In mid-November I surprised myself by taking on the task of tackling my very own ultrarun, which consisted of 50-miles of enjoying trails, crossing rivers and running side by side with my best friend. It wasn’t as big of a task as Will’s 100-mile ultra that he completed earlier this year (more details about that below) as 50 was plenty for these swimmer feet.
Running an ultra was something I never strongly desired to complete, but those who know me know I like a good athletic challenge from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy running. However, usually I stick to the marathons and shorter distances – you can’t keep these gills out of the water too long!
It was a day I will never forget – Will and I side by side enjoying our time together, the journey and beautiful day as it unfolded.
It was an interesting east coast fall day (which in looking back felt like three races in one). We started the 6:30am run with cool 40-degree temperatures where roughly the first 15 miles consisted of fun rolling hills along the single lane moderately rocky Appalachian Trail before dropping down along the C&O canal and running beside the river. Our nutritional intake throughout the day was key to ensure we kept a steady and consistent pace. As the morning became afternoon the weather reached a high of 73 degrees before quickly taking a turn. The final third of the event consisting of 30 mph gusts of wind, hail, freezing rain, wet rain and chilly 30-degree temperatures as we tackled the final rolling hills to the finish line.
Throughout the 50.2 mile “U” shaped point-to-point adventure we carried gloves, beanies, a rain jacket and extra leggings for potential cold weather, and we were sure glad we had them! Will loves running in the cooler temperatures, but at mile 35 as the strong cold gusts of wind blew right through us and pellets fell from the sky, we happily put on our extra layers.
Flash back several years…
One of the many joys Will and I share is training outdoors in the beautiful wilderness. With Will’s strong love of running and enjoying the vast terrain Mother Nature has to offer, training for and competing in the 100-mile event was a huge success, though it was definitely not for the light-hearted. It covered 24,000-feet of elevation gain throughout the Santa Ynez Mountains in Los Padres National Forest overlooking Santa Barbara – an impressive task, and a task done extremely well.
But things haven’t always run so smoothly for our bodies. Though in looking back at where Will used to be, he never imagined that completing 100-miles was in his future. Yes, Will has run many marathons, 5-6 in a year some times. Though those marathons were performed along with taking anti-inflammatories to get him through his marathons – a tale tell sign that something was not going well in his body. It wasn’t the amount of running or mileage he was doing that gave him the unwanted symptoms, but the improper nutritional intake that didn’t allow his body to perform and recover as it should have.
As the years have passed we’ve researched evidence-based publications, listened to our bodies and performed studies on ourselves (n=2), allowing us to learn what works individually and enables us to take our performance to a whole new level.
Listening to your body’s signs and symptoms is essential as it allows you to better understand that “something’s up,” thus be able to do something to improve the situation.
Frequently I have clients come to me because they’ve found themselves wanting to feel better and attain individualized health goals. Some are reaching for an afternoon caffeine boost to try to get them through the rest of the day, some are taking antacids for heartburn, and then there are some individuals who are trying to limit their joint pain by taking anti-inflammatories, can you relate or know of anyone who does?
By listening to your body, and taking the appropriate steps, getting to the root cause(s) of your signs and symptoms it helps tame the inflammatory storm occurring from within and allows you to perform better, and with more joy!
“I used to take 1,000 mg of Motrin before, during and after the race and still have knee and occasionally ankle pain. The post race celebration consisted of gobbling down Motrin and a victory beer.” ~ Will
The high impact of running continuous hours on challenging trails with rocks, steep terrain and uneven surfaces can increase an individual’s chance for injury. Let alone the great need for constant energy sources that are easy on the digestive system and limit the inflammatory impacts that can negatively impact his body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients. Without key nutrients it places an increased amount of stress on the body, specifically on the already hardworking muscles, joints and organs. Biochemical reactions occur in the body to fuel the body and continue running in an energized and happy state.
So, what have been key nutritional aspects to help fuel us?
Throughout training we greatly limited and eliminated pro-inflammatory foods that were causing damaging to our bodies. Here are just a few of the foods we focused on:
What about throughout the race? Here are a few foods we enjoy during ultra-endurance events:
Remember, one person’s food can be another person’s poison. We are individuals with different biochemical genetic make-up and lifestyle stressors, so being sure to listen to your signs and symptoms – it can help a smooth functioning body. If your body is showing a sign or symptom that is not of good health, being sure to look at the factors in your life, in addition to food, is critical to help heal your body from the inside out.
And not only is nutrition key, but ensuring that your daily movement is properly devised is greatly important too! A training regimen needs to be correctly planned, no matter the distance, such as an ultrarun, marathon or a 5K, strength training plan, stretching regimen, or anything of the like. Running or any type of training program should be carefully plotted to help limit injuries and allow for maximum performance.
Maybe you’re wanting more energy to be more active throughout life and in workouts? If so, then wanting more energy is a must read for more information what steps you can implement today.
What are your 2017 healthy and active goals? I’d love to hear from you.
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
Hello, my name is Stacy Phillips, licensed Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health, Wellness and Strength & Conditioning Coach with a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals around the globe.
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