Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

Calorically Challenged

At the beginning of the season, Brent and I made the rounds to stock up on race food.

Please disregard the giant piles of books around our dining room. We've been in the process for reorganizing for about six months...

We began with the bars…

…and then moved on to eletrolytes.

There was the salt…

…and the sweet.

The random assortment of protein…


(Skittles are protein, right?)

…and, of course, the beverages.

Note the open lids on the coke. Brent wants all the bubbles gone, come race day.

I was embarrassed when we went through the checkout (yes, I even mentioned to the clerk that it was for an event), but when we got everything home, I looked over our load and thought, “well, this should cover it.  What more could I possibly want during a race?”

It turns out, anything and everything.

I know I’ve talked about eating during an adventure race in the past.  My goal is generally to eat about 200 calories an hour.  That means that for this weekend’s 30-hour race, I’ll be lugging around 6,000 calories.  I know I’ll never hit that target, but I want to make sure I have a wide array of salt, protein, sweet, and fat, so that I can always find something to choke down.

The problem is, by 10 or 14 or 16 hours into a race, eating is the last thing I want to do, and if I have to do it, I always seem to want the one thing I don’t have.  I crave things that I’d never even look at in my non-racing life.

In hour 65 of last year’s Untamed New England, my teammate, Joel, handed me a bag of Bugles.  Seriously, bugles?  They were the greatest thing on earth. (Yes, that was after my can of Trader Joe’s artichokes at hour 60.)

In the middle of April’s Rev3 Epic, when Brian pulled out his combos and chex mix, it was like the nectar of the gods.

And two weeks ago, as Bruce and Chris and I trekked through the Delaware Water Gap, all I could think about was pizza.

Brent’s staples are poptarts, cheeseballs, and McDonald cheeseburgers.  I’ve become partial to pita chips, peanut butter crackers, and hard candies.

There’s no way to predict what you’re going to want (or be able to stomach) on the race course, and while your head knows that you need fuel, your body isn’t always so accommodating.

But, in preparation for this weekend’s venture – the New York Adventure Racing Association Longest Day – I’m doing my damndest to beat the odds.

So in addition to the bars, electrolytes, gummies, pita chips, hard candies, and peanut butter crackers, I’ll be breaking out a couple secret weapons:

(1) Philadelphia soft pretzels.  300 calories of soft, chewy, salty wonderment.  I only wish I could bring some mustard…

(2) Red vines.  The skittles that I downed during the Rev were far too sweet, but I have a feeling that these will come in handy for those middle-of-the-night sleep monsters.

(3) And finally, pre-baked Ellio’s pizza, to be stored securely in our gear bin and devoured about 12 hours into the race.  Perfection in a rectangle…

And with that, it’s off to the races…

What do you crave during long races?  What do you think you might crave 15 hours into a 30 hours event?  I’m always looking for new ideas!


9 responses to “Calorically Challenged

  1. Kari w/ Running Ricig June 1, 2011 at 10:56 am

    this post made me so ridiculously hungry. arg!

    also, what is a pretzel without mustard?

  2. Emily June 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

    people keep telling me that chicken broth during the run is the best thing ever on an ironman course. i so don’t believe them now but i can’t even imagine what i’ll be craving then! and the stuff you guys do must get even more ridiculous. i’ve found that combos are my magic food on endurance events.

  3. Julie (A Case of the Runs) June 1, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Ha ha!! I know during marathons, I just crave coconut water, even though I don’t drink it often. Otherwise, I kind of just get hungry with no specific craving.

  4. Denise June 1, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    reminded me of ultra training…everything i practiced with wasn’t what i wanted on race day. but boiled potatoes w/ salt were so good. and then when my stomach went to sh*t i could barely choke down some mini oyster crackers. in the beginning i wanted to chug my ensure and at the end i gagged when looking at it. but the one thing i managed to eat the whole time, just one here and there…peanut butter m&m’s. yum!

  5. Shelly June 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Oh Abby why is it you are living my dream life? Seriously do you write this stuff thinking, “how can I make the Shelly girl super jealous today?” I’ve only gone 11 hours so I can only dream what I might be wanting at 15, or 30 hours of running bliss! But I can tell you that no matter how strange the craving, I won’t be surprised! (Of course that’s hoping I get to see 15 or 30 hours some day 😉

  6. Mallory June 2, 2011 at 9:51 am

    All that food looks so good!!!! Didn’t realize I was so hungry!

  7. Anonymous June 4, 2011 at 9:37 am

    I just has red vines for the first time and I was not a fan. There must be something wrong with me. All that food makes me so, so hungry! Have fun!

  8. Pingback: The 2011 Longest Day: Epicness Abounds « Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

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