Race Energy – Garbage In, Garbage Out?

 Before too much more time goes by I thought it would be wise to catalogue what I ate during this past Blue Ridge Relay and what changes, if any, would I make in the event we run again next year.  Consumption is tricky.  Each year I put together a mental food plan and then about 1 leg in I forget what I thought would be a good idea to do for food.  First order of business for next year is to write down what I should eat after each leg.  Prior to running next year I also want to get smarter on how much consumption is required to keep your body fully fueled without going overboard.  At some point your body wants nothing solid.  At this point I think I’d be better off listening to it and putting only minimal solids in while supplementing liquid, near-liquid and gel energy into my body.  My idea of never eating the same thing twice was appealing and will be repeated in future attempts.  Here’s how it went down:

Pre-Race:

  • Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Sandwich on Wheat
  • Banana
  • Coffee
  • Water
Post Leg 2:
  • Banana
  • Oatmeal Smoothie
  • Gatorade/Water/Coffee
Post Leg 8:
  • Banana
  • Quinoa Mix (beans, mango, peppers)
  • 350 calorie bar
Post Leg 14:
  • Banana
  • Chef Boyardee Mac-n-Cheese
  • Kettle Chips (Buffalo Blue)
  • Gu
Post Leg 20:
  • Rice Pudding
  • Kettle Chips (Buffalo Blue)
  • Gu
Post Leg 26:
  • Loaded baked potato (easily the best thing I ate during this race!)
  • Banana
  • Gu
Post race was filled with more Bojangles than my shrunken stomach could stomach…Mac-n-cheese, egg/cheese biscuit, fries and a large half/half tea.  Mmm.  Somewhere in the race I ate one of the Luna bars and likely had other snacks here and there.  Complimenting a better food strategy needs to be a better sleep strategy.  Waking at 3am, driving to the start then running and staying awake until around midnight is not a great strategy.  Sleeping after leg 8 is a must as is sleeping somewhere between 14 and 20.  Runs with more sleep absolutely felt better than those without sleep – especially as the race grew older.  I am still on the fence on whether I’ll return next year.  It is a great and unique running experience.  I love running in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night and enjoy the camaraderie of the fellow co-runners.  The cost on your body (e.g. tear down to the muscles) is difficult to overcome as is the sleep fatigue that resides for several days after the event.  Unfortunately, there are few events that leave you feeling like you miss it when it is all over.  This event definitely does just that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Would be curious to learn more about your training plan and preparation as an ultra team. I ampart of the Waxhaw Express team that has been in the BRR the last 3 years – we are looking to tackle it as an ultra this year. I am starting to think about the race specific training that will have to be done and I am still working through that. Any tips / pointers would be appreciated. Thanks, Steve

    • Hi Steve – happy to provide what we can. We have run a 6 person team in all years of the race except for the 1st year (we didn’t run) and 2 years in the middle when we were a 4 person team (don’t do this!). We have tried just about everything as far as training goes and each of us has a slightly different philosophy. I like to schedule a marathon in late July/Early August, train for that and then keep my miles up afterwards until taper times 2 weeks prior. A few of my fellow team members swear by the 2-3-2, 3-4-3, multiples. 2 runs Friday, 3 runs Saturday, 2 runs Sunday with most of the runs being 4-6 miles. They do that for a few weekends and then expand by 1 run on each day for a weekend or 2. I found I tended to tweak leg muscles more often this way. We all agree having terrain that emphasizes significant hills is good and most of us spend 1 day per week running hill repeats (1/4 x 10 reps or 1/2 mile x 6-8 reps) up until a few weeks prior. All said prep is prep but the real challenge is planning meals, sleep, run prep and run post. Most of us write out our schedule so we get in a rhythm. One missed meal between runs and you are in trouble about leg 3. Happy to talk more. Send me an email and I’d be happy to get on the phone.

      Jason

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