Sunday, January 24, 2010

Food Stories

Endurance athletes LOVE food. There's no doubt about it. Talk to any athlete and they will have a food story. We love to eat. It's the nature of spending a ridiculous amount of time and energy outside, in motion, for hours on end.

The best potato chip ever - Corey Pass, Summer '08

A few years back, in a past life, I was once an adventure racer. Adventure racers in particular are food obsessed. You spend hours on end, running around in the woods, frequently delirious, exhausted and hungry. The very nature of this sport, inspires frequent conversations and fantasies involving food. Eventually, when you are adventure racing or running for hours on end the trail chatter ALWAYS end up coming back to the subject of food. The dialogue often starts with the phrase:

"You know what would taste good right now?"

And digress quickly into fantasy:

"I want bacon. Yeah. Bacon and beer. Wait. I want chocolate. Yeah. Oh. How about chocolate covered bacon with a beer?!?"

Those discussions would be followed up with:

"When this is over, I am going to eat a......*insert food fantasy here*"

Yes, whether you are an adventure racer, a trail runner, a triathlete or a mountain biker, we love food.

Halloween Run '08: The Coffee Crisp Experiment

During Friday's long run, I had a funny little thing occur which involved a Cliff Bar and My Bra. This got me thinking about "food stories". I have so many fantastic memories and stories involving friends, food and adventures be it on the trail, on the ski slopes, on a bike or in a canoe
. In fact, one of the many multitudes of super incredible reasons my husband fell in love with me was because of a food story. But I digress.

Friday's run was a long one. Running in cold weather is always challenging and it's especially challenging to eat and drink properly. Not only do you not feel as thirsty as you would on a hot day, but crazy things happen to impede you from drinking and eating like you should. For example, my water system frequently freezes up. On Friday, my Cliff Bar was so solid I thought I was going to lose my front teeth eating the thing, so I put it in my bra to warm it up. It worked like a charm and in minutes I had a soft bar to enjoy, so I ate half a bar and put the other half back in my bra...unwrapped.

Boulder Pass, Peanut butter and Jam, today at about 2:00PM.

I kept running for about half an hour before I remember the Bar, nestled in between the Girls all cozy and warm. When I reached in to get my snack, I discovered my Chocolate Almond Explosion bar had melted and adhered to the inside of my bra. I had to fight with it to get it out, but it still tasted great!

Aaaaah, so many food stories and memories. This little event reminded me of so many others....

Cycling shorts are, in fact, the BEST place to store food. While adventure racing, I would frequently carry a virtual smorgasborg of deliciousness stuffed in the front legs of my shorts. People were amazed when I would randomly pull out pieces of beef jerky, fig newtons and entire slices of pizza out of my shorts. This system worked well, but was *slightly* problematic when you had to go to the bathroom.

I have a friend who did an Ironman a few years back and when asked to describe how the experience was, summed it up with her fondest memory:

"I was halfway into my marathon run and feeling rotten. I was tired and grumpy and had stopped eating and drinking because I couldn't stomach anything. I was rummaging through my collection of Gu Gels, and Sports Beans and all of this synthetic crap when I found a Ziploc full of Pringles Potato Chips. When I bit into that chip and tasted the fatty salty goodness, it was the best thing I had tasted in my whole life...."

Aaaaah. Food and sport. I can still visualize and taste in my mind, a sandwich that I once found in the bottom of my pack, during a particularly long 12hr+ day of racing. I too, found myself rummaging through a variety of snacks that had long since lost any appeal when I found it. It was a bacon, avocado and havarti sandwich that had squished itself in the far corner of my hydration pack, almost pulverized beyond recogniton, but still intact in it's happy ziploc home. It was in fact, and still is in my mind the singlemost tasty morsel of deliciousness that I have EVER eaten.

Oh yeah,
of the many multitudes of super incredible reasons my husband fell in love with me, was because of a slice of pizza.

This food story takes place on a chairlift. Fifteen years ago I was riding a chairlift with the younger-version-of-Keith, who was a very hungry ski bum. While riding the chairlift, I offered him a piece of pizza. He was instantly smitten when I reached into my pack and pulled out an unwrapped piece of pizza. Ah, wuv.

On that note, I will wrap up the food stories. I'd love to hear some of your stories, I know that you all have them!

The Readers Digest Condensed Version of my weekend went like this:

Friday, Run for 6 1/2 hours, twice up Sulphur, great run, great day complete with the Chocolate Almond Explosion Cliff Bar. Saturday, 5 hours of ski touring in a very beautiful place with fluffy turns. Prosciuto and Avocado, with a Coffee Crisp which I mooched. Sunday, run to Skoki, 29km. PB and J, with a butter tart for second breakfast.

I got a new camera and so far I'm enjoying the results! It's shockproof and waterproof and hopefully food proof. It will frequently find itself in the pocket of my shorts, next to the unwrapped Toblerone triangle and the handful of salty pecans.

We had a very pretty ski day on Saturday, enjoy the pictures.

And some random silliness running the snowmobile trail into Skoki Lodge:


Meghan said...

One of the things that I love about Leslie is this: She's a woman of few words, but you always know what's on her mind.

Food chatter notwithstanding, obviously, because this blog entry is about the wordiest Miss Leslie has produced for us. This is a definite cue to the meaningfulness of food in her world!

My favorite part of the entry was when you called your ta-ta's your Girls with a capital G. They must be very important.


Kaz said...

Oh my god, your post made me laugh out loud! A veritble smorgabord in your shorts and your cliff bar melitng in your bra - so funny! It is jsut so true, I find food in all my bum bags, back packs, shorts, running tights etc. One of my favourite games I play with my husband when on a particularly long, run / hike out of somehwere is, if a owned a restaurant I would have on the menu or If I ran a bar ... (the bar is a particular favourite when out in the back woods for several days and thus had to abstain for a wee while!)

I love where you live. I have visited twice and could quite happily emigrate there. It is Scotland, only bigger and more stable weather.

Keep entertaining me as I plod my way through pregnancy. Looking forward and already planning some silly events post June! While no where as energetic as anything your up to at the mo(There are two right ups from my 2 favourite events from last year on there too, which are a little more energetic) if you'd like to follow my blog the link is as follows:


Danni said...

Food? I hardly eat. . . or need this "food" you speak of :p

I remember talking to you about running food the first time I met you.

ExtrmTao said...

I can't even begin to describe my insane jealousy over those fresh track pictures!!!

I too have many stories of food fueled mountain bike endeavors. Probably the best was when Kristin shoved white cheddar popcorn in my mouth helping me stave off cramps at a VERY HOT 12 hour race.

Keep up the blogging and I will continue with the jealousy.

Anthony Brantley said...

As always AWESOME photos, I wish I was training where you are.

What's the name of our camera, I need something more durable?


Journey to a Centum said...

Speaking of garlic mashed potatoes...

Leslie's Keith said...

FYI...those recent pictures were taken with Leslie's new Olympus Stylus Tough..(on 'auto' or 'snow' she can jump in the creek with it in her pocket, drop it while foraging for food, sit on it in the back of her pack...Thanks to Jill for the heads up on it...


Brian said...

Have been a reader for some time and really enjoy your blog. My Stylus has been snorkeling, to the top of mountains and everything in between and still works great. Also jealous of the snow - all of ours has melted.

Favoroutie food story involves a serendipitous meeting with a friend in the middle of a long backpacking trip. We were sitting by a 2 track when he came driving by in his truck with pizza leftover from a PSIA meeting in th eback of his truck. Definitley made our day!

Audra said...

leslie, you would love ultra tour du mont blanc simply for the food. i mean, first of all, you know which country you are in (france, italy or switzerland) based on what type of cheese is at aid station. second, the aid station food is incredible - i would leave each one with handfuls and shirtfuls of food, real food - salami, cheese, breads, cake... no gels, no bars, all real food. not to mention the eurpean spectators shout your name, ring cattle bells, are up in their small villages cheering all through the night. oh, and the scenary almost matches the food! but first, hardrock - 2010!

HappyTrails said...

Ahhhh, yes, we LOVE food! As I read your post, I fondly remembered one of my wonderful foodie moments, many years ago at the 24 Hours of Moab Mt Bike Race. It was 3:00 in the morning, I was on my night lap when my battery died for my light 8 miles into a 16 mile loop. I had a eensy teensy helmet light that guided me back to camp. Not only did my light die, it was 18 cold desert degrees (you know how much I LOVE cold!), and I bonked. Big time. after finishing the night lap, I demolished a burrito that weighed about a pound, a bag of doritos, and a WHOLE box of donut holes. Yep, the whole box. Washed it all down with a gallon of water. I was frickin' hungry! Good times - yes food, sometimes lots of it, is wonderful!!! :-) And, awesome pics, as usual!

RunSueRun said...

Love the potato chip photo! The rest were pretty durn cool, too!!


Laura H said...

Well, it wasn't whilst running, but during one of the BEST massages I ever had, I had serious fantasies about PBJs. They were floating through my mind, in various angles, along with a hot cup of espresso. And they weren't nice and neat, like you would imagine. They were mashed into relative flatness, as if they had been sitting in the bottom of a pack for a while. It was hard to recreate when I got home, and it didn't taste as good as the fantasy. But I know what I'm going to be eating and savoring in the afterlife, although avocado and havarti ranks right up there....

Your posts always make me laugh out loud! And NICE photos - just don't drop the camera in the porta john, especially right before a race.

Leslie said...

Hi Meghan! One of the best cold weather tips I learned from you: insert handwarmers in the damp sports bra. Aaaaawesome. Just don't mix chocolate into the equation.

Hi Kaz! Good to hear from you and congrats. Keep on ploddin', as long as you're getting out it's all good.

Danni - got to go, need food NOW.

Hi Jonathan! Sweet powder turns, yes?

Hi Anthony,
...and I wish I was training where you are! LOVE the new Olympus Stylus. The scenery here is so good it makes us all good photographers.

Hi Eric,
Aaaah, yes...garlic mashed potatoes are always a good thing when you are 14 hours in to the Death Race. Happy to oblige!

Hi Brian,
I think Pizza is the best trail food 'eva! Last June we tried a all day Little Caesars pizza run experiment that went slightly awry.4 hours into the day we (OK,me...) had such bad gas I had to move to the back of the pack with my evil bum. From now on, only GOOD pizza!

You are so right. I LOVE a good french loaf and salty meats of any variety. And olives. Mmmm. Salami, prosciutto, cheese and white bread! It's the only time I eat white bread is in that particular food equation. It's on my list for sure.

Hi Kathleen!
WOW, That's a lot of food. I can totally relate. For a skinny little thing, that's impressive! People are always surprised at the volume of food I consume...
Food is a great reward, this girl doesn't have food guilt, EVER.

Hi Sue!
I LOVE that photo. But I just remembered another photo that should have made it into this Post. I'll have to dig it up...

Hi Laura - how the heck R U?
Orcas Island is coming fast and furious, will you be going this year? I don't know if I've had food fantasies during Massage...
usually I'm fantisizing about something else entirely! ;) On a side-note, I once dropped a Gift Certificate in a Porta John Post Race. I had actually WON a prize and then I dropped it down the Crapper. I didn't have the heart to tell the Race Director...

kristen said...

There are very few tastier things than a potato chip when you need something salty.

I love the image of your melted cliff bar.

As usual, the pictures are fantastic and I'm glad you've found yourself a "Leslie-proof" camera.

saschasdad said...

Yeah, the food talk was obviously cool (duh, it's food!), but what caught my attention was the skiing pictures - incredible! Those are so frickin' beautiful!! Lots of fresh, untracked snow under sunny, bluebird skies. Doesn't get much better than that in the winter!

Amber Dawn said...

Thanks for the note on my blog and the confidence boost!
Your post is great, but now I want chips :(

Stuart said...

m&ms, Pringles, pretzels, pb&j, chicken broth are all good friends to me!

I once cycled with pop tarts down my shorts, that warmed them up nicely, never could do pizza though!

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Deanna Stoppler said...

GIRL! This post totally cracked me up. I love it when you are pulling all of these snacks out of your shorts. Too funny. I agree about winter running and troubles keeping up on food and drink. Recently, I bought some Clif shot bloks b/c they didn't have the Luna chew things--it was like -20C and I'm running, trying to open the damn bloks and the package is so tiny and tight fitting and my gloves were SO big. It took FOREVER and was super frustrating. I thought about writing Clif Company a letter, suggesting a nice big pull tab for winter runners.

Nicola Gildersleeve said...


Will you be making an appearance at Trans Rockies again?

or the WS100 training camp?

Food might be one of the worlds best topics and one which most people can talk about for quite some time. The pizza story and Keith was amazing. I would have fallen in love with you too.

I was taught the whole gels in the bra thing this year, as not only a place to warm em up but a place to stash em when you have limited pockets. Genius!!!

You go on a lot of epic adventures. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE food! I think my most favoritest things to carry along runs are pb&j or honey in place of jam. When it gets all smushy and soggy...yum. However, at the TransRockies this past year I got addicted to the tuna at the end of the stages mashed up with salty potato chips. Yep mashed all together.

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