- 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,, 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.

What is a Nutritional Ketosis Diet? []

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fuelling brain function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. This elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood is a state known as ketosis.


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QUESTION OF THE DAY: Ketogenic Diet, Low Blood Ketone Levels

The quest for “Deep Purple” . . .  A number of people have contacted RunKeto with concerns / questions regarding low ketone levels or achieving “Deep Purple.”  I can't count how many time people have told me, ‘I have never seen Purple.’  What do you guys think?  ~SKA

Here is a little  “Deep Purple” inspiration . . .


Hi -
I hope you don't mind the following! I don't know anyone else with correct background/knowledge to ask, and books read (eg those by Atkins, Taubes, Phinney and Volek) don't give me any possibilities for why and how to fix.

Question is: any idea why my blood ketone level is low (< 0.1 mM), measured with newly purchased blood monitoring device, when I should be well-keto-adapted? And of course also the question: what should I do??

Long explanation: I've been on low-carb way of life for >6 months. I cannot even remember exactly what it felt like when switching (during adaptation period at start) although I do remember marveling at how good I felt (and still feel, so much energy!).

Lifestyle: I do run five days/week, although I had bottomed out on running prior to starting low-carb because of weight gained when I thought low-fat was correct (I had panicked about a small weight gain during a hospital stay and then gained >50 lbs after!), and I'm just starting to enjoy running again now I'm skinnier (but still 20lbs to go). I will be increasing mileage very very slowly having dealt with a stress fracture in recent past (last year) from too-fast distance increase. I'm barely at 10-15 mi/week, but eventually plan on getting back to marathon-running type distance/week. Anyway, low measurement of ketones is despite low-carb diet and currently running (although that is short compared to a few years ago). I eat eggs, cheese, and bacon for breakfast, sometimes leftovers for lunch although often not hungry enough to eat, then a dinner cooked by awesome hubby totally in line with low-carb, eg some meat or fish, with low-carb veggies, and sugar free Jell-O for desert. So WHY low ketones in blood?? What can I do to fix this??

Any ideas guys?

Duncan Callahan Experimenting with a Ketogenic Diet.

Today, I also noticed that Callahan is experimenting with a ketogenic diet.    Looks like 2013 is becoming the year of the “keto runner”, I think it is just the beginning and soon those closet keto runners will be coming out.    Hmmmm,  when are we going to see ‘Keto Friendly’ gels on the shelves of our local running stores?  HA!

From Duncan Callahan’s blog.

Summary – Week of 2/4/13 – 2/10/13 -

“Over the next 7 – 21 days, I will be experimenting with a ketogenic diet, with the high hope of beefing up my fat metabolism. I’d like to do a nutrition-specific blog post at some point in the next two weeks, so stay tuned for that. “

Tim Olson Pre-Race & Race Nutrition . . .

 Stillwater Runner just commented on our site regarding Tim Olson’s race nutrition for the Ray Miller 50 – Very cool Thanks Stillwater!  I read most of the post earlier, but for some reason I did not see the final notes.  Here they are  . . . interesting.  
What do you guys think?
From Olson’s Sole to Soul Rhythm blog.
Food- Always Organic
Day Before
  • Eggs and turkey bacon with yams and kale for lunch
  • Chicken, Sweet potatoes with coconut oil and asparagus for dinner
  • A couple scoops of Justin’s Hazelnut butter.
  • 6- Cliff vanilla goo’s, 3 Vespa’s, a few drinks of coke and a couple Saltsticks every hour.
  • After the race I had leftovers from the prior night, some vino and later had amazing beef and shrimp tacos at Shannon’s! Thanks so much!
Herbal supplements by Natura Health
  • Amino-Max – Supports the body’s ability to create protein, sustain energy and optimize recovery time
  • Botanabol – builds strength and endurance while optimizing energy levels and recovery time.
  • Power Adapt – Elevates mental and physical performance and promotes a healthy stress response.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Ketosis and Pre-Race Fueling

QUESTION  OF THE DAY: from Dave . . .

Hey guys, great website! I am 4 weeks into a low-carb diet and an ultrarunner and things are going great. I have a 100 miler in June and am at a loss on how to fuel. What do I do in the days prior? The morning of? I am too used to carbo-loading. What do I eat during the race? How often? I know everyone is different, but I need a baseline from which to start. Thanks!

Hey Dave, GREAT Question.  I have been thinking about this a lot since I am only 93 days into Ketosis and I have not run an ultra yet while under the influence.  I have been experimenting with 5k –10K fueling, but those are not very taxing.  During my long runs, I generally just fast, so a racing environment is going to be totally different.   In terms of carb-loading, you could have confused me with cookie monster   . . .  OMG I was a mess; I total carb addict.  I laugh at what I was eating.  AND during my guaranteed to bonk Ultra_Running_Fuelingraces, I did the ‘recommended ‘ 250+ calories per hour.  I even set my alarm to remind me to eat every half hour. 

With that said, I will leave the question for Anthony, Eric, or anyone else who want to chime in.  I will report back how my first race goes, Trail Running Festival 50 miler, which is in April and then I will have another 50 miler, Quad Rock, in May. 

Keep us up to date with your training.  ~SKA

UCAN Webinar: UCAN and a Ketogenic Diet

skarunner[1]Last week there was a special UCAN webinar and I miss it; some how it slipped my radar.   Here is an interesting audio clip regarding a ketogenic diet and endurance. ~SKA

*Andy asks the team how UCAN will impact his ketogenic (high fat/high protein/low carb) diet.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Anyone else using it?  I have experimented with it, but not yet in a big race.

The Importance Of Food Quality On A Low-Carb Diet

I just listened to Episode 34 of Jimmy Moore Presents Ask The Low-Carb Experts  and it is exactly what I needed to think about.  At first on a low carb diet I focused on just eating low carb, now I am at the point that I want to eat even better (day 85 in Ketosis).  

Jimmy interviews Dr. Jayson and Mira Calton from “Calton Nutrition” and discuss their new book, Rich Food Poor Food.  The interview really intrigued me.  I haven’t looked at the book yet, but improving the “quality” of my food is my next direction and I am going to Barnes and Noble this week to check it out.    They state “Yes, eat a ketogenic diet but get the best nutrition you can”  and give you suggestions on what low carb foods we should and shouldn’t  be eating.  As you all know I eat low carb, not necessarily “healthy” low carb, but I am getting better.   It was tough at first, I never knew what to eat and ended up eating a lot of hot dogs;  I haven’t had one in weeks.

Has anyone checked out this book yet??? Or have other suggestions?

Breaking Through the Keto Flu (First Two Weeks on a Ketogenic Diet)

AnthonyWhen I made the keto switch I had been on a high-fat, moderate-carb diet for about two years, and had also experimented with fasted running. But I still had to put up with the Keto Flu...

From my personal website back in August:
"I'm taking in less than 50 grams of net carbs (carbs-fiber=net carbs) a day, as well as limiting protein consumption to less than about 150 grams a day, in order to force my body to run entirely on fat. I don't know of any ultra runners who restrict carbs to this extent so its going to be a great experiment.
My only concern is that the lack of carbs could effect my speed since fat requires tons of oxygen to be burned while carbs can be burned without oxygen (anaerobically) during hard sessions. As someone who enjoys speedwork and shorter/faster racing, I don't want my diet to limit me.

Last Monday, on day four of my ketogenic diet I did a 20 mile trail run at Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood, CO. The previous day -day three- had been rough, with moodiness, low energy, and a general feeling of fogginess. So going into the 20 miler I wasn't exactly excited, but I was hopeful: since I had been out of blood sugar for a few days now I should already be past "the wall." And it turned out great. There was a definite low point from miles 4 to 6, but it wasn't bad and when it passed I felt strong until I finished.

I'm not sure why, but the next day -day five- I slept until noon and woke up feeling like I hadn't slept in three days. The entire day was spent in a heavy fog, similar to a bad fever. After an easy run my energy was back enough to feel like I could make it through the rest of the day without passing out. Day six was slightly better but I still didn't feel very coherent until after some miles. Day seven brought 24.5 miles over two runs and I felt great for both of them. On day eight I wrote "no more fog" in my running log and I felt like I was back. Day nine and ten were both above 20 miles and no crash followed like after day four.

It's now day 13 and I can feel the affects of running 100 miles last week while also forcing my metabolism to undergo a major change. However, my running pace has quickened over the the last three days with no additional effort on my part and I think most of the fatigue I have is psychological.

As a side-note, I think my brain operates better on ketones than on glucose: my attention span seems longer and I feel like I could read an entire book in one sitting -and actually retain 100% of it. I'm starting to feel like Bradley Cooper in Limitless.

The true test will come next month, when I race a 55'ish mile race, then an 8.6 miler the following weekend, then a 50 miler two weeks after that."

A quick summary of how it all tuned out: I did read an entire book in one sitting (What Happy People Know by Dan Baker, great book!), the races went amazingly, and I haven't had symptoms like those since.
I believe, based solely on my own experience and logic, that running shortens the adaption time. Since your body must first run out of glycogen before it even attempts to fat-adapt it makes sense that getting rid of your remaining glucose with some running would hasten the process.
We'll have a post up soon with the lessons learned from our adaptation periods that could help your adaptation go smoother.

How horrible or painless was your adaptation period? How many days was it before you felt normal again?

Ketosis Flowchart

Whenever I see people with health problems I want to tell them all about the miracles of ketosis. So I made a simple flowchart to help make the transition to nutritional ketosis assuming you don't want to go cold turkey. My own path the NK was long and unguided and something like this would have been helpful. Of course if I had know what NK was when I started my journey I would have just plunged ahead. Instead I did two months of gluten free, then a month of paleo followed by a month of low slow carbs / water fasting. It was only then that I got my hands on ASLCP (a must have book).
This flow chart does not deal with solving problems like the low carb flu or issues of compliance. It assumes that you complete each step successfully. Additionally, I haven't given any rationale for the order but you will have to trust me that a lot of thought went into it.

I am not as Cool as Gandhi . . . Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Gandhi was COOL! even though he was a vegetarian.  Ha!  He undertook long fasts as means of both self-purification and political mobilization.  I AM NO GANDHI! that is for sure, but  I guess you can say I am fasting for self-purification in a way.   Initially, it was for the so called ‘racing weight’,  but now it goes hand-in-had with my low carb lifestyle change and hunger management.  And I am loving it!!! Now does everyone need to fast while on a low carb diet?  No, but I will explain why I am  . . .

I few weeks ago, I read an article on intermittent fasting, Better Health via Intermittent Fasting and a Low-Carb Diet, and was very intrigued.   Since then I have been slowly experimenting.   I try to always look at pro and cons of everything, so I also read another article debating the benefit, which questions if it could “actually be detrimental?”  -  Not So Fast: The Potential Negatives of Intermittent Fasting, by the Caveman Doctor. 

Today, I just finished a 36 hour fast.  The funny thing was that, I was not hungry the entire time, even hour 34.  I started at night, got up, and went to work.  At work I had two cups of coffee that lasted the day topped off with heavy whipping cream and some SF Carmel flavoring.  After work I performed my strength workout and went home.  At home, I still did not have the desire to eat, but had an additional cup of coffee with more cream.  *Technically, it wasn’t a true fast by adding the cream???  Around 9:30 that night, I jumped on the elliptical for an hour, and felt good – not great.  After the workout, I went to bed.  I woke up around 5:45am and still was not hungry.  Then drove to work, where I had another coffee with cream at about 10am.  At 11am I decided to eat again and had a simple lunch, two sausages,  a cup of chicken broth, and some raspberries with heavy whipping cream; I love heavy whipping cream. (I was lactose intolerant two months ago)   The fast lasted over 34 hours.

Was my experience good?  It was certainly interesting, and I would have no problem doing it again. The question is how beneficial it is.   After more research, I came across, Experiments with Intermittent Fasting by Dr. John M. Berardi with Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon and Nate Green.  It is a free downloadable PDF book and worth checking out.   *Author is not on a ketogenic diet, but plays with an occasional low carb diet.

So are there benefits? The authors state that “intermittent fasting , when done properly, might help extend life, regulate blood glucose,
control blood lipids, manage body weight, gain (or maintain) lean mass, and more.”  Also stating that it might help muscles grow.

New research suggests that a short, periodic fast might actually rev up your fat-burning machinery while helping you control glucose and insulin. Important hormonal changes mean that fasting might even help your muscles grow when the next exercise session (and meal) comes. You might lose more fat and gain more muscle, all by skipping a few meals.

These are the benefits that they list:

• blood lipids (including decreased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol)
• blood pressure (perhaps through changes in sympathetic/parasympathetic activity)
• markers of inflammation (including CRP, IL-6, TNF, BDNF, and more)
• oxidative stress (using markers of protein, lipid, and DNA damage)
• risk of cancer (through a host of proposed mechanisms; we’ll save them for another review)

• cellular turnover and repair (called autophagocytosis)
• fat burning (increase in fatty acid oxidation later in the fast)
• growth hormone release later in the fast (hormonally mediated)
• metabolic rate later in the fast (stimulated by epinephrine and norepinephrine release)

• appetite control (perhaps through changes in PPY and ghrelin)
• blood sugar control (by lowering blood glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity)
• cardiovascular function (by offering protection against ischemic injury to the heart)
• effectiveness of chemotherapy (by allowing for higher doses more frequently)
• neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity (by offering protection against neurotoxins)

Overall, it was a good experience.  It certainly kicked me hard into ketosis and I lost a solid pound, probably more – water weight throws everything off.   I plan on maybe doing a 36 hour fast once a week until I get down to my ‘racing weight’ and then keep it up once a month. 

A review of the book Waterlogged

Here is my latest review of the book Waterlogged and some suggestions on electrolyte consumption and hydration. Sorry, but there aren't any cool visuals in this one. ~Eric


Cracklins are My New Crack!


Here are a few thoughts on Cracklins and Mayo.  Let me know what you think.

Using Carbs in A Race if You’re Fat-Adapted


Sometimes, like tonight at a Christmas party, I feel that I am preaching the ketosis gospel. I am not or it is not my intention, it is just that I am so excited about what I have discovered that I can’t hide it. My experience with ketosis has been amazing, but I do not want to be blind either, so I am always looking for answers.
I just listened to Endurance Planet’s recent podcast and the nutrition specialist, Ben, responds to a readers question about carbing during a 50 miler.  Now I have only gone 26 miles carbless, so I personally cannot respond directly from experience; nor am I a doctor or a scientist for that matter . . .   Ben states that the brain needs a minimum of 30g of glucose (referring to carbs as source) and about 150g during a race per day.  Which is to me the standard non-keto answer and later emphasizes his negative attitude towards ketosis and running, “Its not pleasant, to run 50 miles in a ketogenic state . . . but if you really truly want to stay ketogenic  God know why? during a 50 mile run . . .”  Now I am only 49 days in to my keto diet and I feel better running carbless than I did prior.  Also, from my limited understanding and research of keto adapted athletes people, the brain prefers ketones over glucose.  In the article, “Your Brain On Ketones: How a high-fat diet can help the brain work better,“ Published on April 18, 2011 by Emily Deans, M.D. in Evolutionary Psychiatry Emily states exactly that.  The article is a little rich, but if you are a keto athlete, it is worth a read. And check out the podcast and let me know what you think.
It is true that some parts of some brain cells can only burn glucose, but fortunately our bodies can turn protein into glucose through a process known as gluconeogenesis. This fact means that while there are essential requirements for both fat or protein (meaning we would die without eating at least some fat and at least some protein), we can live quite happily while consuming no carbohydrate at all.

Now, when I was taught about biochemical fuel-burning, I was taught that glucose was "clean" and ketones were "smokey." That glucose was clearly the preferred fuel for our muscles for exercise and definitely the key fuel for the brain. Except here's the dirty little secret about glucose - when you look at the amount of garbage leftover in the mitochondria, it is actually less efficient to make ATP from glucose than it is to make ATP from ketone bodies!
Doesn't sound to me like glucose really is the preferred fuel for the brain after all.    ~Emily Deans, M.D.

Sports Nutrition: 5 New Superfoods to Add in Your Diet, Using Carbs in A Race if You’re Fat-Adapted

By TawneePrazak ⋅ December 23, 2012 
Ben joins the show to answer your questions on the top 5 foods that you’re (probably) not eating and should add into your diet in 2013, good online nutrition log/data software, the best kinds of magnesium (i.e. citrate? oxide? glycinate?) and dosage for athletes plus a follow-up from ATU on Mg in Skratch Labs Drink Mix, why it’s not advisable to go completely without carbs during a race even if you’re in ketosis/fat-adapted (and the minimum amount of carbs you need to get by), peanut butter and honey as ultra fuel, what to eat drink after a PM workout that’s right before bed, an allergy to chicken and turkey and what to do, and more.

Tim Olson . . . “Making Fat My Fuel as I Run Mountains”

Switching to a low carb diet (Ketogenic Diet) has really changed how I fuel during a run and has totally impacted my life – truly.  Today is day 44 in ketosis and every day I feel that this is becoming a lifestyle.  How many diets out there can really be maintained long term?  I can live like this!  I don’t even miss the sweets, chips, or even my weekly donuts.    I would eat maybe two bags a chips a week . . . not to mention the Butterfingers and Twix. 

Racing Weight:  Is it just low carb magic? Weight has something to do with it too.  My Leadville race weight, before the race, was 163-165 and as of today I weigh 147.  I am not even putting in hard miles either – maybe 30 mile avg weeks.  As of now, I am at 12% body fat, but I am shooting for 8%.  I read Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald, about a year ago and and it was a good book; I enjoyed it.  The main thing I got out of it is, loose 10% of weight you will improve your performance by 10%.  Now, I didn’t loose any weight from reading it and I was putting in hard miles training for Leadville???  I just accepted that 160 was my weight.  Since I have been in ketosis, the weight just seemed to fall off; it was amazing.  Looking at my recent 10k, I improved by 10% after loosing 10% of my weight since my last 10K.  Tons of variables, but I think it was the weight.

Tim Olson: Now Olson is a Rock Star! He is 29 has an impressive race history – UltraSignup.  The last few weeks, I realized that Olson, who won Western State 100 and killed that course record, is a low carber.  Whether he is a Paleo or a Keto runner, I don’t know.  He sure sounds like a Keto runner, “making fat my fuel as I run mountains.”  Now he doesn’t really mention his fuelling again in his blog after this post, but I would bet that he is still low carbing.  Also listen to this . . .

Here is an excerpt from Tim Olson’s blog.

Feeling a bit depleted coming into Seattle Bar (mile 26.4) I knew I was in for a rough patch. I’ve been working with my diet and energy burning the last month to try to figure out my stomach issues once and for all. I’ve basically taken grain carbs out of my diet and have been sticking to veggies, meat, nuts and fruit.

Enjoying some Turkey up at Stein Butte. Picture Bradley Whelden

My food choices are as natural as possible, making fat my fuel as I run mountains. I do use carbs, but try to use them strategically to make my body as efficient as possible. I’m also supplementing with an incredible product called VESPA, an amino acid supplement that helps my body stabilizes energy, metabolize fat and optimize recovery. I’m still working on it and those first 5 hours of running I should have eaten a little more. I was on about 100 calories an hour and it came back to haunt me later. Rookie mistake, yet I look forward to completely dialing in my nutrition for running and daily living. One positive of the day was that using VESPA, my stomach was the best it’s ever felt, which I’m sure i wouldn’t mind getting used to!

Ketogenic Diet: Running & Some Carbs?

Yesterday (day 27 in Ketosis), I ran in a area that I thought was relatively flat, but I was wrong.  I wanted to get in 20 fast-ish miles with only a little bit of gain. I ended of running 21.15 miles and running 3 different parks, Lair 'o the Bear, O' Fallon, and MT Falcon.  My total gain was 3,546’ with an average technical Colorado trails level. 

Okay, I ate a regular Keto diet the previous day, nothing unusual.  When I woke up, I had an espresso with a little diet caramel syrup.  I started off very strong – peer pressure.  Three miles in, on the second hill, I slowed to a powerwalk; it was a steep hill.  About 2 hours in to the run, my buddy was feeling a bit drained so he had a gel.  I wasn’t drained, I was taking the run fairly easy, I did feel hungry though.  I had a Justin’s Almond Butter w/ honey packet; It tasted awesome! 

*Note: I have been beating myself up over the last week and put in over 70 miles with about 14,000 feet of gain from Sunday to Sunday and I was feeling it today.  At this point around mile 9, climbing the hills were tough, I just felt weak or sloggy.  Where my buddy, after eating his gel was rejuvenated, he also ran a lot less than me the previous week, either way very difficult to compare.  In my head, I was thinking that I had just finished my hardest week in a long time and I was just fatigued. 

Around mile 15, My buddy needed another gel, I still felt ‘tired’ -  lack of better word.  I ate a Stinger Waffle, Yummy!  I was told that eating some carbs during a long run will not kick me out of Ketosis and it didn’t. I felt a little rejuvenated myself.  We both picked up the pace a bit and then around mile 20, I felt really good and just took off.  I also knew it was the last mile or so and the end was in sight.  It was a slightly down hill with an overall gain of 120’ and I ran 6:49 for my last mile.    

In previous runs, while in ketosis, I pretty much fasted.  So did it make a difference to eat the waffle?  Hard to say, the course was very hilly and we did a lot of climbing.  Hills have always been my easy for me and I enjoy them.  Since I have been in Ketosis, hills seem harder and my legs feel heavier?  Could I be just out of shape, or is it that hills are better on carbs? I don’t know, still figuring things out. 

I still think Keto is the way to go.

Ketosis: 5k Run Test

So I wanted to test my speed while in the initial stage of ketosis (19 days) and jumped into a 5k.  My whole family signed up for the Gobble Wobble 5K which is held the morning of Thanksgiving.  I know it is early in the ketosis process, but it would establish some kind of bench mark.  It was a gorgeous day and the temperature was perfect – about 35 degrees at the start.  And I saw some friends, “Hey Jill!”   GobbleWabble5k

Well, I ran 22:25 which is about a 7 min pace, but it wasn’t much of a test for a number of reasons. 

Now for the excuses:

  1. I am still in the 1st weeks of ketosis; it is the transition period and was expected that I would be slow.
  2. Tuesday I did some speed work and it was the fastest I have run in months I averaged 6:30 for 2 miles over a 7.5 mile run.   *remember I blew my ham about 6 weeks ago and took a month off.   My calves have been sore for two days and I almost decided not to run, but last minute I could not resist.
  3. It was a double loop.  So by the time I finished the first loop, the walkers started getting in my way and there were hundreds of them.
  4. Here is the big one, I ran while pushing my son in the stroller.  I did win the stroller division.  My son loved it though, but man it took a lot out of me.  The hardest part was weaving in and out of the rest of the runners. Holding that pace really torqued my cardio too; I don’t think I could have run any faster – today and it was my slowest stroller 5K ever.  My shoulders and wrists really hurt, but the last time I ran with the stroller, was at least three years ago.   

Overall, I was quite winded after the race and took me a while to recover, maybe twenty minutes.  I sat and watched my kids play in the park for at least ten minutes.  I was getting anxious though, my body was craving food which is not very typical these days.  I generally could go all day without eating.  So I pushed for going out to breakfast and we went to iHop.  I shared a half of a meat lovers omelet AKA Colorado Omlet with my wife.  I figure there are about 5 carbs in a Colorado Omelet and I ate half, which is still quit low.  Normally, I would eat the whole darn thing and would worry about it, but had Thanksgiving dinner to plan for.

My next 5k is in 23 days, and I will race that one for sure.  I am hoping for a sub 18, we will see. 

Ketosis: Twenty Mile Run, No Carbs, and No Bonks!!!

It was AWESOME!!!  I just ran my first long run, 20 miles, while in ketosis and I didn’t Bonk! or even come close.  OMG – I was laughing about it the whole time.  It still amazes me, only  a few months ago, I would have taken 7-8 gels and would have had some kind of fancy drink in my bottles. It definitely wasn’t my fastest time, but it wasn’t that slow.  I averaged a 10:15 pace with a few hills here and there – 1,474 feet of gain. The trail is fairly groomed, maybe a typical Colorado technical trail. 

On top of that, the day was beautiful and there were tons of other runners.  I crossed paths a number of times with the same runners  One was definitely an ultra runner and the others were just out for a 3+ hour jog; it’s Colorado. 

HILLS: I still feel heavy in the legs on the hills and out of breath compared to pre–ketosis runs.  I am not in the best of shape, but it is not the same feeling – a bit weird.   Hills have always been my thing and now it seems to be my weakness.  I hope after I am fully “ketosis adapted,” I will attack them like I used to. 


My Ketogenic numbersFOOD:  As I recall, I only had a double shot espresso for breakfast prior to the run.    During, I drank lots of water – about 60oz over the 3.5 hours, but ate absolutely nothing.  The day before I stopped eating at 8pm, consuming only 1,680 calories with 31 Net Carbs.  I was very satisfied all day, just a little low on the veggies.  This brings up the fact that I am never hungry anymore and almost have to force myself to eat.  It is like a dieters dream.    

Lately, I have been treating myself to a sundae providing I keep my carbs low all day, Breyers Low Carb Ice Cream, two table spoons of healthy peanut butter, and a serving of Spanish peanuts. It is the bomb!  The ice cream has sugar alcohols and I have heard a lot of bad things about them, but nothing from reliable sources, so I keep eating away.

My-Ketogenic-PercentageI also stayed under my daily calorie goal – 1800.  And kept within my percentages of 70% – 20% – 10%.  I know others have different percentage setups, honestly I just picked a formula that was in the middle and not too extreme.  I need to do more research to make sure I am staying healthy, but I feel great, in fact better than great!

Let’s see how I feel tomorrow . . .

The Ketogenic Diet and Ultra Running?

About two weeks ago at my wife’s race, a “kid” came running up to me and asked me if was running Devil Mountain 50 this year – I was wearing the shirt.  I told him that I was planning on running it, but did not register yet.  He told me that his car wouldn’t make it and he needed a ride.  Now this “kid'” who is barely 20, keep in mind I am 42 and everyone seems younger than me and usually the youngest ultra runner is in their thirties,  was wired and full of energy and excitement – like Christmas day.  Honestly, I did not want to go unless I had a ride or car-pooled myself.  I met another guy, Bob,  who was going and we all ended up driving  together; it was the shortest 5 hour drive every.  The conversation was generally all about diet, particularly the Ketogenic diet.  The “kid”, Anthony Kunkel, also known as ‘G’ was following this diet and seemed very knowledgeable about it.  Then again, I no nothing about nutrition or have never followed any type of diet plan, other than just ‘train hard’ and eat less.    

To get to my point, he describe this diet, which honestly I never heard of and it was quit interesting – Ketogenic. He eats 85-95% fat and 10% protein? What’s up with that? Bacon everyday, count me in.  So he decided to take on his first 50 miler, his planned pace would have beaten the course record.   My plans are never realistic and I have never met any of my goals, so I didn’t think much of it, plus he is a kid.   Now you have to keep in mind that Bob and my goal was just to finish, but G was getting us pumped to run our best too.

During the race, the front pack got lost and unfortunately, he was there too. For the record, that was the first time I was the leader of a race ever, and this was mile ten. I was psyched and I held it for a few miles. I saw him again around mile 18 as he cranked on by cheering me on. Then I didn’t see him again until mile 37, I was at mile 30, and to my surprise he was just behind the leader in 2nd place. In the end, he tied the record and came in 2nd, and if he wouldn’t have gotten lost, he probably would have beaten it by over a half  hour and maybe even won. Now Devil mountain does not necessarily bring out the “elites”, but it is the most technical 50 miler in Colorado. It is harder than Quadrock 50, which has over 3,000’ more of gain. So looking the times might not be that impressive, it is a hard course, but awesome and definitely a race I will be doing every year.

Back to the “kid”, he would have beaten the course record on his 50 miler debut, but the locals decided to re-ribboned the course. How nice right? 

Here is the thing that really got me and I cant stop thinking about it. I ate somewhere between 20-24 GUs (two an hour), G ate 3-4 Gels total. My drop-bag weighed over 20 pounds, he literally put his name on a zip-lock sandwich bag. I couldn’t believe it.

A week later . . .

In the last few days, I have read everything and anything about the Ketogenic diet and somehow found myself reducing my carbs without even really realizing it.  I initially thought ‘hell no’, this is not for me, think of all the good foods I will have to give up.  But the next day I found myself making shakes and counting my carb intake and with out planning it, I was on a low-carb high-fat diet. 

Sunday, I had a breakthrough while googling high-fat low-carb snacks and couldn’t hold back.  I went to Buffalo Wild Wings and ordered a dozen of my favorite wings with extra blue cheese.  It was amazing!  I haven't eaten wings in such a long time, I thought they were a banned substance.  About two hours after eating I ran an easy 10.5 mile loop, not very fast, and I was a bit sluggish.  I wasn’t sure if it was just the fact that I ate less than two hours ago or my body was dependent on carbs and couldn’t find them.  I was told that it takes a couple of weeks to adjust to a lower carb diet.  We will see . . .

By the way, on October 3rd, I was 163 pounds and today, 4 days later, I am 157.  That is with eating over 3,000 calories on Sunday.  Hmmm . . .

My ultimate goal is to have a more efficient calorie burning system for ultra running, which has been my plan all along.  Looking at my ultra running friends, they eat a third of what I do and destroy me.  I do not want to eat that many GU’s in a race ever again.  On top of being pricy, it is kind of disgusting.  Imagine a 100 miler, 2 GU’s and hour for let say 25 hours?  That is 50 GU’s!!!  AND now, my ‘racing weight’ will be optimum too. 

Now, I feel that a lower-carb higher-fat diet is more palpable. I think I can do it.  Whether I should is another story and I am still researching.  I will let you know what I find out.  ~SR