I spent my evening trying to keep up with the folks in my track club as we ran 500 yard repeats. Hmm. I seem to have lost some speed in the past few weeks (okay okay - I never had speed to begin with). I can tell you that four 500s had me sucking some serious wind! I did a five mile warm up to start an a mile warm down afterwards, for a total of 7 miles. I have no other stats because I got the old "Batteries are Low" message from the Garmin. And unlike lindsay's experience last week, when a 305 tells you that your batteries are low, they are low. Like non-existent. Sure enough, half a mile from the start, the Garmin shut down for the day. Sigh.
To continue on yesterday's main topic - I think I've settled on a fueling strategy to take me through Long Beach. So far I've been following a long run fueling routine on runs over 16 miles that seems to be working. The routine consists of a Homer Simpson breakfast (mmmm! donuts!), a gel every hour on the run and a snack of a Clif Bar about half way through. This works out to about 500 calories before the run, then 100 calories per gel, and 240 calories for the Clif Bar. These seem to power me through the run in decent shape - in fact my last twenty miler went incredibly well following this plan.
But, there are a couple of differences between a training run and marathon day. I *hope* that I'll be running at a pace 30 seconds to a minute faster than a training run, which means a few more calories and a lot more sweat. I've been picking the brain of an endurance athlete friend of mine. She turned me onto the Hammer Nutrition website, where I found this gem of an article that discusses the whole caloric intake issue. It is rather eye opening - that's for sure.
Evidently at anything greater than 75% - 85% effort, the human body does not respond kindly to an intake of more than 4.0 to 4.5 calories per minute - about 250 calories per hour. Take in more than that and the calories are not processed. This leads to a phenomenon called "gastric emptying". And there are only two ways the stuff can come out. Uh. Yeah.
The article also points out that if you take in too many calories, you block your body's attempt to utilize fatty acids as an energy source. This all means that there is a balancing point where take in too few calories and you bonk, take in too many calories and bonk. Not to mention the humiliation of "gastric emptying".
The updated fueling strategy? The Homer Simpson breakfast is still in. The Clif Bar is out. And at 100 calories per packet, I will take a gel every 30 minutes during the run. We'll see how my body reacts to 200 calories per hour in gel form. I'm not anticipating any issues....
Which leaves the final point - electrolyte replacement. I definitely had cramping issues in San Diego. Not to mention the issues I had on my recent climb of Mt. Whitney. By the time I did anything about the cramping at RnR it was too late. But, electrolyte replacement made a world of difference on Whitney. So - it's pretty clear to me that the electrolytes need to be dealt with. I'll have to stay away from the replacement drinks like Gatorade, etc. After all, my gel strategy will be providing calories and sugars/carbs. So that means I just want to replace the electrolytes. Which means I will be relying on Endurolyte. I have purchased the powder, which I will add to my water on my fuel belt. The powder makes the water taste a little salty, but I didn't have any problem downing it after some recent runs.
Putting it all together, here is what I'm going to do starting this weekend:
(1) Carry two gels per hour of running. For this weekend that means about 6 gels. For marathon weekend that means about 10.
(2) Carry Endurolyte mixed with water on my fuel belt. Each 10 ounce water bottle will contain 2 doses. For this weekend I'll carry two bottles of electrolytes and two bottles of plain water. For marathon day, I'll carry 4 bottles of electrolytes and rely on water stations for water.
So - Saturday here I come! I have a couple of weeks to tweak the equation and get it right. If I do it right, I won't end up looking like death again. Of course, if don't get it right, I'll be able to tell you all about the inside of a porta potty.