Slow + How I Carb-Load.

While I’ve been very aware that I have a half marathon this weekend and next, it didn’t really hit me until last night. I’m nervous but also have taken the approach to running that works for me… very laid back. I’d say I care about my pace somewhat and it would be great to run 9 minute miles “easy”, but I know I’m slow and ACTUALLY slow. Nothing annoys me more than reading blogs about runners who say their 8:30 minute miles are sooo slow. You KNOW that’s not slow. It may be slow for you and that’s totally fine because we are all different, but stop considering that slow. I can’t even sprint an 8 minute mile. Let’s keep it real. You have natural speed talent, OWN it. Be proud! I think it’s safe to say 11 minute miles are pretty damn slow but I’m pretty damn proud that I can run at all  🙂

My point to that is that I know I’m not going to win any race and while I think it’s great to compete against yourself, you never know how you’re going to feel on race day. I give myself too much anxiety thinking about all the outcomes of a race, and I think that’s one component of why it’s so exciting. But I tend to get too down on myself thinking that my paces are embarrassing… and then I remind myself that just 4 years ago, I was carrying 110 extra pounds and couldn’t even WALK a mile without dying. It’s not that I don’t go out there and run my heart out, but keeping a 10 minute mile pace for 13.1 miles, right now, would have me dry heaving by the 3rd mile. Maybe one day I’ll have some speed back, but it just isn’t natural for me right now. And I am okay with that, and that’s great since I’m the only person who HAS to be okay with that 🙂

I’m starting with this stuff because this week I felt so unmotivated to run at all. My 10 mile race last weekend was great, and then I stressed myself out about being so sore for the following days. I finally ran Wednesday and it hurt. Everything hurt. I took Thursday off, then when I got to the gym yesterday to run I was over it before it even began. I ran 1 mile on the treadmill, then did some upper body work because I didn’t have it in me to run 1 more foot. I thought about why I was so over it all day, and I realized that I’m making races too much about the outcome. I run because I love it and I have to allow races to just be a day of running that I had to pay for (WTF) and that happens to be with thousands of other people while getting water handed to me for free. Pretty sweet deal. So I have to stop worrying about my pace and enjoy the ride! The fact that I have the ability to run and the ability to run these amazing races is enough to make me happy.

Moving on to the good stuff. If you are new to running longer distances or races, I will share with you what seems to work the best for me when it comes to “carb loading.” If you are also new to reading my blog, first of all… thank you 🙂 Second of all, I have a little history with binge eating. It was a period of about 4 months of bad binge eating… I would eat normal all day, then come home and eat a ton and wake up in the middle of the night to eat. It was in between my lowest, unhealthy weight when I needed to gain some back and I lost control. I had restricted for so long that suddenly eating more became MUCH more, and I put on 20 pounds in those 4 months. I am thankful every day that I have overcome it but it did take over a year to really rid myself of it completely. How this relates to carb loading is that I HATE feeling overly full now, so when I got into distance running I thought it would be a little tricky to add extra calories and carbs the day before the race without that feeling. The trick is to start carb loading the 3-4 days before the race by adding in extra calories and carbs without overdoing it. Trust me, you do NOT want to wake up the day of the race (or a long training run) with a food hangover. If my race is Sunday, I start to add a bit more to my day starting Thursday.

Oats in a jar with some lovely flowers and reading material.
Oats in a jar with some lovely flowers and reading material.

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Thursday’s breakfast was oats in a jar with a few scoops of apple butter. I eat oats every morning, but on this day I added in another banana (well, ate it on the side) and these scoops of apple butter.

Yesterday’s lunch was amazing. I had to go to the Upper East Side to get my race stuff for Sunday, and since Panera Bread is up here and I am never up there I decided to grab it for lunch.

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I ALWAYS get the greek salad with grilled chicken (which costs more to add, of course) and once I got back to my desk I was beyond pissed to see that no grilled chicken had been added. SO PISSED. Luckily the pumpkin pie bagel I got to carb up with didn’t disappoint.

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I just had it toasted with nothing on it and it was perfection!

Last night John and I went to the great new restaurant in our neighborhood, Heights Tavern. It’s so great to have a restaurant in our neighborhood that’s really good and not entirely spanish food!

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I had grilled chicken, avocado & goat cheese on ciabatta with sweet potato fries. Nothing is oily and greasy there which I absolutely love!

Today’s breakfast was extra carby of course, since it’s the day before the race.

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Just so happened to have another almost empty jar of Justin’s deliciousness, so I added in my heated up banana chia oats and added 1/4 cup of dark chocolate macaroon granola AND a mini dark chocolate mounds bar. Chocolate coconut heaven! I found that granola at TJ Maxx and it’s amazing.

As for lunch today, I will have a bagel and some Popchips with guacamole and dinner later is my pre-race ritual of cheese-less Domino’s pizza! I’m aiming for about 2500 calories today so even with the pizza I still need a snack of about 500 calories! Hard job fueling for a race, huh? 😉

One other thing… if I had ran more miles this week I would be eating a bit more than I am since I would need the extra fuel from burning more calories. I have this worked out for my own body and its’ needs, keeping in mind that I still want to lose a few pounds so there is no need for me to go out of control with calories! It’s a constant learning process and since it involves food… it’s pretty fun.

How do you fuel for races or long runs?

Alternatives.

Happy Friday people! Since a lot of you don’t work weekends I should really hate you but I don’t! I only work tomorrow and Sunday I’ll be off, enjoying my 10 mile race followed by my favorite brunch 🙂

If you’re new to my blog you may not know that I have struggled with IBS my whole life and it’s been a long journey finding out what foods I just cannot handle without severe pain. The top food that I just figured out this year is corn. ANYTHING to do with it gives me horrible stomach pains that I can’t shake. While I pretty much never ate corn itself, there is a lot of food that I never realized contained corn. Since I also can’t eat red meat, I resort to veggie burgers when I’m at a burger place but sadly many restaurant and frozen veggie burgers contain corn. The hardest thing to give up has been tortilla chips. I mean, who wants to go out for Mexican food when you can’t even eat the chips?! Well, my alternative is popped chips. Popchips are great but if you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s version of just the original, you need to go there right now. I LOVE guacamole, so if I know I’m going to a Mexican restaurant I pick up a single serving bag of Popchips to bring with me and couldn’t care less about the stares I may get. It’s also one of my favorite snacks right now.

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Not only is this fine on my stomach but you save a ton of calories and fat. So even if corn doesn’t bother your stomach, this is a great option to bring with you to save some calories. A serving size of tortilla chips is like 14 chips for 140 calories and that pretty much goes in your mouth in about 60 seconds!

The other recent food group that kills me is dairy. My favorite food in the entire world is pizza. I also LOVE cheese but luckily my favorite cheeses are feta, blue and goat and they are okay for me. But I eat pizza at least once a week, usually twice. I have done this through my entire weight loss because I plan ahead and make the calories/macros work. It’s honestly so much easier to fit it in now that I can’t eat cheese! I honestly haven’t tried this at any other place because good Italian NYC pizza has very little cheese on it so I just pick it off, but we order Domino’s once a week and they make the most fabulous cheese-less pizza ever! I order mine no cheese, regular sauce or light sauce, jalapeno & onions. It’s basically like eating garlic-y jalapeno bread sticks dipped in marinara. I can eat the whole pizza for under 800 calories, but I usually save 3 slices for the following day.

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My last alternative I’ll share with you today is my obsession with froyo. I LOVE froyo. Sometimes it affects my stomach, sometimes it doesn’t but it’s never too bad if it does. The problem is I load it with sugary toppings (what’s the point if you don’t?!) so I make it a once a week treat. Other nights when I have the calories/macros left, I’ll make my own little froyo concoction. I usually take a Chobani or Oikos Greek yogurt and stick it in the freezer with the intent to eat it in 1-2 hours. I just take the single serving size and stick it right in like that. Once I take it out, I take off the foil top (duh.) and stir it up. It’s usually frozen just a little bit and kinda thickens it up. Sometimes I’ll scoop it out in a dish to put the toppings on, but you can literally just eat it right out of the container and add the toppings. Last night I fancied up the best flavor ever, Chobani’s 2% key lime pie. 2% or nothing for me!!

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I topped it with banana slices, 1 tbsp melted chocolate hazelnut butter, a few sprinkles and a 110 calorie white chocolate blueberry cookie. Fit my macros perfect! Eaten while watching Breaking Bad. We are up to episode 5 of season 2, so we’re chugging along!

So whether you have dietary restrictions due to health issues or are trying to meet calorie/macro goals, you can find alternatives to your favorite foods so you never feel like you’re missing out!

Do you have any dietary restrictions? 

What is your favorite caloric food to recreate a little healthier?