A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stick with What Works...and BEEF Works!

I've often wondered what it feels like on the Monday after a 202-mile run. Yea...right. I might have run 202 miles this past year. But this past weekend? Not so much.

Dane Rauschenberg did. Seriously. Dane ran 202-miles from Gettysburg, Penn. to Washington, D.C. in just over 50 hours! So I asked him, what did it feel like?

[Left: Dane enjoys an "Outback Special" steak at his post-race meal in Washington, D.C.]

"As with most things of this nature it was more relief than exuberance," said Dane.

Most things of this nature? I can't even think of anything of the nature of running 202 miles in just over two days.

"For over two days I had to keep my emotions in check. Only until the last quarter of a mile could I really allow myself to visualize being done."

Now this I sort of understand. When I completed my first Ironman 70.3 three years ago I remember wanting to cry around mile 8 of the 13.1 mile run (after a 56-mile bike following a 1.2 mile swim). When my brother met me with one mile to go and asked how I was doing my answer was "pain." But I didn't allow emotions to surface until my daughter joined me for the final 100-yard dash...er, hobble.

[Above: That's my daughter Shelby, Harry Potter book in hand, racing me to the finish line at the 2007 Vineman 70.3 Ironman]

But that was only 70.3 miles swimming, biking and running for just under six and one-half hours (6:27:43). How would it feel to run 202 miles in 50 hours? I cannot imagine. Why would anybody want to challenge their body to such extremes?

"As I often say - why not?" explains Dane. "If someone can come up with a reason why I should not do something I want to do, and I cannot refute it, I won't do it. Hasn't happened yet."

As I thought about Dane running for 50 hours, 16 minutes and 58 seconds the question on my mind was, "What did he eat?" So I asked.

"I fueled myself in the beginning on many Powerbar products but knew I also needed to have 'real' food. Diet while running an event like this is very tricky. You eat what your body says it wants when it wants it. That included peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sausage egg McMuffins, Subway, tomato soup, chips, pretzels and many other things."

Of course I had to ask Dane if he had a steak during the race. After all, he tweeted "I want a steak" 118 miles into the race (read all of Dane's in-race tweets on his Strands profile). And according to his lastest post on the Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine blog, he was "craving one the entire race."

"I knew as much as I craved a steak I did need to wait until the end to put that in my body." And that's exactly what he did. Dane's post-race meal was the Outback Special signature sirloin (one of the 29 lean cuts of beef) at an Outback Steakhouse in Washington, D.C. According to Dane, protein is an important part of his pre- and post-race training diet.

"We all know we need carbs to do well in extended distance races but to neglect protein is to do so at one's own peril. I am not a dietitian and never claim to be (have often eaten things that would make you shake your head before during and after races) but I know what works for me."

"Know what works for you and stick with it" is a common theme among elite athletes. As Olympian 1500/5000 meter runner Bernard Lagat said in Runner's World, "Secrets of the Olympians"...

I love steak, and I have to have steak the day before I race. Some people are afraid to eat steak before a competition because they think it'll make them too full and slow them down. But in Osaka [at the 2007 World Championships], before I raced, I went to Outback and ordered the biggest steak I could, and I won. You have to do what works for your body.

So why beef? The zinc, iron and B-vitamins in beef provide fuel for physical activity. Iron helps your blood carry oxygen to your vital organs and muscles (pretty important during intense physical activity!). Zinc helps build your immune system and enhance cognitive function. B vitamins provide energy (check the label on those sugary energy drinks and you'll see that most are loaded with B vitamins).

Calorie for calorie, lean beef is one of the most flavorful and efficient ways to meet the daily value for 10 essential nutrients and provides 20 grams of protein per serving. That's why I like to call beef "nature's best-tasting multivitamin!"

So stick with what works. Stick with BEEF!

Next up on Beef Man...Barb Does Boston, a recap of Kansas rancher Barb Downey's Boston Marathon run.

Ride on!


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