Before I go on about my long run energy experiment let’s rewind a little bit…. we passed a major holiday here!
Our Thanksgiving meal was typical for this family: all brand-new recipes that were a hit!
Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Biscuits with Cranberry Jam from Caroline @ Chocolate & Carrots
Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
(of course) Turkey
& a not-at-all-healthy Pumpkin Caramel Pecan Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust for dessert
YUM. I’m still full. (That’s a lie. I’m always hungry. ha.)
Now onto Christmas…Happy Holidays!
While the crazies were out Black Friday shopping, I opted for a morning run with my best guy friend from high school!
Cardio > Sales (blasphemy coming from a 20 year old girl, I know.)
We had a KILLER run we call “Kingdom Loop.” The first 4 miles are a gradual incline, until you get to Kingdom Dr. Then its a steep steep climb to the top, about 3/4 mile. You know the hill gets serious when the conversation stops ;) After that it’s a downhill coast to home, a decent start at working off this monster of Thanksgiving (and the next day, and the next day’s….) dessert:
My marathon training plan is roughly following this plan from Boston Athletic Association: Beginner 16 week program. (I fast-forwarded to week 9).
This morning I cranked out my 15-miler first thing before it got too hot (yes “too hot” in December….SoCal probs.) With my dad by my side, of course!
I started a little bit of an experiment. On the actualy Marathon Day (50 days and counting!) I will be needing some edible energy on the run to keep my glucose levels up and active. My mom hooked it up on her last trip to Sports Authority and bought me just about every type of energy product on the shelf.
- Jelly Belly Sport Beans (4 different flaves)
- Clif Shot Bloks
- GU energy gels (regular and Roctane) *Bonus for this one, there’s Peanut Butter & Espresso!!!!
- Power Gel energy gels
- GU Chomps energy chews
- Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews
I’m starting my experimenting now so I know what works best by January 19th! Today I took along Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews in Pomegranate Passion (I promise I’m not affiliated with any of the companies and this is not some cheesy sales pitch!)
- Tasted delicious and fruity
- “Organic” (if you’re into that sort of thing)
- No stomach ache
- You have to eat 10 for one serving…..considering I’ll be needing 4-5 servings, I don’t want to be eating 50 chews!)
- Non-resealable package
- Says “contains protein & fiber” on package…… 1 stinkin’ gram! That barely counts.
I liked the flavor of the Stinger chews and they didn’t have any horrible side effects but the fact that I would be eating dozens of them for energy doesn’t sound appealing. Next week I’ll try out a Gu or PowerGel. One gulp and DONE. To be continued…
Are you sipping a glass of orange juice? (I think it goes without saying that my morning mug is filled with coffee.)
I’m all about oranges. (Navel, not those weird Valencia ones. Who wants to deal with seeds?) My favorite grocery store Sprouts had a huge display of navel oranges this week, 3 pounds for $1. So obviously I bought as many as I could fit in my basket and have been slicing up a couple every day! They are so juicy, and citrus fruits in general just smell so fresh :)
Now that I’m overflowing with oranges I thought I’d do a little research into what these little guys are doing for me!
My go-to site for all nutrition information is nutritiondata.self.com (seriously, I look up the calorie/fat/sodium serving size info on almost every food without a label. Fun fact: a whole zucchini is only 30 calories. #goodbecauseicaneatfive)
So the COLD HARD FACTS:
A small orange is only 60 calories.
One contains about 85% of a day’s worth of Vitamin C. (Though the body can’t actually store Vit C so eating a dozen oranges won’t make you extra Vitamin C-y.)
An orange is also about 85% water.
They are naturally fat-free!
Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant. It helps repair and build tendons, ligaments, skin and blood vessels.
The vitamin also helps form scar tissue and maintain cartilage, bones and teeth.
(Source: National Health Institute)
Another fun fact (lucky you!) The city I grew up is historic orange grove territory. My high school is built right next to what’s left of an orange grove, and our school colors were even (BRIGHT) orange & green. Not ideal uniform colors. We were called “jailbirds” on more than one occasion…. clever.
Sometimes in high school when the oranges on the trees were ripe, we would pick a few to eat as a post-workout snack. Sticky hands – yes. Totally worth it – yes.
We even invented “orange grove tag” for off-season workouts. Instead of a 4-5 mile run, we would congregate on an acre of orange trees and play hide and seek until we all got hungry. <3
Don’t skimp on that Vitamin C. Your bones/teeth/skin/immune system will be extra thankful for the extra boost. Or go for the “cuties” (clementines) to get your fill of Vitamin C in an adorable fun-size fruit. I always try to peel them in one spiral piece, it’s my own competition with myself ;)
And that Hi-C or Tang crap does NOT count! Pulp is GOOD.
In the midst of a 40-hour work week and 80-mile training week, I gotta squeeze in some fun for the sake of my sanity. (Not that I don’t consider running “fun”….it’s usually a blast. But I need to wear something other that a skirt & heels or spandex & tennies. The fun half of my closet is being neglected!)
Running every twelve hours on 7 hours of sleep leaves me A.) constantly hungry and B.) sleepy, until I’m ready to go to bed (like right now.) Oh and C.) a little moody (due to A. and B. – duh!) I take it one week at a time, until my summer job ends next week. But a much-needed boost came when I found out that two of my best friends from school were coming out to California this week!
Kerri and Emily are super great friends from school (and teammates!) on a girls’ road trip to Disneyland with their sisters. Too close to my house for me not to meet up with them! Considering Kerri and I lived just 30 seconds from each other for the first two years of college, this whole being-in-separate-states-for-three-months has been a major bummer. Our mini reunion on Monday was too short but totally worth the diversion from the office and the gym. Gotta be goofy sometimes! And seriously…what’s a better escape than Disneyland? I am counting down until we can all run together again :)
Not even ten hours later I was up in the dark hours of the morning, cranking out a tempo run. My dad rode his bike ahead of me, my “pacer” and simultaneous crossing guard. Whether it was the excitement from the night before or the jams on my iPod, I don’t know; but my tempo was almost a minute improved from 2 weeks ago (55 seconds to be exact) and a lot faster than I anticipated. That’s one way to start the day! :)
Post-workout fuel is almost as important as the workout itself. The actual “gain” from your workout comes from your muscles’ recovery from whatever you just traumatized them with. Muscles need to recharge too.
There are a lot of fancy supplements, protein shakes, protein powders, energy drinks, recovery bars, blah blah blah. I’ve never really experimented with post-workout protein drinks (unless my chocolate-covered-strawberry smoothie counts). I prefer something natural – Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. Simple.
Pretty Parfait: fat-free vanilla yogurt, diced apples, sliced bananas, green grapes, flax seeds, cinnamon, shredded coconut.
Yogurt contains the protein. Fruits contain the carbohydrates. Plus a dozen other vitamins and minerals.
Yogurt covered with all these super-food toppings is not only wildly colorful but extremely healthy and filling due to the amount of fiber and vitamins. Rounded out with PB2 (this stuff is life changing!), whole grain crackers and cuties to make it a meal (this is two yogurt parfaits pictured, just in separate-shaped containers).
I have made it a mission to get the majority of my snacks from “clean” foods while in this peak training phase. Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of the convenience of grabbing a granola bar, bag of pretzels or box of cereal. But I’m trying to be more conscientious and today I’ve brought a slew of goodies to keep me full at work before I go out for my double run this evening.
My thought process is this: Running as many miles and as often as I am understandably leaves me tired, particularly around 2pm when work slows down, the office is quieter and I just want to take a nap. Eating something sugary like a granola bar, trail mix, or worse – a candy bar – comes with the inevitable “crash” further extending the sleepiness effect. We eat more when we are tired, mistaking exhaustion for hunger; the cycle is perpetuated. Knowing I have a second run after work, I want to make sure I’m energized and alert.
Today I brought myself options! Banana, apple, nectarine, plum, bell peppers, cucumbers, Greek Yogurt, oats, almond slivers.
There is no recharge button. You have to eat/sleep/rest/run/laugh/cry/dance when your body tells you too! I’m learning this myself. Though it would be a lot easier if we had naptime at work ;)