That’s pretty much what I’ve learned from my new sports nutritionist. You’re probably saying, “Duh.” But hear me out.
How many of you recognize even a little bit of yourselves in this? Your stomach hurts so you only eat a little bit before heading out to run–a gel or a serving of chomps. Then you drink some water on your long run, which you may or may not carry with you. I didn’t carry until I hit 10 miles unless it was really hot. But sometimes you have to stop eating or drinking because you get the dreaded “gu belly” or you can feel the water sloshing in your stomach. And then you finish and sit around chatting and you head home and get distracted and just grab whatever’s easy to eat.
Anyone? Ok, fine, I’m weird. I used to have a less-than-healthy approach to food (which I’ve replaced with a less-than-healthy devotion to exercise, but hey, that’s an improvement, isn’t it?). Once I learned to use food as fuel, I had a much better relationship with it, but I still struggled with a sweet tooth and a few extra pounds and fatigue problems and an ever-more delicate stomach.
So I went to the nutritionist. Who told me, and I’m not kidding, that if I didn’t start eating more, I was going to end up in the hospital instead of at the finish line during the marathon. “You’re only getting away with this because you’re 28,” she said. Whaaaaaa?
She made me a plan that calls for 1900 calories a day until I lose 7 pounds–but I’ve already lost 2!–but I can eat up to 2400 if I really need them. 2400 calories! I know that’s what most Americans eat in a sitting at Burger King, but I don’t eat that much. And remember that nutritionist who told me I needed 1600?
And guess what. It’s working! You could chalk it up to the fact that I’ve let the fatigue mole get some rest on digging fatigue holes, but last weekend I did get in 19 miles over two days in intense heat. And then this week I cranked out 44, including the best track workout I’ve had in two years. How do I feel? Fine. Pretty good, even. I’m not in any pain; I’m not too tired to be alive right now; and if I didn’t have to clean my entire house, I would go for a bike ride. (The Fatigue Mole hates to clean. It’s always the first thing to go.) Oh, and I never take rest days either. So know that I was swimming, cycling, and doing yoga on the two days I didn’t run this week.
I’m a convert. While I do now find myself picking up random foods to meet my calorie goals for each meal (egg sandwich and granola bar for breakfast? ok!), I was able to have a day out and about both yesterday and today. Usually I spend Sunday in a stupor. I’m going to say it was the 40 grams of protein I had for breakfast. I drank 7 raw eggs after my run.
Just kidding! That’s old school. I drank a cup of chocolate milk and made a smoothie with banana cream muscle milk light–which is DELICIOUS by itself. And then I went out to lunch and had a crab omelet,* so I’m eating an exorbitant amount of protein for me. I should also mention that I drank a lot more on my long run, and used GU Brew to very good effect–it tastes just like Lemon Lime Gatorade (which is my favorite–I know, I’m crazy) but doesn’t give me debilitating stomach cramps! So instead of my usual 200 calories for a 2-hour run, I had closer to 400…still probably not quite enough more, but a good start.
Next week is a bit of a step-down week for me. George suggested we take them to be able to bump our mileage up more than 10% a week, so I went 35 to 25 to 40 to 30 and now to 45 (well, 44), so back to 35 next week. I thought I was going to stay at 45 for a while because I’ve been so sore, but I just might be able to push right through to 50 in two weeks.
I also want to mention that my legendary sweet tooth has all but disappeared. Turns out my body wasn’t craving sugar so much as it was craving food. You have no idea how hard I’ve tried to quit sugar in the past. One time I even fainted after taking a week off from sugar and then binging because I couldn’t take it anymore. I was at one of Wes’s shows. That was a good night. So, yeah. Eat food!
Stay tuned for a post about my new boyfriend: CW-X compression shorts. They can’t catch me when I pass out on them, but they do hug my ass oh-so-nicely.
*I have no f-ing clue how to spell “omelet.”