Monday, May 28, 2007

The Perfect Mix

We read articles, listen to lectures, take advice from those who have gone there before. We try them all. Look at this grid, for example - How are we supposed to know what's right for us? What will work the best, and give us the best results? Well, we don't... and we just have to keep trying until we get it RIGHT!

Well, finally - on my 16th week of my 20 week ironman training plan, I think I figured my nutrition.

I've posted about my nutrition issues before. About my headaches and nausea. Then there are my shoes. Orthotics or no orthotics. Keep with this new model of my old favorite shoe even though it's giving me blood blisters on EVER single run.

Gatorade, Gatorade Endurance. Carbo Pro - how much? How many gels vs Fig Newtons vs Shot blocks.

And the biggest question of all..... HOW MUCH SALT DOES MY BODY REALLY need?

This Saturday, things just kinda fell into place. I think the big epiphany came last weekend however. About an hour into the ride my bottle cage broke & my bottle of Gatorade flew into the street. I turned around to get it - cringing as the cars drove by missing it, until about the 4th car came right on target and SQUASHED the heck out of my bottle. My nutrition.

Well, good old Momo had an extra bottle filled with her new recipe. 2 scoops of Carbo Pro and 1 scoop of Gatorade Endurance, Lemon Lime flavored. I almost turned her down because I HATE lemon lime Gatorade. I mean, I'll drink it, especially during races cause it's usually all they have, but I'd rather not drink it by choice. But, we had a 5:45 ride that day and I was going to need that nutrition.

So, I took it. And, surprisingly it was good. It kinda tasted like frozen lemonade. Hmm.. this just might work.

Next up. The salt. My headaches. Will I EVER figure this out? About 3 hours into the ride I was sick to my stomach. I didn't want any more nutrition & I couldn't make the headache go away. Then pipes up Momo, "Here, just try some SALT," as she hands me a packet of salt from McDonalds. I split it with her. I instantly felt better. I was able to take in nutrition.. Me headache started to fade....

About an hour later I had another half of a packet of salt. Things were looking good. I was even feeling a little hungry. Then, I started to chat with Sara. She had informed me that the salt pills I was taking only had 80mg of sodium in them for 2 pills (Endurolytes). She started taking different ones that had over 300 mg per 2 pills (Thermolytes.) They also have ginger to help settle your stomach.

So, when I got home from my bike ride I did a little research on Sodium intake, different supplements, etc. I found this very fascinating article. The more I read, the more I was realizing that I am just one of those people who looses a CRAP LOAD of salt. I need a lot of it. Mostly now.. in this heat.

Later that day I felt better than I had in months after the long ride. I was hungry, I wasn't just craving a bag of chips or french fries. I even wanted a beer... or two. It was such a great feeling. To be hungry, not sick.. and feel GOOD! Like momo says, "have some salt - it cures everything." I think she is on to something.....

So, on Saturday I tried a new new setup for our longest bike ride. I froze two bottles with 1.5 scoops of lemon lime Gatorade Endurance & 2 scoops of Carbo Pro. I also filled a baggie with the same solution to refill at one of our stops. Then I filled another baggy with the Thermolytes & some salt packets, just in case. The rest of my bento box was filled with multiple gels, a package of shot blocks & 4 Raspberry Fig Newtons.

My plan was to start with 2 salt tablets on an hour, starting at hour 1. I would eat 100cals of nutrition every 40mins. I would sip on the Gatorade mix as much as I coud tolerate to get the extra calories.

Guess what? My plan worked FLAWLESSLY!! I had to adjust slightly with the salt however. I started to get headache so I also started taking a 3rd salt pill on the half an hour mark. It helped a little, but I ended up adding 2. So I was taking 2 pills every 30mins. This seemed to work.

I also started to see how much salt I was really loosing. Whenever we were climbing, my head would be down slightly, and the salt was POURING into my eyes. I had to keep pouring water on my face to get the salt out of my eyes. It stings.... bad!

My new nutrition plan worked great until about 4 or so hours. I was getting a little sick of the sugar, and it was getting a little harder to take swallow so many of the salt pills. So, finally at 5:30, instead of taking more of the pills, I opened up a packet of salt & ate about 3/4 of it. I was instantly relieved, despite a little heart burn. I could take my nutrition in and felt great. I had another 1/2 packet at about 6:10 as we were heading home. I figured I'd need it for the run. It also enabled me to take in another gel before the run.

So - there we have it. Saturday was a fantastic ride! Our entire group of 7, plus 1 (more on that in another post) was there. We all rode incredibly well. No big issues. No flat tires.... nothing. It was just a near perfect training day. What more could we ask for on our peak bike ride?

6:25mins, 113.something miles
:30min run.....

We all jumped in the pool to cool down afterwards.... It was a rewarding day. I experienced something not very common - a "cycling high." It came at about 5:45mins into the ride when we were climbing an 8% grade and shane shouted "100miles!!!".......

How crazy is that?!?

And, how crazy is this - the amount of sodium, not including my gatorade or gels or regular food, that I took in on the bike:

15 Thermolytes @ 150mg Sodium each = 2250mg
3/4 salt packet @ ~650 per packet = ~490mg
1/2 salt packet @ ~650 per packet = ~325mg

Total Sodium = 3065mg sodium

AND, I felt GREAT!!!!! Doesn't that sound weird though???


momo said...

a cycling high?? that's crazy.

it was a great ride, and a really awesome way to peak after all these weeks. i can't wait to cda, its going to be fun, i really do believe. wait, is daniel going to ride the course with us then too?

i don't know if i can pull him that long... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Krista, Sharon and I know all about those salt pills, packets, etc. We had to take so many salt pills when we did Marine Corp. It was so stinkin humid, we were just covered in salt at the end. Oh and you know those tiny plastic button bags that you get w/a new shirt, skirt, or pants...those have a purpose other than to hold buttons....they hold your salt pills so they dont dissolve in your running shorts (ok I feel like an idiot admitting that but it happened, what can I say HAHA). That is awesome about the distance you all did this past weekend...congratulations on that 100+ mark and getting your IM nutrition down!

- Toni