffin, we trekked out to the trailhead entrance full of zeal and conversation topics. Fully aware that the start of the climb would be steep, I honed in on my poison oak scanning eyes, hoofed it up the trail, and we still found ourselves chatting and enjoying the moment. YES! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I HAD ENVISIONED!



While the trail isn’t too long (~3.5 miles to the top), you must remember, I’ve been training for an Ironman for the last two years. My hill training was frequent, but mostly with the power of two wheels underneath me. I can’t say that I have the glute strength of all of you amazing trail runners out there, because it didn’t take long until we realized that this trail was 3.5 miles, yet 2,800 feet of up-ness.


We huffed and puffed, yet enjoyed our climb to the top. Hurrah! It was a beautiful, fun, gorgeous day that I got to spend with my man. Perfection!


But soon my little fantasy was over as I learned that the climb up wasn’t the hard part. Nor was the way down. In fact, all of it paled in comparison to the rage that was growing in my belly and slowly taking over every part of my being.

My chai and muffin weren’t enough, we idiotically failed to pack any snacks, water wasn’t cutting it for me anymore and it wasn’t long before I became hangry. Chicken Face joked at first and said something along the lines of, “Man up. You can survive three weeks without food.” I don’t think he knew the wrath that my hanger could bring. If you don’t know what hangry is, please learn it now:

Hangry: When you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both.

Sure some people joke that they love food and get upset when they are hungry, but I kid you not, this was a full-steam hangry attack that took a turn for the worse. Time seemed to pass slowly, any fun that we were having was quickly evaporated, we grunted about the never-ending steepness of the trail, and soon I would easily fight a tiger for a bite of anything. (I keep hearing that, “Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb” SouthPark song in my head.) And yes, I am well aware that this may be a more serious issue with myself and I need to be very conscious to always keep my caloric intake at a certain level, this IS why I kept Costco-sized tubs of nuts in my locker in high school.

All joking aside, it then got pretty serious as I became really dizzy and needed to balance myself on Chicken Face on the way down. Apparently my husband is a super trooper because he wasn’t phased by his hunger outside of the norm. As soon as we got in the car, my eyes closed and I got quite nauseous on our drive to find food, not able to talk or think about anything other than food. We stopped at the first place we found, where I chugged an orange juice and quickly devoured my sandwich.

So as you reach the end of this blog post, you may be questioning yourself and asking, “Did I just read an entire post about someone who got dangerously pissy and hungry?” You better bet you ass you did. BUT! STAY WITH ME! I have to have my final Jerry Springer closing/PSA: this applies to life, to running, to cycling, to training: FUEL DAMMIT.

I don’t quite understand those who refuse to fuel while training then wonder why they bonked, and this hiking experience was the friendly reminder that this doesn’t just apply to serious training. Tough love and a good reminder for myself: fueling is a biological necessity that increases with exertion. And if you’re still upset with the nature of this blog post, well it’s just that, a blog post, not a WSJ article. Roll with it.

So where was I?
Oh yes, tell me I’m not the only one who has ever had a complete hangry meltdown?

Happy Running!

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30 Responses to The Dog Mountain Meltdown

  1. Beth says:

    I get it. I can get so HANGRY it is just ugly and I did bonk like that on a ride before. But, what is missing from this post is what you ate when you finally had FOOD??

  2. Beth says:

    Oh never mind. Sandwich and OJ. Somehow missed it.. I must be hangry.

  3. Kim says:

    OMG I was hangry this weekend TOO! Except mine wasn’t the exercise induced kind, mine was the “I just danced and partied my booty off at a wedding the night before and desperately need FOOD!” Foxy and I were trying to go to our favorite breakfast place on Cape Cod and the line was legit an hour long…then I tried to order food to go (Foxy was in tough shape and unsure if he could stomach food) and that took FOREVER. WOOF. Never again!

  4. Rhea says:

    Nah, you’re definitely not the only one who gets the hangries. I get them in various degrees, and my husband has gone to a wedding in which the sister of the bride said to the groom in her toast that when the bride gets pissy, feed her. My dad gets the hangries, definitely, especially when traveling or waiting for a late meal at a special event. You did well for hiking with no food! If that had been me, I would have tested my husband’s wedding vows on the way down the mountain by irrationally picking a fight with him and having a trantrum about not having any snacks and how he should know better when I didn’t. Then he would have said I’m just taking it all out on him, and it would have spiraled. I’m glad you kept your cool enough to lean on him rather than tear into him on the way down! I’m also glad you didn’t pass out or have any lasting damage beyond an attack of what sounded like hypoglycemia. Thanks for sharing! Your posts are always relatable, helpful and inspiring in the good and bad!

  5. You are definitely not the only one who gets hangry. Fortunately for you, it didn’t lead to a blowout fight with Chicken Face. My husband has learned to recognize the symptoms of hanger after several breakdowns on my part. What can I say? I need my food!

  6. Chicken face says:

    It’s even worse than you remember…you can survive 3 WEEKS without food! Man up! 😉

  7. So glad Chicken Face came out for the weekend and that is was *mostly* fun, and that you finally got food in your belly!
    Looks and sounds like a gorgeous hike. I hear you on the weak glutes. Mine were angry with me for two days after our weekend hike!
    I actually made us stop to eat way before Kelly needed to! I was starting to bonk, which I didn’t know could happen on a few hours hike!

  8. Katharine says:

    I have spent the last eleven years either pregnant or nursing or both and for me that means food needs to be in my mouth within twenty minutes of waking or else waves of nausea and angry tones ensue. On early morning run days that means I’m shoving bananas or cliff bars into my face while pulling a bra over my head and filling my pockets with dates and walnuts as I leave. For my husband who cycles hard to work each morning on an empty stomach this is endlessly amusing. My advice for handling hanger is to always pack snacks and to hold on to any partner who will bring you food while you are irrationally ranging about, well, anything.

  9. Cathryn says:

    Thank you for the reminder…we’re hiking this weekend, I’ll be sure to stash some clif bars. But THOSE VIEWS ARE AMAZING!!!!

  10. RoseRunner says:

    This sounds like hell, but is hilarious to me because my guy and I turn hiking treks into “walking picnics.” I bring an enormous amount of food. Hey hon, look at that view! Let’s eat some trail mix and sour patch kids!

    Next time, make it a walking picnic. They are the BEST. Half the fun is stopping at a store at 7:00 a.m. and buying all the food that sounds good.

    • Rhea says:

      That sounds like so much fun! I’m going to hijack your suggestion to Page and do this myself. 7:00 food shopping before a hike is soooo appealing. Thank you!

  11. Emily says:

    I used to bike commute 30 miles to work. If I forgot to pack a bar or something for the rode home, I would get so ridiculously hungry I started to think seriously about stopping at one of the houses along the way and ask for some food. It would be obsessive; I hated the experience.

  12. Haha you are absolutely not alone! I get hangry and my husband calls it “toddler-ing” because I basically have a meltdown like a toddler. Awesome.

  13. Hahaha, I love this!! I totally get hangry and people better watch out.

    Looks like a GORGEOUS hike though!

  14. I’m usually on top of the fueling while working out. But heaven forbid someone force me into a mall for a shopping expedition without appropriate fuel. I get *very* hangry when I have to find perfect dress pants (or something else similarly boring but necessary….aka anything OTHER than athletic gear) on a deadline.

  15. Erin says:

    I am extremely hypoglycemic and spent all of my 20’s with serious HANGRY issues (I really don’t know how anyone tolerated me). I was diagnosed as hypoglycemic and it was a huge *ah ha!* moment for me. From that point on, I have snacks on my person AT ALL TIMES and I won’t go longer than 4 hrs without food.

    Looks like you might have fared better if you had some protein with b’fast. All those carbs burn off fast. I try to shoot for a 2:1 carb:pro ratio anytime I eat. Too much sugar and I fly and crash in a matter of minutes.

  16. Em says:

    And several of my ex boyfriends are nodding along with your post shouting “sing it, sister!” and checking their pockets to see if it still takes them ten seconds or less to locate the Snickers bar they habitually carry in self defense , like an amulet, from their past dating history with hangry me.

  17. Claire says:

    I one time got so hungry during a swim practice that I left halfway through, drove to Chipotle and ate an entire burrito in under six minutes (until that point I had never finished an entire Chipotle burrito in one sitting so this was a big deal). This is why you always eat lunch before an afternoon workout!

  18. Michaela says:

    This happens to me a lot. My close friends know to keep snacks in their cars at all times.

  19. Totally had a similar meltdown while getting lost in Belgium with my husband last week. Good thing he knows to FEED ME! :)

  20. brooke lyn says:

    dog mountain is not as friendly as the name makes it out to be…. and hanger is a real thing that needs its own PSA

  21. Amanda says:

    I went for a long bike this weekend with a new guy friend. I was sooo hangry at the end. How is it that guys seem to not get hungry? Or at least not get so emotionally distraught when they get hungry. As soon as we neared a food location, I got off the bike and said ” I need food, NOW!” But I was trying not to be too angry because this is a new person I’m trying to impress. “Oh yeah, I’m even keeled and calm all the time…” Um, yeah, right.

  22. Hanger is a real thing – there should be posters or something.

  23. Nicole says:

    MIke gets hangry WAY easier than me but it definitely has happened to me before. His hangrynses is also characterized by sleepiness, moodiness, sadness and overall apathetic feelings about life. It’s great : )

    One of my worst hangry moments was when I went to a bridal shower where they had salad and fruit and we got stuck in traffic on the way home so it took 3 hours instead of 1.5. I devoured the cupcake that was my favor in the backseat of a girl I barely knew’s car with no napkin and then by the time I got my my own car to drive the rest of the way home I nearly melted down at every stop light and nearly (ALMOST) went to McDonalds for french fries.

    It happens to the best of us! In retrospect it’s always a funny story :)

  24. jen says:

    This totally brings back memories! My hubby and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary in Hawaii (married 13 years now, so we survived). Our last day we decided to hike up diamondhead. We thought we would find breakfast on the way. Did I mention I was 21 weeks pregnant? We’re both fit and avid hikers (and cyclists). But of course, we couldn’t find a place to eat and just went on with it (how hard of a hike could it be? Tourist trap and what not.) Umm, so bad that complete strangers were offering me water because I was dizzy and thought I was going to pass out. We still refer to that as “the day you tried to kill your pregnant wife.” And after having 2 boys I do not go anywhere without snacks!

  25. Caroline says:

    The hike looks beautiful, but you’re right- going down the mountain always seems to be worse than going up. I’m glad you survived ok, and I guess it’s a good lesson- no matter what hike you think you’re going on, it’s always good to bring food… just in case…

  26. Adrienne says:

    Best post!! I am one who gets this as well as my middle child. It is not pretty!

  27. It’d be a volcanic meltdown of supreme levels if I am without food and hangry. I always carry a bar or nuts with me, but every so often I’m without and it instills a panic until I can refill my stash in my purse/backpack.bag/foodcarrier. The husband has learned to bring extra snacks too when on a hike, for fear of the monster being unleashed.

    Great reminder on proper fueling whether training or a leisurely hike. Though your hike sounds intense with some amazing views! As my father says, always be prepared. Damn straight I will be.

  28. Kristen says:

    This made me LOL. During my first metric century I had no idea rest stops had food and for some dumb reason I didn’t think to bring any. At mile 25 I passed the first rest stop w/o stopping cause I was feeling good. By mile 35 I was DYING and thought my family might find my body dead on the side of the road. I could barely pedal. I offered a lady at a fruit stand $20 for a plum. She kindly gave it without making me pay, I took a bite but was shaking so bad I dropped it in the dirt (and still ate it). When I got to the lunch stop and realized the food was FREE I ate so much I was so sick pedaling back to the start. Looking back I can’t believe I was so stupid!!! But you are not alone. :)

    The views look spectacular though! Hopefully you can go back again with food.

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