Friday, October 14, 2011

Last-minute paradigm shifts and final marathon prep

Am I ready???

Trip to Target for the essentials, and my afternoon snack for work (after I ate half)
Starting off Thursday with a bagel and homemade strawberry jam

Thursday night at the Expotique in Union Square: seeing my name on the wall somehow makes it 10x more official (as does finally inking it into my planner now that all threat of injury has passed)

My pre-race nutrition plan. This is my second race ever, after all (my first being the US half last April) so I'm trying to be much more vigilant about what I eat. 

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I am now a morning runner. That's right. I started all this a year ago with 10pm runs, then they slowly crept up from post-dinner to post-work to midday to midmorning (on the weekends.) This week, I decided that I would run in the morning to get my body used to the early wakeup for the marathon. Instead of my usual 7:30 or 8am wakeup, I woke up between 5:30 and 6:15 this whole week. And now, surprise of all surprises, I'm actually awake in the mornings and tired at night. Wait a sec, this is what it is supposed to be like... whaaaaat? That's not to say that this hasn't come without serious bouts of kicking and screaming (or the mature adult equivalent. No, wait...) but fortunately, I have an amazing housemate who helps pull me out of bed and convince me that yes, this really is a good idea.

I'm a carboconvert. I really don't like carbs. Really. I stick to things like Greek yogurt and fruit, salads, and eat carby meals like pasta only when I don't have any vegetables in the fridge. I mean, don't get me wrong-- I lived in France for four months. I like baguettes and croissants. But when it comes to healthy thinking,  I was always under the impression that "the more nutrients, the better." Because I thought of nutrients as things like vitamins and minerals and protein. I try to eat quinoa, beans, nuts, and eggs for protein and make sure I'm getting enough fiber, but I never even think about carb requirements. Not even how it would affect my running. (Seriously. I feel stupid admitting this.) So I would eat my normal fruit, veggie, and dairy diet before every run. Even the long ones. Only the night before my 20-miler did I think, "Hmm, maybe I should eat pasta." So I did. And guess what? My 20 miles were great! Then I went back to vegetables and salads. Well, it turns out, there is nothing scary about carbs. They make my runs--even the 4-milers-- feel AMAZING! Who knew?! (Oh wait... everyone else did... pretty sure we learned about the food pyramid in middle school)

The funny thing about paradigm shifts is that you can't stubbornly stick to a routine-- running or otherwise. You have to be open-minded enough to let them happen and try out a million different things-- sometimes multiple times-- before you can choose. And that's kind of the point of this blog and the whole unabashed thing. Like admitting that what you've always done really isn't the best way to do achieve your goal. Because trying to optimize a really shitty plan just gives you a really nice looking but still shitty plan.  (Subtext: my Honors Thesis.) Sometimes, there's better ways to do it. You just have to look. And better late than never, right?

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