Monday, April 15, 2013

Danni's diet run

I reflected in my last post about hunger for adventure and the way it drives my life, and then settled into a rather uneventful week at home. Like all things in life, even adventure needs balance, an ebb and flow. April is generally a quiet month, and it's a good time to hunker down, do income-generating work, finish taxes, organize, spring clean, buy new furniture, scrape the winter mud off bikes, schedule appointments, take the car in for service ... and of course the mundane list goes on. Life maintenance, my friends call it. The stuff that is required to continue having adventures.

And of course there is training. Training is a less mundane and arguably less important component of future adventuring. But it is important. I feel like I put some great deposits in my fitness bank during the winter, and then I went ahead and withdrew everything in Alaska. It was worth it, but I returned to California with tired jelly legs and little maintained running fitness. My big summer adventures will require me to be comfortable and confident on my feet, and I feel like I need to rebuild my base. I filled the week with moderate-distance trail runs under the mantra of "time on my feet, get used to the heat" ... with the hope that my legs will eventually HTFU, my stomach will get back on line with this warm-weather nonsense, and then I can do a short build of the relative speed I'll need to finish the Quicksilver 50-miler, which has a 12-hour cutoff and is four weeks away (May 11). It seems to be working so far.

One actual fun thing that happened this week is my friend Danni visited on Friday and Saturday. She was in San Francisco for work and was able to swing an extra day with us before she had to jet back to Montana. Three weeks ago, Danni completed the White Mountains 100 — a hundred miles of sled-dragging in the fierce cold and snow of Fairbanks, Alaska — and then chased that adventure with a week of endurance gluttony and sloth (her words) in Mexico. She then decided to complete the trifecta with a three-week, extreme low-carb diet (she tells me she's just trying to quickly trim down to her fighting weight so she can keep up with fast hiking partners during summer backpacking trips.) Danni's diet is ridiculous, really, for someone whose weight loss needs are questionable at best; it includes a mere 50 grams of carbohydrates a day and stipulates that it's not a good idea to exercise at all while adhering to its strict nutrition plan. Despite this dire warning, Danni thought it would be interesting and fun (her words) to try a twelve-mile trail run with minimal glycogen in her muscles and no carbs for fuel (she did buy a Builder Bar to break open in case of extreme bonk.) I do love the way Danni thinks.

Beat put together a loop on our home mountain that included nearly 3,000 feet of climbing on steep pitches interspersed with long, rolling descents. Danni was excited to try out her new Anton Krupicka signature race vest and Lululemon shorts that she picked up in San Fran — and as all runners and cyclists know, any run or ride infused with new gear automatically becomes at least 15 percent more fun. I was interested to see how Danni did with the "bonk run." I've actually always wanted to try one of these in training, to test my own capabilities to burn fat as fuel. But so far I've been too scared (and also admittedly adverse to fasts of any sort.)

In short, she did great. She said her muscles felt empty and she had an overall low level of energy, but her energy level did remain steady during the run and she was able to maintain a consistent pace. We speculated that her long-distance endurance base is probably what boosted her through the run; few people would endure, let along tolerate, such a long effort on so little glycogen. Danni's experiment does bring up interesting considerations about fueling during long runs. My stomach is prone to turning sour — plus carrying food is a pain — so I'm intrigued by the notion of training my body to burn fat during a long endurance event. But I do prefer high-level energy to low-level energy, and I'd rather finish my adventures rather than flare out in a glorious bonk. So I'll probably stick to carbs for the time being.

This week was my first in quite a long while with zero biking. Sad, in many ways, but I was in a time crunch for much of the week that left me less time for going outside, and also committed to rebuilding my running base. Gotta get those feet in shape somehow. I feel good about my progress. During today's run with Beat, I felt gooey and sluggish and couldn't hold his pace without feeling pukey, so I shadowed behind and lamented my slowness. But after we wrapped up twelve miles on what is a tough trail route for me, I looked at my watch and saw it took two hours and nine minutes, which is not all that bad. Deposits in the fitness bank for a rich future of adventuring.

Monday: 6.2 miles, 983 feet of climbing
Tuesday: 0
Wednesday: 9.6 miles, 2,455 feet of climbing
Thursday: 8.1 miles, 1,592 feet of climbing
Friday: 7.0 miles, 1,213 feet of climbing
Saturday: 12.0 miles, 2,990 feet of climbing
Sunday: 11.9 miles, 2,229 feet of climbing
Total: 54.8 miles, 11,462 feet of climbing


  1. The question is, did she get out of it what she wanted? :)

  2. I have gotten what I've wanted out of everything :p

    So much fun hanging out. I went home and ate cookies after drinking my free first class wine but have otherwise stuck to it and am doing well.

  3. Danni, you look way too cute in those shorts to be someone who needs that kind of diet!


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