Saturday, October 15, 2011

" in G-U"

They encourage us to make leaps at Nursing school.  To think harder.  Be smarter about where we take our minds each day.

Every time I verbalize my thoughts or write a post on nutrition, I get more questions than I answer.  It’s interesting, and at the same time worrisome.

There are 2 million resources out there for people who want to eat healthy.  There are 2 million resources out there for people who want to run.  There are at least 3 sources of quality material for the runner who wants to eat healthy.  I can only say 3 because most of what I’ve read has either been too vague to be helpful (brown rice is better than white) or too detailed to be understandable (ATP & mitochondria… anyone?).   

For a while there I just wanted someone to tell me the answer to:  WHERE DO I START?”  Where is the book written for the “5’2” mom of 3 kids who runs 30-40 miles a week, spins once a week, and wants to lose weight without losing performance or going insane from lack of calories, oh and is Turkey Hill Natural Chocolate Ice cream on that diet because if it’s not I don’t want it”?

Never found that book.

This is a subject that runners talk about ALL the time. I read it on e-mail, in blogs, on Facebook, and even hear it in person … and overhear it on the run… “I use GU… as in G-U.”  (overheard, on the run, and yes, TMB and I had tears of mirth rolling down our faces in the moment)

Hell, for that matter, I SAY it once a week.  “Carp.  It’s another long run tomorrow.  What nutrition strategy am I going to try this week to see if it’s yet another TOTAL FAIL?”

I’ve had nutrition issues, GI FUNK, yada yada, and been down some dark roads on my nutrition path… and the thing is, as I’m wondering WHY this is a mystery, I’m also noticing that many of the questions/concerns/GI issues with ‘sports nutrition products’ are coming from women like me.

Who am I?
            Well I can tell you who I’m not.

I’m not a man.  
I’m not a 2000 calorie consuming “average” person referenced on everything from the side of your Orange Juice carton to the side of your Frosted Flakes box to The Food Pyramid….
                        …To the side of the GU box…

Wait just a darned minute here. 

Am I obtuse?  Why has it taken me so long to see this for what it is?  The G.U. guidelines, Eat one packet about 15 minutes before your workout. Then take a packet every 35-35 minutes during activity to sustain your energy followed by a few mouthfuls of water or hydration drink  are written for the "average athlete right?"  Should we then assume that is the same as the average 2000 calorie/day person?  I can eat almost 2000 calories a day when I’m running 50 miles per week, and 7 – 9 of those miles are intervals, and I’m cross training on my 6th day, and I walk the dogs on my rest day… in other words, for 49 weeks of my year, I eat substantially less calories than 2000 per day.

The leap I recently made was, “No wonder a whole GU destroys my stomach.  It’s too much sugar for someone my size”.

The 18 miler this season I had SEVERE stomach pain at mile 15 – I thought it was dehydration cramping (it was), but there was something else there too.

The first 20 miler I had SEVERE stomach pain at mile 15 – only, I wasn’t dehydrated.   The pain is on the fundus of the stomach, very high up, at the base of the sternum.  I was burping like I’d consumed a beer… a keg of beer…. TMB said something though, off the cuff that made me stop in my tracks, as I thought “wait, this is like the indigestion when I had that hernia on my stomach… oh. Snap.  I used to describe that pain as a knife from the inside…”

So on my last 20 mile run… what if I treat myself for indigestion?

And that’s what I did.  More details than you EVER wanted or needed. 

I ate a ½ a plain bagel with ½ a banana and 1 Tbl of peanut butter spread on it (about 250 calories).  I consumed about 24 oz of liquid over 1.5 hours before the run (stopping about 20 minutes before the run started).  And in the 1.5 hours, I took 1 salt pill because it was warm-ish and 4 TUMS.  

I carried 15 Honey Stingers (that's 1 1/2 packages) with me, and averaged around 5 stingers per hour.  I took 2 at 1 hour of running, and 1 every 15 minutes after.  At 2 hours into my run I took 2, and went back to the 1 every 15 minutes.  And I fueled right up until the end of my run.  So, I took 1 stinger at 3 hours, even though I was at mile 19 of a 20.  I finished the run with a few stingers left in the baggie. 

So there you go.  
No VOM SQUAD.  No POTTY PATROL.  No DRY HEAVING.  No KNIFE in my STOMACH (the chicken had a shiv).  

So there you go.  That is my 1200 word over share of how I’m fueling my run on the next 20 and on race day.

  some fine print
***I am not a nutrition expert.  I am a student.  I have no license in anything.  I talk a lot.  I read a lot.  I think a lot – which drives a lot of people crazy.  I have been conducting an experiment of ONE on this subject for a few long runs now, and so far consuming ½ of the recommended GU (or Accel Gel, Chomps, Bloks) serving has been successful for me.  I will be conducting further experiments, and encourage you to do the same and share your success or failure with me if you’re so inspired.***


Meredith said...

First off, way to go figuring out what works for you! We are definitely not one size fits all. Thankfully, I've had little problems with my insides. The worst I've felt was after my first half - gas, pain and more gas than you could believe. After thinking through my diet, I think the culprit was the quinoa I had eaten the night before while trying to get my carb on. Too fibrous for me. I used to eat shot blocks - 3 at 5, 10, 15, etc. miles. Then, they got too hard to gag down. Then, I switched to one block every 2 miles. Still couldn't gag it down. Switched to GU and so far so good. One before I start, one at 5, 10, etc. I do burp like I just drank a pop, but that's it... Over sharing for sure, but you did encourage us to share :)

Canuck Mom said...

Same issues here. I can not eat GU's or anything like that. I LOVE the Honey Stinger Vanilla Waffles that Lance Armstrong promotes. They are easy on my belly. I have IBS and GU's are very bad for my belly.....VERY BAD!! It turns into severe cramping and sharp pains at mile 8 if I eat one. Plus they are kind of nasty and remind me of the glucose drink you have to drink while pregnant.

Jill said...

I'm shocked more people who run don't deal with this same thing. In all my long runs I dealt with stomach cramping at it really ruined my marathon, legs felt great but any type of fuel cramped my stomach. I have used gu's, shot blocks, gu chomps, but they all did the same thing. I switched to straight honey...honey sticks were great and I have also tried those honey stinger chomp things and loved them. I never did use salt tablets and wonder if they would have helped since I lose a ton of salt.

Thanks for the post and keep sharing.

bobbi said...

I love you for this post. Because it has taken me THIS LONG to realize that maybe I just don't NEED to eat as much as they say I should...things to think about for sure, as my stomach is my number 1 nemesis.

Jesser said...

This makes SO much sense. I've always hated GU for the same reasons you list, but I never put it together. I tend to go for the Shotblocks since I can easily eat them in smaller portions. I also tried a Cliff product that had gel or something in the center, a bit harder to chew, but tasty.

Sue said...

THANK YOU! For the first time in MONTHS I did not have GI problems on the run. Honey Stingers were awesome. I think with those and the modification to the pre-run meal, I am set to try it out on the 20 miler next weekend. Thanks again!

christa said...

I hate GU, but I love honey stingers. I struggle with the right nutrition when doing long runs