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Hitting the wall: I need ideas to help me reach my daily carb goal

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5ksandcabernets: Hitting the wall: I need ideas to help me reach my daily carb goal


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hitting the wall: I need ideas to help me reach my daily carb goal

I knew it was finally going to catch up to me one day. Running 50-plus miles a week. On courses with more hills than I'd ever run on before. In 75-plus degree temps and humidity over 90 percent.

A bad running day was bound to happen. And I finally "caught" one Saturday.

Let me start with the excuses first: It was an 18-mile run. It was 75 degrees with 90 percent humidity. It was, as you can see in the elevation picture, mostly uphill the first half of the run. Plus, my legs were pretty much dead before the run. I was on my third consecutive week of running at least 50 miles - a personal record for me. Saturday's 18-miler would put me at 56.74 miles for the week - another personal record.

(I think it's time for me to take a step-back week. Let my legs rest up and heal. They hate me right about now)

Back to the run....

They say your body has this Central Governor, where it knows how your run is going to be within the first few miles. And before we hit the first water stop, before we even hit the first hill, I was already feeling it. Face flushed. Sweat just everywhere. Hot. Hot. Hot.

I slowed down to like an 8:10 pace and still felt like crap. Two hills on Mile 7 just about wiped me out and after taking 9 minutes to finish that mile, I thought about turning around and just doing 14. But no, I figured, I needed this kind of run, where you try to get through it when everything isn't going right.

I trudged on. They called this route the Mt. Bonnell run because, well, Mt. kinda means mountain. And by Mile 8, I could see what they were talking about. Look at the elevation. Straight uphill. About 230 feet in about 1.5 miles.

You don't really run, you just lift your feet up so they don't get run over by the ants.

I was pretty much a goner by this point, but my legs still had some juice in them for the second half of the run, which was mostly downhill. For the next six miles, I averaged about an 8:05 pace. We had a water stop at Mile 14 and I thought I had this run whipped.

I was wrong, so wrong. Right at about the 2 hour mark of the run (14.5 miles in), my gas tank was empty. I hit the wall. No carbs left. Running slow didn't help me feel better at all. It felt like the last few miles of all the marathons I've done. My pace went from 8:30 at Mile 15 to 9:30 at Mile 16 and 17 to...... 12:00 at Mile 18.

That's right. A 12-minute mile. I did the walk-run thing to make it in. I'd run to a light pole, then walk, then run, then walk. I wound up completing the 18-mile run in 2:35, an 8:37 pace - or about a minute slower than last weekend's 16-miler.

I know that nutrition has been my biggest problem for long runs, and it appears the nutrition bug bit me again Satuday. But folks, I really am trying to eat as much as I can. Somedays I get all the carbs I need *450 to 500 a day) and other days I struggle to get 200. I know. I know. Terrible for a runner.

But hey, my marathon isnt for a couple of months and so I've got time to figure this out. If any of you runners have secrets about how you get in the carbs, please let me know. I know pastas and potatoes and breads. But what else do you guys/gals do?

What's a fast, quick, and cheap way to get the carbs you need without getting so full you don't want to eat your next scheduled meal?

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Blogger Billy Burger said...

They say you should adjust pace and fluid intake according to the conditions. While you didn't specify how fast you'd gone out, you did say that you'd "slowed down" to a 8:10 pace. That seems pretty darn fast considering the humidity and the 18 miles you had in front of ya.

Anyway, I can't chime in too much about nutrition since you didn't get into the specifics of your intake too much, but I'm sure others will chime in.

Good luck finding answers Kev. Try to take it easy out there though, it is summer after all and sounds like it's pretty gnarly down where you're at.

June 13, 2009 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


I had a gu at Mile 9, thermotabs 20 minutes before the run and again an hour in. (Yay, no cramping).

My pace? From Mile 1 to 6, I was between 8 and 8:10. So, when I say I slowed down, I actually meant I slowed from what I usually run on other days.
And that's the thing, I thought I was going slow enough (last week, I did a 16-miler in 7:38 pace). I think all the cumulative running combined with not eating enough did me in.

June 13, 2009 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger sara said...

i agree with Billy about adjusting pace to temperature/hills. i haven't read your blog enough to know if 8:10 seems reasonable given the conditions. have you thought about taking Gu earlier or more often?

and about carbs ... you mentioned pasta and potatoes and bread. all i have to say is "oh dear"--how about some fruits and vegetables? definitely healthy, great source of antioxidants and probably hard to "fill" yourself up so much that you won't be able to eat your next meal.

fruits and veggies aren't always the cheapest route, but you can shop around and/or find cheaper alternatives to the fresh stuff (i.e., dried fruit, frozen veggies). i just discovered the local farmers market which is AWESOME, and hit up Trader Joes twice a week (not sure if they're in Austin).

June 13, 2009 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

My performance is obviously nowhere near yours, so I hesitate to put my two cents in. But I have been reading a lot about nutrition and running -- and the latest information emphasizes the protein as well. Rice and beans give a lot of both the protein and the carbs. I will find the references ...

June 13, 2009 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

sara - yeah, i need more fruits and veggies, thats for sure.

kathleen - don't hesitate. any good, everyday recipes you got i'd love to have. i need some new food to make.

June 13, 2009 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Snacks - trail mix, nuts, bananas.

Definitely agree you need some protein in there too. Here are some of my favorite carb + protein meals:

Chinese stir fried rice : make up a batch of white rice and let cool. Stir fry some diced chicken and throw in a couple of beaten eggs. When they're about set break them up and add in the rice, mixed veggies (such as peas and corn) and soy sauce (nice and salty for the hot weather). Stir fry for a few minutes and garnish with green onion. Good cold for lunch the day after too.

Baked potato with cottage cheese topping and a nice piece of mustard glazed salmon on a bed of rice - yum.

Also you don't mention how you're fueling the morning of your run - what do you have for breakfast?

And finally, don't sweat it (pun intended) - it was dang hot and humid today. Austin in June is no place to be breaking speed records.

June 13, 2009 at 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides the obvious (rice, pasta, etc), something I use to get some extra carbs is to make fruit smoothies. I use frozen fruits so I can just drop them in the blender, hit the button, then drink down some quick carbs. This also doe snot seem to make me feel too full to eat later in the day.

Also, a book I like, which may help you, is "Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes" by Ryan.

The thing I like most about it is that it explains the "why" behind food choices and gives all the tool to build a diet around your running schedule (for example, it explains how to get the right nutrition in your pre-race meal without based on how long before the run the meal will be). I've read a few nutrition books for athletes/runners and this is my favorite by far.

June 13, 2009 at 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin nice job out there today, I think all of felt the weather and this was the first true summer day so we're also just not used to it. To give you and idea on the 22 miler here was my intake. I did modify some things just based on where the water stops were. I'd usually take 2 thermolytes every 45 minutes when it's hot and a gu starting at 1 hour and then every half hour.

Today was:
30 minutes 2 thermolytes
45 minutes GU
1:10 2 thremolytes
1:30 GU
1:50 GU & 2 thermolytes
2:20 GU & 2 thermoloytes

A few of us on the team see a nutritionist as well so that could be an option as well.

June 13, 2009 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger lindsay said...

1 gu in 18 miles? shoo i take 2 on a 12 mile run! for marathons i take in ~4-5 gu's, so wouldn't you want to take in the same proportion in a training run? especially one on such a hot and humid day. well, 75 is not so bad but humidity can really make it suck.

i'm certainly no whiz in the nutrition department, plus i've been eating out every day due to traveling for work, but i grab oatmeal and mini cereal boxes from the hotel to snack on during the day. a granola/trail mix deal would be good too.

June 14, 2009 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

kamran, lindsay - i need to stop being so stubborn and definitely eat/fuel more on my long runs. I am so hard-headed.

mark - eat before runs? me? never have - except for marathons. but maybe i should get in practice.

anon - i'll try that book. thanks.

June 14, 2009 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Reese said...

Everyone is an experiment of one, but here is what I've found. Everytime I start marathon training, my first loooooong run is crappy and I hit the wall. The second time is always much better. But running here in OK I have to say that heat and humidity have a lot to do with it also.

June 14, 2009 at 7:47 PM  
Blogger rreboul said...

Maybe it's time to change your Blog name and personal mantra to 5kandchimay. it still has a air of sophistication. Although it may interfere with your other meals. Perhaps miller lite. It’s supposed to be “less filling.” But 5kandmillerlite doesn’t have the same ring. Just playing, Good luck.

June 16, 2009 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger Sadie J said...

Eat before you run...toast & peanut butter, oatmeal, something at least! I usually get in 200-400 calories depending on what I'm about to run.

For good carbs, I second the fruits and vegetables, but also think rice and potatoes with some sort of lean protein does the trick. If you find you are just too darn hungry, have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (on 100% whole wheat). It'll stick you ya'.

June 16, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

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