Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fill 'er up!

This week I learned something disturbing.  During a marathon some people have, um, accidents.


It can all be traced back to food, of course.  My BFF may very well betray me.

In any machine that needs to move, the fuel is the thing.  How the machine functions and performs is directly proportional to what is put in the tank.  In running, carbohydrates = good.  They give you energy.  However, sometimes complex, high-fibre carbohydrates = bad, particularly right before a marathon.  Apparently, speeding up your legs for that great of a distance speeds up other functions as well.  This is known as the "Runner's Trots".

As if I don't have enough to be nervous about.

I have a love-love relationship with food.  I think about it pretty much all the time.  I love to eat it and read about it and grow it and cook it and watch people scream obscenities at other people while THEY'RE trying to cook it.  Being part Ukrainian instilled this in me.  This culture is all about the food (and the food is all about starch and fat, which would apparently serve me well for a marathon).  It's also all about the celebration of food.  Probably because back in the Ukraine there was so little of it that they made a production of whatever bits came their way.

There seems to be a lot of planning involved when eating for running.  This seems like a lot of work.  Most of my life I haven't had to worry too much about what I ate.  My genes graced me with a reasonably fast metabolism.  In recent years, I've had to pay closer attention because of some health issues and because, since hitting 35, the metabolism has slowed and the view FROM THE BACK has grown more panoramic.

But for the most part, I've eaten what I wanted, when I wanted, and now it appears this is no longer possible.  I have to PLAN what I eat.  I have to think about it ahead of time, not just dream about it.  I have to be conscious of every morsel of fuel that goes into the tank.  I have to measure and strategize.  Now where is the celebration in that?  Can I be mindful and still enjoy it?  What happens if I cheat?

It will make a difference, though.  I know that.  I'm already feeling it.  I ask everyone I run with what they eat, especially before a run, because I can't seem to get it right.  The morning runs are the worst.  Even a small bowl of cereal congeals into a lump in my belly and subsequently gets tossed around - a deep tissue massage and not in a good way.  I tried running with an empty stomach and that was a big mistake.  I not only saw stars, I saw planets.  And then there's the nausea.  Tell me again why I pursue something that makes me want to throw up?

There is also the challenge of eating between runs.  Running naturally increases your appetite.  Before running I was pretty much ravenous all the time.  Now?  Well, look out.  Like right now all I can think about is the leftover cabbage rolls sitting in my fridge - and I just ate breakfast.  I also have this quirk where anytime I do anything that's good for me, be it a run or a yoga class, afterward all I want is a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips.  A big bag.  Don't try and placate me with suggestions of rice cakes or crackers.  You know it's not the same.

All of this could be a problem going forward.  Any tips and tricks you can send me would be most helpful.....can I get wireless access inside the fridge?

# of km this week = 15
# of hills = 1/2
# of cabbage rolls = 8

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  1. I'm a fan of oatmeal (with raisins and brown sugar) myself, at least a 1/2 hour before a long run. If the run is under an hour, I don't bring anything with to eat or drink. More than an hour, then I'll probably bring an energy gel (Clif Shot - strawberry with caffeine!) for a kick halfway through, plus water in a fanny-pack-type carrier.

    You've got some time to experiment!

  2. Hi Robyn,
    I finally had time to read your posts. Awesome - you go girl. I love your sense of humor and a marathon with costumes, castles and wine just might be worth doing!