You Are What You Don't Upchuck
“Nutrition” is what triathletes call food and drink consumed during workouts. I don’t go for a lot of nutrition during my workouts, mostly because I hate to carry stuff. Nutrition during yesterday’s 16-mile run: three sips of water from the fountain in the trees just off one of the front-nine greens on Glendoveer’s West Course. Nutrition during today’s 60-mile bike ride: About 6 oz. of Accelerade, 6 oz. of water and one PowerBar (Cookies and Cream). Perhaps making up for that, I always set out well fed. Some people can’t eat much before a workout, especially a run. Not so me. The sports nutritionists generally say you have about two hours of glycogen stored in your body, and if I’ve also pounded 500 calories in the hour before heading out, I figure I should be good to go for three hours. Also, I have a theory that by denying my body just a bit, I’m teaching it to burn the energy sources it has stored up from all the eating I do when I’m not working out. I’ve bonked just twice in my life. The first time was during the Flint Hills Death Ride, a 70-mile mountain bike race in Kansas. Seventy miles on dirt is a long-ass way. Plus, the ride is in August. The heat and humidity were something I’d never experienced and by mile 50 I was empty, bleary, nauseated (you think maybe a little heat exhaustion?). The real beauty of the bonk, however, isn’t simply that you are depleted. No, it’s that you also have great difficulty taking in calories or fluids. Your electrolyte balance is all screwy and what goes into your stomach tends to slosh around in there for awhile then get stamped Return to Sender. In Kansas, when I hit this wall I stopped at an aid station (such as they were; the Marine who put on this race subscribed to the HTFU philosophy so water and a few snack-type foods were all you got, if I remember correctly). Out on the prairie in the rolling tall-grass hills, a little creek, a clump of trees for shade.... I sat in the creek with my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands. I fell asleep. After some time, who knows how long, it was maybe just 20 minutes but felt like two hours, I awoke. Coming to, I saw a graybeard on some piece of shit 50-pound Schwinn rolling by. I got up. I tried to drink some water. It was quite satisfying and did not induce my tummy to behave like a washing machine. I ate something, cookies, I think. Mmm, tasty. And suddenly, as though an unseen wizard had intoned a magic word and announced, “Weary Golden Stater, be renewed and on your smart way!” the great fog in my mind cleared, my stomach calmed completely and my energy returned. I finished the last 15 miles strong, blowing by the graybeard. I hope I said, “Thanks, pops,” but who knows? The other bonk? That was on a 90-degree day doing Wildflower Long Course, but who hasn’t bonked doing Wildflower Long Course on a hot day?
Totals for the week (my week ends on Sunday):
Swim: 8700 yards (3 hours)
Bike: 135 miles (8 hours)
Run: 47 miles (7 hours)