The big old bike-run training bricks I have almost every weekend this summer are obviously important to preparations for IM Louisville. There's just no substitute for running after biking hours upon hours when it comes to training your body to run a marathon after biking 112 miles following a little dip in the Ohio River.
A major part of the preparation effort involves nailing down nutrition and hydration needs, which means that when I send the details of my long workouts to coach after finishing them up, I include details about my salt, fluid, and calorie intake before and during the ride. I've been a little short in the fluid intake department, and made note of this in one of my reports, but my coach zeroed in elsewhere.
EAT MORE BEFORE YOU LEAVE.
Apparently I was about 100 calories short of where I should be before rolling out on my bike.
And just like that, a package showed up.
Perfect Fuel Chocolate sent me some samples of 74% cacao raw chocolate, enhanced with ginseng.
Each piece is 80 calories, and is designed for ideally fueling a workout if enjoyed 30 minutes before starting. Perhaps this could be the solution to my pre-long-brick intake problem.
They also sent temporary tattoos, which probably do not have any calories, so I saved those for use another time.
And then I happily pulled one out at 5 am on July 7 before setting out for a 6+ hour brick, complete with a heat index that crept up over 110 F by the time I was doing the 1 hour run on Connecticut Avenue.
I recently reviewed the chocolate's flavor and texture on my chocolate blog, but to summarize, it is neither sugary nor bitter. It is certainly not sweet chocolate, and it offers pleasing red fruit, floral, and citrus flavors.
But the important question to answer on THIS blog is this: did it help my workout?
It sure didn't cause GI distress, which is a major consideration for anything included in a fueling plan for races or long workouts. It was a nice, dense form of 80 calories with a good chunk of fat to slowly burn throughout a 6+ hour workout (or a 13+, 14+, 15+, 16+ hour Ironman, as it may be) without overloading my stomach at the beginning. And I didn't find myself hungry at the end of the workout. Now, that's not to say that this tided me over for the entire brick. No, not at all - I took in plenty of sports drink and other calories during the ride itself. But with the foundation of the bit of chocolate in the morning, I had a little more to carry me the entire way.
Dark chocolate in the pre-race plan? Who can argue with that?