Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in an outdoor adventure race at Hanging Rock State Park. The course was a secret but we knew to expect hiking, biking, canoeing, and many obstacles.
I eagerly signed up my boyfriend Josh and I and looked forward to fresh air, lots of cardio and a chance to navigate the great outdoors….did I mention that I am dieting for a bodybuilding show too?
I am four weeks into my training and diet and I have been very successful in my ketogenic diet which involves protein, lots of greens, healthy fats but no starchy carbohydrates.
So the crazy side of me thought, why not try to do this endurance race on no carbs? After all I would be burning fat and getting closer to my stage worthy physique goal.The morning of the race Josh and I arrived bright and early to a large group of participants. We named ourselves “Team Animal” proudly wearing our shirts. I tore mine up a little to scare the competitors! Josh looked at me skeptically as we checked out our course map. I realized then that neither one of us was good at reading maps. Oh well! Off we went my belly full of chicken and green beans while everyone else chowed down on granola bars and simple carbs.
The hills climbed endlessly, each step burned through my glycogen depleted quads. I hoped that warming up would make it less tiring but I was wrong. You know that feeling you get when you do the last few reps of leg extensions? That screaming lactic acid fire that permeates through each muscle fiber? That was me. But, I kept on as we finally got to the biking portion of the course, no relief there. More hills, more EPOC accumulation (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) Metabolic Effect training nonstop! Mentally, I wanted to cry, scream, and stomp my feet in frustration but the rational side kept me focused and Josh stayed by my side the whole time battling his own aches and pains.
By this point we were about four hours into the course. The canoeing was next and we were told it was around one hour long. By the time we jumped out of our canoe which was full of water thanks to crashing into a rapid, we put on our soaked shoes and hoped the end was near. At this point I ripped open a nice packet of tuna and ate every morsel of it! Hopefully, there weren’t any bears nearby…
Seven hours later, almost thirty miles of terrain covered (minus the shortcuts we attempted to take) we crawled into the finish area cheered on by our fellow survivors.
Our bodies were thrashed with fatigue, I was laughing deliriously, and relief washed over us for the challenge we finished. So, as the race food of sandwiches, chips, granola, and candy was devoured by others I happily dug into my next meal of chicken, green beans plus an apple as visions of posing on stage confidently flashed through my head. Endurance athlete by day, bodybuilding animal by night…roaarrrrr!