Friday, July 18, 2008

what worked

I wanted to write a bit to let folks know what worked for me......and what didn't

FEET: Hardrock is an extremely wet race with stream crossings and marshlands the entire course. My feet were wet from the river crossing at 2 miles straight thru for 46 hours until the river crossing at 99 miles.

AJW tip to wet your feet before long runs was an excellent one! The two weeks prior to the race I ran with wet feet 5-6 times- spraying them down with a hose (filling my shoes really) then re-wet in a local river 30 minutes in to the runs. I also did 2-3 hour yard work sessions where I wet my feet every 45min. This constant time spent in wet socks/shoes allowed my foot skin to toughen and all the looser/weak callus stuff to peel off prior to race day and thus in the race itself I had ZERO problems. I had one tiny blister on the side of my big toe that I did not feel, drained after, and it was sealed and healed in 24hrs. No other issues at all!!!

Shoes:- I wore my Asics 2110's road shoes that have 800+ miles on them and are a year old. They drained well, gripped decently, were light weight, comfortable, supportive but not restrictive and are lower to the ground than my Montrails. However, they have higher side walls around the ankle and this caused my most severe post race problem......I have swollen ankle bones on the outside (lateral malleolus) bilaterally and the right one was rug burned into a bloody area. Runing straight is no problem, but side hill action caused the side of the shoes to push into my ankle bones. Ouch.

socks: I changed socks 4 times for no good reason other than it FELT GOOD! I used white "jockey" socks that fit my feet well. They are all ruined with stains now but hey.

fluids: I drank plan water 100% of the time and filed my bottles from the streams and with snow probably 60% of the time. I'll let you know if I develop giardia. I also took in up to 12 cups of coke along the way (drunk at aid stations)

Electrolytes: I used maybe 8 or so NUUN tablets and one S! cap, then had GI trouble and for the last 26 hours of the race only ate salty food from the tables. Salt pills are overrated. I eat an extremely low salt diet, and was well heat acclimated prior to the race so my sweat has little salt in it. I wish I had not used the NUUN tabs at all. Pretzels is all you need.

Calories: I took in 2400cals of Cliff shot blocks, 4000+cals of pure granulated sugar (that I carried in a bottle then added water too to make a gel like slurry). I will use maltodextrin in the future as sugar worked great but has a taste to it, that I did get sick off, while maltodextrin is tasteless. I ate a strawberry milkshake (real deal ice cream from an ice cream shop), 1/2 a turkey sandwich, 1/2 a turkey sandwich with cheese grilled, 2 cups of pasta, 6 pop sickles, maybe 12 cups of coke, one zip lock bag of peanuts, M&M's, and one zip lock bag full of pretzels. during the 46:45. Pre-race breakfast was a liter of gatorade and 2 banana Power bars. I'm not sure how many calories this all is but it was ALOT! yet I was still hungry and bonky a few times. The caloric expenditure scaling 40% grade mtns at 14,000ft must be higher than 100 calories per mile.

I also recently read that Krissy Moehl took in 600cals per hour at last years hardrock....this is double the 300cals an hour max the stomach is supposed to be able to process.(according to my masters degree in exercise physiology learnings) Interesting.! Probably why she kicked ass. I watched Karl Meltzer pack his drop bags for the 2005 hardrock were he spent 18 minutes in aid stations total time. He had 60 gels. for 6000cals. And ate nothing else. Trying to run at altitude asks a lot of the old cardio system so much of the bodies blood is diverted away from the viscera (stomach/intestines) and shunted to the working muscles. this makes digestion of anything complex very difficult. This is why I chose to stick closely to simple sugar and away from harder to digest foods. During exercise at a high % max output (like I had at Hardrock) the common phenomonen of "take in sugar---recieve huge insulin spike----resulting in lowered blood sugar and BONK" is attenuated. Huge spikes in insulin output are not seen, so one does not bonk as hard after pure sugar intake as one would say when sitting on a couch. No, I am not as dumb as I may seem.

Due to efficiency of the body being able to utilize stored fat when running at x min/mile pace rather than burning glucose or glycogen, the better shape you are in, the less calories you need to take in. I am not in that kind of shape obviously! so I likily needed more calories taken in during the event than fitter/faster folks.

all in all it was a great experiement and I am glad to be back in better shape. It has been a slow climb out of the 2003-2006 duldrums, but I am getting there.

grindstone 100 in Oct and JFK 50 in Nov on the horizon


Hart said...

"Pretzels is all you need" for electrolytes??? whoa. i don't think you can find a sports nutritionist or coach who will agree with this statement.

good luck with that! i'm not saying you have to drink nuun (although i think it's the best). but every athlete i know needs electrolytes, and salt (sodium) is just one of them.

i can't help but comment - gatorade (fake sugars=nasty) and straight up sugar! no wonder you were bonky and sick!

congrats on your success at hardrock. i'm sorry that i have to disagree completely with your advise here. it's just hard for me to read this knowing you will be effecting others races with what i see as "very bad nutritional advice". no offense.

as for krissy moehl and karl meltzer - they both drink nuun for their electrolytes during races.. and neither eat pretzels! =)

I am a runner. "We are what we repeatedly do" said...


Read closer, I did not ever drink gatorade in the race. 2nd I never said electrolytes are not needed, just overrated. maybe over hyped is better. No one on earth needs one S! cap an hour. rediculous amount of salt. My body needs much less than most due to my diet, heat acclimatization state and small size, and low sweat rate compared to others.

Lets not forget that before these products existed runners ran amazingly well without them. They simple ate sugar, drank coke and took in salt via pure salt (on potatoes, melons, or from packes, or just dumped from the shaker in to the water bottle)

Before I completed the Grand slam in 2002 I never used any salt tabs and ran just fine. In fact I set the course record at PCT Mt hood 50 in 7:06, and ran a decent 6:24 50 mile at JFK.

Salt is surely needed, but for someone who does not train with it (I don't) taking it in in excessive amounts on race day probably does not make sense.

Since I had no muscle cramping and no problems with my stomach draining or emptying I'd say I got plenty of salt via eating it in the form of pretzels the last 26hrs of the event

Bedrock said...

Thanks for your comments on this. Good to hear what worked for you. even though we are all an "experiment of one", it is good to see what more experienced folks are doing.

I recently started using Nuun (tried some of Mason's for MMT) and it works really well for me. I like the lighter flavor and slight carbonation. Plus much easier to carry extra tabs between drop bags.

Congrats again on your solid run.

Billy said...

Hey Dude...Great run and great to see you out there this year. What a great experience.

Me, I drank only water and did one succeed tab per hour, one gel per hour. at the aid stations, i ate like a pig, probably 500 calories at each, and drank at least 2 cokes at each. but time wasn't an issue so it was possible to feed. If racing, i think 2 gels per hour and water/succeed tab.

sticking with water keeps me from having stomach issues.


olga said...

Greg, found you again! Great run, man, good to see you happy at awards:) My turn, please!
As for "salt is overrated"...I am coming to this conclusion too. Body adapts. I keep experimenting, needing less and less.
See you around!