Long Runs and Pantry Meals

This morning I woke up at 6am to eat something before my long run. Today was the longest training run of my plan and I was nervous and excited. I enjoy long runs, but usually because I am running with other people. Today I was going solo (well I ran with Rebecca for the first 6 miles and then was solo). Luckily it happened to be the only sunny day of the week and that helped immensely. I met Rebecca at her house promptly at 7:20am (it probably wasn't prompt, but wishful thinking...I am always on time except for running). We hit the pavement and started with an uphill climb...after a while we were chatting away and I barely even noticed we were running. I have so missed our runs together! It's been a few weeks and I feel deprived. She is honestly one of my favorite people. So down to earth and funny. I literally can talk to her about anything.

After 6 miles I stopped at her house to use the restroom (yay for three hours of running...) and grab her extra water belt. Did I mention she is extremely generous and lends me everything that I need?! I was worried about wearing it since I haven't run with one before and my stomach was bothering me, but it turned out to be great. I ate some fruit snacks, blew my nose, and hit the road. I started out slow because I was a bit apprehensive about running alone. I had a podcast going, but I couldn't help but think of all of the homework and assignments that I had waiting for me at home. After a while these thoughts dissipated and I just ran. I stopped twice to take pictures because I am trying to enjoy all of Burlington in the next month and a half. I need to take it all in while I can.

I ended up eating all of my fruit snacks because my stomach actually started to growl and feel hungry. That's a first. I was probably around mile 12 when that started. I truly wondered what time it was since I started running at 7:30. The legs were hurting around this time as well. Not necessarily my muscles, but my knees! Last week was a cut back week so maybe that had to do with it.

There was a little bit of wind during the first 7 miles out and a little less on the 6 miles back. So some of my later splits were faster. I knew Julie would be proud. I ended up running back on a few streets instead of the bike path to switch things up a bit. This required I go a little bit farther past Rebecca's street and then back in order to avoid this large and grueling hill right by her house. I finished and walked up the hill :) That, Rebecca would be proud of.

When I got back to my car I found a chocolate bunny! My only bunny of the season. Such a truly wonderful friend :) I somehow got into my car and drove home before waddling up to my apartment. I ate a banana and hopped in the shower. Unfortunately my chocolate milk smelled a bit off so I didn't want to risk it.

Never did I think that running a marathon would require so much body glide. Even after lathering myself up this morning (the sensitive spots that is) I still yelped once I got in the shower. It's a successful long run when I get in the shower after and nothing stings...but that rarely happens.

While making a random bowl of leftovers for lunch I snacked on some pineapple. This bowl didn't tide me over for long and I was soon snacking on the same thing as the day before (mini bag of popcorn with cocoa roasted almonds and salted almonds). A few hours later I had more pineapple and made some tea to bring to class.

After class I decided to whip up my favorite meal: mock fried rice! This meal can be made with any grain and any vegetables. It's so versatile! I used barley, kale and mushrooms this time and it was perfect. I love pantry meals, aka meals that can be made with anything that you likely have on hand in your pantry. Pantry meals should also be super simple and quick to whip up. This takes maybe ten minutes tops (not counting cooking the grain) and requires one pan (again, not including the pot for cooking the grain).

Mock Fried "Rice"

Ingredients

  • 1/2 - 1 cup grain of choice (I usually go with closer to 1 cup) - cooked ahead of time
  • Any vegetables you like:
    • carrots
    • onions
    • kale
    • mushrooms (great!)
    • frozen vegetables
  • sesame oil
  • 2 eggs
  • peanuts
  • soy sauce

Method

  1. Saute the vegetables in the sesame oil. If using onion start with that to brown. Saute until soft.
  2. Mix in the grain (it should already be cooked). Stir in the soy sauce.
  3. Once all heated and mixed together, push to the outside of the pan so there is a spot in the middle. Crack the eggs into the middle and break the yolk to scramble.
  4. Scramble the eggs into the whole mixture. Add more soy sauce if desired.
  5. Top with peanuts.

 

After dinner I curled up on the couch with a handful of mini cadbury eggs and Gilmore Girls. I can't resist mini cadbury eggs... and only having a few is not an option. I love them! I used to put them in the freezer in snack bags so that I wouldn't have more than a serving. They taste so much better not frozen so now I keep them in my pantry (aka cabinet) and I just pour a bunch onto a napkin. No more counting out eggs for me! A handful works just fine, sometimes multiple!

Banishing "Perfect Eating"

My friend recently brought to my attention the discussion of food blogging versus orthorexia and asked my thoughts as a future dietitian. It's a sticky situation. On the one hand I want to blog about delicious and nutritious food, but on the other hand I understand that diet culture is out there and disordered eating is prevalent. For that reason, I hope that my posts and my pictures do not make it seem that I am a "perfect" eater. There is no perfect way of eating. And just because I will soon be a dietitian does not mean that I should be held to such a standard or that I should make others feel that they should eat a certain way. Moving on to my eats.

Breakfast this morning was slow and involved a peanut butter banana yogurt (I got very excited when I saw this in the store), corn flakes, a sliced banana, and a big scoop of peanut butter. I LOVE peanut butter and it's full of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. I put it on so many things and a breakfast without peanut butter is incomplete in my mind.

Even though I woke up a bit later than normal and had what I thought to be a heavier protein breakfast I was hungry at 10:45. I sliced up a pineapple that I bought the other day and ate a few wedges before ultimately deciding to make lunch. Sometimes your body is hungry for a meal at odd times. Listen to your hunger, not the clock. But if you listen to the clock some days, you do you. Sometimes I eat because it's "lunch time." I made breakfast for lunch because Julie introduced me to the glory of siracha on eggs last week. I made two fried eggs on toast with smoked gouda cheese and siracha. Gouda may be my favorite cheese...so tasty.

Planning on having some extra vegetables at dinner since I haven't had any yet today, but that's okay. I had quite a bit of vegetables yesterday and like I said there is not perfect way of eating. Just because you eat a huge amount of vegetables does not make you a perfect eater. Your body needs a whole mish mash of foods to get the nutrients that it needs.

I finally dragged myself out the door for my run. This week I have six days of running planned instead of five. When I asked my sister why she said that "sometimes you have to do stuff you don't want to do." Thank you. Luckily for me the four miles were not bad. They weren't great either, but definitely better than my runs have been lately.

I came home to do a little bit of strength in the form of planks, bridges, hydrants, and clams. I am actively trying to prevent injury these days. And then I got to the good stuff: refueling. I had a small bag of popcorn with a mishmash of almonds for healthy fats and protein. I had some salted almonds and cocoa roasted almonds. I cannot get enough of these cocoa roasted almonds! Better than chocolate covered in my opinion.

I had class in the afternoon and walking in the sunshine and then going to my favorite class made for a good afternoon. And I did some planning for the week so I was feeling less stressed. Unfortunately I recently got an assignment back with edits from six editors and then immediately felt overwhelmed again. Therefore a glass of wine after dinner was needed (okay, so it wasn't needed but I wasn't handling the stress well and decided one glass of red wouldn't hurt. #antioxidants).

Dinner was pretty bland because I was running 19 miles the following morning and I didn't want to risk stomach issues. Therefore the roasted brussels sprouts stayed in the fridge and I mixed together leftover spaghetti, ground turkey, onion, frozen mixed vegetables, pesto, and of course cheese! I also made a piece of toast with butter and garlic for my homemade version of garlic bread. It was a hefty meal and definitely overshot my hunger, but did not feel too overly stuffed. It will definitely fuel me on my run.

As much as I wanted to watch Gilmore Girls all night long I decided to work on my edits. Three hours later and it's still a work in progress. But there is always tomorrow. Deep breaths, maybe a glass of wine, and a good night's sleep cures all. And a best friend who is there to listen.

Nutrition Assessment: Megan

How has eating and running been going?  Honestly, some days are better than others. Lately, I have found myself craving more fresh fruit and vegetables, but have not have enough variety on hand. Furthermore, I have been going out a lot with friends for food and/or drinks which equates to consuming more pizza :) There's also a few glasses of wine here and there after some really long days at school or work (I love wine).

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My goal lately is to assess how I have been doing in regards to properly fueling my body for the increased miles that I have been running. I ran 45 miles last week! This week I have fewer miles planned, but am hoping for a PR at my half marathon on Saturday.

Goal 1: Assess how I am doing meeting my nutrient needs.

As a runner I know that I have higher calorie and carbohydrate needs based on the increase in mileage that I have been seeing. On the other hand, since I am short (5'2") I know that I need to continue to eat nutrient dense foods rather than simply increasing my carbohydrate intake. Let me break it down.

  1. As you increase your exercise your body needs more calories to compensate.
  2. Most of those calories come in the form of carbohydrates, aka the quick fuel for your body. The body cannot store a lot of carbohydrates which is why you need to replenish them. Carbohydrates are found in dairy, grains, fruit, and vegetables for the most part.
  3. When you are shorter your calorie and carbohydrate needs increase just like anyone else, however there is less wiggle room because your body needs a smaller amount of calories to function on a daily basis. Therefore, if you were to simply consume a greater amount of carbohydrates you would likely reach the amount of calories that your body needs without getting the other necessary nutrients (because you would be consuming the majority of your calories from carbohydrates which only provide some of what your body needs to function). Therefore, it's advised to eat carbohydrates that also contain fat and protein (the other two macronutrients). As important as carbohydrates are when training, all nutrients are needed by the body in one way or another.
    1. Currently the evidence suggests that you should not aim for a percentage of carbohydrates, but rather fuel your body before, during, and after events with the necessary carbohydrates and focus on whole grain, nutrient dense foods when able. Obviously you don't want to eat whole grains right before a marathon, though (hello GI discomfort...) (AND, 2016)

Today I am tracking what I eat just for a ballpark idea. I will reflect on it sometime this week.

Goal 2: Stock my refrigerator with more fruits and vegetables as well as easy to access snacks.

I was talking to my friend and fellow dietetic intern last night for some insight into my situation. Some days I can identify hunger very clearly. Other days I want to eat something, but cannot tell if it's boredom, loneliness, emotions, actual hunger, etc. Some days my hunger cues are much more subtle than I would prefer. I also have been noticing more hunger (or maybe it's not actual hunger) in the evening when I normally don't snack then. This is why I want to have a variety of snacks on hand.

Snack ideas (usually for mid-afternoon or in the evening)

  • Nuts and fruit. Right now I have Trader Joe's Cocoa Roasted Almonds (omg so good) and roasted almonds and peanuts. Sometimes I make trail mix with raisins and dried cranberries or sometimes I just bring some nuts and a piece of fruit.
  • Energy balls. Right now I don't have any made up, but had previously been loving Maple Peanut Butter Chia Energy Balls.

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  • Yogurt (I am on a Siggi's kick lately) and cereal (right now I have corn flakes).

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  • Banana bread. See recipe below! I have made this Maple Cornmeal Banana Bread twice this week! (Natalie, 2015). I first made it with gluten free flour and this week made it with whole wheat flour and I am loving it.
  • Peanut butter and jelly (actually jam) toast. Or peanut butter and yogurt toast. Because I cannot get enough peanut butter.

Goal 3: Relax about food.

I have been allowing myself maple syrup and chocolate pretty much whenever I want it these days and I feel much more relaxed. It's a refreshing feeling. However, there is still a ways to go. I want to be more relaxed about every eating experience, treating it as just that: an experience. Or rather a learning opportunity about my body. The human body is amazing and can teach you a lot.

References:

  1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American College of Sports Medicine, Dietitians of Canada. Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetic, dietitians of Canada, and the American college of sports medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116:1501-1528.
  2. Natalie. Maple cornmeal banana bread. Feasting on Fruit. http://www.feastingonfruit.com/maple-cornmeal-banana-bread/. Published December 4, 2015. Accessed April 2, 2017.

Fueling for Fitness

This morning I woke up and was not feeling my impending tempo run. I had a 10 mile tempo on the plan for today and the grey, gloomy day was not helping my motivation. Any mileage over an hour I know I will need some extra carbohydrates in the morning. I woke up and threw two pieces of toast in the toaster. Topped with peanut butter and jelly because when would I ever eat anything else? This gave me about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates for my run which was perfect because I noticed the "wall" around 9.5 miles.

(gloomy...gloomy...gloomy)

My 10 mile tempo was attempted on the waterfront and I made it 4 miles out before being forced to turn around because of the ice and snow. It was throwing off my tempo times.

Tempo 1: 8:00

Tempo 2: 8:31 (see the picture below for what I was running through)

Tempo 3: 8:04

Tempo 4: 7:39

Tempo 5: 7:39

(this isn't even the worst of it)

The carbohydrates from breakfast got me through the run and when I got home I had some milk and a clementine. My body was so tired walking up the hill to class, but I was so happy to get there and finally be able to eat my lunch. I had leftover gnocchi, sautéed mushrooms and eggplant, and turkey sausage. It's such a keeper throw-together meal.

With long or hard runs I pay very close attention to the pre- and pots- workout fuel. Beforehand I always eat peanut butter and jelly toast, one or two slices depending on the mileage. Anything over an hour (~6 miles) I will have two slices for the added carbohydrates. After  I try to have chocolate milk or regular white milk with some fruit. The rest of the day I tend to eat pretty normally with an extra snack here or there (tonight included a few handfuls of pretzels with my wine). A few glasses of wine happened because I am in quite a funk lately. The sun needs to come out and stay out and melt all of this snow. Some days you just need to sip some wine and text your sister who is also your best friend. Missing my favorite winos: my mom and sister.

Today's dinner was a classic that I made last week and cannot get enough of. Quinoa + roasted vegetables + legumes + Trader Joe's Goddess dressing. The roasted veggies featured tonight were brussels sprouts, peppers and onions. A great balance and I love brussels sprouts.

I've been sipping the aforementioned wine while cooking banana bread for a breakfast date tomorrow and watching Gilmore Girls. Stay tuned for the review of the banana bread!