Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Little Experimenting.

It is now 25 days to the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 and over the weekend I did my final two "Killer" training runs before starting the taper for the race.  Very hard "back-to-back" runs are a good was to evaluate whether you are ready, not to mention that they are just plain hard!!  When I do these back-to-back runs I always make the Saturday run extremely hard which psychologically makes the Sunday run easier at least at the start.  I also decided to try a new supplement.  I purchased 4 packs of Vespa Sports Supplements from Zombie and tried them on Saturday and Sunday.  I normally carry Perpetuem and Honey Stingers on all my training runs.  Saturday I only carried Hammer's Perpetuem for an energy drink and Sunday I took only Honey Stinger gel packs with me.  Because Vespa is supposed to help your body burn fat instead of carbs, supposedly you do not need to consume as many carbs from Gu type products.  I gave it a test.  Both days I ate about half the carbs I normally consume during such a run just to see what happened.

Saturday was a 5 hour, 15 minute hill repeat workout at Oak Mountain State Park on my usual hill repeat "hill," the White Trail.  I start at the north trail head and run in just over a mile to Maggie's Glen.  From there I climb about 550 feet over three fourths of a mile to the crest of the ridge and then up to where the trail levels out.  The first 8 repeat took me 13:40 to 14:10 to run up to the top and about the same time to run back down. (Old Age!!)  The last two reps took a little over 15 minutes each.  I was tired, it was really hot and my water, mixed with NUUN tablets was hot and almost undrinkable.  NUUN tablets in water are OK as long as the water is cold or cool.  When the water gets hot, it really tastes so bad.  By the time I finished the Saturday run the temp. was 95.  I consumed a Vespa Pak just before starting and drank the second a little over 3 hours into the run.  I only drank two, 10 oz. flasks of Perpetuem during the 5 hours  which is about 1/2 what I would normally consume.  The run hurt about as bad as usual and I had no stomach problems.  It was extremely hot and humid (Alabama Summer norm) but all-in-all the run was good and I felt strong until the very end.

Sunday started out even hotter than it had been on Saturday.  Again, I drank a Vespa just before starting the run.  I felt really good for the first two hours but after a long climb up the Blue Trail to the East crest of Double Oak Mountain at Oak Mountain State Park I was beginning to struggle.  I ran the 5 miles across the crest to near Peavine Falls where I headed back down to get more water.  I only carried Honey Stingers and ate one pack every two hours (half the normal consumption rate) and by the third hour I was dying.  I had decided the Vespa didn't work.  Then I ate another Vespa (exactly at the 3 hour mark)  and within a few minutes I felt much better.  I finally make it back to my truck at about 4 hour.  By then the heat was almost unbearable but I still had to run more.  I got rid of my back-pak with very hot water mixed and grabbed my Nathan "Quick Draw" with fairly cool water in it, added a NUUN tablet to it and started off on a lap around the "swimming lake" on a new trail built by "BUMP" (Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers).  Then I realized my car keys were in the back-pak I just locked in the back of my RX300.   I retrieved the emergency key under the bumper and got the real key and was off again.

Although I was struggling with the heat again I felt OK and make it around the lake with no problems although I really do not want to know what my pace was.  (It was VERY SLOW!)  Afterwords, I lay on the ground about 15 minutes and drank cold water and cold Endurox.  Then I got in the truck and headed home.  I did stop by Bruster's and get a Chocolate Shake.  That was my reward and I enjoyed it with absolutely no guilt.  I had one Saturday, too.

Here is a link to an article by Donald?? about Vespa and I tend to agree with most of what it says.  I felt as good as usual and consumed less gels and endurance drink than normal.  There was certainly no feeling of super-power or even just a little stronger than normal but how do you compare two very hard workouts on the same weekend when it is 95 degrees by the end of the runs.  One thing I do not agree with from Donald's article, is his opinion of the taste of Vespa.  I found Vespa to have almost not taste at all, and it was certainly better than the NUUN flavored hot water I had been drinking.

In conclusion:  I don't know!  I may try Vespa in the Tahoe Rim Trail 100.  They don't seem to create any problems and maybe they do help.  I can guarantee you that I am NOT going to use them as a regular supplement for training runs.  They cost $ 5.99 per pack!


  1. David,

    Have been reading through your blog lately for training ideas and learning a little about the ultra experience as I have my first ultra coming up at the end of September, a 56km ultra. You've both made me nervous and also taken some of my worries away about this race :) But overall, I think I feel a little clearer on what's in store for me in September so thanks very much for your blogging!



  2. Hi Dave,
    Found your blog by chance.I am 56, run 3 times a week (about 10 -15 k's each). 2 months ago got hooked on going for ultra's.Done a few small 20to 25 k's. Got my first 37k run in ski resort in Val D'allos, France.Mega elevation.
    Question 1 Am I nuts ?
    Question 2 Any advice ( I am doing about 35/40 miles per week (average climbs 900 to 1500 feet)
    Never ran longer than 4.2 hours.

  3. My email is phil@modelplan.co.uk