Saturday, May 26, 2007

An experiement in trying to avoid the Bonk.

I've accepted that sports nutrition is very individual. You have folks like Dean Karnazes, who are just freaks and can actually eat a pizza while running an utra. Then you have folks that have very delicate stomachs that clamp down if there is anything solid put in them.

I'm somewhere in the middle, and this morning I decided to experiment with the revelation that I burn through carbs like a hummingbird. (Why I have such a big butt, given this fact, is a mystery to me, but it may have something to with that fact that I eat a lot of fat. A LOT. My mom also had a big butt. The gift that keeps on giving: My mother's big butt. )

The Jimmy ordered a 9-mile run. I prepared 4 small bottles of Perpetuum with an added scoop of Cytocarb, giving each bottle w 200 calories, which I planned to take in sips, averaging a bottle about every 2 miles.

I digress for a moment to say that you can't, you won't know how fabulous it is to run in Albuquerque in the late spring and summer. No matter how warm days get, mornings are in the 50's or 60's, with about 20% humidity (or less). There is usually a cold breeze blowing from the north. It's awesome.

I ran along the west side Bosque trail from Alameda today, as the Jimmy had requested a trail run. This run is mostly packed dirt with some deep soft sand closer to Alameda. So much deep silty sand that, on the way back, I circled to avoid it. I hate running in deep sand; it's like one of those bad dreams where you're trying to run fast but you can't.

The last time I did a long run was before the annual Spring Triathlon Blitz (3 sprints in April and 2 sprints and an Oly in May.)
  • On April 22 I ran 10.46 miles in 2:22:03 with a pace of 13:34 minutes/mile.
  • Today, I ran 9.28 miles in 1:57:17, for an average pace of 12:38 minutes/mile.
That difference is attributable at least in part to the Torture that the Jimmy bestows on us every Wednesday. My average heart rate was a couple beats higher today (157 v. 152) but I felt about the same.
Each of my knees aches in the same spot, a little more pronounced in my left knee. I've noticed some tightening in my quads the last couple of days, I'm going to see if stretching and anti-inflammatories will help. The last time my knees hurt like this was when I first started running, so it just may be them getting used to the faster pace.
On the first half of the run, I started feeling sloshy and full, so I backed off on drinking near the halfway point. After about mile 6 or so I slowed down and felt super tired. I used to think that "this is what happens when you run long distances" However, now I think this means I'm out of fuel, so I took a couple mouthfuls from my bottle. I was able to speed up, but the sloshy feeling, along with a stitch in my side, came back.
Since I'm not much of a sweater, and it was cool out, I think this means I should have a more concentrated source of calories, like gels or maybe even bloks or sharkies, along with bottle of water or, if it's really hot, bottle of nuun.

I was gratified to find that each drop in pace was immediately followed by a drop in heart rate. My heart's getting pretty good at dropping quickly when I stop moving.


1. A more concentrated source of carbs is needed. I'll try GU's because they're worked well for me before, and include electrolytes.

2. I am, finally, getting faster, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully I won't start having "knee trouble" as a result.

3. "Gold Digger" is an awesome running song. Not very PC, but a great running song.



  1. I am totally in agreement with you on the nutrition part. I sweat like no other human, so I never feel that sloshy feeling (unless I really drink a lot on therun) but as I put the calories/carbs in, I notice a big difference in energy. I think it all is just a big experiment for everyone and once you figure it out, you just go with it. I have the same Garmin. They are AWESOME for training.

  2. I'm just now starting to use better nutrition on races - all Acclerade gels, btw - and just knowing that it would be very hard to take in too many calories for a long effort for me, a Clydesdale - for the most part, I've got a iron stomach.

    I really don't mess with gels for efforts under 2 hrs. Carb drinks are enough for me. If it's goin to be a long day, I pack in the gels and drink as much water and gatorade type drink as I can. And LOTS of endurolyte tablets. The more sodium and electrolytes, the better for me, cause I cramp very easily.

    Good luck figuring out what works for you. I think I remember reading once that your carb stores are good for 2 hrs max, so gels probably have a minimal effect for that distance/time. What do I know?

  3. Oooo, nice morning running weather!

  4. This is a fascinating subject for me as a still relative beginning - I've just now started adding energy drinks instead of water (I've been using Gu for a while.) I cramped up today for the first time (my longest workout yet, leading up to my first triathlon next weekend) - not sure if it had anything to do with the gatorade or not!

  5. Jenny, I never touch anything with sucrose in it before a run. it makes my stomach upset. If you got cramps, that's probably why. The sucrose doesn't absorb as well as maltdextrine, which is the leading sugar in most of the better energy drinks. Some people can tolerate it fine, others, not so much, and for endurance sports, I don't take any chances.

  6. Great improvement in run pace and heart rate reaction!

    Fueling starts with some broad concepts but quickly becomes an individual science. You'll get the formula all worked out.

  7. Good run and excellent pace. How did you get the garmin graph in your blog?

  8. Waddler, Firat you have the graph open and looking the way you want it. You press [PRT SC], which copies it to the clipboard. Then you open up Microsoft paint and press [CTRL] and [V] at the same time, or Edit-->Paste. Then you just crop the picture. Hope this helps.

  9. I've heard Nuun with carbo pro is the way to go - Nuun has no calories, carbo pro tastes like nothing.

  10. We have the other 80% of your humidity here in Houston. Thanks for that.

    If you're experimenting, give e-gels from Cranksports a try. They are 150 calories per packet instead of 100 and they have tons of electrolytes. When I use e-gels, I typically can take water instead of sports drink. I get enough electrolytes, and I avoid the sour stomach I used to get late in races.

  11. Nutrition definately seems to be a personal thing. When on my bike, I do well with Clif Luna bars and Gatorade. But as it gets warmer, the coating on the top of those gets messy. Drat! And for running, water and powerbar gel (strawberry banana) seems to work for me. I've added in Clif bloks occasionally with mixed results.

  12. The nutition thing is always the hardest thing to figure out. Once you get that down you'll be amazed at how much faster your pace on your long runs will be.

    Carefull with the antiinflamitory's on long or hard days, they inhibit your mitochondria from being able to produce arobic energy(glycogen).


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