Food for Thought

Food for Thought from a Plodder Trying to Eat Healthy and Sort of Race Report
by Linda Livingstone

I’m short and have short legs. I’m still overweight in spite of losing 60 pounds over the last 2-3 years.  And, I’m old. Let’s be honest over 60 is no longer young, supple, or flexible; I’m slow. This is an odd fitness report for someone who has expected to start running for the first time in life. To add to the mix, I injured myself back in February. April 19th was the Wenatchee Marathon where I met up with my daughter for the half marathon.  Knowing that I was looking at a time where others run full marathons, thought needed to be given to fueling and hydration.  Going the distance isn’t a problem, the time it takes to go the distance was. (Finish time ended up 40 minutes longer than last year’s ½; a long time to be out pounding the body)

Recently, I radically changed my diet eliminating most processed foods, most processed sugars (or artificial sweetners) under any name, dairy, and most grains.  This makes fueling on the run interesting.  Even when I ate unlimited sugar I learned that Gels made me nauseous. I needed to look at what I ate as well as how often. Someone who can run a ½ marathon between 1 and 1-1/2 hours is not going to need the same amount of in race fuel as someone run/walking one in 3-1/2  hours.  Most of the fueling plans I read said to fuel every so many miles. When a mile takes 13-20 minutes that’s not going to work. I changed that to every 30 minutes. I carry my own fuel knowing that most races offer things I no longer allow into my diet and not enough of it for my race. I’ve tried carrying  baby food pouches with sweet potatoes and fruit, baked sweet potatoes, apples, homemade trail mix, but the bulk is difficult to store if you plan to fuel 7 or 8 times over the distance.  Making your own protein bars is pretty easy with a good blender and I’ve found two LaraBars that are just fruit and nuts with no added sugars (apple and cherry). I use cashews, almonds and dried fruits with no added sugar, then add my own spices. I carry these in a snack size baggie and when one is empty save it to store other trash. I eat ½ of one at each fueling.  Justin’s Classic Almond Butter comes in gel sized packets, good for a quick shot of added protein. But make sure you have some liquid to help wash it down.

On the subject of liquid. I know that with 3 hours of just water I’m going to cramp up, I need electrolytes and/or aminos. Nunn tablets (let ’em fizz before you close your hydration pouch) can give you electrolytes without a lot of added sugar like gatorade or powerade. I’ve also used Amino High Performance Energy by Succeed which has a  lesser amount of sugar than ades but not a sugar taste of shock to my system. I used this in the most recent half and it served me very well. On the subject of hydration, by carrying my own I can choose to by pass the water stations or take some plain water if it is offered but not locked into hydrating on the course schedule, instead as I need it. I find I do better doing little sips frequently than gulping down liquid every 45 minutes to an hour. Post race I have a can of unsweetened coconut water around. I carry a one liter Ultraspyre Spry hydration vest and have thought about putting the coconut water in there. Need to test it in practice first. The vest is awesome as it has pockets for my fuel and phone and I’m not fumbling with bottles.

My first time running 13.1 I experienced first hand under hydration and under fueling with bonking,  runner’s trots and muscle cramping. Compared to most runners, I now fuel and hydrate at a high level. But for this Plodder, it works. Here’s working toward a happier hip and better time next month.

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