“Habituate yourself to walk very far.”

Thomas Jefferson.

 

Here’s how my weekly mileage looks in my first 8 weeks of marathon training:

Week 1 (ending 10/18) – Scheduled: 23 / Actual: 22.5

Week 2 (10/25) – 21 / 21.7

Week 3 (11/1)  – 21 / 19.1

Week 4 (11/8)  – 26 / 25.8

Week 5 (11/15  – 30 / 28.8

Week 6 (11/22)  – 26 / 21.6

Week 7 (11/29)  – 30 / 30.1

Week 8 (12/6 – current week)  – Scheduled: 33

My training schedule is a malleable thing that I’m adjusting as I learn about how I’m feeling week to week. And this week, week 8, just shy of halfway through this beast – all week I’ve been effing TIRED. I can’t get enough sleep (even though I’m hitting 8-10 hours solid nightly), have low energy during the day, and then feel a bit restless in the evening. Seems a little early on experience such fatigue (I’m not calling it burnout yet) and so I’m a little concerned.

My body feels okay, and so at the moment my primary suspect is nutrition and hydration. I’m pretty certain I’m not getting in enough quality calories, and so I’m returning to the tedious task of tracking all my food for a week or so. According to my research and calculations, I should be consuming between 1850-2100 calories daily. And this means QUALITY calories – not 1200 calories of real food and 600 calories of beer and doughnuts. That said I don’t do marathon training without some treats.

😉

But by honoring the commitment to avoid filling in the gaps with said goodies, I’ve actually found getting in 2000-ish calories to require a lot of focus. As a pescatarian, most of my staple foods are relatively healthy and nutrient dense. Sometimes it feels like I have to eat a lot of food to meet the demand. AND if I’m consciously drinking a ton of fluids, I feel even more satiated throughout the day and less inclined to snacky snacks.

That said I don’t think that I’m necessarily overthinking it. It’s just requires a different routine. Here’s my overall strategy:

• Eat a bigger breakfast (from my usual 200-ish calories to 350-400 calories)

• Every meal contains a good ratio of macros – carbs, protein, healthy fat

• Obscene amounts of fruits and vegetables

I’m hoping that this cures my weird running hangover.

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Have you experienced fatigue in training? Do you change your diet while building mileage for a race?

 

“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.”

Thich Nhat Hanh.

After several weeks of mostly consistent running, I’m looking forward to my first big race of the year — the half distance at Sunday’s Oakland Running Festival. As usual, it’s 6 days out and I’m trying to determine the line between stupid and lazy. How to keep one’s head on straight while making space for potential magic? Some days I imagine PR-smashing victories while other times a heaving 2 hour finish sounds massively lucky. Just your ordinary pre-race psycho-jitterbugging.

In the meantime I play and work, I read and eat. With regards to the last two, I’m taking inspiration from Thich Nhat Hanh’s “How to Eat,” purchased from Pilgrim’s Way Book Shop in lovely Carmel-by-the-Sea this weekend.

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— Do you delight in meditations on a string bean?

— Believe a cup of tea contains the universe?

— Invite space for mindfulness when table setting and/or dishwashing?

Well then this one’s for us, ladies and gents.

In fact Sunday loops around Lake Merced followed by a nap and house cleaning listening to audiobooks and preparing a butterflied trout with a roasted crispy-skinned sweet potato and pot de creme for dessert might be just everything…

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Petit Pot made in Oakland, found at Potrero Whole Foods, and consumed by me in my apartment. How adorable and delicious is this packaging?

…Not to mention that one-night-only Carmel vacationette, perfect and sweet as a little jar of chocolate.

Heartbreakingly gorgeous 4 miles this morning! #seenonmyrun

A post shared by Kathryn Bodle (@nochickens) on

Well, I guess it was a good weekend!

“Instead of telling the world what you’re eating for breakfast, you can use social networking to do something that’s meaningful.”

Edward Norton. Sorry dude.

Nutrition is hard y’all. Among my weaknesses are cookies, cheese, french baguettes, beer and bourbon (and gin and wine). And I think that I love pizza only slightly less than I love my own flesh and blood, Darwin.

Lighten up, Darwin — I’m just kidding!

Lighten up, Darwin — I’m just kidding!

But one of the things I’ve got going for me is that I like to eat a healthy breakfast just about every day. Er, minus the Himalayan-sized amount of french toast I was served at brunch this weekend.

Really, this was an obscene anomaly.

Really, this was an obscene anomaly.

Normally I have 4 rotating breakfast options and I wake up actually looking forward to making and eating them. Like many folks I was a breakfast refuser for so long, but since getting into the habit a few years back I find it’s not only the full belly that I enjoy, but also the ritual of just sitting down in the morning at the table and spacing out a bit before the day starts.

Breakfast Taco

Sonoma-Organic-Wraps

These corn tortillas by La Tortilla Factory are worth waking up for. Add a scrambled egg, avocado, salsa, and a generous shake of Burn Baby Burn hot sauce (aka the best hot sauce ever), fold it up and munch away.

Date Shake

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I’m koo-koo crazy for dates lately, and I’m happy to have found this simple and flexible recipe from Food Doodles. This is a great basic shake with 3 ingredients — dates, almond milk, and banana — making it easy and fun to add creative extras like ground flax, chia seeds, greens, almond or vanilla extract…

Kefir, cereal, and fruits

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Probiotics! I make my own kefir, which I find has a more pleasing texture than the store-bought stuff.

On long run days I make a loaded oatmeal with peanut butter, chia and flax seeds, banana, and currants.

Toasted Ezekiel Bread Topped w/ Good Goodness.
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Almost always an avocado and hummus, and sometimes a fried or boiled egg or leftovers (like the greens above).

Do you have a breakfast repertoire or do you wing it?

“The waiting is the hardest part.”

Tom Petty.

Another running post, naturally, as I near the big day: April 27 and the Big Sur International Marathon. This will be my second crack at the 26.2 distance. So what’s cooking for April? Well, of course there is a chunk of running involved, but I’m also trying hard to focus on some of the peripheral but crucial components of training:

1. Nutrition

breakfast toast egg kale avocado

breakfast must include tabasco sauce.

Balanced Eating. What a nice thought. This is by far the most difficult ambition, as I’m prone to intense bouts of marathon munchies and cookie cravings and lust for pizza.

I’ve approached this this from so many angles. Eat a bigger breakfast/eat a smaller breakfast. Several small meals/3 square and no snacking. Count calories/eat intuitively. The fact is that healthy eating requires a kind of extra discipline that simply put is just not fun. But keeping a true pencil-and-paper food diary seems to be most reliable for me, along with some periodic myfitnesspal calculations to make sure that my macros are in check. 

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healthy days but sadly devoid of pizza.

2. #yogaeverydamnday

Consistent practice has been so beneficial in this training cycle. As a result of yoga and weight-lifting I’m stronger, faster, and more focused than ever before. My fitness regimen feels wonderfully holistic — intensive endeavors like running and regular vinayasa classes balanced with casual activities like commuting by bike and taking extra long, hilly walks with Darwin.

But even so, I’m sadly not very religious about an old-fashioned post-run stretch. With increasing weekend mileage, followed by eight-plus hours sitting on my ass at work, even just 15 minutes of daily yoga does wonders to keep things loosey-goosey. I love yogaglo.com for making it super easy to find a sequence that suits my needs — from an invigorating morning practice to a simple hamstring/hip stretch before bed.

3. Soak

I firmly believe that a classic warm bath will cure most common ailments. Including and especially sore legs. Epsom salts + essential oils = boom. That said…

4. More Ice

ice bag coconut water

they love me at the local corner store.

A hot, bubbly soak is delicious, but there are days when a bathtub full of ice is the responsible choice. I pretty much have this down to a science. Base layer, sweatshirt, down vest, fleece beanie, bikini bottoms, hot tea, and an ipad — but I still need a pair of these:

booties surfing

feet freeze sucks.

Finally…

5. Massage

A double-edge sword.

Christine at Deep Massage = good ($10 off for marathoners and triathletes this month!)

Foam roller = bad

pure terror.

I can’t believe it’s almost time to taper, but I guess that’s what happens when you begin training a month late. I’m getting squirrely already. Will my minimalist approach to be enough to keep me smiling to Carmel?

Apart from submitting to the will of your prescribed mileage, what do you do to prepare in the weeks before a big race? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

“I only have ‘yes’ men around me. Who needs ‘no’ men?”

Mae West.

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It’s climate-change spooky warm here in California, but I can feel the season on me too. Some have the special super power to flip the mental switch from holiday celebration to just another winter, and up and reset their lifestyle and eating habits on January 2.

Are these the Optimists, New Year Resolutionists, Health Evangelists, the Consistenly Inspired? Are they simply very, very strong?

I suppose I need a grace period in the form of 29 days or so. I’m fairly at peace with my fitness regimen for now, but struggle to maintain the concentration necessary for a consistently healthful diet. Because in the darkness of winter, “Nos” and “Shalt nots” feel especially dreary, so it began last Saturday, with a flurry of “Yes.”

Yes! Make healthy eating a priority in February!

Yes! Eat vegetables and berries and apples and fish, and kefir and tempeh and tea.

 Yes! Do my best keep record of my food intake in the form of calories, unprocessed foods, and macronutrient ratios (I endeavor for 50-30-20 Carbs-Fats-Protein.  But historically, when concentrating on healthy eating I usually end up with less carbs and more fat, and don’t really worry about it as long as I’m eating a lot of vegetables and the fats are natural).

Yes! Pay special attention to areas where I tend to fall behind: Iron intake, sugar, and drinking plenty of water.

Yes! Enjoy 3 satisfying meals a day. Intuition and listening to hunger cues informs healthy snacking, rather than boredom/routine/immediate availability of food.

Yes! Feel my body move. For sport and mental well-being. Walk, bike, run, yoga, lift weights.

Yes! Drink wine sometimes, usually with food. Have a cocktail or two on the weekend, sipped luxuriously.

Yes! Calmly and responsibly break a rule when the occasion arises (SF Beer Week, wine tasting with out-of-town family late this month).

I wonder if the secret to good health is openness and brightness and happiness and positivity and yes, and if the secret to all of this is good health in return. Who should care one way or another about well-being if we’re not inspired to love ourselves and feel empathy for others? What masks as narcissism, how do we find truth? Is this hard for everybody, and why is it hard for me? It must be painful to reflect the light of the universe all the time, and everyday people do ghastly unthinkable things.

Is there always yes, really? Does it hover above a dangling piece of curved glass, like a secret orchid, waiting for us to find it?