Thursday, June 13, 2013

On Running... Food

Food. We can't forget food. It's what sometimes helps get me out the door or helps me finish and get back in the door. I'll think, "If I go for a run, I can have a smoothie or a donut or fried chicken." (see below)

When I have a smoothie it's usually just juice, frozen fruit, frozen banana and protein powder and sometimes a handful of spinach, after a good solid run. I stick it all in a pint mason jar, attach the blender blade and base and whirl away. It's a great way to manage the portion size. Smoothies, while made with good, whole food ingredients (no just add water mixes) are good for you, they can pack a wallop of calories quickly. But I guess if you're going to choose, say a Snickers bar because you've already had a smoothie, I guess you could go with another smoothie. There is no limit of smoothie variations. I've seen just about everything (i.e. peanut butter, nut butter, oatmeal, coconut water, avocados, kale, etc.) except meat and potato chips thrown into a smoothie and declared the best ever. It's the drinkers opinion, although I will tell you that a long time ago I said was going to try a kale and avocado smoothie and I did. I can cross that one off my smoothie bucket list. (Do you have a smoothie bucket list? I don't, but maybe you do.)

Sometimes I just don't have time or don't want to make a smoothie so I'll have chocolate milk. I buy milk and add chocolate syrup. I even make it up in mason jars and take it races for the boys. Way cheaper than buying chocolate milk. 

While we're on the subject of drinking- I need to drink more water. I've experienced some fatigue this past week that seems unnormal because my workouts haven't really increased dramatically to cause it. A runner friend suggested that I was possibly dehydrated as nothing else I said seemed to be a trigger. While conversing with him, I asked about what all I should drink besides water and suggested Gatorade and Nuun. He said Gatorade = garbage. That's his opinion not mine, however, he is an ultra runner and I personally respect authority on the subject. You don't know him; you don't have to. I expect that we will still drink Gatorade but less than before. Sometimes Gatorade is all you've got and that's cool. 
What I really want to tell you about is Nuun hydration tablets. They are like Alka-Seltzer tablets with a little fizziness to them and have the electrolyte benefits that Gatorade other sports drink tout but with less sugar. There are a ton of great flavors. (Right now, watermelon is my favorite flavor.) The cost comparison between one tablet of Nuun and one small bottle of a sports drink is in favor of Nuun. I've seen Nuun at Hy-Vee in their health section but where I've purchased it and gotten the choice of flavors is directly from Nuun. They often run a promotion and that's how I saved quite a bit. Even my kids like them! I'm really excited about Nuun if you can't tell. If you need to quit soda, cut back on sugar (like 99%) of us do, but still want that fizz and a flavor other than water, try Nuun.
I'm not a Nuun amabasador- yet. I purchase all my own Nuun. 

Papa Smurf not necessary but still applicable

Pre-running fuel is a banana and a little bit of oj and a new to me food: spirulina algae. No, it's not the scum from our fish, Swimmy's, bowl! I consume it in the form of little green pills from Energy Bits. There is a ton of information on their site about their product. It looks very safe and quality controlled, which is actually kind of a big deal if you think about what you're consuming. So here's my take on it. I don't actually know if it works wonders or not. It's packed to the max with all sorts of healthy stuff and I think that is all great. But whether it enhances my running/recovery or not, I can't quite tell. I'm tend to think it does help, perhaps in my overall health rather than in my running specifically, so I'm sticking with it for now. If you go to their website, you can read all about it for yourself. 

I'm also trying out GU energy gels a little more this year. Last year I got a free sample of the chocolate at a race and when I tried it, I felt like I was sucking down cold hot fudge sauce- ew! I've tried other flavors since then and like it better. I have not tried the peanut butter flavor but others rave about it. Personally, I think it sounds gross. I think because I don't eat a spoonful of peanut butter these days anymore. (Audrey would probably love it.)

Some just use gels as their only fuel during their runs. I'm experimenting as I go and I think in a long enough run, I would miss real food. In trying to come up with options besides gels and blocks and beans, I've stumbled upon dried blueberries. I'll put together a little bag of them along with some toasted pecans and stuff it in the pouch of my water bottle's wrist strap. I found the dried blueberries at Trader Joe's taste a lot better than the ones at the grocery store. 

After a run and my initial recovery smoothie, I try really hard to keep eating well. This week I tried Iowa Girl Eat's Turkey, Avocado and Hummus Wrap. Super yum! But sometimes you happen to have extra fried chicken chillin' in the fridge from the night before when you decided BFab BBQ was putting supper on the table and it just can't go to waste. I went on a streak, people. I purposely went to BFab and bought fried chicken just so I could have it after the Pilot Knob race (that was cancelled because of a million feet of snow at the beginning of May). It's all protein-y and flavorful and salty. Hey, maybe BFab is puttin' supper on the table tonight...

And sometimes it's National Donut Day and a rest day and so you do what any good mother would do- take your kids to Dunkin' Donuts! (And if you buy extra just so you have motivation to go out and dominate that two hour long run the next day, well, you're not alone.) 


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