Tuesday, September 21, 2010

UpRace Blog

I recently wrote a post for UpRace Blog.  Check it out, and read the other posts while you're there, they're great!

Pumpkins are healthy, right?

Fall makes me sappy, and the weather we've been having this week in Boston has inspired the following sentence: It's that time of year again, where the summer heat begins to drift to the cooler spectrum, long sleeve shirts and jackets emerge from the bottom drawer, and the leaves are succumbing to the temptation to change colors.

Ok, that's out of my system.  Really, it's all about the pumpkin flavored pastries.  I mean, have you have Dunkin Donut's pumpkin muffin?  It's show-, work-, track-stopping, what have you.

I'd like to think that we're meant to build up a layer of pumpkin pastries for the winter cold, and I've already had a pretty good start to it.  But that brings up another issue, one that I've been thinking about for the past few months, and that is nutrition for long distance runners.

Back in June, when it started getting really warm and the fact of not having air conditioning was just starting to hit me, I lost my appetite at night.  I would get home and be so hot that food just sounded gross.  The problem with this is, not only was I skipping a meal, I was skipping a meal right after working out.  I would go for a run of between 4-6 miles, or go to the gym for a class, and get home and not eat anything.  Now before you start calling hotlines on my behalf, I should tell you that I have been making a concerted effort over the past few months to not skip meals and to replenish my body with nutrients lost while working out.

Finding what I need to eat, nutrient wise and calorie wise, has been a struggle for a few reasons.  One is that I simply don't have time to cook a well-balanced, healthy and nutritious meal for myself.  I'm not sure that frozen dinners really cut it, and my go-to bowl of cereal, for when nothing else sounds good, doesn't do me any good after I've burned 700 calories.  Neither does chocolate cake, which always sounds good, and has plenty of calories.  I've had some problems that I think proper nutrition could have helped: I was getting headaches after I did my long runs, and I strained my left shin muscle.  Nutrition isn't the only culprit for both of these issues, but I'm betting that it would have helped.  I wasn't getting enough carbs, and now that I'm conscious of that, I eat bread like it's my job and my headaches have been getting better.

There's a fine balance in eating right, staying healthy, and also staying lean.  For every pound that you lose, supposedly you can shave 2 seconds off of your pace.  So, exactly how many calories is enough to intake after a 10 mile run?  What types of calories am I supposed to have?  I know I need a ration of 4:1 carbs to protein.  But what about veggies?

I've heard people say that after you've been a serious distance runner for a little bit, your body begins to crave fruits and vegetables so a more natural diet is almost automatic.  That hasn't exactly happened for me, and I go straight for the cookies once I'm home.

I haven't figured all of this out yet.  There are still days where I don't eat enough, and it doesn't occur to me until the next day when I'm trying to figure out why I am tired, grumpy and sore.  One thing I've tried to do is eat a substantial lunch on days I know I have to run.  On my long run days, I get home and immediately make pasta and try to take in some protein.  I also have about 5-6 glasses of water or Gatorade.  After that, there isn't room in my stomach for anything else.

I am buying vegetables and fixing them when I have time, and I eat about two pieces of fruit a day.  I try to make sure at least one of my meals each day is a full one, with protein, carbs and veggies.  It's gotten easier, but it's definitely a problem I did not anticipate having when I signed up for the marathon.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Sooner or later in your running "career," you will realize the hazards of your choice to tie up your laces and get out the door on the pavement.  You may find yourself in a crosswalk, in the direct path of a treacherously driven vehicle (and you thought the white lines meant pedestrian right-of-way).  Or you'll run a little bit too close to dusk and end up running home in the dark, without reflective gear or pepper spray.  Perhaps you'll even find yourself running past/near/into an ex, looking exactly like you feel--hell--when in your head you had pictured this awkward encounter as having a smidge more glamour and smelling better.

While these are the more serious hazards (except the last one--let's face it, while it is embarrassing, it's not life threatening), there are some other hazards, like tripping and falling, that are important to keep in mind.

I've been on runs where after a number of miles, it's difficult to pick up my feet.  Moving my legs forward isn't difficult, but getting the toes to lift more than 1 centimeter off the ground is.  This isn't a problem, unless there are things that get in your toes' way, like branches, rocks, uneven pavement, your other toes...

On Monday night, I went for a run along the Charles River, this time going from my new apartment in Brighton towards the city.  While there is a paved walkway there, I usually choose to run on the grass or on the trodden-down grass turned path that sometimes appears right next to the walkway, where many other runners have also decided to forego the pavement for softer running ground.  After crossing the JFK Bridge at Harvard, I ran along a bumpier version of this same path, one that was a down a slope from the real path.  I've tripped before, but I've always caught myself.  Monday wasn't so lucky, and I tripped on something--a rock, a root, who knows, and fell forward onto my left side.  I came away fairly unscathed, considering: my left knee was skinned and there was a rock that I had apparently slid across, creating a scratch a few inches long.  My iPod has a tiny scratch on its face, but it still works.  No one saw me, which I'm thankful for.  I did have to run the 3 miles home with my bleeding knees and in a thunderstorm, but perhaps it's a small price to pay for my social pride.

You can't prepare for falling, except to be conscious of your dragging feet.  You also can't prepare for the other atrocities mentioned above, except be aware of your surroundings, time of day, and your deodorant usage.

Monday, September 6, 2010


I've reached 33% of my goal, or $1000!!!

This is exciting for several reasons.  First, that's $1000 that is going towards cancer research, education and patient services.  Wow.  Second, I've never fundraised before and I can't believe that the $1000 mark has been reached!  People are so generous, it's amazing.  Third, that means that I'm, well, 1/3 of my way to raising $3000.

*stops and does happy dance*

We can do so much more, though!  If you haven't donated yet and would like to, please visit the link on the right side of this page!

Happy labor day, everybody!