It’s not just about controlling the chimp, there are other characters sitting in my head and the health freak is particularly troublesome.
I have lots of little voices in my head when I run, a veritable zoo at times what with the barely under control the chimp and the tiger that every now and again puts in an appearance; but there are the other more human voices rather like ‘Inside Out’.
The chimp is ever present. He can be quiet, almost silent at times and then can burst out the cage on a screaming rampage. My tiger is more positive and roars approvingly when I am fired up and going for it. As for the other voices: there is the wheedling give up devil, the MTFU sergeant major and then there is the health freak.
The health freak is a complete and total pain and I still have not found a way to turn him off. This is the voice that mid race jumps in and says;
‘Ah, Ah! No you can’t eat that’
‘Are you sure about that?’
‘No, you can’t possibly eat potato and rice pudding at the same stop’
‘What, another pack of Haribos: really?’
‘Why are you having another Espresso Shot can, you had one at the last checkpoint’
‘How much caffeine have you had?’
'Foam bananas? Really? Are you sure the chimp deserves a treat?'
Aaarrgh! Shut up, shut up. I can eat whatever I want. Don’t you know I am burning a gazillion calories?
Is it any wonder I have issues with nutrition and hydration during events.
Where is that voice when I am buying that large piece of cake or indulging in that mid-week glass of wine or bottle of beer?
It is one of life’s ironies that as runners we focus on healthy eating, ensuring that we have a healthy and nutritious diet to provide energy, aid recovery and muscle repair and then during races eat the biggest load of rubbish ever.
A glimpse into my race food bag:
Starbuck’s espresso shots cans, Coke, Pringles, Hula Hoops, Mini Cheddars, rice pudding, Haribo’s and Randoms, fruit salad, flapjack, the occasional mini pork pie or sandwich, packet chicken noodle soup, mini savoury snack eggs, Yop yoghurt drink, cherry juice, apple juice …….
It is a veritable feast for your average couch potato.
In my defence the rice pudding is organic and the fruit salad and flapjack are homemade.
But you get the picture, and probably feel rather nauseous now. I do, and the health freak definitely does, which is probably why he is so bothersome during races.
The fact is we need to fuel and we need to continually fuel during ultras. Yes, there are sports specific products but I for one cannot stomach them over long efforts and any more than four energy gels gives me gastric issues. During long events you need solid proper food that is high in calories and easily digested, and you needs flavours and treats that will tempt you when you are at your most tired and just not wanting to eat anything at all.
I have just put together my food bags and supplies for The Devil O’ The Highlands. As ever there is far too much food, and there is enough to give the health freak apoplexy, but it is the health freak’s fault. He is why I so often either don’t want what I planned or don’t know what I want.
So, on Saturday, I shall make strenuous efforts to tell him to **** right off and attempt to eat my own bodyweight in 'rubbish'.