And don’t forget the potato chips and pints of beer.
I recently did my first half-Ironman race. Overall it went great and I hit my time goal.
And that was despite a subpar run that I had a feeling was going to be subpar. But if I had not passed on the bacon, maybe I would have picked it up a bit and run even faster.
Yup, I’m talking about actual bacon. And potato chips. And, yes, even beer and some type of shots (Jell-O, perhaps?).
Ironman did a fantastic job of making fluids, nutrition, ice, and wet sponges available every mile during the half-marathon portion of the race. After swimming 1.2 miles and cycling 56, the deluge of cold water I dumped on my head was exactly what I needed during the hilly half-marathon run course.
But there were also some unofficial aid stations along the way. One of them, located early in the two-loop course, consisted of a table (or was it the tailgate of a pickup truck? I can’t remember) with some type of cloth draped over it. And sitting there in greasy piles were strips of bacon. Next to them were rows of potato chips.
Naturally, I passed on taking them, along with the beers that accompanied the odd choice of race nutrition. Later in the course, a few steps from the turnaround, another group of folks were offering shots to anyone who wanted one. I figured their effort of setting up the tiny plastic cups was a waste of their time, but the line of discarded cups on the road told me otherwise.
Still, I resisted the urge to put out the fires in my legs with some cheap vodka.
I stuck to water, sports drink and gels.
I got to thinking, would bacon, potato chips and alcohol be of any benefit to runners during a race?
Bacon does contain fats and proteins, which could provide some energy … right? Potato chips are loaded with salt and carbohydrates, which are essential nutrients to ingest during an endurance event.
Alcohol also contains plenty of carbohydrates, along with sugar.
So were these enterprising fans actually on to something?
I can’t recall ever seeing either of these items on a racecourse. Heck, even the Great Bacon Race, scheduled for Oct. 12 in Vancouver, Wash., offers bacon and beer as part of the post-race spread. Not on the course.
In my mind, the jury’s still out. But perhaps next time I’m slogging through the run at the end of a triathlon or on the back half of a marathon, maybe I’ll make a quick stop at the nearest diner and order a bacon sandwich and a beer.