Food + Race Rambles.

‘Twas another weekend full of food and racing, just the way I like it. If only I hadn’t had to work both days, it would have been the picture perfect weekend. A girl can dream, eh?

Let’s just dive right into the food. Regardless that my half marathon series is over until at least December but definitely January (I signed up for another 1/2 for the end of January, but have one on my mind for December) I am still carb-loading on Saturdays like it’s my job. Maybe one day it will be my job. Until then I will just have to use my own money to do so which is the not so fun part. ANYWAYS, the food.

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One of my very generous co-workers heard around the water coolers that I loved Biscoff so she brought me a jar. She is clearly an angel. I am proud to announce that it’s a few days after she gave it to me and there is still some left to last until at least tomorrow, and I also shared with John. YUP.

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Instead of eating it by the spoonful (okay I have 3 times) I’ve been putting it on my oatmeal and when it melts to form a pool my heart also melts. Those are FRENCH TOAST goldfish swimming on there. I love that I can add some sugary crunch to my oats for about 40 calories for 10 fishes. I am fully aware that this picture shows more than 10 fishies.

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Swooped into Whole Foods to get some soup and had to try a little piece of this grape, walnut & blue cheese pizza. It was really, really good but I picked off the walnuts. Didn’t like the crunch on a pizza. Love that you can get little samples or super small pieces at Whole Foods just to get a taste!

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John and I went to get pizza at Patsy’s Saturday night and he always gets an order of meatballs and I eat the sauce. I mean I dip my pizza in it too since I have to scrape off all the cheese, but I also eat the sauce with a fork. The chunks of tomato in it and the flavors are so good I can’t even describe it. YUM.

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Pumpkin pie froyo with fruity pebbles is life changing. John was gagging just looking at it. Do not ever trust his judgement.

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Pre-race Sunday morning. I am IN LOVE with this top. The brand is Mondetta and I got it at TJ Maxx. I’ll have to take a picture of it more close up but the details are so cute, especially on the back. It always feels good to run in something that’s cute πŸ™‚

This was the Poland Spring 5 Mile Marathon Kick-off race. So weird to think that I ran this last year too! I have now been racing long enough to be doing the same race twice. Crazy. That also means it’s been a year since Hurricane Sandy too. How does time go by so fast?

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Hills on hills on hills.

The race has the same finish line as the NYC Marathon which is so cool.

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I ran this pretty hard and felt strong and really good for the whole race, except my right hip flexor/groin area was killing me from mile 2 on. It was hard to even lift my right leg to run, so I had to ease up on the pace a few times when I really could have gone faster. SO frustrating. I am giving up on ever being fast.

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So that’s what my RunKeeper app recorded but my official time was 50:38 for a 10:08 pace, which is exactly one minute slower than last year. Can we please just go by my app time, thanks. πŸ™‚ I ran 1.5 miles to the race and 1.5 back for a total of 8 miles for the day.

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Yesterday was also my 1,000 day of logging my food on MyFitnessPal. I owe so much of my weight loss success to you, MFP! In all of these 1,000 days I have probably missed 3 days of full logging. Even on the bad binging days I used to have, every bite got recorded. Everyone has their own opinion of counting calories but it works for me πŸ™‚

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Sunday ended with $5 mussels & fries at Brindle Room.

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And pumpkin pie + roasted apples custard at Shake Shack. All with my love Johnny, of course. We got this great (but fuzzy since I enlarged and screenshot it) picture of us from my friend’s wedding last month.

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I kinda love him a lot. πŸ™‚

How was your weekend? I wanna hear your workouts + delicious eats!

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 forΒ 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 Β πŸ™‚

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 evenΒ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ Second of all, I have a little history with binge eating. It was a period of about 4 months ofΒ 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? πŸ˜‰

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?

6 Mile Sunday

Something amazing happened yesterday.

For anyone who knows me/reads my blog, you know I’ve been on the sidelines from running as much as I used to since last fall. I have still continued running, but haven’t risked running more than 3.5 miles since January. 3.5 miles was even pushing it, so I have been sticking to a lot of HIIT sessions on the treadmill with sprints, slower running and walking on an incline. I have also taken many, many, MANY spin classes, strength trained, taken more rest days than ever, and became very intimate with foam rolling. Okay, that sounded real weird, but I have been forcing myself to use it after EVERY run the last few weeks. I’ve been taking the time to stretch and wear my compression sleeves on my shins/calves every night. So did all of that pay off after what seemed like 100 years, but really just a few months?

Yesterday it sure did.

I was hoping for 4 miles and didn’t care how slow they were. I went into it with no pressure, told myself I could walk if I needed to and especially if there was any pain. I properly carb loaded the day before in hopes of a good, long-ish run, but probably more because I was hungover from my Friday night with Caitlin. Even after months without a long run, pizza still works as the best carb-loading dinner the night before. I also ate random cookies which I never do? But, I was super fueled and had a great run.

I ran loops in Central Park with all the other wonderful Sunday morning runners. The weather was amazing. 65 degrees, sunny, which makes for a hot run which I LOVE! My legs felt ridiculously good, and when I neared 4 miles I knew I could keep going. I actually could have kept going but unfortunately I had to go to work! I finished the 6 miles in 59 minutes which is slow for me, but I made sure to keep my pace slow. Too much speedwork and too high mileage is what got me hurt in the first place!

It’s Monday night and I’m still riding the runner’s high.

Oh, maybe that’s because I also ran 3 miles this morning. In 28 minutes. After telling myself I was just going to go out for a slow, 2 mile shake-out run, I busted out a not-too-slow 3 miler with legs that didn’t feel like I had just ran 6 yesterday.

DON’T BE STUPID, JEN. As much as I want to keep running every day, I know that I cannot. My shins are slightly sore and I have to respect the fact that while I am able to run again, it can be taken away from me at any time. It has been a really, really tough time period without running like I want to. I wasn’t able to bust out mile after mile while trying to deal with the loss of my grandma. Spin classes have really helped a lot, but truthfully NOTHING gets you the high feeling that running does.

Trying not to get ahead of myself, but it feels sooooooooo good to be back! πŸ™‚