Thursday, February 11, 2010

Back to Basics

Truth is, I've never found the perfect answer for my nutritional needs during a long race - half ironman +. I forever get knocked up with a water baby as my body seems to shut down and stop processing or passing fluid. I feel thirsty, so I drink. One thing that is easy to do is confuse a dry mouth on a dry day with thirst. I have found that gum actually helps me with this. Fine, fine. But as any race lengthens, my tolerance for gels, blocks, beans or any kind of fake nutrition, lessens. The other thing I HATE while running or riding a bike, chewing. Seems simple enough but I struggle with keeping my breathing under control while I chew. Common, I'm sure. I feel like I've tried every kind of manufactured drink, bar, gel, block and bean, every brand and every type. So this started the conversation...what about food as fuel? Real, honest food that doesn't require 18 preservatives to keep it 'fresh' in your pantry for 8 months OR doesn't require high fructose corn syrup to make it remotely palatable. Hmmm, novel idea, food as fuel. I'm listening.... I have only recently tried Coconut water and I LOVE it. Of course, it has been the drink of choice for many endurance runners over the years. I've read about it but never tried. Yep, a keeper. I have NOT tried under hot or humid conditions but I am hopeful. Supposed to carry all the good electrolyte shiz I need, perfect. Water out of a coconut and some good ole H2O, could it be my answer? Maybe my body isn't fond of every kind of -ose sugar on the planet...don't take my Coke away from me on a long hot bike ride, I might hurt you!

Then, we got to thinking and talking (dangerous combination) and, gulp, the idea of eating food for training and racing entered the picture. This brought back a marathon memory..
.

Over 10 years ago, when I was willing to punish myself with marathons (haha), I used to run with these old warriors around a local park/neighborhood. They were a bunch of old guys who were pretty hardcore/old school. While I'm eating gels and drinking some concoction, one guy carried nothing, even on warm days. Periodically, we'd drink out of someones hose in their yard but that was all that he took in. These were 15-22 mile runs in hot and humid conditions. I remember him saying - I guess I don't need all that stuff since I've been eating/sucking on these dried apricots the whole time. That is all he used on a long run, dried apricots and little water. I have a bag of dried apricots so I looked, compared to a packet of gel...one serving is about the same as a packet of gel in terms of nutrition. Apricots had more sugar and fiber (could be a problem). The only other issue would be the amount of apricots in one serving - I just couldn't pound that many. BUT, as I sat on my trainer for 2.5 hours last nite, I drank water, coconut water and ate apricots. I was not pushing it but my body tolerated it nicely - except for the gas part. Slightly more gassy but whatever, not terrible. You're not supposed to be drafting me anyways.

All of that to say, if old marathon man was doing this same thing over 10 years ago, why can't we!? Really, has it been this simple? Have I been trying to complicate my life with the latest and greatest potion? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a Coke on a hot bike ride and will stop to get one from time to time but maybe it's just the simple sugar and sodium that makes it work just fine for me. Maybe I don't NEED to eat and drink every 20 minutes or 45 minutes for a gel? Do I seriously just need to let my thirst dictate when I have a sip rather than force it in based on my watch? Holy crap....

In Magnus news...he's adjusting to one eye nicely! Here's to keeping an eye on you!

36 comments:

San said...

Wow, you're up early.

aaah, Magnus is so darn cute.

And on the food front, remember nature knows best. When I started out with my running seminar we got these foam balls for race nutrition. They looked like big marshmallows. I threw mine in the next bin before I even got on the streetcar back home.

Carlee said...

I do need to try that coconut water. I keep saying it, but really I've gotta! I've never been a gu/gel girl. I've actually never tried them but I know the texture will gross me out. For now, I like the gummy stuff, though I do suck on them for a while before I try chewing.

Diana said...

Love the GU chomps, I can really notice the difference of energy during a run. I hate taking them though because of the gas they cause later! But I listen to music when I run and figure if I can't hear the gas "release", neither can anyone else!!
I'll have to try the apricots...

FLATOUT JIM said...

Holy Crap, what did you pee the bed?

My experience in 2006 was that after 6 hours on the bike, I was sick of all the race supplied food. The lime flavoured gatorade endurace formula even turned me from Margaritas. Maybe someone should try to come up with a tequila flavoured endurance drink.

In the tour, they use a combination of engineered and natural food. gels, drinks, and bars, as well as pastries, bread, even baked potatos dipped in salt.

Now try that on a long ride. It's better than McDonalds fries. Really!

Marci said...

I would try that coconut water... but I already know what works for me and my body during those long days of training and racing! Maybe I'll put that on the list for the 2011 season!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Coconut water, interesting, will give it a try, I will try anything in the offseason.

Im kinda scared our beloved hockey team wont make the playoffs for the first time in 19 years.

Julie said...

I am totally with you on using natural foods! These past two years, I've moved away from drinking Gatorade and I'll drink water and eat bananas for my indoor training rides. HEAPS of bananas.

Be careful with dried fruit as it sucks a lot of water from your body to help digest it...But, YOU know your body the best. If it works do it and ignore everyone else. :)

I use gels, etc. ONLY for racing. The rest of the time it is real food for me. :) :)

Jen said...

Love your review awesome. And I am thrilled Magnus is adjusting well.

Chloe said...

Coconut water is freaking awesome! They had a table at the ING health fair and I asked if I could buy a case. They looked at me like I was crazy!

I hate gels. Puke a roo. Literally. Apricots sound wonderful. I'd much rather have those in my pocket then a gross gel at any time!!

Magnus seems to have adjusted and is a bigger pimp then ever!

Kim said...

i am not a huge fan of coconut water - ick! it's really expensive isnt it?

anyway, yeah i have found my magic nutrition last year - i'm with you - NO chewing during biking/running - i can only handle Powerbar Gels and Powerbar Endurance!

you will figure it out and kick ass!

MCM Mama said...

Good luck figuring it out. I can't chew either when I'm trying to breathe. Heck, I have a hard enough time swallowing water and still managing to breathe. LOL

Carolina John said...

i'm starting to lose my taste for gels too. and my breathing gets all screwy when chewing the blocks or beans or something like that. useless.

Love and Puppies, Christy said...

I can't handle all the gu's and whathaveyou either. On the run I can do ClifBlocs (but after an incident involving a reversal of fortune and some Gu, I can't touch that stuff anymore), pretzels and Coke. On the bike, I need regular food. I eat Quaker chewy granola bars. The sugar and deliciousness works for me. They get kind of melty in the summer, but they still have the same nutritional value. I also have a problem with the breathing and eating, but I just try to eat fast and breath later. Ha.

NJ said...

Love coconut water. I use it in smoothies all the time. I've found that bananas work awesome for fuel for me...that and just eating healthy to begin with. Lots of salad wraps here. I've heard talk that goldfish can be good fuel too - I'm gonna try adding that in this year for trail running events.

Hope you can dial in your nutrition this year. Makes a big difference in racing.

Amanda said...

for long trianing rides, fig newtons and pbj. and the pbj goes in the bike special needs bag for IM too. my trianing buddy used to eat prunes. i always thought that would make me crap my pants. keep trying different things. i find gels ok for short intense stuff and at the end of the bike, but they ALWAYS give me mega farts.

Amber Dawn said...

I am so with you on every count. And I love your dog.
Let me know what else you come up with. Dates seem like a good idea. But everything seems like a good idea until I am actually racing and then the idea of chewing is as appealing as driving a fork through my eye.

The Running Girl said...

Interesting post about nutrition. One of the guys in my office loves the coconut water. I may have to try that as I experiment with my nutrition for IMFL.

Glad Magnus is doing well.

Molly said...

That's how I ended up with Infinit last year - it's not great but I couldn't bring myself to chew anything enough to stay fueled so it was easier to slurp a little concentrated Infinit followed by water. I may experiment with Carbopro in sports drink more this year.

Love the Magnus face!

Dave said...

got's lots of comments and stuff...have to pull my thoughts together...still don't think you get enough electrolytes if your holding that much water. I use my rings on my fingers/swelled fingers to help regulated water/electrolyte balance...I think there is more going on here...

Jody said...

Larabars are great made out of dried fruit and nuts and that's it. They are pretty soft too. I need to figure something out too cause puke burps are getting old

Jon Gilchrist said...

LOL @ "not suppose to be drafting off me anyways". THAT would definitely be one way to prvent that....NAPALM...hahaha

You know..I'm trying to dial in my nutrition now on my bike rides. Using perpetuum right now....it's so so. I cant really take anything semi solid on during the run...too much GI distress...that sucks...good luck with the food plan...

Judi said...

omg, did you have the eyeball removed? i know a dog that had to have that done at osu. omg. poor guy. they don't care though, do they?

coconut water. look up o.n.e. (one natural experience) thats what i drink. good stuff.

Wes said...

You're not supposed to be drafting me anyways.

roflmao... or Yellow Ryan for that matter...

If you wait to drink, then you are going to get dehydrated, then its catch up. Your HR can go up 10% or so when you are dehydrated. Just practice practice practice.

I ate people food on my bike at IM FL. Not sure if that's what gave met the sheyots, but that's what I trained with and I guess it went OK. I'm going to try something new this year. Maybe infinit sumpin...

Vickie said...

Amazing how much we think alike! I too trained as a newbie with all the hardcore oldies. Never carried water until I ran my 3rd marathon, when training alone. Someone would put a jug out on the run course and that would be it. Gels? Power bars? Any other forms of nutrition? Nothing. Just whatever we ate for breakfast and maybe a handful of candycorns or whatever. I too have a low tolerance for all the usual gimmick stuff for training and absolutely cannot chew anything in a race. Coke and water got me through the IM run and that was it. The question then is why can't we go back to the "old days"? We can. Just don't expect anyone else to jump on that bandwagon. I'm pretty much a do-it-yourself person anyway and rarely follow the crowd. I might, however, try the coconut water just to see how I handle that.

kristen said...

Magnus is going to love my new swimsuit I just ordered. (Splish - pirate Argh!) So rad.

Anyways, One of my girlfreinds uses peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into squares on her longer events. That's what I was going to try on as my training for 70.3 increases. I already know my body will not like taking in all that 'fake' nutrition over a 6+ hour period. Even toward the end of a marathon I'm ready to vomit if i have to take in one more gel.

I like the apricot idea. I might try that on my next long run...

aron said...

i have been running with gum lately and it helps keep my mouth not dry too. i also hate chewing - totally throws my breathing off, luckily gu works well for me. good luck figuring it out!

Susi said...

magnus is hands down cute no matter what. i love him. lol.

food. my pops is convinced the reason i 'die' during ironman (at the same time everytime) is because normally i eat whole foods. not too much of anything with preservatives. although i do mounge on tortilla chips here and there. so when it comes time to raceand i'm ingesting all these chemicals - my body shuts down.

i discussed this with my nutritionist and she feels it's a valid theory. in fact, she provides nutritoinal support to several adventure racers who rely on coconut water (as you mentioned) as well as other whole food options. her teams are the ones who have lots of energy and no GI distress at the end of the race.

of course, all of our bodies are different. but i for one am going to try the simple approach to food the next time i race. which will be an adventure race.

if you are interested in chatting with my nutritionist i can pass along her email. she only deals in whole foods. :)

good on ya for trying something new...or shall i say old. ;)

Runner Leana said...

I'm going to give Infinit a whirl this year, mostly because I like the idea of getting everything I need in a bottle. Chewing on the bike or on the run is tough for me since it jacks with my breathing and then snot starts flying everywhere. Attractive!!! I picked up a date square near the end of a long ride last year and I felt amazing the rest of the way. I thought it might be my super fuel, but then I was worried about all the fiber and how it would affect my run. Still love me some Coke near the end of a ride or on the run at a tri!

skierz said...

interesting idea! please let me know how it works as you continue to up your mileage? seems easier than pockets full of stuff!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Very interesting post Missy!! Ok, 2.5 hours on the trainer! You are a tough woman!! Interesting about the coconut water and apricots! You're probably right, all of these processed things probably do complicate a lot of things, keeping it simple and basic would probably be better! Keep us posted on how this works for ya! I'm interested :)

Velma said...

Magnus looks great. The kids love the coconut water, but I haven't tried it for longer runs. I think that going back to basics is a good thing - all that gu crack jacks me up!

BTW, sheet cake is always good fuel

ernieptoo-google said...

Ahh, the food thing is huge! I would pick up a copy of Thrive (check the library so you're not stuck with it if it doesn't work for you). The book has some recipes in it for energy and recovery foods that are actually food. Also, you might try figs with or instead of your apricots- I was using them on my long runs and was pretty good with them. Love the blog!

theloosemoose said...

I'm also completely unable to chew and breathe. It leaves me gasping and messed up every time, mostly 'cause I'm such a mouth breather in the first place. Damn my nonworking nostrils!!!

I use GU, but generally only for distances greater than half marathons. Apricots sound like a good idea, and I like gummy bears, too.

Jo Lynn said...

He still looks pissed!

I get a little scared thinking of eating anything with extra fiber in it during a run or ride. That's just me though. ;)

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

Your right.
I remember 16 marathons where it was Gatorade and water.
I think I am lucky that my body will tolerate Infinit for 13 hour or so and nothing else for these IM things..

prashant said...

I like the gummy stuff, though I do suck on them for a while before I try chewing.

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