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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

The Blah’s.

It’s inevitable. Every October nearing the end of the month I get hit with the blah’s. I had such a great September and beginning of October with races and great weather. Then all of a sudden it’s in the 50’s and I get sick and my motivation goes out the window with sporadic appearances until March. I am determined to fight that this year because those signs have already appeared this week. I haven’t ran since Sunday and I’ve had NO desire to at all. My focuses this week have been on Spin, with a 75 minute session Tuesday night to prepare me for…

MY FIRST SPIN AUDITION YESTERDAY! It was such a last minute thing but I am really happy with how my first one went. I will know by next week if I will be teaching or not, so please cross your fingers for me ๐Ÿ™‚ It felt really natural for me to be up on the bike, barking orders and providing inspiration along with party jams. I hope this is just the beginning! More details once I find out next week.

So yeah, all that I’ve really done all week is work, Spin, eat, homework, sleep. Must change that tomorrow. I have a 5 mile race on Sunday that I will not be racing just running pretty casually. Especially if I’m actually sick by then, like I feel it coming on in my chest, but I don’t want to push my body and feel worse. Hard to believe it’s been a year since I did the same race! It’s the 5-mile Marathon Kick-off race and let’s pray that following the race is NOT a hurricane like last year.

I’ve been super lazy with food this week too. I had no appetite Monday or Tuesday, but after yesterday’s audition I stayed for 2 bootcamp type auditions that were the hardest 20 minutes of my life. I left feeling extremely famished so I got a quick brunch at Grey Dog before coming home and laying in bed for 7 hours. Literally.

runny eggs, potatoes with peppers and cranberry whole wheat toast
runny eggs, potatoes with peppers and cranberry whole wheat toast

Once I got home I took a hot shower and laid in bed watching Louis C.K. season 3 all day. I didn’t move until I finally got hungry at 7 PM and decided to order sushi from Seamless. A.K.A. heaven/danger. It shouldn’t exist that you can lay in bed and order whatever you are craving right from your phone without moving or speaking to a human. So, so lazy.

spicy tuna Maki roll, half eaten.
spicy tuna Maki roll, half eaten.

My legs are crazy sore from basically 2 hours of Spin in 12 hours and 9483948 jump squats so today is a rest day and hopefully I will get my butt out of my warm cozy bed for a run tomorrow morning!

Do you go through a “blah” transition period from summer to cold weather?

Staten Island 1/2 Recap + Breast Cancer Walk

This post was written yesterday and I accidently posted it to the totally wrong page. Clearly I am in dire need of sleep!

I am in newlywed PR City, ya’ll. Does that make even the slightest bit of sense? No. But that’s what I mean… I’m still riding the runner’s high VERY high since Sunday’s PR. Super unexpected PR of almost 8 minutes. Let’s get into this.

Saturday night I chowed down on my usual pre-race dinner of a medium cheese-less Domino’s pizza with onion and jalapenos.

up close money shot. #PizzaPorn
up close money shot. #PizzaPorn

I ate it while watching some of Blue Crush (this is one of my big race motivating movies… probably because Kate Bosworths’ body is RIDICULOUS in it) and then remembered I wanted to watchย Spirit of the Marathonย which is on Netflix! I’m probably the last runner to have watched it but if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. I was in tears by the end and it played a huge roll in my PR yesterday. I felt so motivated to run the best race I could run!

The race started at 8:30 and it’s quite a ways from my apartment. We were on the subway for close to an hour and then the ferry takes about 20 minutes. Luckily the views were WELL worth it!

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My stomach was in shambles and it wasn’t from nerves. I had a VERY tiny amount of cheese on Friday and it wrecked me all night Friday, Saturday and into yesterday. Extremely stupid on my part for having it just 2 days before a race but I desperately needed a quesadilla friday, what can I say. I was doubting whether I could even do the race without bolting to the porta potties 100 times, but thankfully I was able to successfully go before the race started… after standing in line for 30 minutes inside the Staten Island ferry terminal. It was a nightmare!

The start and finish of the race was absolutely beautiful, right on the water.

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As you can see it was a totally gorgeous day to run. It was REALLY chilly at the start because of the wind and being right on the water so I didn’t run in that ridiculously fluffy comfy hoodie I have on there. I freezed my butt off for the first few minutes wearing this:

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Top look familiar? It’s what I wore in my Women’s Health article! It’s OBVIOUSLY a good luck charm! ๐Ÿ™‚

The course was really nice and pretty flat. We ran through an underpass where they had a DJ which I thought was so amazing! He happened to be spinning LMFAO “Sexy and I know It” when I ran through and we all started fist pimping and singing along. A memorable moment for sure. Have I mentioned how much I love races? ๐Ÿ™‚

There were a few hills and there was one MAJOR hill after mile 9 that I almost puked on. No joke. It was so hard to run up that thing and I wasn’t moving very fast but I refused to let myself walk. The whole race I felt like I was definitely running faster than last weeks half and my goal was to wait as long as possible to stop and stretch. I said in last weeks recap that I wait until it’s really tight but I wanted to see (cautiously) what would happen if I just pushed through since it’s not actual pain. I somehow found myself past mile 10 texting John to let him know I was almost to 11 when he told me I was REALLY kicking ass. I realized I hadn’t stopped at all. I didn’t use my RunKeeper app or heart rate monitor this time because I just wanted to run by feel, and apparently that’s the way to go!! When I realized I was definitely going to PR, I just zoned out as much as I could and pushed on. I wasn’t sure how much the clock was ahead but I figured it was about 10 minutes and from my (apparently delirious) math I figured I would get about a 3-4 minute PR. I saw John right at mile 13 and sprinted my heart out that last .10 to the blaring beats of my favorite song: BLURRED LINES!

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Last week’s time was 2:29:17. That means I PRed by almost 8 MINUTES! IN A WEEK!

on top of the freaking world
on top of the freaking world

LOVE the medal!

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My phone died before we left the island but I had a great brunch with John and Brenda after at my favorite, Grey Dog Cafe! Then I got in bed and watched Breaking Bad and fell asleep at 5 PM. Pretty much the most perfect day ever.

Still cannot believe I did back-to-back half marathons (and a 10 miler!) and PRed by so much. I am in runners heaven.

One more thing! I am doing a Breast Cancer walk this upcoming Sunday and have set up a donation page. If you feel like you want to donate, even just $1, here is the link to do so. Thank you!

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/artificiallybalanced

Have you ever had a huge PR?ย 

Grete’s Great Gallop 1/2 Marathon!

This week has been a little crazy so I apologize for the lack of posts! I’ve been in exhaustion city since running the half on Sunday but I’m starting to feel human again. Here’s a little recap for ya!

I wrote last week about how I wasn’t really feeling motivated to run, and I honestly woke up Sunday morning feeling the same way. I drank my water and coffee, ate my 1/2 banana and PB, put my Polar heart rate monitor on and headed for the subway. The race started on the east side of the 72nd St. transverse in Central Park so it was relatively easy to get to. As per usual, I was in the porta potty line 1 minute before the race began but since I’m not fast I always have about 10 minutes to spare way in the back of the corrals. That’s a perk of being slow, yes?

When I signed up for this race back in August, I was dreaming of a nice chilly start to the race being that it was in October and all. Well, 2 minutes of being outside Sunday morning and you were drenched in sweat from the thick humidity and mist. I was glad I had hydrated so well the day before and morning of and I am particularly happy with how I hydrated through the whole race. I carried a Nathan’s hand held water bottle about 3/4 or a little less full and sipped it every 5-10 minutes until I ran out of it at mile 9.

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This size fits my iPhone 5 (with no case on it), my credit card and ID, and a little baggy of Swedish Fish.

I felt pretty great mentally and physically for much more of the race than I expected. The one mantra I told myself when I would start to get anxious at how much time I had left was to “stay within the mile you are in”. I have read that many times and it helps so much! I would just focus on being in mile 4 or mile 10 and get through that mile. I kept my music off until the 6th mile for a little mental break in the miles, too. Dedicating the harder miles to someone is really helpful too. I thought about my grandma for all of mile 8 when one of her favorite songs came on my playlist- Unforgettable by Nat King Cole. It brought tears to my eyes and an instant sense of motivation!

This course was 2 full loops of Central Park and let me just tell you… it’s Wednesday and the soreness in my quads is still making it very painful to walk down any stairs! Hills on hills on hills. I fueled with Swedish fish at mile 4 and mile 8 and didn’t feel like I needed any extra energy. Swedish fish are amazing and a cheap source of sugar for a long distance run!

I stopped to stretch out my calves and left IT band 3 times and while I wish I could get away with not doing that, I just don’t want to risk an injury. I wait until the tightness is pretty bad to stop so I don’t feel like such a wuss but it definitely feels like a necessity to do.

Finally mile 12 came and as it usually goes, it was the worst mile of the whole race. I almost stopped to walk about 300 times but instead I ran slower than I’ve ever run before. It honestly barely felt like I was moving my feet but soon enough I saw Brenda and John near the final .10 of the race. It gave me the boost of adrenaline I needed, and I sprinted my way through the finish and somehow managed a smile!

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I pretty much want this picture enlarged and framed in my room. So proud that my 2nd half marathon is complete! I actually finished 2 seconds slower than my first one in May but it really doesn’t matter to me! Finishing is all I’m concerned with ๐Ÿ™‚

Finishing time was 2:29:17. Pace of 11:24 per mile. Rockin’ the 11’s like it’s my job, right Erika?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had to go into work right after for a few hours, and had 0 appetite until I got out of work. I forced down a plain bagel with a little butter, a coconut water, and a pumpkin muffie from Panera brought to me by a co-worker! My heart rate monitor showed that I burned over 1800 calories during the race so this wasn’t nearly enough to refuel but I made up for it later! Mussels, fries, and my first BURGER in 348347329 years. NOT a good idea but I also knew that going into it…

Sorry for the dark lighting!
Sorry for the dark lighting!

Delicious, $5 mussels from Brindle Room.

I had a craving for a burger so bad I could have died. I’m more or less allergic to red meat (I don’t know what else to call it when every time I eat it it gives me a 2 day long stomach ache?) so I haven’t eaten it in a long time. I’ll usually have 1 or 2 burgers a year and it has to be EXTREMELY worth it. I knew the portion was really small and John doesn’t toss around lightly what he considers the best burger in NYC so I went for it.

burger w/ blue cheese & caramelized onions
burger w/ blue cheese & caramelized onions

Seriously worth every bit of pain that followed. YOLO?

I then proceeded to collapse in bed only to have to wake up at 4:30 AM to travel 4 hours to get my hair done. Let’s leave that for tomorrows post ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve rested Monday, yesterday and today out of pure exhaustion so I’ll have a chance to run twice before Sunday’s half marathon! Am I crazy or am I crazy?!?

Have you ever ran a half marathon? Thoughts on the distance?

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?

Bronx 10-Miler

As I’m writing this, my body is so extremely sore and it makes me oh so proud ๐Ÿ™‚

Yesterday I ran the Bronx 10 Mile raceย and it was one of my favorite races I’ve done so far!

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It was warmer than I had anticipated but it was a beautiful Sunday morning. John tagged along with me ’cause he is the best and the race started close enough to our apartment that it was just 2 easy trains away. I had a little bit of coffee and my usual 1/2 banana with 1 tsp PB. On our way there I ran into the woman who I owe my love of races to! We met 2 years ago in a running group and she helped me run my first race ever in November 2011, a 4 mile race. After that she hired me at Chanel and got me into long distance running. She runs multiple marathons a year and tons of other races. We don’t work together anymore but she is still a huge inspiration to me!

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Like I said, it was a beautiful morning.

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I’ve run 10 miles many times but I’ve neverย racedย 10 miles, pushing my body to maintain a pace that is faster than I normally run for that many miles while taking no bathroom breaks. I had to pee SO bad from about 3 miles on, and the line for the porta-potties at each stop were too long so I decided to just power through. In all honesty, I didn’t care if I just peed my pants… but for some reason I couldn’t and eventually the feeling kinda goes away. Yay for that ๐Ÿ™‚

When I would approach a water station, I would run up to it really fast, grab the cup and then power walk for a few seconds while I drank it. This turned out to be an amazing idea that I will do for my half marathons this and next weekend. I stopped 3 times to quickly stretch out my calves and IT band/knee because it would get really tight and “locked” feeling, if that makes sense. Each stop was just a few seconds and I didn’t care how it was affecting my pace. I’d much rather stay injury free than run through the pain that the tightening causes!

The miles went by pretty fast and the course was gorgeous. There were quite a few hills despite the website saying that the course was flat… not sure who determines what “flat” is but this was not flat! It was challenging but not insane. But my legs are so sore today that I know I put in some good work!

Before I knew it, we were near the finish line and I gave it my all! I nearly barfed at the finish line.

So red. So sick to my stomach.
So red. So sick to my stomach.

I finished in 1 hour and 47 minutes, which is a 10:42 average pace. I was aiming for 11 minute miles so I’m super happy!

I took a bite of a bagel that they give you after the race but I was too sick to eat it. Apparently everyone else was too.

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After some foam rolling and a shower, John took me to brunch at my favorite place, the Brindle Room. We have gone 3 times now and I crave it every day! I get the smoked pork hash which is sauteed potatoes, bell peppers, onions and pieces of smoked pork with 2 poached eggs on top. With a side of their grilled sourdough bread with olive oil, it is the dreamiest meal ever.

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That awful feeling you get after a hard race where you can’t eat as much as you normally do. I couldn’t finish this and I sincerely hate that feeling.

We had to make a stop to celebrate National Coffee Day.

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I had a sugar-free iced soy dirty chai because I’m complicated. Turns out I should have just had water because I was pretty dehydrated from 2 hours of running in direct sunlight. Cue the migraine that ensued for the rest of the day…

I was craving salt so we stopped to get my favorite french fries with mustard sauce.

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Barely made a dent in them. At this point I wanted to go home and go right to bed but I stopped to get froyo that made me SO sick. It wasn’t the froyo itself, it was that I needed rest and shouldn’t have walked around for 4 hours after a 10 mile race. But, I don’t have every Sunday off so I wanted to enjoy it. Lesson learned: if you don’t want to be sick in bed all night, go home and rest after a hard race!

So since I didn’t refuel all the calories I burned in the race (which was over 1,200 according to my heart rate monitor!) I am STARVING today. Treating myself to a bagel for lunch, ya’ll. It’s the little things.

Have you ever pushed yourself so hard in a race that you were sick? Is it sick that I love that feeling?