I run for…

Based on the title of this email, and really my whole reason for doing this blog in the first place, you are probably ready for some touchy-feely love talk about running…I run to be a part of nature, I run to push myself to and beyond the limits I mentally set up for myself. Nah! This is about food!

Athletes have to put a lot of thought into what they put into their bodies before, after and during workouts. I have a strict regimen on the mornings of all of my long runs…wake up and make my electrolyte drink and cup of chai tea. While I drink that I usually do a crossword on the computer and/or check my email. One hour before I head out, and after I have drank half the electrolyte drink and all of my tea, I have a bowl of oatmeal. Thirty minutes before heading out I have a banana. This works for me and it never changes – except if I am out of bananas and then I substitute banana for apple. This works for me, but not for others. All runners have to find their own combination and timing for eating. Many of the athletes I train can eat a sandwich mid-run, while that would make me feel like I had a rock in my stomach.

Food, while an important element in energy while running, is also important mentally. Yes. Having my morning ritual breakfast, tea and crossword helps me mentally, but not as much as the food I think about eating AFTER my run.

When I ran my first half marathon, we went out for lunch right after at the Park Chalet in San Francisco. To celebrate, I had a bacon cheeseburger and Bloody Mary. From that point on, after every half I did, I had a bacon cheeseburger and Bloody Mary…it became my “thing”. Knowing that I was going to have that at the end of the race, helped me get through it.

After years of being in Weight Watchers I know I shouldn’t be rewarding myself with food, but when I am out there running 10, 13, 22 miles, thinking about what is coming up on my plate is a good way to get through those hard moments.

I ran 22 miles a couple of weekends ago, and I put my order in for dinner around Monday or Tuesday of that week…NY Strip Steak, boiled red potatoes, green beans and a GOOD bottle of wine. Knowing this was coming actually helped alleviate some of the anxiety I was feeling about doing 22 miles…and it helped me get through the tough parts of the run because it took my focus not from the “punishment” my mind was perceiving me going through, but to the reward I was going to receive at the end – finishing and getting a delicious steak dinner made for me.

So, while I run to be a part of nature, better my health, push myself beyond the limits I set for myself and be a good role model for my daughter…I also run for food.

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