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.