As a runner I used to avoid eating anything for hours before training or races. My stomach just couldn’t handle it. I’d throw up if there was food in my gut during a race. Even Gatorade made me puke. It was water only, and not much of that, for me.
We also typically trained without eating beforehand, and seldom drank much even during long runs. This was true even among the 29:00 10K guys with whom I trained out in Pennsylvania. The idea of eating beforehand or during those 20-milers in training?
Somewhere along the way I read about a runner named Ed Eyestone who ingested a little food to take the bite off hunger before training. It made me wonder if I had been doing something wrong all those years.
Well, in recent years I’ve modified that rule. I’m able to down a Larabar before runs with no ill effects. I like Larabars because they’re mild, seem to be made of largely natural agreements and have pleasant flavors. But best of all, they don’t upset my stomach. This is no commercial or sponsored content. We spend plenty of dough for our Larabars. I’m just grateful they work for me and I can eat them while riding because they’re not dry and rough.
It’s nice to get a little food in the gut anyway. The other thing I’ve dined on before runs and rides is good old fruit like blueberries. Those don’t seem to bug me either. And raspberries too.
Now oranges, I would not think of eating those before exercise. They are too acidic and I’ve puked royally from eating citrus before races and such.
The point I’m making here is that real food generally rocks. They even covered the topic on a Tour de France feature where Christian Van De Velde rustled through the food bag of two different teams. Both had nummies that were not prepackaged. One held rice cakes smeared with banana. That was gross-looking but on a long ride would probably taste great.
Strange things happen to appetite out on a long ride. After a Clif bar or two, the body starts to reject them. The taste buds revolt. Plus I need salt at some point, and we stop at Casey’s, the gas station mini-mart available in most small towns, where there are cheese and meat sticks that taste so good when the sweat is pouring down your body.
Those border on real food. Who knows what’s in those meat sticks other than salt and shredded cow parts? But they seem like real food. Back before I had my colonoscopy, my brother warned that it’s good to get the innards checked. “Haven’t you ever eaten a Slim Jim?” he asked. He sought to warn me that those types of processed foods were not good for the colon.
And he’s probably right. Fortunately my colon checked out fine with the exception of one or two non-cancerous polyps. They clipped them off like raspberries off a bush and that was that.
I’m trying to move toward eating more real food in any event. The cup of fruit I bring to work is just one way of treating my body better. I bought a big green plastic cup to drink more water, which I like with ice.
It may not be a perfect turning of a new leaf, but all of life is incremental. You do what you can. Do you?