Running in the Rockies: Fueled by Burgers, Shakes and Swedish Fish

Fuel: Burgers and FriesI was a little tied up a week or so ago.  I couldn’t do too many posts because I was running  four to six hours a day for six days in the Colorado Rockies as part of the Gore-Tex Trans Rockies Run.

And yes, the picture to the left is really what we ate one night for recovery. By the end of the week, I had inhaled some 12 burgers, six shakes and more gels, chomps and chews than I can count!

TransRockies is a six-day trail running event from Buena Vista, CO to Beaver Creek, CO. It covers 117 miles and had over 25,000 feet of climbing. Teams of two run an average of 20 miles per day over some of the most scenic passes in the Rockies.

While beautiful, the running is made complicated by the sheer amount of climbing, elevations that routinely were above 10,000 feet and at points around, 12,500 feet and the single-track trails that were quite technical.

From a sports nutrition perspective, I calculated my energy requirements and had an idea of how many calories I should be trying to take in every few hours. But since it’s hot and you’re running, my best laid plans to eat gels and energy bars went bust.

In the end, I relied heavily on calorie-dense, salty foods for fuel. My favorites ended up being Cheeze-It and Ritz Peanut Butter Crackers, Gu Gels and Chomps and Swedish Fish. During these types of ultra events, because the pace is quite moderate, you can actually tolerate much more than if you’re running shorter, faster events. After each stage, my recovery meal consisted of two burgers and 1-2 chocolate shakes. While I don’t normally eat burgers or eat shakes, because I was expending more than 3,000 calories a day, I ate whatever I thought pack in tons of calories while being an ultimate “treat” food for me. It was like a mini-reward each day that I would look forward to during the last hour or so of each run.

I finished the event, without incident, and am looking forward to repeating the challenge again—maybe next year? As far as my nutrition goes, I wouldn’t change a thing.



  1. says

    I love it, Julie!

    I couldn’t agree more with your philosophy…you need fuel during these ultra-endurance events and it’s often dictated by your taste buds and belly, not your calculations. Dense and salty is the way to go!

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