Day Before the Road2Hope

Photo of a bottle of beet root juice

Tomorrow at 8:15am I am running the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon.

I have kept this fact quiet due to the disappointment of the Chicago marathon a few weeks ago. I figured I would give it one more try this season and see what I can do when:

  1. I am in control of my own training (I haven’t told Ilia and Lucy that I am running tomorrow)
  2. I have no one waiting, wondering or watching for my results.

If I do well tomorrow, I will tell the world. If I don’t, no one needs to know but me and my immediate fam-friends… and anyone who reads this blog, I guess.

Anywho, this is meant to be a pre-race day report so – onward!

6:00am – Glass of water, cup of coffee and a nicely paced 3km run followed by some good stretching (even got the yoga mat out).
6:50am – Cool-ish shower and applied some magnesium oil to legs and lower back.
7:10am – Glass of water, a big bowl of quinoa and brown rice with dried crans and a sprinkle of rolled oats, all covered in my carob, date, banana, almond drink. Also took a packet of 7Systems with some extra Vit D drops and Fish Oil.
8:00am – Started swigging from the first bottle of beet root juice.
10:00am – Large Latte (3 shots)
1:30pm – Large sweet potato, 2 small beets, 3 slices of beef, pile of quinoa, a carrot and some spinach/kale. One glass of Nuun, a swig of beet juice and some water to drink.
4:00 to 4:45 – Nap. More water and a swig of beet juice.
5:40pm – More water.
6:45pm – Almond butter and banana sandwich, more water and a homemade apricot scone. Took another Fish Oil capsule as well.
7:30pm – Warm bath with White Birch Oil.
8:15pm – More water.
10:30pm – 7Systems vitamins with a slice of cheese, a carrot and some more beet juice.
11:00pm – Bed.

Protein, water and an afternoon snack!

Quinoa & rice with bacon and eggs!Let me start by saying that we all love to hear that we are doing things correctly but there is really something magical about a teacher/coach/leader who can make you feel that way while pointing out the things you can improve on.

I just had my first telephone consult with Lauren Jawno, our Runner’s Makeover nutrition consultant. I’m not going to lie – I was worried. She had us track everything we ate for 4 days (including a Saturday). That was nearly a week ago. I have been waiting (nervously) ever since.

I am 6′ tall and 160lbs. I wear a 31″ waist jean and medium t-shirts usually fit me well, so I’m doing pretty well… for a normal person. For an endurance athlete? I don’t know. Maybe?

In any case, Lauren had some great feedback for me. First of all (she said in her magical way) “You are doing pretty well.” Nice! “Aside from the chocolate croissant and 12oz mochaccino”. Damn, I had somehow hoped that was an ok recovery meal. “Also you are not getting enough protein.” That surprised me. I eat meat, I eat dairy, I even use a whey protein powder. I know protein is an important building block for the body but I really thought I was getting enough.

Next was my water intake. I have to admit to being an on-again-off-again water junky. I happen to be in an off-again phase and I do know better. We athletes need water and lots of it. That is an easy one to remedy.

Lastly, I need to eat a snack in the afternoon. I am “going too long between lunch and dinner without food.” Hrm… yeah, I guess I usually workout in the morning and consequently eat a lot between 5:30am and noon. Afternoons are not my hungry time. So, from now on I will grab some cheese and fruit around 3:00pm. I can do that.

That was about it. We had some quick exchanges about putting real food before sport food and she asked me why I had switched from Gatorade to coconut water recently (mostly out of curiosity and being tired of fake fruit flavours). She also encouraged me to start taking an Omega 3 fish oil to “help my general health and to lubricate my joints”. I like the sound of that!

So, this is great. I have 3 things to concentrate on: Protein, Water and Afternoon Snacks. Easy, clear and doable. We’re planning to check in with each other in about 10 days to see how I’m doing. Hopefully I will be proteined-up, well-hydrated and afternoon-snacked.

Whoops – it’s 3:30 and I haven’t had my cheese!

Can Caffeine Help You Work Out?

Here’s some pretty cool and interesting information about caffeine and exercise from the Get Fit Guy:

Do you ever wonder whether that morning cup of coffee before you head to the gym might be doing more than just giving your brain a wake-up call? In other words, could caffeine actually help you work out? The answer is yes. Here are 3 quick and dirty tips for getting the most out of every drip:

  1. Try capsules: Caffeine consumption can help you go up to 10 times longer during endurance exercise like swimming, running or cycling, although it doesn’t have any effect on maximum muscular force. But the best benefits don’t come from a cup of coffee. Instead, most subjects in studies that showed this big benefit were consuming pure caffeine capsules, which could be risky (see note at end of newsletter).
  2. Exercise on an empty stomach: Caffeine may also help to increase fat burning, and for this reason, it is a popular ingredient among fat burning supplements. But if you can’t afford weight loss pills, you can get good benefit out of simply consuming a cup of coffee and exercising on an empty stomach.
  3. Get the right amount: Last, caffeine can reduce your “rating of perceived exertion”, meaning that with caffeine in your system, you can exercise harder, but not feel as much discomfort. To get the effects of caffeine, you should typically consume 2-5mg per kg of body weight 30-60 minutes prior to exercise (1 pound is 2.2 kilograms).

Awesome! Just the rational I needed to justify one more cappuccino in my day!

Beet Juice? Really?

A friend of mine (thanks Dr. Sexton) sent me an article from the Globe and Mail that has some awesome info in it.

Most of it is not news to anyone who keeps up to date on the latest findings (dynamic stretching diminishes strength and endurance, marathons show short term damage to the heart muscle) but some one it is very interesting. In particular the part that says “nitrates in beet juice are responsible for its endurance-boosting effect”. Apparently “in 2009, researchers at the University of Exeter announced that drinking beet juice for a few days allowed subjects to run about 15 per cent longer in treadmill tests.” Crazy! I know I will be buying some beet juice next time I’m at the grocery store!