Last night I did something supremely out of character and frankly scary to me. I’m still trying to come to grips with it.
I ate pasta.
Me. Christine Marie Johansen. Not just a bite or a nibble, but a gosh darn full bowl of it. Those who know me best will know this is utterly out of character. Some might even be tempted to call 9-1-1 and get some help sent pronto. But don’t bother, for I’ll already be out doing something else rather odd: I’ll be cruising the streets of the greater Marlborough area hiding water bottles behind rocks and such, hoping dogs don’t find them before I do later on today.
Both of these bizarre behaviors are related, of course, not just to each other but to my newfound quest for a 3:50 marathon.
First, I will explain the semolina situation; you’ll have to hang tight for a minute or two if you’re more interested in the odd Easter-Bunny-ish-but-not-nearly-as-yummy thang. Many of you who will hit this blog will remember the days when I was, hmmm, how shall we say this, a wee bit chunk-a-roo. Those of you who were lucky enough to miss these dreadful years, here’s the not-so-appealing facts: When Daughter #1 was born one April day in 1996 at 2:09 p.m., I weighed 209 lbs. By the time Daughter #2 came one night in May 2000 at 9:25 p.m., thank goodness I wasn’t 925 but it sure felt close enough at (gasp) 225 lbs. It’s true. I kid you not. It was not a pretty sight. I was not a happy woman.
One of the keys to getting me out of that heinous mess and down to my current 136 was my declaration of war against all things white—bread and pasta were top on the Eradication List. That was ten years ago, and I don’t think I’ve eaten a bite of pasta in the intervening decade. Does that sound weird? Even after the weight was long gone I just avoided it—you know, in the casual way that you would avoid something that harbors the Bubonic Plague or Ebola virus.
But now, here I am with this big-ass stack of how-to-run-your-first-marathon books courtesy of my now-close friends at Borders, and I simply cannot find even one that says “in order to ensure a successful marathon, avoid eating pasta”. In fact, it’s just the opposite:
Nancy Clark, M.S., RD, (one of American’s leading sports nutritionists): “While you can get some carbs from fruits and veggies, most marathoners do not get enough carbs from these foods alone. Hence they need the carb-boost from dinner starches…such as pasta…”
David Kuehls, contributing editor Runner’s World and 2:57 marathoner: “Your nutritional goal, when training for a 4-hour marathon, is to keep the carbohydrate tanks filled….The primary fuel for all your running is carbohydrates—think lots of pasta.”
Hal Higdon, running guru and runner of 111 marathons: “Running long offers a dress rehearsal for the race…it serves to increase the number of mitochondria, as well as capillaries in the active muscles, thereby improving those muscles’ ability to remove and utilize available oxygen…The preferred fuel for the endurance athlete is carbohydrates such as those in pasta because they are easy to digest and easy to convert into energy.”
I could go on (really, I could, as I’ve all but cleaned out Borders’ marathoning shelf and made it my very own) but why bother. They said just do it, especially the night before your long runs. This morning I go long—13, the longest yet—and so last night this former fat girl bit the bullet and bit the pasta in the process.
Sheesh, this marathoning is tough not only on the body but the brain as well!
So, carbohydrate tanks filled, I will get on with the morning and this week’s long run. But first I have to dash to the store where I will buy Daughter #1 something yummy for breakfast before I abandon her for two hours’ worth of running (thanks, Emma! You’re the best most understanding daughter a sub-4-marathoner-to-be could ask for!), as well as a half a dozen small water bottles that I will then, enroute home, scatter around today’s run loop. Yes, since I am refusing to wear the Fuel Belt and that whole “I would rather die of dehydration” declaration seems to be contraindicated if I want to achieve a sub-4 marathon, today I am taking a tip from one of my only marathoning friends: hide water bottles out on the course and drink as you find them. [Note to Marlborough friends: when you’re out in your slippers and robe this a.m. fetching your Boston Globe, please do not recycle any water bottles you may find in your yard! I’m coming soon on my wacky long-distance runner’s scavenger hunt—promise! 🙂 ]
In other CJ-marathon-related updates:
Many, many thanks to my last week’s sponsors—one is my big sis Laurie in North Carolina, and another is a fantastic stranger that only put “Anonymous” when he/she made his/her donation to Children’s Hospital on my sponsor page. Yeah! I have an anonymous mystery sponsor! How super-fantastic is that?!? Thankyouthankyou, Auntie Looney Bird and thankyouthankyou, whoever you may be, oh Anonymous One. You are both incredibly cool and I’ve smiled super-big smiles thinking about your gifts (and your identity) many times this week when I’ve been out running. You truly rock. Everyone else, you can see their donations and make your own by hitting my sponsor page on the Children’s Hospital Website. (If you’re with Cisco—hang tight, don’t push that button yet…I’ve applied for Cisco’s matching funds program and you should hold off til the decision is made since your donation may qualify for a match courtesy of our very cool company…I should have final word in about four weeks.)
Thanks again for stopping by. Here’s hoping your carb tanks are filled, your mitochondria and capillaries increase and your water bottles are precisely wherever you left them!
Do go enjoy the day!