Exhaustion and Sports "Nutrition"

I have recently had an epiphany when it comes to my sports food stuffs.  I hate calling it nutrition because honestly - it isn't.  I realized that I use a lot of commercially prepared sports food stuffs and actually had a panic attack the other day when I realized that I was out of my Ironman Perform.   How on Earth am I going to get through my training rides until I have my sweet sugary guuuuudness?  

At some point I wonder - is this stuff even good for our bodies?  If athletes like Brendan Brazier and Rich Roll can survive and thrive with real foods as fuel, can an age grouper like me do the same?  My concern is the heat stability of food.  They are done with the race and I am still on my bike.  My back-up and back-half of the course nutrition will have to be in special needs for a long time before I will be able to get it.  Hmmmm.

The more I clean up my diet outside of working out, and the more that I ramp up my training the less nutritious the traditional idea of sports nutrition makes me feel.  In fact, trying to give up crappy refined foods is very difficult when your sports fuel is all refined junk.

I realized that I have been experiencing a Trifecta of Funk - crappy weather plus poor nutrition while working out (and thus when I am not working out) plus harder longer more frequent workouts equals = UGH.

Now that the roads and skies have all cleared up and the temperatures are rising, possibly due to this weird ball of burning something that keeps showing up earlier and staying later every day, I am starting to feel a pull to get my act together all around.

I eat crappy and feel crappy then do a crappy workout and feel even crappier.  This cycle is just ridiculous and I cannot exist in this state for much longer.  I fee that I am disrespecting all of the hard work I am putting in by the food and mood choices that I am making.

Crap in means crap out - in performance, in mental acuity, in overall wellness.  My sleep went to pot and my waking hours were spent being terribly not motivated.  In the time that I should be repairing my muscles, recovering and refueling/replenishing my body I have been consuming more and more junk. Add to this school application stress and some serious triathlon training.  Whew - exhausted.

Well I am stopping this.  I have gone on a Spring Cleaning of my diet. Warning! Warning!  Total fresh food overhaul in process!   I started with consuming better foods this weekend, foods that I have prepared with love and thought.  A loving smoothie in the morning packed with good Omegas, Maca root, goji berries, plant strong and non-inflammatory proteins, and antioxidants in the form of cacao and berries. My pre-workout, post-workout and regular meals are all thought about before consumption so that I am focusing in on real foods again.  Before I eat it I ask myself - does this fuel me as well as fill me?  Will I regret this when I go to work out?  Do I need this or want this?

No more boxes, fast food for this girl.  And already, after just three days I feel remarkably better.  My body feels... how do I even put this into words?  Awake.  Vibrant.  Happy on a cellular level.  

My mental fog has lifted and I am thinking clearer again.  My motivation is back on track and I have no issues falling or staying asleep - nor do I have any issues waking up even after a shorter sleeping period.

I am back to THRIVING not SURVIVING.

So i went from spending 3-5 hours on a Sunday doing meal prep and cooking all of my dinners and lunches for the following week to outsourcing the process all together.  Starting this Friday, I now have 10 entrees hand made and delivered to me from Thrive Foods Direct - that would be of Brendan Brazier "Thrive" fame - as well as I supplement with a "bitty box" of mixed fruits and misc. veg from Door to Door Organics every week.

I literally only go shopping now when I need something esoteric - nutritional yeast mainly.  Everything else I can get from D2D!  

Starting this week I am also making my own sports nutrition - this time it will be FOR REAL nutrition.

I was doing some comparisons and saw that 1/4 C of the Himalayan super fruit goji berry is nearly identical in properties to 1 standard gel pack.   The big difference is that the goji berries have 1 ingredient, whereas the gel packs are barely pronounceable. And that got me thinking - why not carry real foods and see what will work for me out there?  Why wouldn't real foods be enough to sustain me over the course of 140.6 miles?  Especially if I train with it all day every day to really get accustomed to the possible side effects of that much fruit, rice, and veg.   I am willing to train my body, well rather DEtrain my body and get back to trusting real whole foods to get me through.  I am a little scared - but it is worth a shot!  

This weekend is prime time as it is a Race Rehearsal - 1.2 mile swim (Friday) then 56 mile bike, 1 hour training run easing into pace (Saturday) -  so I am planning on trying out some different things to see what works.

I am thinking of making sticky rice balls with goji berries and dates for portable fuel on the ride, carrying with me some raw cacao energy bites and some packets of Vega sports gel as back up just in case I feel the need to "punch out".  I will carry watered down coconut water or even my old hand-made electrolyte drink that I did really well on in 2011 (dates + water, sodium, citrus in the form of lemon or orange, and coconut oil).  That does mean that I will need ~6 bottles of it on the bike for the Ironman but if it is stable enough, it may just work!   For me the stomach issues happen on the run off of the bike, so since I am doing a 56 mile bike with a 1 hour pace run, this will give me a chance to see how the tummy will react on some level.

I will keep an update here as to progress as well as what I have learned along the way.

Shine on my friends!


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