What I Wore, Packed, Ate, and Carried at My First Ultramarathon

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Last weekend, I ran the Ultimate Direction Dirty 30, a 50k race in Colorado.  Read about it here.  As promised, this post is all about those pesky logistics of ultrarunning:  what to carry, what to pack in a drop bag, what to eat at aid stations.  These are things I’d never given much thought to during a road marathon, and they seriously stressed me a little bit for the ultra.  I think I did a pretty good job packing and eating, so here we go…

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Let’s Talk About Glycogen! (and Tapering and Carb Loading)

I’m tapering for the Mississippi Blues Marathon, and in a few days I’ll start carb loading.  We do this mostly because of one fancy word: glycogen. I’ve heard the word bandied about but I wondered Do I really know what it means?  And am I doing the right things with regard to glycogen?  Thank goodness for the internet.

Here’s what I’ve figured out…

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2016 Goals!!!: Four (Five?) Marathons, 3:45, and 2016 Miles

IMG_7018I don’t love how New Year’s resolutions are marketed these days (nor how congested they make gym classes…), but I do see value in setting new intentions for the year ahead.  I’ll be gentler on myself, I’ll be more complimentary to my spouse, I’ll focus on being more appreciative — that sort of thing.  And, although you won’t hear me resolve to lose 10 lbs. in 2016, I also see value in setting goals.  (Obvi… This is a blog entirely dedicated to my goal of running 50 marathons in 50 states…)  I’ve decided on three running-related goals for 2016.

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Momofuku-Inspired, Almost-Gluten Free Corn Cookies

I am not a good baker.  I will admit that.  I hate measuring.  I don’t time things.  I am imprecise.  I am messy.  But sometimes I just really like baking, and I figure that over the course of decades I will eventually learn enough of the science to get OK at the whole improvisation thing.  (On the flip side, my improvisation works just fine for non-baking cooking.  I make some pretty good stir fries and casseroles and soups.)

DC got its first Momofuku this past weekend, including a Milk Bar, which hubby and I happened to hit up on its opening night.  We had been to the Milk Bar and the Momofuku in New York and were familiar with the offerings. (CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE MUSHROOM BUNS???)  The last time we went in NYC, we had several cookies, and I wasn’t blown away with them.  Good, but not the best cookies of my life.  They are very chewy.  Maybe too chewy?  And I think the compost cookie tastes vaguely of trash… is that the point?  (Definitely caused by the coffee grounds.)  So this time I ordered “crack pie” soft serve with fudge.  Enough said.

We also ordered a few cookies to go, because well, we had waited in line for two hours so we thought we ought to.  One of our selections was the corn cookie, and it was my favorite of the bunch.  It also reminded me that we had a giant tupperware of frozen corn in the freezer from our crop share this summer.   Milk Bar uses a freeze-dried corn powder in many of its products, including the corn cookie, so I decided to dry some of our frozen corn and see what I could make.  (Milk Bar does sell its corn powder, but I ain’t a cheater.)

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Getting Back to “Normal” After a Marathon

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?

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The ABCs of Marathon Nutrition

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.

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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.

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