WIAW: Boston Marathon Week Edition 

My sensitive stomach when running has been a source on issues for a few years now. After experimenting with the low FODMAP diet, I’ve found what I need to avoid in order to try to prevent any GI issues during the race. Basically that means anything that tastes really good, is out. No onions, garlic, avocado, apples, pistachios, peanut butter, etc. Oh and no wheat or dairy. While I’m not a celiac, it does cause some digestive issues. I only care before a race, otherwise, give me all.the.bread.

Last May when I ran the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon, I had no stomach issues and had plenty of energy. I attribute a lot of this to my bland diet and an appropriate amount of carbs the week prior. I’m basically copying it this week. Without further adieu, here’s what a typical day of eating during marathon week looks like.

Breakfast: Two Gluten-Free Blueberry Waffles with a banana and some raspberries with a glass of water.

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AM Snack: Doesn’t really count as a snack, but to up my carbs I need sports drinks. Mid-morning I drank this G2. Regular Gatorade obvious has more sugar, but I just cannot handle how syrupy it is.

Lunch: Turkey sandwich on gluten-free bread with carrots and gluten-free pretzels and a big glass of water.

Afternoon Snack: I crack open a Smart Water while I snack on two graham crackers with almond butter. I spent the rest of the night sipping on that bottle of water. While I need to hydrate, I don’t need to overdo it.

Dinner: Shredded BBQ chicken sandwich with steamed green beans and roasted sweet potatoes with another glass of water.

Dessert: I gave up sweets for Lent, as I do every year. While that would be an easy way to get carbs, it’s not an option. Dessert was a package of instant steel cut oats with cranberries and blueberries. I didn’t take a picture because they exploded all over the microwave and it was a mess. At least I got to eat 3/4 of it.

These meals put me at about 225-250g/carbs. Come Friday and Saturday, my carb intake goal is around 400-500g. That is a ton of carbs. I love carbs, but I just can’t eat that many. To get them, I’ll probably grab a few Vitamin Waters to drink as well. I also try to make sure I get some form of protein in most meals and a vegetable.

What’s your key to race success?

The battle of the belly

We are in the car for several hours which means I have nothing but open road to look at. I’m behind on my weekly training post but it seems like a lot of work to type up on my phone. Instead we’re going to talk about my continuing battle with my stomach. Or more specifically my digestive system. Not to worry I’m not going to get super specific.

Since Anderson was born my stomach has been increasingly sensitive. Over the past year it’s gotten so bad that there have been days that ingesting anything, even toast has me running to the bathroom. This obviously does not go well with running long distances. After having to emergency walk then sprint to the first ports potty I saw, I knew it was time to see someone.

About a month ago I went to the doctor. Telling her about my symptoms they decided to run an extensive panel of tests. Fortunately I am not a celiac, nor do I have any sort of infection, crohns or colitis. Unfortunately that didn’t give me a solution. What was suggested to me was trying a low FODMAP diet.

This diet basically takes out most of my favorite foods. Foods to avoid include items such as apples, peaches, watermelon, avocados, beans, legumes, asparagus, broccoli, wheat, dairy, sugar, garlic, onions, and peanut butter to name a few. Sounds fun right? This is a short version of the foods to avoid. 

I’ve started taking things out slowly. Dairy was the first to go because while I love cheese, sour cream, yogurt and ice cream, I know that they typically cause an upset stomach. I also took out peanut butter but was still having issues on my long runs. About two weeks ago I took out wheat. I broke down and bought some gluten free bread (gluten free is wheat free). Guess what? No issues on my long run last weekend. Thinking maybe it was a fluke, I ate regular bread the next day, it was a no go.

It seems wheat and dairy are primary culprits. Which is sad for me. But I’m going to do my best to not have either until after race day to really see if I feel better.

I also switched up my gels to Honey Stingers which are definitely easier for my to digest without the side effects. Fingers crossed I won’t have a repeat of Fargo in Chicago!

Endless Road Trip

It sounded good as we discussed it. We would drive to Lincoln, NE for a wedding the weekend before Thanksgiving. Then we’d drive to Indiana for Thanksgiving. The following weekend Josh would drive home with our dog, then fly to Tampa for training, the kids and I would fly down and meet him for a little family vacation. Simple right?

Simple, yet exhausting.

I unexpectedly made a quick trip to Louisville, KY for a couple of days prior to our tour of the Midwest to do some consulting work. It was really fun and I had some delicious food like this and this:

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I arrived home at 12:30 am on the Friday prior to Thanksgiving. We packed up the kids and were on the road to Lincoln by 10:30 am. The kids are at easy yet difficult ages for long car trips. Ella can be entertained with books, music and movies for a while, but then there are the bathroom breaks that happen only when there are no restrooms for at least 20 miles. Anderson on the other hand hates to sit still. He’s constantly on the move, so being strapped into his car seat for hours on end is like torture, unless he has a good snack or is napping.

When we got to Lincoln the fun started. Not even a half hour after arriving we were surrounded with friends and their kids at my in-laws house. The next day I went for a quick run before heading to Omaha for a wedding. My sister-in-law Amber was nice enough to watch our kids for us. They had a ton of fun playing with their cousins and Josh and I enjoyed our adult time.

Sunday we celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday

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and packed up for our longest drive yet, estimated 9.5 hours to Westfield where my mom lives now. We left the house at 4 am on Monday morning. Luckily both kids went back to sleep for several hours. We stopped only three times and caught nap time which was awesome. It was still a very long 11 hours.

Thanksgiving and all things celebration ensued once we arrived. Josh and I had a pumpkin pie contest which meant I had to eat lots of pie.

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I ate and drank too much over the course of the week, met my younger siblings significant others, and ran a couple times. The time actually flew by really fast and I didn’t do everything I planned but I did get in some quality time with my mom and siblings.

Tuesday morning I braved the airport and a flight to Tampa by myself. The kids loved watching the planes.

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They are both great travelers. Ella happily watched a movie and Anderson was excited that he got his own seat. Sky Mall rocked his socks apparently.

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When we were in Florida we had a singular mission, enjoy as much warmth as we could.

The beach was a must.

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Since we were so close, we figured Disney World would be fun too. Ella met her favorite princesses, Anderson loved “its a small world,” and Josh and I just loved being kids again with our kids.

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We’ll be going back again in a few years when Anderson is older.

I survived the trip home with the kids and a layover by a thread. Note to self, do not fly alone with kids over nap time unless it’s non-stop. We’re finally home. Our laundry is about done and our tree is up.

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Now I supposed it’s time to start training for the indoor triathlon I’m doing next month.

Ripe for Picking

Our exploration of Minnesota continues. A few weeks ago when we were talking about the fall it occurred to me that there is probably good apple picking here. When I did a quick Google search I found there are way more pick your own fruit options, including fresh strawberries. Last week marked the start of strawberry picking season and we were ready to get our hands dirty.

Instead of heading North like we normally do, we picked a farm about 45 minutes south of Minnetonka near Northfield. It wasn’t until we arrived that we realized they probably only took cash. Of course we had none, so we drove to Northfield which had a super cute downtown. When we have more time we will visit again and walk around the area, grab some lunch.

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Cash in hand, kids awake from their short naps, we were ready to pick. We were given a box and walked to our row and started picking.

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It only took about 10 minutes for Anderson to decide he wanted out of the carrier to get in on the action. He was a strawberry fiend.

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We spent about an hour and half picking and eating berries before we decided our box was full enough.

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Nearly 12 lbs of strawberries, 12 pounds!

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We’re working our way through them. I made a pie and picked up an Angel food cake at the store. We eat them with breakfast, lunch and dinner. What we don’t eat will go into the freezer. It’s really too bad that all of our canning stuff is in our moving truck.

Something us prime for picking – our new house!

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We are officially under contract on a house. Unfortunately the current owners are building a new house and would not budge on closing before the end of August. We feel like it was worth the wait. Come Labor Day weekend, we’ll be ready for visitors! Well that is as long as you don’t mind a partially empty house. We’ve definitely upgraded a bit and need to buy quite a bit of new furniture.

Perfect Pre-Race Dinner

Race week is here! Now that we’re mid week, it’s time to start focusing on nutrition (read carbs). I’m starting to thinking about what to fix for our pre-race dinner with the family. Sure there will be some sort of grain, but carbohydrates aren’t the only nutrient we need to fuel our body for the half marathon.

While many people, myself included, typically gorge on a big pasta dinner the night before races, it actually takes several days to carb load. That big pre-race dinner may end up only giving you a stomach ache during the race, rather than the boost you were hoping for.

In doing a little searching for new recipes that will taste delicious and also power our bodies for the race, I found some interesting pre-race dinners other people enjoy. From BLTs to Gyros and everything in between. Some that I found would kill my stomach, others sounded pretty good.

My list of top contenders:

-Grilled chicken with rice and veggies
-Chicken or beef stir fry with veggies and rice
-Chicken, artichoke and spinach pasta

Each of the meals is easy, has ingredients most people eat regularly, are low in sugar and still have the desired protein, carbs and vitamins. In the meantime, I’ve been eating my fair share of bread, pretzels, crackers and cookies to start building my carb store for race day. Hopefully they help carry me through what might be a very hot race!

What’s your favorite pre-race dinner?