Sunday, March 24, 2013

Going Old School

Lately I have been in the process of revamping my training/racing/workout fueling strategy.  What I mean by this is I have been reevaluating the products I use and whether or not I care to continue to use them.

Some things are consistent and are not variable.  For instance on along run over two hours I need approximately 270 calories an hour per hour to function and keep going.   In the past this has been accomplished by carrying two handhelds, each with 1.5 scoops of Perpetuem in it.  I drink 5 oz every 15 minutes so the two bottles get me through two hours then I have to mix more.  On top of that I do one hammer gel per hour on top of the hour and also one salt stick cap.  That seemed to work great most of the time in the past but there have  been issues such as sometimes a lot of puking during a training run or a race.

Actually by accident or just laziness and not wanting to find where my Saltstick Caps were this winter I have not been taking them with me.  Ray has been on me for a long time now that I have been taking too much salt.  Seriously nagging me for over two years about it, all in good intention mind you but I have to admit that he very well could be right...  I have only puked once in recent history after a run and that was cause it was a tough eight mile tempo run and I just had WAY too much shit on my stomach from eating all night.  Something had to give.

So I've cut out the salt and that seems to be working.

I'll say it.  I am no longer in love with Hammer products.  That relationship was a dead end and to be honest was not growing.  I only embraced their product line at the urging of a friend who was a serious ultra runner and mentor but to be honest I have not liked their stuff from the word go.  Their gels are not bad but they never really did anything for me either.  Perpetuem?  I've drank probably a million gallons of that stuff and it does work but god, I just can't do it anymore!  Heed? OMG!  I completely fell out of like with Heed during the 2011 Silverush 50 Mile run in a hard way.

I had been drinking the Lemon Lime Heed all morning and it was fine.  Melissa gave me two fresh bottles at the halfway point and I swear to god, the one bottle tasted like it was made with rancid sewer run off and strained through a bum's dirty drawers... I mean a nasty that I could not imagine being real.  One bottle was fine... the other was about to kill me!  I tossed it immediately as I did not want to die.  Seriously.

As it turned out she had mixed the bad bottle with a new baggie of mixture that I had pulled out of my new package of Heed. I discovered this as when I tried to run again a few days later I made a batch out of that bag and it was just as rancid.  Needless to say I have looked at Heed with a jaundiced eye ever since.  To be completely fair, Hammer DID send me a whole new bag but the damage was done... whatever the nasty flavor was I could still detect it.  Trust was broken.  Their Mandarin Orange Heed I can handle but just the same I am waiting to get a bad  hit of it as well.

As for the gels, the only two flavors I could deal with were Tropical and Orange.  I never liked them, more like I just tolerated them better than other flavors.  The Montana Huckleberry?  Forget it!

So Hammer is out officially now 100% unless it is an absolute emergency for me.  The product line and I just ceased to grow together.  We are done.  I will miss their awesome customer services but definitely not the prices.

For the LT100 last year I did a huge ballsy, read stupid, move.  I changed my drink plan a week before the race.  A week.  I went into the race with an untested formula which to be honest ROCKED!  It was cheaper and way more satisfying for me.  Again, Ray had stepped in and made a great suggestion that I try Carbo Pro. I did and I loved it if for no other reason the stuff completely dissolves in water and is flavorless.  I love the flavorless factor as there are lots of times during races where I just want water... just plain, cold, fresh water.  With the Carbo Pro and nothing else I can enjoy that plain water while still getting calories.

But my recipe... no secret... again it was crazy... I only had a day to come up with the mix and sit around drink it during the afternoon while working all day.  I drank a few bottles and since I didn't have any stomach issues I decided to go with it.   Luckily it worked.  The solution consisted of 1/2 bottle water, 1/2 bottle Gatorade, 1 scoop of Carbo-pro mixed into an Ultimate Direction Handheld bottle. That comes out to about 180 calores plus one gel and hour is 270 calories... right on the money for my calorie needs... Unless something drastic changes this will be go to formula for 2013.

The gel issue... I did some shopping around and tried samples and what not and while there are lots of new product lines out there nothing worked for me at all.  Stuff either gave me heartburn or just tasted like flavored awful.  Awful with a hint of apple, chocolate, etc... you get the idea.... So the funny thing is that I have returned to the product that I was using in the 90's.... the original GU!  The chocolate and the orange are both working for me great and bonus I actually kind of enjoy them.

And now for the kicker... the newest technology if  you will that is rounding out my nutritional plan for training and racing for 2013... MAP!   I have been taking three before every workout, three per hour during a workout and five immediately after a workout and I have to say they have made a huge difference in my recovery time and just how I feel after a run (or hard ride) after I am done.

I have to dial in my salt intake but I have a good idea for that.  I think I will try one Saltstick Cap every two hours and see how that works... if not two hours then three... eventually I will find correct dose and protocol where I maintain electrolytes and can hold it all in.

Speaking of old school, I wore my old UD Solo water bottle belt on my 18 miler on Saturday.  It worked as it kept the bottle warm against my back and it was nice to have my hands free for a change.  Used the Gu too!  That was an awesome run with 8 miles with an avg HR of 139. 6 miles with an avg HR of 149 and then the last 4 miles with an avg HR of 161. Times for each segment were 1:10:43, 50:25, and 31:12.  

Trust me... today's short shakeout ride on the trainer was an awesome treat!  

And now.... 14 weeks till the Leadville Marathon... Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.  

My vintage 1997 UD single bottle belt.  I rarely use it anymore but it is still awesome when I need it!


  1. Hi Andy. I love the picture you use in this post. Is it ok if I post it on the Pitbull Racing's wall (maybe as a cover photo)? Thanks.

  2. Wish I owned MAP. I'd be rich as a rock star - "Here, take 30 pills every day and 50 during a 100 mile race. That'll be $200 for that day, thanks."

    No supplements here. Food, water, and EPO high thin air.

    The mere utterance of the word HEED gives me a gag reflex.

  3. Old School means you might take a half filled dixie cup of plain water at an aid station.

  4. TL, MAP is $$$ no doubt. I really do ration how much I take and I had to shop around to find the best deal. I got four bottles my first shipment and am just about through my third. Time to take out a second and order more. Personally I wonder how much of the benefits are truly placebo effect but placebo effect or not, I am feeling better at times.

    JT... Do they even still make Dixie cups?