Last weekend was a crazy one for my Leggers group!
We had water station duty on Saturday which meant we all came out bright and early not to run, but to show our support for our fellow runners. It’s an amazing opportunity to not only give back to the running community, but to get to know your fellow club members better. I had no idea we had so many first time marathoners in our group! These folks are so impressive as they’ve shown commitment to show up at each run AND be positive no matter the weather or distance. We also had an amazing turn out for our water station! Our food supply was plentiful and varied enough to have one unique item at each of the three stations. We had so much water that we donated it to the following week’s group. And we had so many people show on their “day off” that set up, break down, and helping our runners in the pit crew was record speed!!
The following day our group had to do our make up run. 20 miles. In the cold. And rain. Oh no!! Actually – oh yeah! It was a great turn out and people were still positive! Several members from the other groups coordinated with one of our mentors who opened her house to us to use a water station. It was such amazing hospitality and I’m still blown away by the support of all of these folks! Plus since the water station was at a home there was the BEST food! Sweet potatoes with black sesame. Almond butter and jelly on whole wheat. And scrambled eggs. Guys. Scrambled. Eggs. I wish I had some of the eggs but I’ve never done that mid run and on a 20 miler you don’t want to be out there and get a stomach ache.
After that amazing restaurant quality water station we trotted along up some super steep hills and WHAT?! They packed up the water station and met us at the hill. Now there were oranges, fruit snacks, cookies!
Down some more hills and suddenly we were walking up a very very steep hill into a park. We took a quick break where I thought we would turn around but to my surprise we turned it into a hike! According to my Strava we gained a 1,266 mile climb! Woo boy! It was a great view and it was so awesome to see everyone feeling so accomplished. Unfortunately on the way down my knee started to act up and I had to hobble back slowly. Once we were on level ground it worked itself out. I want to blame not being in trail shoes but it was probably exhaustion at that point.
And heeeeeyyyy we went back to the water station that had moved and those folks were there ever so patiently awaiting our return again. Wow. Can I just say again how great these people are. Really grateful to be a part of their community.
By the end of this run I was actually kind of full… which really shouldn’t be happening out on the course. It leads to too much sluggishness, cramps, and overall discomfort. It’s fine to snack when you’re hungry and to keep your energy up but avoid the pizza on course (yes it does happen) and never ever eat anything new on race day!!
While the jury is out on if carb loading is a good strategy or not, if you do decide to “carb load” it should be a more gradual thing where you ramp up carbs over a 2-3 day period at each meal slowly, becoming accustomed to the change with the biggest meal being earlier the day before the race. It does NOT mean eating endless pasta and bread sticks the night before. It also doesn’t mean to go for the butter covered scampi when you could have the plain pasta sauce with less fat. This is unless of course that you had three plates of scampi the day before two full distance long runs and that’s your good luck charm. The most simplistic advice on what to eat the night before the race: what is tried and true from your training.
What to try for training? That’s different for everyone. I try to aim for lean proteins each day, balance the chunk of my green at the front end of the weeks, and up my carbs with pasta or potatoes at the ends of the week. Before a run I’ve come to enjoy oatmeal or a stroopwafel two hours pre-run. I’ve tried the bagel and peanut butter but it was just too fatty for me and made me feel awful. Whatever you do decide to play with, start early in the season and make up your plan at least a month before the big day. And if you’re traveling for the run I highly suggest trying out meals you either know you can get at your destination and/or preferably something you know you can pack with you. I’ve been forsaken by a dressing on a sandwich which I didn’t expect at a destination so always be clear when you order!
If you want to have the smorgasbord of bad for you foods when you’re in taper madness for your race I would plan yourself a lovely post run meal. Me personally? After the Marathon in a few weeks I’m going for some beers, some pizza, probably some fries…or maybe stuffed mushroom…no shrimp…no…jalapeno poppers….and monkey bread. That’ll push me to hurry up and finish already 🙂