As I mentioned last week, I was ready to start No Sugar November on Sunday. I stocked up on No-Sugar-November compliant snacks such as apples, bananas, Babybel cheeses, avocados, and some olives. But physically, I was hurting from dropping my computer on my toe on Saturday night. (I swear I am not a complete baby. I’ve run through lots of pains. But this toe thing was something else! Even putting on a shoe was tough.) Luckily the pain subsided after a few days.
Short Recap: This week was not what I would call “spectacular” from a fitness and nutrition perspective but I am not really in the mood to beat myself up about it.
NSN Day 2: Halloween candy at every turn in the office. But I resisted! Leftover frittata for lunch and devoured a Shophouse rice bowl for dinner. Feeling mostly in control.
My name is Athlettuce. And I’m addicted to smoothies.
I’ve had a smoothie almost every morning for at least six months, and I’m showing no signs of stopping. I have one on days I run, on days I lift, on days I sleep in. They make me feel so, so good, and like I’m starting my day on the right foot. They are also portable–I can tuck them into the side pocket of my backpack and drink once I get to work or after Orangetheory. I can drink while walking the dog. Or I can enjoy at home on the couch. They are easy to digest, so I don’t need to wait long after drinking one to work out, but they are also refreshing and protein-packed to help with recovery.
I should note that I’m not like those creative folks on Instagram coming up with a variety of colorful smoothie bowls with lines of seeds and nuts and coconut strips on top. No, I’m more of a practical smoothiewoman.
Last but not least in my historical recap of races past: the Gore Tex Philadelphia Marathon! This race was a special one because it was my husband’s first (and he says, last) marathon! He never wanted to run a marathon until a few of his friends were talking about entering the New York City Marathon lottery. None of us got in to NYC (that lottery is BRUTAL), but somehow we took that momentum and he signed up to run in Philly–his hometown. (For the record, I’d still love to get into that NYC lottery with or without my husband!)
Time of Year: Sunday at the end of November, the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Location: Philadelphia, PA. Start and finish are conveniently located at the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Size: 30,000 runners across all events. Half-marathon offered on the same day as the marathon.
Weather: QUITE chilly in the morning. I rarely check a bag, but I did for this one because we had so many layers to store. It sure was hard to part with those sweatpants 30 minutes before the race… Once we got running, the weather was perfect.
We are in the homestretch of my historical race recaps!!! I’ve already covered marathons I ran in my first seven states, plus my most recent state, West Virginia. Just three more recaps to cover: Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon (Race 11, State 8), Ocean Drive Marathon (Race 12, State 9), and the Philadelphia Marathon (Race 13, Repeat of State 6). First: the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon, which I ran in 2013…
Size: 12,000 runners across events, including a half marathon.
Weather and What I Wore: It was great running weather–clear skies, not windy, comfortable temperature. I wore too-short shorts (which came back to haunt me, and necessitated handfuls of Vaseline as a I neared the end of the race), a short sleeved tech tee, and a hat. I started with a long sleeved tee on top but ended up with it tied around my waist for most of the run.
After a marathon, it is totally understandable that your body needs a break. And you might find yourself really hungry and supersluggish for days after your race. That’s fine. Sleep in. Eat what your body is asking for.
But sometimes we go beyond that, and for days and even weeks after a race.
At some point, we need to say,
“OK body, time to look ahead, not behind.”
So how do we get back to “normal” after months of training (and eating accordingly), then carb loading, then running 26.2 miles, and then trying to recover from it all?
I will start by saying there is an entire blog devoted to this topic, and the blogger there covers this issue very, very well. In fact, I read several of his posts before adopting the run commuter lifestyle. So here you go: The Run Commuter.
But I will add my few cents here.
I started running to work about six months ago when I changed jobs. My new office is 2.5 miles from my home, and there is not a particularly direct way to get there using the public transportation options. In fact, I am not even sure if I could save time by using public transportation. And it would certainly cost more than running. Biking was another option, but I am less comfortable with city biking, and I would have to lock up my bike in a dungeon each morning and unlock it each night. That sounded like a lot of time taken up by logistics for such a short ride.
I figured that if it took me about 30 minute to run to my new job, that was a reasonable commute time–very similar to my walk to my old job, and about what many people drive or Metro from nearby suburbs. And of course I knew I was physically capable run the 2.5 miles (whether I would WANT to would be another question…). Here are the main benefits I’ve identified:
I get a minimum workout each day. Most days, I have a nice, quick jog for 2.5 miles to work, and then I walk home in the evening. I burn close to 500 calories just getting to and from work. I can extend my morning run if I want, but even the shorter run has impacted my fitness. I can tell that my legs are looking more toned, and my race time is back under 4 hours. I still try to do some other workout about 4 days a week, including a long run if I am in training, Pilates, yoga, lifting at the gym, or Orangetheory.
Instead of causing me stress, my commute helps me mentally prepare for work in the morning and decompress at the end of the day. I come home at night having left the stress on the sidewalk.
Running saves a lot of money compared to taking a bus or Metro. I’ve only had to take an Uber a few times, usually during serious evening rain storms this past summer or if I am stuck at work super late. The only cost of running was the initial investment in the backpack, plus getting shoes slightly more often.
Good for the environment. Keep your Prius; I’ve got LEGS.
Size: 30,000 runners across all events (full, half, 5K).
Time of Year/Weather/What I Wore: Saturday at the end of April. My weekend was quite warm, so be prepared. I was nervous about overheating but drank ample water and sports drinks, and I ate ice and put it down my sports bra. It was fine.
Race Logistics: This race is easily accessible via air, being in big city Nashville. Just fly in if needed and Uber about as necessary. Start and finish are conveniently located downtown. There are lots of hotels nearby and lots of restaurants and attractions within walking distance of the race and the hotels. It is nice that the race was on a Saturday, so runners could go out on Saturday night and relax around town on Sunday before heading out.
I am not a nutritionist. But I’ve been running for a while, and I’ve tried a lot of different things during my training, races, and recovery. Here are my best tips for marathon nutrition (or nutrition for any race or athletic event!), with links to some other reading that might be helpful.
A is for Alcohol. Yes, I abstain from alcohol during training and taper. Because I just don’t need it, and it’s not helping me improve my performance. That said, a cool beer to celebrate post-race or a glass of wine that evening can be a fabulous and well-deserved reward.
B is for (Chipotle) Burrito Bol and BGR (Veggie) Burger. These are my favorite post-long-run lunch options. They aren’t greasy and are the perfect portion size. Think you can go to brunch and eat whatever you want post-run? Think again. By the time you are done that OJ and halfway through that stack of pancakes, you’ve probably eaten about the number of calories you burned, but you haven’t had much protein, fiber, or other nutrients that will help you recover and keep you feeling full. I try to resist sugary and fried foods for my post-run meals.