Sunday, November 18, 2012

Running on Real Food

I've got one more race up my sleeve before 2012 is over: the Stampede Runs Fat Ass 50k.  I figured I've got all this training from my marathons, what's another 5 miles?  Plus, I will likely have to dial back my running next year, so I want to get an ultramarathon in before I take that break.

I went for a short run on Monday, then took the rest of the week off to recover from the Richmond Marathon.  This morning I ran a slow 20 miles to get my body back in gear.

To prepare for my Fat Ass (hahaha, I love saying that), I approached this 20-miler differently than I have any other.  For this entire training season, I've been fueling with gels--mostly Gu but also Clif Shot Gels, Hammer, and Accel--as well as the occasional Clif Shot Bloks and Jelly Belly Sport Beans. I also tried Nuun for about three months, but I couldn't bring myself to like it.

For my run this morning, I opted to fuel with real food rather than gels.  I've been curious about fueling with real food for a while, but figured I should get the hang of using gels first.  But after downing 5 gels during the Richmond Marathon, I'm pretty sick of the stuff (though I definitely see their value and will continue to use them).  For today's run I just grabbed items from our pantry that I thought I might like:

This photo insists on appearing sideways.

The course for the Stampede Runs 50k is a 5k loop.  Yes, that means we have to run around that loop 10 times to complete the race.  Ugh.  So to help prepare myself for that mental drudgery, I intended to run  a 6-mile loop around our neighborhood 3 times, followed by a quick 2-mile out and back.

First Lap

The first lap was actually just under 5.7 miles because I miscalculated the distance of my route.  Whatever, it was just great to be running again!!  I ran slow and happy (total time 57:09, avg. page 10:03, avg. HR 155).

I got to our porch and immediately went inside because I had to pee!  (You're welcome).  I also grabbed the DJ's race vest, which I had been wanting to try out for some time.  Its an UltrAspire Spry, which is their smallest race vest.  Surprisingly, it didn't stink despite having covered 50 miles the day before!

I had some water, then stuffed my face with pretzels, Ritz crackers, and a quarter of a blueberry bagel, which sat surprisingly well in my stomach.  I also stashed a chunk of the bagel and some crackers in the race vest.

My Spry, new best friend :)
Also, where did my chin go?!

Second lap

The second lap was the same as the first--5.7 miles--because I didn't realize my calculation error until later.  The pace for this lap was slightly faster, but not by much (total time 56:54, avg. pace 9:57, avg. HR 160).  Speed was not on my list of things to do this morning.

About 3 miles in, I felt like I needed more calories so I started gnawing on the bagel.  I had no idea eating while running would be so challenging!  I had to take small bites and chew slowly.  But the bagel was mighty tasty as were the Ritz crackers (mmmm, salty-buttery yumminess).

Sexiness in action.

Got to our porch and took a SUCCEED S Cap with a swig of water, had half of a banana, broke off a quarter of a strawberry breakfast bar, and stuffed more bagel, crackers and this time pretzels into my vest.

Third lap

Realizing I had been shortchanging myself on my previous laps, I increased the mileage on this lap.  I intended to do 6.5 miles, but part way in I just opted to run 9 miles and call it done.  I was loving my run, but I also wanted to get on with my day (total time 1:29:24, avg. pace 9:52, avg. HR 161).

After four miles I had more bagel, more crackers, and tried the pretzels, which I did not like at all.  They were too dry, and I wasn't carrying any water to wash them down.

Around six miles I could feel that I needed more energy, but I had eaten everything in my vest.  Oh well.  Luckily I only had 3 miles left.  Miles 7 and 8 were uphill and slow (10:11 and 10:16), so I picked up the speed for mile 9 to finish strong and just be done (8:29).


My total mileage ended up being 20.5 miles (total time: 3:23:27, avg. pace 9:57, avg. HR 159).  I've run faster 20-milers, I've run slower 20-milers, but this the most I've ever enjoyed myself on a 20-mile run.  I felt great throughout the run, and I felt great after, not completely wiped out like I usually feel.  As usual, I had some coconut water right after.  I bought a few cans of this brand at our local health food store, but didn't like it so much, so I thought I'd try it cold to see if it taste better.  Nope, still gross.

The amount I ate was good for the pace and distance I was running, though I'm not sure how much more I need to consume to fuel a faster pace.  For my 50k I will probably use a combination of gels and food.

Oh, and the race vest?  LOVE.  I've been running with an Amphipod Airflow Endurance Pack, but no more.  The UltrAspire Spry is so light and well made.  I'll do a review after my 50k, but so far I'm head over heels.

Have you tried using food to fuel a long run?  What works for you?

What type of course do you prefer - loop?  Out and back?  Point to point?

Have you ever run a 50k?  Any tips to share?  


1 comment:

  1. Oh, wow, a 5K loop would be hard to keep going but I'm not a fan of multiple loops at all, nothing new to see! I do much better with real food, for any distance really! Enjoy your experiment as you get ready!