RunKeto.com - We are Running on Ketones. This is not a typical story; we are endurance athletes at different stages of our lives, who are experimenting with a low carb Ketogenic diet. We are not doctors or scientists, just athletes. Anthony is the youngest and the fastest, age 20, and prefers ultra road running. Eric (ZoomZoom), age 27, is ukulele playing mixed distance runner. Dan (SKA Runner), age 42, is new to running, prefers mountains ultras, and a bit of a computer geek. Bob(uglyrnrboy), age 54, prefers mountains ultras and loves to tele ski. This site, www.RunKeto.com, will document our journey as endurance athletes implementing a low carb ketogenic diet in to our lives. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have about our experiences.
As I settle into 100 mile weeks for my winter base, the time has come to look back at the year. I've raced 22 times this year, counting track meets with multiple events as one race, from 400 meters to 100 miles. I've won 6 races, from 1500 meters on the track to 50 miles on insane, washed-out/flooded, trails. I finished the year with the RRCA Western Regional XC Championships earlier this month where I pulled off a second place finish (like 30 seconds behind) to a guy way out of my league in terms of road speed.
My biggest problem this year has been race selection. I need to start picking races based solely on the level of competition. Winning a race nobody has heard of isn't going to get me closer to running professionally at this point. Denver Rock N Roll 26.2 was solid for that reason, maybe another big city marathon should be in the cards for next fall.
To stay strong and sharp, and keep training enjoyable, I'll be racing my first season in snowshoes this winter. The Beaver Creek Series is the first weekend each month from January to March and had offered prize money in years past. Winning the series would be a big deal for me. And racing 10k's at 9000 feet, in snow, with my feet weighted, is gona be a great way to prep for April's big goal race.
The first ultra on my calendar is the USATF 100k Road Championships on April 12th, a race that seems almost perfectly designed for me (gently rolling, road, and just over 50 miles) and one with fast enough dudes (and ladies for that matter!) that my chances of a top-3 are small to say it gently. -However, a win there would mean a chance to go to Europe and represent team USA, something that needs to happen before I retire from this craziness. This will be the biggest race of my running career to date. I'm also planning on the Platte River Half Marathon the weekend before to build some confidence with a PR, hopefully a 1:18:xx.
May will be spent almost purely training on trails and climbing. I'll get out to Golden Gate Canyon State Park at least once to camp on the race course for Dirty Thirty and get used to the idea of running fast there. Also, BoulderBoulder is a must and I have to run it well, so that'll cost me a a few days of training, a 35:15'ish would be the "A" goal as of now.
Next will be the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50k in June, right here near Golden, Colorado. This one has quietly become extremely competitive and is too close to home to ever justify missing. If I can get halfway decent at climbing I'll be ready to kick some elite ass here.
My end of summer "A" race is the Silver Rush (Leadville) 50 miler in July, one more that brings out serious runners every year. And it fits me well: non-technical, 50 miles, and close to home so I can train on the course.
This is the year; my stock is gona quadruple in the next 10 months! Any companies wana buy in now?
----Now to the dietary analysis:
This year had more incredible races than ever before and I credit it to my diet almost entirely. I train hard so I can run faster, but I eat a low-carb diet so I can enjoy running more. -those two are largely independent. Devil Mountain was 100% conclusive for me that I'm doing the right thing for my running. Feeling amazing from miles 18 to mile 45'ish is worth any price. I get goosebumps just thinking back to those miles. Carbs won't get you there.
Even my shorter races are more enjoyable if feel. When I did my first winter (2011/12) with a huge base building phase I noticed a huge increase in how shorter races felt, part of that was due to the liberating effect of knowing that 5ks and such were no longer "my race." They felt more playful; all the sudden I could hop in a 5k and run it like a dog: hard but smiling and with my tongue out! This past summer (after about a year in ketosis) I felt that same joy, and lack of brain-darkening feelings, at both a 1500 meter race on a track in Boulder and at the Pearl Street Mile. Both of those were done with hardly any speedwork and not far off PR times from sea level. But the way I felt was beyond explanation: as my body flooded with acid and my legs began to rebel, my brain remained as clear and focused as it was at the starting line. I used to think this phenomenon was just a good race. I'm not convinced there's some ketone-related science related to it. Perhaps ketones help maintain brain function even in an all-out race such as the mile/1500.
I came across at least one study that seems to support this theory:
"Hypoxia induced preferential ketone utilization by rat brain slices"
"These results are consistent with the hypothesis that ketones can be used in addition to glucose as a substrate for brain energy production even during reduced oxygen availability."
And I'm still getting faster, enjoying running more than ever, staying injury-free, and feeling healthy.
My ketogenic eating staples this year, things I ate almost daily:
-almonds and almond -butter and -flour
-peppers of all kinds
-meat of all kinds
-leaves of all kinds
See you in 2014,
G. Anthony Kunkel
I continue to increase both my reps and weights. Some highlights from the last few weeks are:
600 reps in 25 min for my back, bi, and shoulder day.
Pyramids on leg day finishing with 600 lb leg press for 10 reps.
My trainer is trying to create muscle confusion by frequently varying the weights, reps, and order. This makes it difficult to directly compare certain exercises from week to week. He severely limits the frequency of dead lifts and squats citing that it takes at least 2 weeks to recover from them. They are my favorite so I wish I could do them more often.
Rigorous scientific method has been defeated by the capricious nature of life. I wanted to use the same camera, lighting, poses, and photographer, but the camera breaking was the first thing to go wrong.
None the less I've done the best I can.
To be honest I'm very embarrassed by these pictures. My mental image of a beautiful body is firmly rooted in a distance running perspective.
I have been able to keep my measurements scientifically rigorous.
I'm not exactly sure what to make of the numbers and pictures. Waist to hip ratio, and weight indicated a lower BF% from last month but still worse than at the start. Biceps when down in size despite increasing my 20 rep weight by 10 lbs. Clearly the pictures show muscle and positional a symmetries. I've had these for a long long time and I hope that weight lifting will help to balance everything out. Here is a picture from this time last year 12/5/13:
Ingredients for 100g of 95% Dark Chocolate:
60g Unsweetened Bakers Chocolate
25g Cocoa Fat or any fat that is solid at room temperature.
Melt bakers chocolate. Best to use a double boiler but not necessary.
Add in fat source and melt it into the chocolate.
Grind up GOS and sugar replacement in coffee grinder into a powder and add to melt.
Pour into muffin tin or similar and put in refrigerator or freezer.
Extra Notes: You don't have to use bakers chocolate. You can use undutched (not alkali processed) cocoa powder. 32g of cocoa powder and up the solid fat source to 53g total.
I used a blend of erythritol, stevia, and lo han guo powder. The 2g amount is for 1:1 replacement with sugar. Don't put in 2g of stevia or it will be way too sweet. To make the chocolate less dark just add a little bit more sweetener. Don't put any liquids other than pure fat into the mix or it will not come out right. Other powdered flavorings can be used like instant coffee to make mocha or BCAAs for protein. If you want to put in nuts or fruits place them in your muffin tin and pour the chocolate over it. To completely enclose the nuts in chocolate fill tin 1/2 way, freeze and then add nuts and pour 2nd batch over the top of frozen first batch.
Download this episode (right click and save)
Here is a summary transcript of the interview:
We did a small keto dinner here is what we had on our table.
Herb Buttered Turkey
Cauliflower Mash Potatoes
Keto Stuffing wet and dry
Keto Cranberry Sauce
Keto Pumpkin Pie
Baby Bell Cheese
Aged Decanted Red Burgundy from my collection
Younger Rhone White from my collection
Ah, what I miss most from pre Keto days is all the wine I used to drink. My bottles are going to peak before I can drink them all :(
Not sure what kind of person he is. Judging by his Facebook page of 16 friends and single digits for things he "likes" I might be wasting my time trying to contact him. But sure enough one of his few sacred likes was Peter Attia's Eating Academy page, maybe he's a low carber?! And maybe that's my conversation starter with this hermit of a distance phenom.
Both of us being low carb should be enough to base a friendship on in my book!
-G. Anthony Kunkel
Salt and Pepper
While it is a gigantic health step above all the store bought brands I'm holding out for a non pork option. I put it on their suggested products list along with making them as meaty cracklings instead of just the rinds.
It probably won't be commercially available for decades to come but GMO has the potential to make pigs healthy:
"We have introduced the humanized version
of the fat-1 gene into pigs by somatic cells nuclear transfer (Lai et al., 2006; Li et
al., 2006). The fat-1 pigs not only have a 3 fold increase n-3 PUFAs, but also reduce
their n-6 PUFAs by 25% since the FAT-1 protein effectively converts n-6 PUFAs into
n-3 PUFAs in those pigs. As a result, the n-6/n-3 ratio has been reduced 5-fold (from
8.52 to 1.69) compared to the control pigs. We have also found that all the tissues
tested from the fat-1 transgenic pigs (heart, muscle, liver, kidney, spleen, brain, skin
and tongue) showed much lower n-6/n-3 ratios than control pigs, indicating that the
fat-1 gene is expressed well in most tissues (Lai et al., 2006; Li et al., 2006)."
Moving on to lambs. I just received a big order of grass fed organ meats from Dakota Harvest Farm
US Wellness has become so popular that they are often sold out of my favorite products.
If you have any questions about obesity, inflammation, insulin, or energy balance comment below and we will get Dr. Lagakos to answer them.
His website is http://caloriesproper.com/
Keto Standard -> Keto Mixup
Erythritol / Stevia -> Monk Fruit Sweetener (Lo Han Guo)
This is Wheat Belly Dr. William Davis favorite new sweetener. Coincidentally UCAN just came out with a new flavor using this sweetener. I think it has a sort of caramel like after taste. Use the powdered from for baking approximately 1/2 cup for every 1 cup of sugar. Use the liquid drops for coffee and beverages. Using it does not cause my blood ketones to drop. Be wary of brands that add in other nonketo sweeteners!
Nut / Peanut / Coconut Butters -> Peanut Powder (flour, defatted)
The biggest problem with nut butters is that they have tons of inflammatory omega 6 fats. You can mix peanut flour with the oil of your choice and have peanut butter with the fat profile of your chosen oil. I really like using avocado oil and mct oil. Avocado oil doesn't have any aftertaste. 1/4 cup oil to 1 cup flour makes identical peanut butter. Can be used to flavor fat coffee or baked goods too. Try light tasting olive oil, macadamia oil. Unfortunately the peanut powder still has saponins which can punch holes in your gut just like gluten. Unless you are going crazy overload you should be fine.
Cocoa Powder -> Carob Flour
It tastes better now then it did in the 70 and 80s :) . Cocoa powder is high in phytic acid which blocks micro-nutrient absorption so you probably don't want to be pounding it all the time. If you buy it dutched the phytic acid is removed but so are all the nice polyphenols with their associated health benefits. Carob powder adds the same chocolaty taste to your fat coffee (or use it like the peanut powder above) without the acidity of bakers chocolate. Unfortunately just as with the dutched chocolate it is devoid of polyphenols and has no phytic acid. A little more carby than cocoa (still keto friendly!), very little fat or protein, so it makes for a good flavor agent without screwing up your protein fast. If your into that.
Pork Skins -> Fish Maw
I've talked about this one a lot. Same texture but no omega 6. Fish Maw is 100% collagen. You can also put it in soup and it will take on the same texture (and taste) as shark fin (has no taste o.O ) .
Gelatin / Arrowroot -> Konjac / Glucomannan Flour
This is the same stuff that is in Shiritake Noodles (Nooodle / Miracle Noodle). It is 100% resistant starch. In case you missed all the hoopla about RS it is one of the best foods for controlling blood sugar. You can replace arrowroot flour in any recipe with 1/10 the amount of konjac. It can be used to make the filling of your pies and custards gel up. I haven't tried yet but I bet you could make your own race day shot blocks with this stuff.
So after getting both my parents on the Paleo bandwagon I convinced them to start some weight training. For the last 12 weeks I've been joining them with their POWER LIFTING ex Mr. Universe, ex Worlds Strongest Man, trainer. I've been cajoled into using the winter off season to train for a novice natural physique competition. (This is what it looks like - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR45Rma2TNM) The trainer is totally on board with me doing this all keto. I've been keeping detailed notes, measurements, and pictures and will be blogging about my progress. Build muscle and cut fat at the same time? Hell ya it can be done, keto style!
A ketogenic athlete can average well over 5 calories per gram (again assuming an impossible 100% dehydration, made less impossible by the fact that oils contain pure energy and no water). If you pack something like grassland beef's (grass fed) pemmican then that'll net you over 4.7 calories per gram by itself and taste good still. Add some grass fed butter/tallow and mct oil gruel to that and you'll be comfortably above 5.5 cal/gram.
So lets say you're carrying 7 days of food, a minimum of 14,000 calories:
-best case scenario for a high-carber (freeze dried meals) is just over 4 cal/gram, maybe 4.2 cal/gram ->so 7.35 pounds of food for 7 days
-reasonable case for a keto athlete (pemmican with added oils and baked kale chips for micro nutrients) could be right around 6 cal/gram ->so 5.14 pounds of food for 7 days
->>So if my math is correct 2.21 pounds saved on total pack weight! And you would have a palatable meal plan in my book, albeit a bit spartan.
I'm looking hopefully at numbers like these as I start looking at stage racing as my next logical option. I naturally have excellent recovery and my body feels better running the day after a heavy training day than it does the day before, and since removing carbs I've enjoyed even faster recovery from hard races. I seems like I'm destined to get into this type of running since I:
-want to be competitive
-am not fast enough on the accents or shorter stuff to make that my focus
-don't want to get into 100's and beyond until I'm older and slower
-recover very quickly and have never been injury-prone
-enjoy planning out the logistics
The only part that doesn't fit me perfectly with stage racing is the cost. So if you thought this post was an interesting take on low-carb athletics, please help me race the Atacama Crossing by donating a few dollars and then stay tuned for my podium-finish post about the race!