Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Game Plan

It's t-minus 3 days till the marathon and from the way I'm feeling, you'd think I was getting ready to run my first one.  Every time I *think* about the race, I get butterflies in my stomach like a love struck teenager.  I've also been obsessing about what sort of food and how much of it I should be eating over the next few days.  Why I've suddenly decided to focus on that for this particular race is beyond me.  I've run 6 marathons and generally given no real thought to what I ate in the days leading up to them other than my dinner the night before and my breakfast race morning.  Sometimes that worked and sometimes that didn't.  I suppose if I was a really anal runner, I'd have notes on all this stuff, but I'm not so all I've got are the unpleasant memories of when things didn't work out.  Like my last attempt at qualifying for Boston in 2010 at the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon.  What a disaster.  I really really really don't want a repeat of that day.   I've got a few more races under my belt and 2 additional years of "life experience" so here's hoping I know a bit better this time around.  

I normally reserve my starchy carbs for post workout but given that I'm going to be running for over 3 hours, I know that I'm going to have to make sure my glycogen stores are as full as they can be come race day.  That means incorporating more starchy carbs into my regular meal rotation.  I've been reading all sorts of different articles on carb loading and now I think I'm even more confused than when I started.  Some articles I've read say that you should do this the day before the race.  Others say you should do it 2 days before the race.  There is one thing that seems to be consistent and that is the amount of carbs that one needs to consume.  Apparently I should aim to eat 10g of carbs per kg of body weight.  At roughly 125lbs, that translates to 56.8kg, so, doing that math, that means I should aim to eat approximately 568g of carbs.   Given that one whole wheat bagel has roughly 50g of carbs, I'd have to eat 11 bagels to get even close to 568g of carbs.  How insane is that?  That would pretty much guarantee a porta potty stop or two during the race, never mind even trying to get out of the house and get to the start line in the morning.  

So what is a girl to do?

1) Chill out and 2) make it up as she goes along and hope for the best, of course! (much like most of my training this year).  As of yesterday I've been gradually adding more carb dense foods in.  I had quinoa for dinner last night and I had the leftovers for lunch today.  Dinner tonight will probably involve some sweet potatoes and eggs.   Breakfast tomorrow is still somewhat undecided but lunch will also involve sweet potatoes.  Dinner is going to be pasta with veggies and a meat sauce, of course.  Saturday morning will be pancakes and lunch will also be a bit heavier on the carbs.  Dinner will be something light, probably a grilled chicken breast with a salad.  I will probably have a bottle of GU brew during the day to add a few more carbs in and make sure I keep my electrolyte balance ok instead of drinking water all day peeing away all the minerals and other goodies my body needs.   Hopefully that will be sufficient to ensure I've got a full tank race morning.  If not then, oh well.  At least I've written it all down this time so I know what not to do for next time.

I gotta be honest, I'm a little scared.  42.2km is a long way to go.  It's no 147 mile ultra but for now,  it's far enough for this little lady.   A little fear is a good thing.  It keeps me on my toes and proves that I still care enough about racing to actually feel that way in the first place. 
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