My Keto Adaptation story

The Beginning
One of my first races in 2012 was the Salida Run Through Time Marathon and it didn’t go well. Halfway through the race, I started to bonk. Spent a large middle section of the race just hiking and eating in an attempt to recover a little. It worked, I was able to run through the finish. I decided that day that I needed to find a solution especially if I wanted to do an ultra. My first ultra was going to be a 50 miler, The Collegiate Peaks 50, in a couple of months.
At this point my diet was one pretty typical of runners out there. Tons of carbs mainly in the form of rice. Lots of meat. and minimal fat. Not many vegetables.
At first I thought my bonk must have something to do with my blood PH. I read PH Miracle, saw the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, read a couple of other books, started juicing vegetables, started reducing carbs in my diet, increased my vegetable intake. Basically, a pretty good diet but still pretty high in carbs, just carbs of a different kind.
Things started to get better. Felt more energetic. Endurance improved almost overnight. Thought I was on the right path. Little did I know how things would be different in 6 months.
As I dove deeper into this diet thing, I figured going low carb vegan would be a good thing. I gave it a shot for few weeks but this was a completely unsustainable diet. My fat intake was still pretty low. I was eating a lot of vegetables, juicing a ton, and eating tons of green smoothies. Fiber overload anyone???

Paleo Diet and the Ancestral Health Movement
I then came across “Paleo diet of Athletes” and that was a game changer. I was plunged in this world of Ancestral Health. The whole concept was and is very appealing to me. Obviously, I believe in evolution and the idea that our Neolithic diets were killing us made sense. Eat like we did when we lived in Africa as hunter-gatherers, a simple, elegant idea. So now I turned to the paleo diet. Lots of salads, and meats. I started eating healthy fats like coconut oil and olive oil. Some vegetable juice. But still pretty low in saturated animal fats. The improvements continued. I entered a marathon (Boulder Marathon) on whim, 4 weeks after having run a lackluster 50 miler and the results were surprising. Finished in 3:07. A great time for me given that it was on dirt, at elevation with some elevation gain. I must be on the right track.
I stuck with the paleo diet for the next few month. The only carbs I was ingesting now were based on the recommendations in the Paleo Diet for athletes book. I was eating sweet potatoes, rice, etc during the feeding window. I was also doing fasted runs and stressing my energy systems. Things were working out great.
Early in 2013, I ran a local 50K fat ass run. It went well. Felt like my finish time was up there with the leaders. At the finish while we all hung out a engaged in the usual ultra runner chit-chat, I started talking to this skinny young kid. Anthony was telling me about his run and how he had pretty much done the whole race/run on 2-3 gels and very little water. That was interesting. How could someone be so efficient. Upon further inquiry, turned out that he was low carb as well but a lot more low carb than I thought was doable. He was doing something called ketogenic diet.

Introducing Ketogenic Diet
That evening when I got home, I googled Ketogenic diet and that began my journey into the world of ketosis. I bought the strips, started cutting out most carbs, read the Art And Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance, . The next few months were a little frustrating. Yes, you guessed it, I was having a tough time entering ketosis. The strips were always neutral. I thought maybe I’m drinking too much water. Tried to not drink a lot a few days, but nada. What was I doing wrong???
In early Feb 2013, I ended up biting the bullet and buying a blood ketone meter. To my disappointment, my blood ketones in the AM were in a paltry 0.2-0.3 range. After workouts they would rise a little to 0.6-0.7 but never higher than that. They talk about how keto adaptation can take weeks so I stuck with it. Kept my diet steady. Kept training pretty hard. Figured that I’d stay the course until after the Moab red hot 55K. At this point my am ketones actually started dropping. Even went down to 0.1 a couple of times.
Moab Red Hot 55K went well. Raced pretty hard and needed to eat just 3-4 gels the whole time. Also used way less water than I previously used to. Finished a strong 22nd in 4:50. Not bad.
Once I got back, it was time to make more changes to become fully keto adapted. Although, at this point I didn’t know what. I kept checking my AM blood ketones and they were consistently around 0.2-0.3. There were a couple of times, especially the morning after a long run, when the reading was higher but nothing lasted into the next day.
At this point I was starting to correspond with Dan (runKeto.com) and he mentioned maintaining a food log. Following his advice, I started maintaining a food log on My Fitness Pal . This is a chore initially but once you get a hang of it, it gets a lot easier. The next week or so I realized that my protein intake was a little too high. While it was still paleo, it was probably what was holding me back. I confirmed this with Eric (runKeto.com) and he mentioned eating around 75 grams of protein/day spread out over 2-3 meals. Once you start maintaining a log, you’ll realize how hard that actually is. At least initially while you fine tune your diet.
So for the last few days, I’ve been trying to and struggling to keep my protein intake low. Especially, at night. I have a habit of overeating protein. It’s work in progress but I’m seeing at least some results. For the last few days, I’ve been registering 0.3 blood ketone reading and then today (3/13) it was 0.7. Yes, I know, not fully keto adapted yet but I think this is a step in the right direction.
Can’t wait to test again tomorrow. Hopefully the ketones are on the up-and-up.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply