Chex Mix. Dr. Pepper. Snickers bar. Slim Jims. A few weekends ago I was leading an indoor bike ride with a group of budding triathletes. They asked what kind of stuff I ate during long IRONMAN bike rides…this was part of my list of goodies in my special needs bag. Some were shocked my bag didn’t consist of organic fruit, quinoa, or some non-GMO gluten free substance. Don’t get me wrong…my main source of nutrition during a race is usually Nuun (for short races) or INFINIT (for longer stuff). But as a warm-blooded human being, I crave junk food just as much as the next person.
Bacon. For starters, bacon is my favorite food group. Everything, I mean everything, tastes better with bacon. Macaroni and cheese. Pasta carbonara. Brussels sprouts. Breakfast burritos. Baked potatoes. You name it. I once had pork belly wrapped in bacon. Double oink. You’d think I’d died and gone to heaven. If you don’t like bacon, you seriously need your head checked.
Dr. Pepper. Boy, do I love me some Dr. Pepper!! Must be a Midwest thing, because I always seem to be one of the few people in my circle of friends that loves Dr. Pepper.The fizz, sugar, refreshing taste. There’s just something so special about it. I never quite acquired the love for coffee, so in college whenever I pulled all-nighter study sessions (which was quite often), Dr. Pepper was my chosen source of caffeine. As previously mentioned, Dr. Pepper has a home in my special needs bag during IRONMAN races. Whenever I had a 100-mile ride on my training schedule, I planned out the route as to make sure there was at least one stop for Dr. Pepper and a snickers bar, and it was usually up at the Carter Lake Marina Store (the cashier knows me pretty well). I take the motto “nothing new on race day” to heart. Now that I’m back working in an office with a beverage cooler stocked with just about every kind of soda known to man (and totally free), I have to put the blinders up so I don’t drink all my calories. Even as I’m typing this entry, I have a Dr. Pepper sitting right next to my keyboard.
McDonald’s French Fries. Two words. Damn and Good. In my opinion, the best tasting french fries on the face of this earth (followed closely in 2nd by Freddy’s). I never questioned what made these fries taste so good. Then one day a friend mentioned to me that beef fat was used in the cooking process. Well now it all makes perfect sense! Just imagine if they used bacon fat to cook up their french fries. Now that would be amazingly delicious!!! One thing I always looked forward to after a really long bike ride was Dr. Pepper (surprise surprise) AND McDonald’s french fries. The thought of the yummy salty goodness in my mouth would keep me going those last few miles. The light at the end of my training tunnel was always a picture of the red box with golden arches. After crossing the finish line in Kona, the two things I craved – Dr. Pepper and french fries!
Everyone has their vices…smoking…alcohol…coffee. Mine comes in the form of junk food, which is a big reason why I workout and train for races. After college and well into my 30’s I struggled with losing weight and found myself going on and off crazy diets that were so restrictive. Once I got a handle on what my body needed to survive, I was able to give into my cravings (in moderation) from time to time. I found those cravings were easy to manage and could be satisfied after a few bites. Do I ever plan on cutting junk food out completely? Never!! Life is too damn short!! Now, who wants bacon?