Anyone who has ever been overweight is afraid of calories. Calories are the enemy. They are the deliciously slippery Hansel and Gretel slope on which we will slide back to the fat pants.
But in longer distance training, particularly half-ironman distance (which is where we are now), those calories are essential. They mark the difference between finishing the race still running and either not finishing at all or finishing in an ignominious shuffle or the dreaded tour of the porto-potties.
So, after the near-bonk on my bike ride a few months back (couldn't find it in the archives - will link if I do), I've been diligent about my fueling. You know the ride - the one where I hit a bump, my hands flew off of the handlebars and I nearly wrecked in front of a car?
Yeah, so, the fear of that condition (the shakes, bad mood, confusion and nausea that we call "low-fuel" at my house) keeps me bringing plenty of electrolyte drink and Gu whenever I exercise. This could be a contributing factor to my ongoing GI issues, but I get those even when I get up and run without consuming anything so I don't think that is it. And, when I eat a Gu, I feel better. Comfort eater, that's me.
But - I've not had that bonking feeling in a while so I think I'm doing OK. I usually bring water and a bottle of electrolyte drink and a Gu for every hour of my bike ride and that seems to work well for me.
Anyway, David Warden at www.tri-talk.com has a nutrition calculator for use in triathlon. You input your weight, your race distance and intensity and it tells you your caloric spend and how many calories you should take in during your race. It's fun to play around with the numbers and compare caloric spend at different intensity levels and race distances. I checked out my sprint numbers as a test and it seemed pretty accurate (given the fact that I won't burn up all of my stored calories in such a short race).
So, according to this calculator, Nat and I (because we weigh the same - I know she's 4-5 inches taller, shhhhhh - we weigh the same!) should take in between 200 and 280 calories per hour. Racing at a higher intensity (87%) gets you to 284 calories per hour and at a lower intensity (82%) is only about 235 calories per hour.
We are doing our training run-through today to test nutrition and clothing. So, here is my nutrition plan for today:
2 200 calorie bottles of Accelerade on my bike
1 100 calorie bottle of Gu20 on Doug's bike
1 5oz Gu flask with Chocolate Outrage Gu (5 1oz shots of Gu inside)
1 aero-drink bottle of water for sipping
1 20oz hand-bottle of water/Nuun
2 1oz Gus in pocket of hand-bottle
This might be a little low on the calories if I go at a fast pace. If so, for race day I'll replace the Nuun in my run bottle with Gu2O because I can drink that without a problem on the run. The race has hand-ups on the bike but (1) I'm worried that I won't be able to do them, and (2) they are serving Gatorade, which sometimes upsets my tummy. Because I only have 2 bottle cages on my bike, I'll either have to carry the 3rd bottle in my jersey (not a problem, except that my Team Zoot/Gu jersey doesn't have a back pocket) or get a water from the aid station and add my G2O to it in the race. Gu2O comes in single-serving pouches for just this reason.
So, bring on the test.