If all memory is essentially Proustian then the scent of coconut has moved from the memory of lazy days on the beach and exotic (i.e. beyond my reach) girls to the memory of feeling stupid, exhausted and alone in the middle of a strange country (i.e. ultra running).
So, as I popped the lid on the jar of coconut oil yesterday morning to make a cup of bulletproof coffee (butter + coconut oil + coffee – not as bad as it sounds) I was not whisked away to a land of sultry ladies but was landed in the middle of the night fighting my inner
stupidity demons with 50km left to run.
Why would I want to drink this magic concoction as a replacement for a nice bowl of porridge? Read on: As something to take my mind off of my creeping sense of morality I have decided to enter an ultra marathon in 2 weeks. I’m flip-flopping between the 50km and the 50 mile. I think I’ll opt for the 50 mile – hear me out – as it will allow me to make a mess of the last 10 miles and still be able to tell a good pub story. The 50km will require a “decent show” all day and I’m not sure I’m up for that.
In arriving at a decision like this there are two things that cause me real anxiety. The first is quite predicable: Who want’s to start running at 06:00 on Easter Saturday?! That’s just not normal. The second one is linked to the coffee: After about 30 miles of running on carbohydrates my digestive system is the first thing to hoist the white flag of surrender. I just can’t touch any food after that amount of time sucking down gels and munching jelly babies.
For the first one of these I’ll solve it by sleeping in the car at the start of the race – this will ensure that I can sleep until 05:30 before the running starts.
The second one involves the buttered coffee. I could pretend to spoof you on the science of it but I won’t. Essentially if you restart the engine with fat and not sugar in the morning you can operate all day on almost no sugar. If you are more curious just throw some of the following terms into a search engine and sit back: Ketogenisis, LCHF, Up-regulating fat metabolism, fat adapted.
Back to the training: So, having fasted for over 13 hours I struck out for a long run just before midday yesterday with a couple of cups of the buttered coffee in my stomach. The first five miles were a bit disconcerting as my stomach was wondering where the sugar had gone. But then, as your body realises that there are only two gears – slow and really slow – you settle into the running.
I made it to 22.5 miles before I got so bored I decided that that was enough. I think there were another 2 or 3 miles in there without any problem but I don’t like pushing the marathon distance in training as it leaves nothing else to aim for.
I’ll try and make an effort to eat less carbs over the next few weeks and increase the number of these fat coffee runs. That should make the 50 miles a bit more bearable. I wonder if I wore a hula-skirt would it help bring back the memory of the exotic beach holiday?