Real Food Real Fuel: Experiment #1 Results

Over the course of  3 days I completed a broken half ironman as 8+ mile run on Thursday evening, 1.2 mile swim on Friday, and then a 56 mile bike + 5 mile run on Saturday to cap it off.  I consumed some water for the run on Thursday, and then a little water again on Friday.  For Saturday I figured given the long workout ahead of me that I would give my natural sports nutrition experiment a go.  

I made the following:

  • 3 bottles of electrolyte drink (agave, salt cap, dates, lemon juice, coconut oil, water)
  • 1 flask of gel (dates, agave, lemon zest, salt, dulse)
  • 1 bottle of water with salt stick cap in it (I never drink water without sodium during exercise)
  • Mushroom thyme bread cake (sort of a really salty and savory bread pudding)
  • PB&J mini sandwich

What is all that?  The fuel for my 56 mile bike ride and 1 hour run (as well as post-workout recovery)

Nutritional comparison of Ironman Perform vs. my homemade lemon drink. 

Nutritional comparison of Powergel vs. my homemade energy gel

I have to say that the taste of my energy drink was really pleasant.  Not terribly lemony, sort of sweet due to the agave and dates, but I was able to drink it all without even a reminder from my "nutrition alarm" on my Garmin.  It suited me well on the ride, and I felt really good the whole way through (well that is a lie, but as far as nutrition went I felt good on that front at least.)

I used a recipe from Thrive founder Brendan Brazier and I think that for longer rides I would want to add in more water or even add more electrolytes ( I break open a capsule of Salt Stick caps and dump into the drink to assure that I am getting sodium and potassium as well as magnesium) to help curb the sweetness.  I know that after about 4 hours on the bike I start to hate sweet things.   

The savory bread pudding that I made came from the Skratch Labs Portables cookbook.  Wow do I love it!  It was super salty at the start but then as you work out you need that salt so it starts to taste really good.  I was so happy after hour 3 when I took in my last bit of bread pudding.  It was like a reward.  

The PB&J did not work out so well.  The roll that I used was just too thick and was difficult to eat.  I think that for a half Iron this is just too much and that I will try again for the Ironman.  

So my preliminary result was very good.  I felt well fueled and had no stomach issues.  Likewise I was not hungry at all for the ride, and I think that I had a good fueling strategy.  

I started liquids only for 40 minutes then had my first solid food.  I then drank solids only for the next hour, to 1:40 and then ate again.  I kept doing this until I was done with the ride.  

Unfortunately I did not get the chance to try out the gel as I was so "out of it" for the run - that wind really killed my mojo and my hands and feet were frozen so I was in a very unhappy place.  In fact,  I barely even took a drink of water.  It was cold, windy, and over all just sucky.  

I plan on making the mushroom bread again, and will be using the gels and electrolyte drink for the rest of my training for my June 8th Half race in Grand Rapids. This weekend is a 3.5 hour ride with 1 hour run and then a 2.5 hour ride with run.   Wow - that is 6 hours of riding in less than 30 hours. 


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