Tag Archives: Marathon Training

Eating To My Metabolism – Revisited

Somewhere along the way, it seems like counting calories became a bad thing. At times I have felt guilty and embarrassed because I do so. Why do people who look down on this practice care? To each their own. It may not be something that works for everyone, but it works for me.

Last Fall I participated in a study at San Jose State called “An Assessment of Nutrition and Feeding Practices of Adult Female Marathoners.”

Runners World had tweeted a link to it and when I saw that it was with a local university, I inquired about joining the study. I had to complete a questionnaire to see if I qualified for the study, and I did.

For two weeks I had to keep a food diary recording every single thing I ate, and every workout I completed.

At the time I wasn’t counting calories, but was loosely keeping a food journal to make sure that I was eating sufficiently while training for the New York Marathon. I thought I was eating pretty healthily and wasn’t too concerned about total calorie intake because, you know, I was in marathon training and I needed as much fuel as I could get for all that training.

Three months later I received the results from the study and it was eye opening.

I learned that my average daily caloric intake was substantially higher than recommended for my activity level. I was eating 700+ more calories per day than I needed to, even while marathon training.

No wonder I always gain weight during marathon training…

The study also told me that:

+ I had to reduce my intake of carbs, protein, fat and sodium.
+ While I ate many healthy whole foods, but I was also eating some very calorie-dense food.
+ I ate a lot of vegetables, but not enough fruit.
+ My iron levels were very good.
+ I was deficient in biotin, potassium, and calcium.

Now that I’m in a new marathon training cycle for the San Francisco Marathon, I want to do better with my nutrition this time. I started using My Fitness Pal again in January and unlike other training cycles, plan to continue using it through this period of marathon training.

I also got a Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) test last week.

An RMR test calculates how many calories your body burns by doing “lifestyle activities” like working, eating, walking, driving, etc. It also calculates how many calories your body burns by doing moderate exercise. Then it calculates caloric zones giving you guidelines on how many calories to eat to maintain weight and lose weight. It also gives you a zone, which you should only stay in if you are medically supervised.

This is a good link that explains more about the test itself.

All of this is designed to teach you how to eat to your metabolism. Not another person’s metabolism. Not what a generic diet plan says. It tells you what is right for your individual body right now.

I’ve had an RMR test done
a few times, but it’s been a couple of years. It was very useful in helping me maintain perspective on my diet. I’m a person with an addictive personality who loves food, so when I find something that I really love; I tend to go excessively overboard with it. Thank goodness my current obsession is Brussels sprouts. No one ever died from eating too much BS right? {I kid…} :)

We all set marathon goal times, but I also like to set other goals, especially during a training cycle. Eating healthy foods that will fuel my workouts, in amounts that are sufficient to my metabolism is one goal that I have right now. Hopefully I will be able to stay on track with it so that I can maintain an ideal race weight and achieve the race goals I set for myself.

Fortunately for me, I’ve found that changes I’ve had to make weren’t significant, once again proving that little changes can amount to big benefits.

I Went To NY To Run The Marathon And Ended Up In Hell’s Kitchen

Talk about a week of high’s and lows.

At the start of last week the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. Serious high went on over here.

Then the storm hit the Northeast and we weren’t sure if there would still be a New York Marathon.

Then we got an email from NYRR on Wednesday saying that the race was still on and to come and support New York. I had made a commitment to my charity and the donors who made charitable donations in support of me, so if there was going to be a race I was going to be there to run it.

My family and I flew out on the redeye on Thursday night. We landed on Friday and got to our hotel in Midtown without any incident. We dropped off our luggage then took the shuttle to the expo.

After the expo we got some lunch…


{frozen hot chocolate from Serendipidty}

…then checked in to the hotel. I was so tired from not being able to sleep on the redeye that I fell asleep right away. A couple of hours later I woke up in a daze when my phone erupted with phone calls and messages from people telling me the race had been cancelled.

Everyone has his or her opinions on what happened and to be frank, I am tired of talking about it. I’ll just say this:

Obviously I understood why.

What I don’t understand is why the powers that be waited until 36 hours before the race was to start to make the final decision.

In baseball there is a saying that, “If you build it, they will come.” Well this race has been built up to be the “best marathon in the world.” And with great glory comes great responsibility. This situation was irresponsibly handled and someone needs to be held accountable for the serious lack of incompetence. And NYRR needs to hire a PR firm ASAP. You’d think they would have learned after their Bag Check fiasco a few months ago.

That being said what was more upsetting to me was the fact that some of those people who “blew up my phone” to tell me the race had been cancelled were “friends” who never acknowledge that I was even training for the race.

Additionally, what I saw on social media was terrible. A lot of self-righteous judgment from some people who had no personal investment in the situation. People have a right to post and tweet whatever they want, but I also have a right not to read it. So I turned off Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t need the extra noise filling my head.

/end soap box

We decided to spend a couple of more days there but shorten our trip and head home on Sunday evening.

And we did what we do best – we ate. Our hotel’s concierge was spot on with his recommendations of whatever type of cuisine we were in the mood for.

On Saturday we ended up at Southern Hospitality in Hell’s Kitchen (aka Justin Timberlake’s restaurant) for some comfort food.

This meal was seriously the highlight of my trip. Burgers. Sweet Potato Fries. Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. Fried Chicken and Waffles. Someone even had Grits (it wasn’t me). We were so excited to eat all the food we didn’t take any photos of it (because really, it was gone in 20 minutes).

After stuffing our faces we decided to walk it off with a stroll through Central Park.

On Sunday my cousin Michi was determined to still run her 26.2 miles. And she did – with a huge PR. I’m so proud of her.

I ran 6 miles myself. About 1-minute with Michi and a bit longer with Michaela.


{the best I’ll ever feel at Mile 26}

The atmosphere in the Park was unique. It was as if a race really did take place.

It was an amazing experience and a great way to end the trip.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. I do still have my commitment to fulfill to the National Stroke Association and my charity supporters and I will do so.

There a couple of marathons in Southern California this weekend that I know some friends are running in place of NY. I’m not sure I can swing them, but I will need to decide in the next day or so. If it doesn’t happen, then there will be another race in near the future.

But whether there’s another NYCM still remains to be determined.

20-Miler

I’ve been doing all of my long runs on Saturday’s, admittedly so that I wouldn’t miss any NFL games. But with the 49ers not playing on Sunday for a few weeks we decided to switch my long runs to Sundays for the last two weeks before Race Day.

I was a little worried about how the run would go after eating nothing but crap yesterday. I even deviated from my usual Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl pre-long run dinner.

I slept like a baby last night and had a difficult time getting up this morning. I started running 30-min later than planned but the weather cooperated and it was cool and breezy the entire time.

I started out feeling good – really good. But I forced myself to dial back my natural pace by 30-35 seconds. I was determined not to feel like death by the end of the run.

At first I planned to run four 5-mile loops. But let’s be honest, there’s no way I could have dealt with the monotony. So I improvised, running two 6-mile loops for the first 12 miles.

The miles ticked off like clockwork and could not have gone better.

I started the third and final loop (stretched it out for 8-miles) and continued to feel great until Mile 15. 

My R foot has been nagging me for a few weeks. It doesn’t hurt, but it feels off, like if I take a wrong step something could go wrong. It’s the same area where I sprained it a year and a half ago. I’m hoping it’s just old scar tissue moving around and I’ve been doing some foot strengthening exercises for it.

Today I felt it from the get-go but again; it didn’t hurt until Mile 15. It started to hurt more on turns but felt normal on straight-aways. Well the route I ran has a lot of sharp turns so it became a thing.

Up until that point I ran music free (and still loved it). But I found myself getting fixated on my foot so I turned on my iPod to distract me from thinking about it. It didn’t really work and I finally decided to take a walk break, which really helped my foot but tightened up the rest of my legs. Things got rough after that.

I think it took more energy to finish out those last 5 miles than it did to run the first 15. Seriously. 

But I did it. Finished the run without feeling like death. Mission accomplished.

I actually felt like I still had some gas left in tank. My overall being felt great. IT Band was fine; knee felt great, no foot numbness and even my stomach was a non-issue. My hamstrings (both of them) were screaming, but not in the injured way that it had been feeling the past couple of weeks. Just overall tiredness. As for my foot, its not bruised or swollen or anything. In fact, it felt back to normal shortly after my run. So I’m hoping it just works itself out. It just needs to make it through two more weeks!