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 forย 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 ย ๐Ÿ™‚

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 evenย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Second of all, I have a little history with binge eating. It was a period of about 4 months ofย 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? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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?

Total Body

I lied yesterday.

I lied when I said I was going to take 2 spin classes.

I have a bit of an obsession with trying new gyms/group exercise classes. Living in NYC, there are so many gym options and many deals from Living Social, Groupon, Amazon deals and even more sites that feed my addiction for much cheaper. I had an Amazon deal for New York Sports Club that was going to expire, so I cashed it in on Saturday. It’s 2 blocks from my work, not to mention on pretty much every street in NYC. P.S.: This brings my grand total of gym memberships to 4 at the moment. All thanks to deals! ๐Ÿ™‚

When I called to reserve my spot in the 12:15 spin class, it was booked! But, the lady told me there was another 12:15 class called total body conditioning. I LOVE strength training classes because it forces me to do all the reps and learn new moves. This class was no exception. There was no cardio at all, just back-to-back sets generally using upper and lower body moves together, similar to Jillian Michaels but a little slower paced. By the end, I was a pool of jello! I am really happy I went instead of doing cardio.

After grocery shopping and enjoying some sunshine with a 1.5 mile walk, I went home to finally eat! I meant to take my blender bottle with protein powder so I could refuel my muscles, but forgot it at home. So I whipped up a protein smoothie-in-a-bowl but left out the spinach. Just wasn’t feelin’ it. In the mix:

1 scoop protein powder (mine is GNC banana cream.. So good!)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Frozen strawberries
1/2 frozen banana

Blended all up and topped with 1/2 cup Kashi GoLean high protein twigs + 1 tbsp coconut oil peanut butter. I am so stoked on warm weather and smoothies are making a comeback!

I cleaned my kitchen, showered and realized I wasn’t in the mood for cardio?! Very unlike me. I guess I felt nice and clean after showering and didn’t feel like getting sweaty!

In leiu of spin class, I went to Panera Bread. They finally have opened in NYC! Panera is my favorite “fast-ish food chain”… There are plenty of healthy options. My go-to is the greek salad with grilled chicken, no greek dressing. I get balsamic on the side and use one small container, cut up the whole salad and mix together. Then I sub a whole wheat baguette for the white one. I also indulge my diet soda love here because diet pepsi tastes so good there! But then I get a stomach ache, always. Not sure why I let myself drink it…

I am sore today from that class and looooving it! I am hoping to take the class 2 times per week, and fit in Jillian Michaels on another day. I am starting to feel fitter again and noticing some small changes. It’s putting me in a much happier mood! You just have to have patience, trust me.

I woke up a little late today but still going to get in a little cardio on the treadmill, probably HIIT style since I only have about 20 minutes. Then I am planning on a spin class tonight at NYSC to see if I like theirs.. It’s hard to top how awesome Gold’s Gym’s spin classes are!