Table Mountain Challenge 2017 Race Report

Phillip Gibb  —  September 7, 2017 — Leave a comment

This was going to be the race where I was going to apply all that I had learned about banting and ketosis. I got it wrong again. I do know where I went wrong, so next time there will be a few adjustments, that next time being the Hout Bay Triple Trouble.

The week before I ran the start and end parts of the race to get a feel for what the reverse route would be like. That was a truly eye opening experience because it was hard and because I suffered for a few days after that with DOMS; completely unexpected considering that I was accustomed to that kind of elevation gain. One thing was for sure was that I was not under any false illusions, or was I?

At registration I asked to be placed in A batch because I thought I has a shot a the vets podium, ha ha ha ha.


Race Day

Before the race I put in some solid worm up drills and I was ready. In hindsight I wish I has stayed in B batch then I could have taken more photos. Anyway, my decision was made and I blasted off with the big boys. The start was not too bad, I was even surprised at how fast Kasteelpoort appeared and how fresh I felt. Getting to the top was not much of a problem, even got a PB for myself. The top was awesome, then kind of running I enjoy, the down section blazed by without incident except on almost tumble that resulted in a max rep push up with all the momentum of my run behind it, and wrong turn that added  few hundred meters along with some scrambling.

After the descent to Suikerbossie , I started to feel the effects of my mistake; not enough carbs the day before. I was starting to needlessly walk so I took a keto nutrition keto bar, but that was not going to be enough. It was a bit of a slog but I managed to get to Constansia Nek and refill just after the TMC lite set off. At this point I really should have dropped my pride and taken on some carbs.

From here on, it became clear that I was back to my dreaded dilemma that I hate so much; all the energy in the world for flats and descents yet absolutely nothing for anything more that 1 degree of ascent. It was a sucker punch. When I arrived to the 400 steps I was done for. With the effects of light headedness and the knowledge of what lay before me – the price you pay for knowing the route – I decided to bail. It was an easy decision because getting to Kirstenbosch and rescue was all downhill and easy, too easy.

In hindsight and knowing what my heart rate was doing I do believe that it was the correct decision both because of my mistake and because I really do think that something hampered my system on the day. My Resting Heart Rate started to increase on the Saturday and spiked on Sunday to 57, it is normally 49. I guess that if I had a strap and was monitoring Heart Rate Variability, it might have been suggested that I do not take part in a physical activity. A poor excuse, I know, but I am using it.

Where I went  Wrong – the Diet the day before

TMC2017NutritionDayB4It is evident from the food I consumed the day before that I did not eat enough Carbs. The recommended amount from those I trust is 100g to 150g; I was well below the mark. So while I had been maintaining ketosis from the last 3 -4 weeks of this kind of nutrition profile, I was not ready for what was going to happen on Sunday. From my previous two posts I should have known this, but alas I was not thinking straight – I was caught up in the momentum of my day to day food choices. It was always clear that a race and especially a race like the TMC that my Heart Rate  was going to start in the Anaerobic zone for a long time.

TMC2017HR TMC2017Splits


From the above screenshots , it is exceedingly obvious that I spent a long time, maybe too long, in a glycogen burning zone.

Aaaaaand here is what I ate ….


Going Forward

I have been reading a good article called Jeff Browning Running on FAT, I really like Jeff’s approach because it is balanced and realistic. In some ways it takes the pressure off especially in Race Nutrition.  From now on I am not going to fight to keep my carbs below 50g (it is not like I am trying to loose weight) rather aim for no more than 80g, and then make sure I hit that 150g the day before the big race or big training run.

Photo Credit Govan Basson – TotalKaos Photo

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