Sunday, May 11, 2014

$210 All you can eat buffet

Raise your hand if you run to eat.  Run to drink?  Run to burn off the calories you have eaten, are presently eating or are scheduling to eat.  If you raised your hand to any one of the preceding scenarios, the ultra marathon may be for you...well, sort of.  
As I have made a few more public appearances at run groups, the topic of discussion has been what I eat before, during and after my races.
Remember, what works for me may not work for you but it might give you a guideline.  I hope you are hungry because here we go.
Before the race.
So many runners know the term "carbo load."  Typically I stress carbs before my heavy training days.  Bonk Breaker before the morning run and after it's chocolate milk with Endurox.  Breakfast is oatmeal or cream of wheat with berries. A bagel and a small cup of coffee mid morning.  Pretzel nuggets throughout the morning.  Lunch is ham and cheese on gluten free raisin bread with pretzels and homemade date bars.  Fruit salad mid afternoon.  Dinner varies day to day. Ground turkey spaghetti (gluten free), BBQ pork chops over rice, fish tacos, sushi or grilled chicken over salad but it's always a protein and a carb.  Of course, water, water and more water.  In the days right before a race the menu of items gets reduced to what I know works well in my stomach - plain oatmeal, PB&J on gluten free raisin bread, easy sauced turkey spaghetti.  I do not have an allergy to gluten, my body seems to process it better (faster) and I do not feel weighed down. 
During the race.  
Every ultra has aid stations and most of them offer standard fare but depending on the geographic area of the race you could be treated to some down home hospitality cooking.  I try to stay on a hydration schedule by carrying two water bottles (one for water and one for a sports drink) although eating is a whole other ballgame.  The answer I give is, "what did you eat at your Fourth of July picnic?  That's what I eat."  I can only take so many gels and other endurance nutrition products before my body is seeking solid food.  My point is I eat what my body craves whenever I hit an aid station. The following items I have consumed at different races; pb&j squares, avocado slices, peanuts, m&ms, oreos, pizza, watermelon, payday candy bars, fig newtons, boiled potatoes, chicken soup, chicken broth, meat stew, quesadillas, chocolate chip cookies, vanilla wafers, orange slices, grilled chicken sandwich, mini subs, chocolate covered almonds, chex mix, trail mix, pretzels, pepsi cola, mountain dew, ginger ale and any sandwich on King Hawaiian dinner roll.  I never know what I will feel like eating.  Sometimes, I come into an aid station and nothing looks appetizing other times I am eating everything in sight.  I always walk out of an aid station with a few items in hand it's less jostling on my stomach and I give myself a few minutes to eat.  Of course, there have been times when my stomach launches a protest (details not needed).
After the race.
All runners know the post race meal is one of the best rewards.  Nothing is off limits.  I have asked my body for a huge effort and so I reward it as such.  First things first, my recovery shake of chocolate milk and Endurox.  After a shower, Epsom salts in an ice bath, recovery tights and sandals then it's off to the meal of the century.  Depending on the time, it could be breakfast, lunch or dinner but here are a few items off of my reward meal; Ruth Chris' steak dinner, North Carolina BBQ plate o' everything, Denver omelet and well done potatoes but my two favorites are a Reese peanut butter cup blizzard at Dairy Queen or a 4x4 at In-n-Out burger!!!!!  In the days following the race, I will not discriminate from any food group.  My "binge" usually lasts 3-4 days and my body starts to send signals that it actually misses the nutritionally healthy foods, so it's time to jump back on the wagon.
I am never on a "diet" of what to eat or not to eat, it is everything in moderation with an occasional splurge. The $210 is the average cost of my 5 ultras this season.  Cost per mile for what you get to eat beats a marathon, don't you think?
A new section to the right is "The Fast Lane."  These are friends of mine that are great runners, Meagan Nedlo an Olympic Trials marathon qualifier and Dan Kittaka an artist that burns a 2:39 marathon in between sketches.
This week's workouts
Sunday 2 hour am run
Monday 1 hour tempo am run  1 hour easy pm run*
Tuesday off*
Wednesday 1 hour hill workout*
Thursday off*
Friday 1 hour tempo am run  2 hour easy pm run
Saturday 4 hour early am run  3 hour easy walk/run overnight run
Sunday 2 hour easy run.

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