Saturday, July 4, 2009

Nutrition for 12 hour solo & Congrats to my friends

I've been super busy showing my friends from Pennsylvania around, but I wanted to get this down, in order to keep record of it and to share it with all of you. Last Saturday I learned that when you read that nutrition is important in an endurance race, believe it.

I think this is the single most important thing that will allow you to keep going for a long period of time. I believe paying close attention to my nutrition on Saturday was the best thing that I could have done.

I experimented a bit in this race. I knew that a 24 hour race would be a good place to figure out what worked and what didn't. At most I had to ride 10 miles at a time and if anything gave me problems I could sort them out at the checkpoint when I came through.

I planned vigorously before the race. I had to. I'm not the kind of person who can just wing it. I would never survive. Some people can eat Spaghettios, then ride 4 fast laps, then drink beer and eat ribs for 4 hours and then ride for 3 more laps, winning the "hot" lap (the fastest lap between 2 and 5 am).

Not me. I figured out exactly how many calories, fluids, and electrolytes I would need per hour. I gave myself a range so that I could adjust depending on how I felt.

My food and fluid intake over 12 hours consisted of this: two bottles of highly concentrated Accelerade, about 120 ounces of plain water, 12 Endurolyte capsules, bagels with cream cheese cut into quarters, one bite of a banana, 12 shot blocks, watermelon, and some Coke for caffeine before the last three hours.

Oh yeah, and some recycled electrolytes that I licked off of my face when I forgot to take Endurolytes on one lap. That's one advantage to having a salty face. Also, about 15 to 20 bugs. (That part was unplanned)

Using Accelerade at a higher concentration is something that I wanted to try so that I wouldn't have to refill the bottle every lap. Every time I took a small sip of the Accelerade I would wash it down with water to make it the correct concentration. It took me a few laps to get this right, because I started to get some stomach cramping and heart burn early on.

About halfway through my first lap on Saturday I felt the heat beating down on me. I was worried about this because well, I sweat a lot. I don't just sweat a lot "for a girl". I sweat a lot for a human being. I'm part Italian, give me a break.

Because I was worried about dehydration, I was drinking a lot of water early on. But then my stomach felt full, I almost threw up and I started to feel "weird". I took this as a sign that I was doing something wrong and adjusted my fluid and sport drink intake.

It's funny, if you just listen to your body it will tell you what to do.

I felt strong the entire race (until the last lap), so I figure I was doing something right. I have only a few more weeks to do a little tweaking for the Soggy Bottom, so I'll need to do some long practice rides before then.

Lastly I just want to say thank you to all of the volunteers and race directors that put this race on. The course was awesome, the people were great cheering me on every time I came through, the food was good, and I had a fantastic time!

And congratulations to my friends that participated in the race - Brian, Amber, Yrjo, Oscar, Jill, Julie, and Tony! You guys rock and inspire me to stick with it!

Oh and I met a bunch of cool people along the way too. I don't know most of your names but good job to you too and thanks for being so nice when you had to pass me!

Photo taken from

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