Sodium, Coffee, and the Next Race

This blog looks like it may contain a lot of info! But lets see how far we get.

I’m not sure where to start, which may soon make sense, so let’s start with sodium. I have talked a little about sodium already, In short, when in Ketosis the body expels extra water and takes sodium with it (remember, carbs hold 2.4 g water for every 1 g of carb). Thus, sodium intake must be increased on a ketogenic diet – another not-so-intuitive aspect of the diet. Sodium (primarily found in salt and the salt in processed foods), along with fat are two of modern society’s true evils – so I do love that this diet requires increasing them both.

Anyway, sodium intake should be increased to account for this extra sodium loss, with Volek and Phinney recommending about 5000 mg (5g) per day. This is a decent amount of salt to take in on a daily basis – and for me it is particularly a lot as I am not a fan of salty foods. So I have taken to Kimchi as a main salt source for myself. Volek and Phinney recommend a bouillon broth, but I don’t think this is as good as Kimchi, or another fermented food (sauerkraut, miso, tamari), as it does not seem to offer any other benefits.

So I had been consuming a good amount of Kimchi after buying a good amount at a local korean shop, but, in reality, it isn’t a great Kimchi so I lost interest in eating it, thus lowering my sodium intake.

Today I may have paid the price for that. Today, was a headache day. Not all day long, but at numerous points throughout the day and in quick pangs of pain. Nothing too severe, but I am not at all prone to headaches so I really notice when they come. And headaches are one of the symptoms of sodium deficiency.

Now on its own I may have shrugged the headache off to something else (perhaps coffee, my second subject), but after coming home today I laid down for a 90-minute nap; and fatigue is another sign of sodium deficiency.

So this may or may not be the case, but I did take in a lot of sodium today in the form of kimchi, miso, and tamari. And to be sure I will get back on the kimchi cycle to ensure I am taking it every day and add a miso broth with tamari to my day as well. I do have my own kimchi in the works, but it is still several weeks away from being ready. Which means I may want to start on my next batch soon!

So I am not yet sure sodium is the issue with my headache and nap today, but intuition tells me it is so. In fact, the past few days I notice I have been wanting to eat more Kimchi, even if somewhat reluctantly, so I will also take that as a sign.

However, the other factor could be as I am not going to remove coffee from my diet. Now, coffee is not recommended on the Ketogenic diet, but it has no carbs and tastes great, so I’m taking some liberties. Though I have been often drinking a version of the Bulletproof coffee by adding a tablespoon or so of coconut oil to my cup. I have been thinking about switching to adding raw chocolate as it is very high in fat as well, but I feel coffee should take a leave of absence for a while.

But losing coffee is not so much about diet as it is about stomach pain. I often drink too much coffee in the morning on race days and I think this affects my gut and brings pain on intense parts of races. I think this happened at Whistler this year and may have happened there last year as well (though water intake was also a factor last year).

There may be some coffee advantages ( I had previously read it promotes burning fat more quickly), but if it gets rid of my gut problems during races then I say good riddance. I could just not drink it on race day, but that would be a change in routine from other days if I contribute to drink it otherwise. Or I could just have a well-timed espresso on race day and see how that goes!

And last but not least is the next race – Seymour 5 Peaks. This is the last race in the 5 Peaks series this year (Buntzen Lake is a bonus race in a few weeks). I ran this race last year and took first in my age and 3rd overall – though it was a smaller field than usual.

I really like this course, which starts off downhill and only has one steep climb which is right at the end of the race. The rest is rolling terrain that I really like. I think the key for this race is getting really well warmed up and getting a very fast start to take advantage of the downhill to start. That way there is no worry about passing folks later in the race. I’m going into the race feeling pretty good even though today was a shitty day. I think I’ll recover well by Saturday.

I will be reviewing my Whistler blog to come up with an eating plan to prep for this race as well.

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