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Monday, April 9, 2012

Running Grain-Free

Exactly half way through the Half
Bright and early Easter morning I ran my 3rd Half Marathon in San Francisco.  If I told you it was the funnest thing I'd in a long time, would you think I was a running geek? I wish, but I'm just a jogger who has a bit of the 1/2 Bug.

About half the race I kept pace with a friend, who was kind enough to take a photo of me at 6.5 miles with San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge in the back ground. We had just ran over the bridge and were about to do a loop and run back.

Mile 5 - How beautiful is THAT?
I am really proud that I train for these races, and don't just go out on race day and torture myself. I follow a schedule that has me running 3xs a week for about 3 months before. An early week short 3-miler, midweek 3-5.5 hill run and then a long run that grows to 11 miles eventually at the end of the week (so you can rest a few days afterwards). Proper training can make the race day really enjoyable, and it really paid off this time. My only problem was almost brand new shoes that rubbed my big toe, but corrected my knee problems (w00t). But I finished strong, with a huge smile and my best time so far (2:18)! My next goal is to finish under 2:10.

I have run all the Half Marathons grain-free, but then I added some grains back the week before to lightly "carb load" (I went back to Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure with 15/6 S/C Value the week before & after those races). But I have been grain-free for 6 months and I really WANTED to do it right this time. And who (I want to know WHO) says carb loading means grain loading? Carbs and grains are not synonymous, folks. Grains HAVE carbs, but they are not carbs.  Lots of other foods have much better carbs, so why not load up on them? I truly love being grain-free and I being able to put my body through those 13.1 miles, but I'm not willing to hurt my body to accomplish both. I want to do it right!
After the race - says it all

So I researched and here is what I did:
Pre Race - We've all heard you should eat copious amounts of pasta before a race. The reasoning is to build up the fuel in your muscles, but with research I found it is not just the night before that is important. It is a few days leading up to it that matter too. So I added back rice and potatoes, and had a small yam for lunch a few days before. I meant to have it for breakfast the day of also, but the last one was rotten. I had the minute muffin with an extra scoop of flax seed and blueberries instead. You supposedly need to replenish your muscles after the race too, so don't forget some after race splurges too. The yam has 40 grams of carbs but just a 1 gram of sugar - viola carb loading grain free. 

Home-made running aid
Supplements - Other runners swear by Gu and other running aids, but they are loaded with tons of sugar, artificial sweeteners and a bunch of chemicals that are infamous for causing Runner's Diarrhea. With the help of Mark Sisson's website I made my own and carried it in a tiny pocket in my running shorts. I had to modify it since I don't carry my own water. I mixed 2 tsp Blackstrap Molasses, 2 tsp local Honey, 1 tsp Sea Salt and at Mile 7 I sucked it down at a water station. You can read all about it on Mark's Daily Apple, but the point is to get glycogen/sugar directly to your muscles which at this point have used up their natural supply. If your run is less than 90 minutes, this should not be an issue. But how awesome would it be to make this into a chew or "hard candy" to better store and use during a run?

Water - I use 1 Nuun tablet with a full glass of water before my longer training runs and on race morning. I do this for electrolytes, which I often feel my body is low on. I also take water at basically all the water stations on the course. My friends run right past the table or grab one and keep running, Although I don't really want to, I do drink Gatorade on the course. I usually pass it up, but this time they were in half full tiny dixie cups and I thought what the hell. I used to be afraid it would upset my stomach, but no problems so far. I think I'll try running with my own water concoction in the future. That way I control when I get the water and what is in it. But all that sloshing around may be annoying.
My girlfriends and I after the race

Weight - Don't take up running Half Marathons to lose weight, you will be greatly disappointed. I won't call her out by name, but one of my running buddies weighs less than 100 lbs (yes, she is an adult and is just naturally tiny). Even she gains weight while training for a Half. The battery went out on my scale this week so I can't weigh, but I guarantee you my weight is up a few pounds and I have major water retention in my muscles after the race. Do a Half to feel great, tighten up and find out what your body is truly capable of, but not to lose weight. 

If you are even a little curious about running a Half, I'd really encourage you to grab a friend and do it! A girlfriend kept encouraging me to do one, and I thought she was nuts. Do the training (please, please do the training) and walk/run it if you have to. Pick a beautiful course that will keep you interested. Here is a directory of US 1/2s. Ask my husband, the first thing I said to him after this race was "That was SO fun!"

Read about my first Half Marathon (Golden Gate Park Kaiser Half) Here and my miserable 2nd Half HERE.  Please remember, this is what works for me. You should check with your Doctor before embarking on any new strenuous activities.

22 comments:

  1. Wow great job Amber. You should be so proud of yourself. :-)

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    1. Amber - you go girl i am 3 lbs shy of 50 lost on the Belly Fat Cure. I am trainning for a full marathon this OCT in Scranton, PA. Yesterday i ran 14 miles!!! never thought this could be me but I totally get yah--- the BFC has changed my life!!

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  2. Oh my gosh! Congrats to you!!

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  3. Congratulations Amber!
    I am confused. Isn't rice a grain?

    Kim

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    1. Kim - I did tons of research on this and even though I did not like Mark Sisson in person (totally arrogant), he really is the authority on these things IMHO. He recommended white rice for non-wheat carb loading, and I had it one nights before the race. Mostly I relied on the yams and 2 nights with potatoes. This is a great post on why rice isn't "as bad as wheat" http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-rice-unhealthy/#axzz1radbmdOR and the link in my post explains why rice instead of other options for carb loading. I don't think I mentioned it but my stomach was really unhappy before the race. I have a bad cold and wasn't sure it was related to that or the minor food adjusts for a few meals.

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    2. I guess what I meant is usually rice is not allowed on the FT or Paleo/Primal diets, correct?

      Kim

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  4. You did great & I am so glad you loved the race! It is pretty & I'll give it that; I guess I've just had better experience with other race organizers. Awesome job!!

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    1. Thanks for the comment! Your running blog is a real inspiration to me!

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  5. Congrats! Thanks for the information on what to eat to! Its perfect timing for me, more magazine 1/2 next week in NYC, can't wait, this for the inspiration. BTW - great race time!

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  6. Congrats on your 1/2 marathon. I am so excited for you to find something that you love and inspires you. From your testing it looks like your food choices are keeping you healthy. You know what your body needs/desires. I personally know that it would never be a "forever" thing for me.
    You are constantly learning and expanding your mind! I love that, and you even share your new found knowledge, I love that too:)
    Great job girl!!! Love the pictures!

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  7. So great Amber!! Glad you had a great time!
    I think I'm ready to do one myself!

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  8. Looks like you had fun. You ladies look great!

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  9. Thanks so much for sharing your information on training for the half marathon and your weight loss journey. They are both very inspiring! :) I have been training to run a half in June. I have also been following the BFC fast track program. During my last long run of 11 miles, I got very dehydrated and my body was not recovering as it should have been. So I was not sure what I should be eating as I run and stick to the plan. So thanks for the guidance. If we want to find out more about you and your success story. Where can we find this information? Also, if we have questions for you, where can we send those? Thanks again! :) Jacqueline

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  10. Great job!! Thanks for being a role model for everyone around here!

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  11. If someone would have told you 5 years ago you'd be running marathons...would you have believed them!
    I'm so glad you had some fun-congrats.

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    1. Not in a million years Jeri! Not in a million!

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  12. WOW! COngratulations Amber...SO awesome :)

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  13. You have a way of making running sound like fun! Wish I like it! Great job on the marathon an I lOVE the views you took in.

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  14. Soooo very proud of you baby sis! You are an athlete! You really could tell how much fun you were having. Your homemade goo...yucky looking! YOU are the inspiration!

    Love ya!

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  15. You are a tremendous inspiration to me. I have been following Jorge Cruise on the Belly Fat Cure fast start for just 2 1/2 weeks-and already lost 6 pounds. Weight loss seemed like it was becoming impossible for me before finding this plan. I also am working out and your running is incredible, along with your tremendous weight loss. Thanks so very much for sharing and for being there.

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  16. This is very encouraging to me. I started following BFC in Feb. and just yesterday I signed up for the Nike Women's in SF with Team in Training. Right now I'm not much of a runner but I'm excited to start training and know that I can stick to BFC while doing it!

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