Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Fool and his Fuel

3 short days until I hit the beach for my first 50k.  I’m feeling good about most every aspect of the race – even the weather:
The one piece where I’m still a little shaky is my fuel/hydration strategy.  Both of my last 2 marathons have been challenging from about mile 18 onwards in terms of gels, sportsdrinks, etc.  Basically, I can’t get anything more ‘down in mah belly’ as I reach the critical point of the race.  It appears to be a function of overfueling.

On race day I tend to drink a little more and take gels a little more frequently than during my training runs, since I’m usually working a bit harder and going a bit farther than I do in training.  I try to do anything I can to avoid cramps once I’m out beyond 20 miles, but apparently I’m overcompensating.

Cramping has never really been an issue for me.  I’ve never had any trouble with cramping in training runs, and my only significant race-day cramping was in the MCM in the fall, which was due in part to my inability to eat or drink anything beyond mile 17.  I created the very problem I was trying to avoid by sucking down too much gel.

This time I’m going to try following the fueling cadence that I follow during training, and hope the slightly warmer temperatures I’ll be facing (compared to training), and the slightly longer distance I’ll be facing (compared to anything I’ve ever done before) don’t slap me down.  Because 29 miles of the race are on the beach, I’ll also be using more calories than my normal road running (per the infallible source of knowledge known as the internet), so hopefully that doesn’t throw everything off.  Going to give it a shot and see what happens.  Cinco de Mayo should be exciting.

I’ve been pondering, and writing about, the possibility of straying a bit from my Asics Gel Nimbus relationship of many, many years and possibly giving Brooks a try.  Assuming my legs don’t fall off and wash out to sea on Saturday, my plan after recovery is to step up my trail running, since it’s something I enjoy more and more every time I try it.  Thus, yesterday I pulled the trigger and ordered a pair of Brooks Cascadia 7 in all their green glory:

No chance I’ll wear them before the weekend and risk making the fasciitis gods angry, but I’m really looking forward to giving them a go in a few weeks (orthopedists be damned).  I thought maybe this was the first step in a new direction in shoes, and then I saw a link to the new Gel Nimbus 14 Limited Edition…
I do likes me some yellow.  I’m such a sucker.  Must resist …. Must resist …. Must resist …


  1. The fuel struggle is something that always is tricky for me. Taking salt helps me with my foot cramps - I'm assuming you've probably given that a shot.

    Good luck this weekend! And enjoy your new shoes - I do love me some Brooks :)

  2. First 50k is very exciting! I've done plenty ultras and still battle the fuel war sometimes. For me the most important is to drink enough and take on what I need before I feel I need it. Once I feel I need something it is usually too late. All the best!

  3. Resist?! Buy them! Buy them now!!
    I'm a sucker for some ole yeller as well.

    Chris.....pickle juice for cramping. C'mon. ;)

    Have I mentioned that you rock?

  4. I feel you on the fuel. Too little, I bonk; two much, my stomach hates me. May you hit the perfect balance this weekend!

  5. I thought I had my fuel stuff figured out but that seemed to all go out the window last weekend. Have you tried real food before? I seem to be able to handle that in the long trail runs, like fig newtons, pretzels, pb&j, then water and salt pills as well. Guess it's too late to experiment though. Have a great time this weekend, I'm really interested in hearing about this one, sounds like a very interesting race!

  6. ooo i likes the green ones. good luck with your fueling. that is always a tough thing to work out. i'm good during the marathon (only took me 6 times) but now the triathlon has me all confrused. lol! and good luck at your race!

  7. Really looking forward to hearing how this race goes! Good luck!!

    BTW don't resist...those limited editions are pretty sweet!