Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Race report oh my god, what did you eat

I'm not the type to type-up a race report.  I figure 'oh my god, who the hell cares?'  What steps I took / where won't change anybody's life.   But serious thanks to Peter Maksimow for coaching me (on short notice) to get me through a 50+miler as it has been a while since I've ran that distance!  
But my race nutrition plan might be of interest to a few.  During my racing am I Practicing what I preach

Important definition: 'hitting the wall' = the inability to switch from carb-fueling to fat-fueling while in motion.  By fat-fueling, I mean the fat stored in your body.  No matter how thin you seem, you have days of fuel right there.  Being able to access it is a use it / lose it skill.  A carb dependent athlete has a poorly developed ability to mobilize and metabolize their own body fat and use it as a fuel. 

My goal over the past couple of years is to become 'fat-adapted'.  This does not mean always living in ketosis or fueling my runs with fats.  What is does mean: I'm not dependent on a solely carbohydrate-based fuel while running.  I can switch fuel sources on the fly.

In Dr Jeff Volek's yet unreleased FASTER Study (FASTER=Fat-Adapted-Substrate oxidation in-Trained-Elite-Runners) to look at the physiological differences between elite male ultra-marathon runners with one cohort following a conventional high carbohydrate diet and the other following a low carb/fat-adapted strategy.  One qualitative finding for high performance is all participants got much faster (surge of energy) when they took in a simple sugar source of calories.  Everyone responded to Gels like rocket fuel.  Difference being, carb-adapted athlete needs these gels in an IV bag.

Most every dietitian I have met will tell me that the body needs sugar (carbs) for energy. Well let's see if the basic arithmetic supports this.

My race this weekend, 52 miles, 7860 kcalories burned.

I store between 1200 and 2000 calories in my muscles and liver if those stores are tapped off.  I ingested 500kcals during the race.  I had a breakfast out of a styrofoam left over box, some mushrooms (no, not THAT kind), cheese sticks, little slab of chicken: 300 kcals.  
7860 - 2000 - 500 - 300 = 5060 kcals
Hmmm, where's the energy balance?  Ans: Those 5000 missing cals came from my own fat. The source of my exogenous 500 kcals:
  • ~2.5 scoops of Ucan superstarch sipped somewhat regularly diluted in 2 Liters of water
  • 1 Justin's Almond Butter (I had 4 with me, but hard to eat.  wasn't feeling it.  better in cold weather
  • misc: several little slices of watermelon, little bunch of grapes, two jolly ranchers, a few dixie cups of pepsi - mmm pepsi
How to get fat adapted? Ans: Eat a lower carb diet normally, practice intermittent fasting, narrow your eating window most days, run without fueling, run fasted on occasion.  You'll soon realize, many of the pangs of hunger you feel are habit, food addiction, small alien fetus growing inside you.  

Any times this doesn't work? Ans: High intensity efforts, you will need a high share of carbs to fuel an effort.  No matter how fat adapted you are, you will bump up against your limit of fat mobilization.  According to the study, fat mobilization varies from 0.67 grams/min for a carb-adapted athlete to 1.54 grams/min for a fat adapted athlete.  

Anyway(s), I had a fun low-intensity race, and here's some random pics blah blah race report....

Amazing aid stations with people serving and servicing you!

Scenery sent from the gods

So.... so much mud!

'Selfie'-type picture,... of myself


  1. Looks like you had a good race. I had no idea you were up in Dayton... would have been nice to meet up.

  2. damn, i gotta do a better job identifying who's going to be where!

    next for me sheep mountain 50miler, then pikes peak marathon. you?

  3. Run Rabbit Run 50M and Green Monster Challenge in Pa. I need to get back to PPM because I think I could actually do something respectable there now other than just finish :)