Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Race Food.

Day-before race lunch! No high carbs here.

After feeling so amazing during and then after my thirty days of whole-foods eating, I decided to continue following a Whole30-like diet in the weeks leading up to my 50K. Except for the occasional trip to Tuile bakery for gigantic cinnamon buns, I stuck with no gluten, no rice, no legumes, occasional dairy, and limited alcohol and sugar, especially during the week of my race.

And then Alice threw up on Monday. And I was in a hunger-pinch late Tuesday night and ate two slices of pizza.

I'm uncertain if it was Alice's sickness jumping into my gut or those slices of gluten-filled pizza but I felt so nauseous, bloated and food-aversed from Tuesday night until Friday morning. Meals that I normally would've gobbled down made my stomach turn at the thought of eating them. I even struggled to eat my beloved sweet potatoes!

And no, I am definitely not pregnant.

Fortunately my sickness passed and by the time we hit the road on Friday I felt like my old self again. And I decided not to follow the typical carbo-loading diet that most endurance athletes believe is necessary before a race and instead continued to eat a wide variety of vegetables, healthy fats and an array of meat to make up my pre-race meals.

Since road trip food barely resembles food at all, I planned a few easy-to-prepare meals and snacks to bring along with us. On Thursday I hard-boiled a few eggs, made stew beef in my slow cooker and then Lee barbecued a chicken, and some russet and sweet potatoes. On Friday morning I cooked a half package of bacon (using my favorite method: the oven!) and then we loaded the cooler full of our delicious makings along with a bag of spinach, a few avocados, apples, bananas, blueberries and strawberries, a container of my chocolate coconut almond/cashew butter, a tablespoon or two of coconut oil, a jar mixture of olive oil + balsamic, and a few mason jars of home-brewed kombucha.

The morning of my 50K, I woke up early to eat a hearty meal with enough time allowed so that I'd be able to run by 6:30AM. My race-day breakfast included a large portion of warmed stew beef over spinach with a few russet and sweet potatoes. As we drove to the starting area, I ate half of a banana with almond butter and a coffee with about a half tablespoon of coconut oil.

Instead of consuming typical endurance race food like energy gels and powdered electrolyte replacement, I opted to eat and drink real food during my 31-mile run. I filled my hydration vest with a few cans of pure coconut water and I brought along a few LARABARS and a baggie of homemade trail mix, which included Marcona almonds (roasted and seasoned with lemon pepper and salt) + raisins + a few pinches of kosher salt + 5 or 6 pieces of bacon.

It turns out that bacon is the perfect ultra-marathon food.

Out of the almost dozen marathons and now four ultra marathons that I have finished, this one was the first where at some point during the race I didn't feel sick to my stomach. Oftentimes after eating an energy gel or drinking a powdered electrolyte replacement drink or eating a handful of peanut M&Ms at an aid station, I'd feel nauseous and I've always believed that this was normal and that my body was just being pushed to its limit. I also remember having much more obvious swings in energy levels whereas this past Saturday, I felt consistent energy during my entire race.

And you know the feared state of bonking, which I have definitely experienced in all of my races before? I can honestly tell you that I did not bonk during the entire 31 miles of my race. Not even once.

I probably need to do a few more races while eating this way before I can definitively say whether or not it was a fluke or the food, but at this point, I am starting to believe it was the food.


And then I finished my race and ate this. Definitely not Whole30-approved.


  1. Congratulations again on completing your 50K race. Kuddos to eating healthy. Keep it up. Maybe your body is telling you the whole30 way of eating is working for you. I still like the after race food. Feels good to eat something not approved every once in a while. xo

  2. Love your car trip food. We're hoping to do a few road trips from Denver this summer, so I'll have to copy some of your ideas. Interesting to hear you didn't bonk once during the 31 miles. Maybe it's the food, like you said.

  3. I so admire all your food preparation! With Devon working such long hours I haven't had as much motivation to keep food on hand at home lately. Totally stealing some of these ideas to have on hand in the days/weeks/whatever leading up to labor. So many of the freezer meal ideas floating around the internet look beyond vile and for the most part are lacking in any nutritional content whatsoever; whereas most of the foods you mentioned seem great for both snacking and turning into meals.

    I'm glad I read this moments after eating breakfast... because the slightest mention of Tulie makes me want to hop in the car for one of their ham croissants :)


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