Little Thoughts on My First Half Marathon #TORW2015

This isn’t about Raw Food. Fair warning if that is the ONLY reason you are here. 

No, this is a few notes I’ve jotted down for me regarding the first Half Marathon (21.1K or 13.1M) that I have ever run, which I managed to do yesterday. I thought I’d share them here in case any of them end up being useful for you too.

First HM Note: Take the time in that godforsaken line-up at the porta-potties and pee before the race starts. About 1km in I had to stop at a park bathroom and lost 5 minutes. By the time I came out, I was in the very last of the last group. 

Second HM Note: If you lose time to a bathroom break, don’t ‘boogey’ to make it up and burn of precious energy that you’ll need later. This is a rookie mistake. I knew it before I ran. I did it anyway and I paid for it.

Third HM Note: I was really smart (if I do say so myself) and made my goal “to Finish” and not a time goal. I couldn’t fathom setting a time goal, not meeting it, then completing my first ever HM disappointed because of a few minutes. I didn’t want my first HM to be about time, but about learning and having fun.

Fourth HM Note: It was really nice to have someone at the Finish Line (and as it was, I had TWO people at the Finish Line because my Personal Trainer was a Time Official and she grabbed me and gave me a big hug. With that hug, all my despair over my pain melted away and was replaced by Joy. “You did it!” she yelled. “OMG, yes, I guess I did!” I replied). After spending 3 hours in my own head and having several types of conversations, being pulled out of my thoughts so I could recognize the moment I was in and the achievement was really great. So I may not NEED someone to be there at the Finish Line, it was really, really great that my PT and my sister were. I will remember that for next time and ask people to be there for me.

Fifth HM Note: Reading all those books actually helped. I recalled coping strategies and used them. I recalled hydration strategies and used them. I recalled physiological responses discussed and so knew not to panic. I wasn’t dying. It was alllll “normal” and I could keep moving forward knowing that I would be OK.

Sixth HM Note: The course is littered with Guardian Angels. Those little old ladies that had been on the Full Marathon course who passed me chattering away and then told me “We LOVE your tights!” as they left me in their dust – they were Guardian Angels. They gave me my humour back and basically showed me that I needed to suck it up and keep on moving. Every person who passed me a glass of liquid was a Guardian Angel. Whomever pasted up the giant “We are So PROUD of You!” sign up for someone, but didn’t take it down so I could see it too, they were a Guardian Angel. The woman who made eye contact with me in the last Kilometer and said “You’ve got this. You can do it.” and got me to start running again so I could cross that Finish Line ‘unbeaten’, she was a Guardian Angel.

Seventh HM Note: Yes, I should have definitely trained more. Without a doubt. But now I’m smarter about how and why.

Last HM Note: The BIGGIE for me…..I spend a lot of time criticising this poor, unsung body of mine. I tell it it’s fat, lumpy, aging in all the wrong places, too big ‘this’, too small ‘that’, crooked, and all sorts of really terrible things. Then my heart and mind come up with these ‘Big Scary Goals’ and who has to see me through it all? My Body. My body supported me in ways I can’t believe when I ran that Half Marathon. When it couldn’t get rid of the lactic acid fast enough, it stored it in my fingers because it knew I wasn’t using them. Sure, I had big sausage fingers that hurt to bend, but who cares – I wasn’t using them! It used every drop of Gatorade and Water to give me everything I needed. It sent painkillers to my hip joints and feet, it just knew it had to get me there. It knew I had no plan to give up, so it did everything in its power to get me there. It showed me how Smart it is, how Strong it is, and how much it cares for me. Never again will I diss this amazing body. I will do everything I can to support it in return, from this day forward. If I got nothing else out of the experience (which I did, I got A LOT), walking away with this renewed love for my body made it all worth it.

Thanks for letting me share.  Happy running and Healthy Eating!


Ramp up the run…raw style!

Just a quick post today – to keep in touch.

If you’re looking into raw foods and integrating more raw food into your life, you will have noticed that there is so much more information on the internet and in books these days.  Seems there’s been a bit of an explosion of information but I believe the growth in ‘solution seeking‘ walks hand-in-hand with larger issues seen in society today, and I don’t just mean the obvious ones like the high rate of obesity and alarming rates of cancer, poor heart health, strokes, diabetes.  I’m also sensing a current of overall discontent in North American society (and perhaps abroad), where we recognize that we can have anything and still feel completely unfulfilled.   We may be starting to acknowledge what we’ve really been neglecting and what we really need, as individuals and as a society,  is a focus on our whole health.

So maybe it’s just because I’ve been looking, but I really believe I am seeing larger trends unfolding: trends towards real joy, real health, better balance, and real meaning to a life.  And with it seems to have come a lot more information available for those of us who are seeking it.  While this is wonderful, it can also mean some missteps, some rabbit holes that we can get caught up in (what’s best? Raw? Paleo? Vegan? gaa!  Who cares what’s “best” – try things out and find what works for you),  and sometimes all the information can be overwhelming.

I’ll make it my mission (or ONE of my missions) to help you find the reputable sources of information, those that are easy to navigate through, and with recipes or suggestions that are easiest to integrate into your changing habits.

On that note, I have mentioned the site “No Meat Athlete” in my blog before as a great place to go when looking for ‘ratios’ – how to get enough protein in a plant-based diet, for example.  Well, because I’m ramping up my running and am setting new, challenging (even uncomfortable!) goals for myself, I went to that site today to look for ‘ratios’ for carbohydrates (or ‘carbs’ as we cool kids call them).  Not only did I find what I was looking for, I found the No Meat Athlete published the Thrive recipe for a raw energy gel!  How exciting for me!

I have to admit:  I have sometimes found the “Thrive” information difficult to integrate.  It is certainly a site for more elite athletes (in my opinion) and I haven’t yet encountered the situations in my life or level of fitness that have made me seek out solutions to ‘elite athlete’ challenges.  Know what I mean?  I’m still looking for ‘simple’ not ‘complex’ diet solutions.  So I head over to the Thrive site sometimes, and I’m glad to know it’s there if I ever need to start integrating plant-based solutions for my ‘peak performance’ athleticism.  But I’m not quite there yet….

But back to the recipe for the raw energy gel.  I was excited to find this because, as I run longer distances, I will need to provide my body with replenishing carbs (for instant and longer term energy) and small amounts of protein (for muscle support) while I am running.  Gels are how most runners do this.  However, because my body is hyperactive when it comes to processing  sugars, commercial gels scare me a little.  I had tried a Gatorade gel once and felt like I was having heart palpitations 5 minutes after consuming it, and then had a sugar crash 15 minutes later.  Not fun to deal with when also trying to slog my way through a run (or, in my case, a “lope” – one does not think of gazelles when they see me run…an image of a walrus loping its way up the sandy beach is more like it.  For now.  I’m aiming for gazelle by December).  Although I’m 90% sure (because I know my body) that it was the glucose and fructose that caused this to happen, the caffeine may have helped.

So, when in the store to buy new running shoes yesterday, I had decided to also pick up some “Gu” gels as all my interweb research has indicated that they’re a high quality gel with excellent ratios and decent enough ingredients.  I do plan to try them out on my runs to see if I can tolerate them from a blood-sugar perspective, and then, of course, get used to eating them while I run – see if the stomach accepts them, get the timing of when to use them down, etc.  But, I worried, what if I can’t use them?  What then?  There has to be a solution for me to get my carbs and protein in for when I start running longer distances.

And voila.  The No Meat Athlete provides me with a Thrive recipe (so really, Thrive provided it, but I didn’t go there first) for a raw energy gel.

Here it is! (Finally, you say…yah, yah 🙂 ) : Thrive Raw Energy Gel recipe as provided on the No Meat Athlete site.

Because I already purchased the GU gels, I’m going to give them a whirl.  Nothing wrong with having options.  But I’ll also be giving the raw gel recipe a try for obvious reasons:  non-commercial, raw, no dyes or artificial ingredients, on-demand and likely less expensive over time.  The only drawback I see that could be an issue is portability.  The GU gels are more compact and come in a pretty sturdy package, while the raw gels are stored in plastic sandwich bags which may be easily punctured and harder to carry on a run, especially when needing to carry 4 or 5 of them.  But hey!  Let’s see how it goes!  I can get pretty creative – perhaps I’ll “MacGyver” a better delivery system for higher volumes of raw gel 🙂

If you give this recipe a try, stop by here and let us all know what you think of it – the pros and the cons.

Finally, you may be asking “If you’re all gung-ho over raw, why aren’t you using the raw solution first?”  Excellent question.  I have made the personal choice (as we all must) to become a runner first, and a raw runner next.  I find the integration of more frequent running and rising to the goals I’ve set for myself so challenging, that I need to uncomplicate it by taking it one step (excuse the pun) at a time.  Run first, discover dietary needs as the goal progresses next, establish easiest way to meet those dietary needs, then, last but not least, evolve those dietary solutions to being raw.  So be kind to me: new things are both exciting and scary as hell.  I do the best I can. 🙂

So here’s to us!  Doing the best we can!  Onward…