Sunday, August 29, 2010

Marathon Fueling and Low Blood Sugar

Warning: This is for anyone out there who has diabetes, hypoglycemia or reactive hypoglycemia. All others, you may be bored.

Since having a few fainting episodes this year, the doctor wisely suggested adding protein to every snack and meal to prevent blood sugar issues. My body has trouble processing sugar at all, and will "crash" a few hours after a meal or after taking in sugar or starch. It will start with trembling, and quickly move to the shakes, disorientation, sweating, blurred vision and eventually fainting. I'm trying to learn to eat something, usually a high fiber carb along with a protein source, about every 2-3 hours. And, eliminate my daily coffee which has become a bigger battle. :(

For long runs, I've normally focused on eating before I leave, and taking in gels or sports drink. But, depending on the day, what I've eaten the week before, stress level, sleep level, etc. it's turned into a crap shoot. For this marathon, I'd like to test myself a little rather than just plodding through to ward off the monster. The solution? Hammer Nutrition to the rescue!

For the record, I have used Hammer Perpetuem. It helped me survive Swan Crest, but I absolutely can't take the sight, smell or taste of it since. Personal issue only. So Brad, a rep from Hammer, suggested Sustained Energy as an alternative. He was also nice enough to send me a whole lot of free samples to try! I'm so glad he did because I have found my solution.

For me, based on my weight and how much I can tolerate (I've learned that 100-150 calories is all I can handle per hour - unlike friends who can do as much as 300 per hour. I've also learned that the calories should be spread out.), I make a mixture of unflavored Sustained Energy and Heed to give me a little over 100 calories per hour. For my 20 mile run yesterday, I mixed two scoops of each with water in a 10 oz. Nathan bottle. This gave me a total of over 400 calories in one nice little container. No mess, no litter, no cramming gels, bars, etc. in a pack.

I set my Garmin to alert me at every mile where I'd take a long swig from my mix. It worked PERFECTLY! I was never hungry. My energy stayed the same throughout the entire run, and I had no post run hangover. Of course, I also had water in a separate bottle. At 10 miles, as I dropped Buddy off at home, I took a Huckleberry gel just for a change in taste. Yummy. I also took 3 Saltsticks during the run - I plan to try Hammer Endurolytes in the future, but will wait until after my marathon to switch that up. Saltsticks seem to do the trick for now.

My favorites for this upcoming race:

Even when mixed thick, this went down easy. I actually looked forward to taking it. Very mild flavor when mixed with the Melon Heed.

Melon is my favorite flavor.

I love that you can buy gel in a bottle to put in a flask, instead of dealing with the once opened gooey packages and litter.

It's not the Nathan Sprint set up I love - it's the race cap. Especially for the SE and Heed mix. I didn't have to worry about getting the darn cap sealed.

And I love, love, love the Nathan Trail Mix belt. Light weight, bottles easy to get in and out, adjustable elastic band, and the pocket has enough room for my cell phone and a couple of just in case gels.

Taper time!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The marathon is a beastly thing -

But also kind of fun. I'm signed up for this marathon. I've only run a couple marathons several years ago and both took me over 5 hours. Lately, there's been a definite obsession with running roads. Could it be my fancy new shoes? :)
Or, maybe the growing desire to run fast?(er?) *For the record, however, I am still not committed to making myself hurt too badly to make this happen.*

I've no idea how to train for this kind of thing, so I need some help from you. I get that there are easy days, faster days and the long run. Resources say the LSR should be done 30 - 90 seconds slower than marathon pace. What does that mean for those of us who have no idea what marathon pace should be? Most of my shorter (3-6 miles) runs are done at a 9:45 - 10:00 average. Some faster, but usually not on purpose.

Yesterday, I did an 18 miler and ended up with an 11:00 per mile average pace. Eight of the middle miles were at an exact 10:04 with a couple more oops too fast 9:40's . Five of the miles were above a 12:00 per mile pace due to a couple very lengthy (as in a couple miles long), steady climbs. It's pretty hard to find a flat course here unless I went to the valley, but I prefer the South Hills view. For the most part, I felt great despite the last three miles into a direct headwind. I do admit that my legs suddenly wanted to shut down during the last half mile.

My questions for you:

1) Did I go too fast? Should I slow down my long runs?
2) Did I bonk the last mile due to going too fast or nutrition? (I took 3 gels, 2 Saltstick and water)
3) Should a person feel like she can keep going at the end of the long run?
4) How do I predict a doable pace for the marathon? I'd like to actually TRY in this one, but not make myself puke.
5) Also, if anyone is diabetic or has blood sugar issues AND runs marathons, what do you use for nutrition? I've got to be careful with the gel and sports drink because of sugar, but I also need calories. I tried Hammer Perpetuem, but the color, taste and smell make it impossible.
Thanks all!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Sorry to the readers of this blog. Life has been exciting, busy, and I'm finding myself completely without time or even interest to write anything. I'm taking a break from blogging. Not dismantling the blog permanently - yet. Maybe there will be a renewed interest later. But, before I leave, there were a few emails about Swan Crest.

* Yes, the 100 mile race went on and was, I think, a success. 20 out of 44 runners finished. Steve, Rebecca, Mike and I helped out at the Six Mile Aid Station. Steve and I left in a rush Thursday afternoon. I'd been teaching summer school and hadn't had time to properly prepare. In a panic, I had to call Rebecca to bring warm clothes and flashlights.

Seven people with heavy packs hiked up 3 miles to the aid station, filling MSR bags with creek water along the way. At various times, hardy volunteers hiked back down a half mile to refill the bags and hike them back up. After my second trip with two bags of water, I felt like a major wimp, thinking I was going to pass out. I didn't feel as bad, after one of the race directors carried up the same amount, saying "this totally sucks." The runners, both those that continued on at our mile 46.3 aid station and those who dropped, were completely amazing and motivating. At 11:30 pm, the last runner came through. We cleaned up camp in the dark, and hiked everything and everyone out, finishing up around 2 am. Steve and I slept hard, then drove the supplies to the finish line. We then spent the remainder of our time reading and sleeping. I skipped the 18 mile run and rescheduled it for next weekend due to general fatigue and a sore body. I do hope the race directors continue to put this one on. With a few tweaks, it will be awesome.

Enjoy the summer!