As soon as I woke up on Monday, my banana journey began.
For a week straight (Monday, October 23th to Monday, October 30th) I aimed to ingest only bananas as a calorie source. Coffee, tea, club soda, and water accompanied my little yellow friends into the caverns.
No salads. No grains. No sweets, no peanut butter.
I shot for about 20 bananas per day to match a 2,000-calorie diet, which, yes, is a ridiculous amount of anything. I didn’t quite make this each day, simply because bananas…well…they fill you up.
It was miraculous. I felt amazing.
The bananas gave me an enormous amount of energy and an almost supernatural recovery speed from athletic endeavors.
I ran the G.O.A.Tz trail 50k around Lake Cunningham in Omaha, NE this past Sunday and I was definitely feeling the 31 miles on the drive back home to Kansas.
Monday morning, I woke up early and went out for a rather pathetic shake-out run. Then, you know, banana banana banana banana etc.
Tuesday morning, I woke up early and went out for my regular 6.5 mile-loop and felt 100% recovered–and!–ran faster than usual. Definitely not on purpose, it just happened!
Wednesday-Friday featured similar energetic morning runs. I was in a brilliant mood; I was running strong and in good purposeful form.
I’ve been running long enough to be really aware of changes in my body regarding running, and there was definitely some kind of hidden commander lurking in my joints shaping up the little soldiers for battle.
General ‘Nana, as he came to be called.
I’ve been racing long enough to know that a week after a hard run such as the G.O.A.Tz 50k deserves special attention regarding recovery; but my body simply didn’t need it.
On Saturday I ran 16 miles with spot-on pace. On Sunday, I treated myself to a trek out to the trails for a 20-mile jaunt. Again, spot-on pace. Spot on nutrition, spot on mood, spot on podcasts, spot on everything.
Work was better this week, too, because I couldn’t keep still. Seriously, ask my coworkers. They had to raise their voices to tell me stories about their day as I power-walked around the aisles in Nature’s Paradise in efforts to burn off some of the energy.
Homework was more focused and efficient; I slept harder because I did more during the day. I woke up earlier and in a better mood.
I found I had so much more brain capacity because I wasn’t thinking about feeding myself during the day.
I love cooking, it’s a stress-relief for me to get to control the kitchen and ebb and flow my way around good hearty ingredients. But I find myself thinking a lot about what my next meal is going to be; do I have all the ingredients? Do I have enough time? What do I actually want to eat? What do I actually have? I have to go get food, then? Can I even afford LIFE?!
It can get stressful.
This past week I hardly thought at all about meals. I just ate bananas when I was hungry. What was for breakfast? Bananas. Lunch? Bananas. Snacks? Bananas. Dinner? Nanas. Dessert? NANAS.
I also saved quite the hefty penny this week. 30 bananas cost me about $4, so I spent a total of $11.60 this week on groceries. That’s one meal out in a restaurant, folks.
I’m not sure if I lost weight, but weight definitely resettled around my body. I feel leaner. I feel…clean, if that makes sense. My skin feels better, too.
Now, perhaps some disclaimers. Especially for you ultra-runners out there who are tearing out your hair because of the lack of rest days and proper nutrition.
This is an average amount of running for me; last week was 10% lower in mileage and the week before was only 10% lower than that and etc., etc., proper increase in mileage.
Instead of taking days off from running, I use Friday and Wednesday runs as recovery runs; super super slow and methodical. They clean out the cave better than taking the morning off does.
For those concerned about the mere 1300/1500 calories I consumed on Saturday and Sunday relative to the 1600/2000 calories I burned while running; I used running nutrition (not bananas, don’t be sad) both pre-run and while running.
It was a moral debate: what about the long runs on the weekend?! I want to eat ONLY bananas for an entire week….but. I only have a certain number of long runs before race day in February. I need to use them to practice my race-day nutrition.
I decided that my nana-goal needed to be sacrificed for my continual exploration of race-day nutrition.
Pre-run intake: half a pop tart, banana, cold brew coffee.
Every 20 minutes: sip of Hammer Perpetuem Caffee Latte drink mix.
On the hour: 5 ritz crackers OR 1 pickle.
Pre-run intake: the other half of the pop tart, banana, and cold brew coffee.
Every 20 minutes: sip of Tailwind Mixed Berry drink mix.
On the hour: 5 ritz crackers.
Half-way: sips of veggie broth. Bottle change back to water. Banana.
Every 20 minutes: sip of water and a Stingers organic energy chew.
On the hour: one Stingers organic honey waffle (which was DELICIOUS).
Post-run: remainder of the broth; pickles, Nanas.
So, I suppose if I’m being honest, I didn’t eat ONLY bananas for an entire week. But the vast, vast, vast amount of my caloric intake came from those suckers.
While there were so many benefits: there were also some hardships, as one can imagine.
I am quite tired of eating bananas.
I would like to eat something else. Really, anything else. Anything at all. What’s that? Is that a rotten carrot laying on top of the trash? Yeah, I’ll take that. Hmm? What you got? Oh, that’s some pre-chewed tofu sauteeing in the pan? Yes please, right into my gullet.
So what was the point, actually, of doing this to myself?
I want to throw off my body in as many ways as possible to get it to adapt. I also just really love challenges and explorations.
Eating only bananas for an entire week will not kill you, even if it might stop you up a smidge. It improved my athletic performance enough to convince me to employ General Nana for the week before my 100-miler in February.
It also serves as good mindset training; training yourself to believe you can do anything for a time period.
Peace and Blessings,