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Geeking Out Over…Food as Fuel – The Results
We did it!
After nearly 28 hours, most of which had involved mind-blowing pain and agony, MJ and I danced across the finishing line at Brighton racecourse to the cheers of the assembled supporters and friends, to complete our 100km London to Brighton challenge.
Some of you may be seasoned endurance participants, but I don’t think anything could prepare you for the undulating terror of this mammoth course. And the worst part was the way the further we got, the more sadistic the challenges became, culminating with six furlongs round the rolling racecourse, with the finishing line in sight for way too long.
So what food did we rely upon to fuel us on our way? Well, with many items on offer, and many views expressed as to the real “proper” way to do things, I sampled from a dizzying array.
The day started at 6am with a plate of penne arrabbiata, on the basis that pasta is a tried and tested winner at providing carbohydrate goodness. Directly before we set out, my brother insisted that we ate a sausage and egg muffin, from a popular fast food emporium. This was more for ritual than nutritional value, which was just as well.
In my pack at the outset, I had the following food items: biltong (South African style dried beef); trail mix (heavy on the dried banana); jelly babies; and, of course, Moroccan chicken and chickpea soupy soup. My fellow walker, the redoubtable MJ, carried: peanut butter sandwiches; granola bars; and an array of dried fruit and nuts. We both carried water along with port-filled hip-flasks, as well as various energy gel potions.
These items were supplemented by regular feeding stations provided by the organisers, along the way. In true British style, there was a heavy emphasis on cups of tea, of which I sampled many. At half way, a hot meal of meatballs, chicken and ratatouille was provided. By this point, we were plenty hungry enough, but not even that could mask the hideousness of the ratatouille. Seriously, it was one of the most revolting substances I’ve ever had in my mouth. But this was virtually the only blip in what was an otherwise immaculately organised event.
We both wolfed down bananas at regular intervals. I got a nice sausage sandwich as 75km. It was delightful to be confronted with a big dish of Turkish Delight bars at one of the interim stations. A couple of delicious homemade treats provided by team-mates were great morale boosters, and the chocolate filled crepes at the final stop were instrumental in convincing me to keep going to the end.
Sadly, the jelly babies made me feel quite nauseated, so were quickly returned to their basket, but I have to admit that the energy gel potions were remarkably good at providing a quick burst of energy.
In the face of this extremely severe challenge, food was reduced to mere fuel. The key lesson was to ensure variety, so a single taste, however lovely to begin with, didn’t grow stale and irksome. My intake was nothing if not varied, so I ably dodged this bullet, but those relying on a steady diet of bananas, or wine gums, or granola bars alone, were soon adding “taste fatigue” to their growing list of pains.
With the walk now completed, we have a month to finalise our sponsorship total. If you fancy supporting our endeavours, pop over to http://www.bmycharity.com/lunchquest and add to our total.
The charity we walked for is Action for A-T. Visit their website at http://www.actionforat.org/ for further details.
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