Lessons in Carbo-Loading

** Disclaimer **

   These methods are not approved by any physicican/nutritionist/Runner’s World/the FDA/or sane people in general.  But they have proven successful for me.  So if you’re somewhat mentally unstable, slightly injured, and/or a recovering alcoholic, they may work for you as well.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The days leading up to a long training run or race are super fun.  You spend 90% of your time fretting over what you’re about to make your body do, and the other 10%  about what you’re putting into your body.  And trying to avoid tripping over a curb and tearing your ACL, or some equally life-ruining fluke accident.  But more importantly, the fueling!  Oh the fueling!

Drink lots of water.  Better get some protein.  Oh and some fiber – but not too much!  Avoid foods that make you gassy.  Or constipated.  Or bloated/irritable/pukey.  Lots of whole grains!  Carbs carbs carbs!  Drink more water.  Did you take your vitamins?  Are tortilla chips a carb?  A  10-person serving of guacamole?  Healthy fats!  I’ll have the fajitas… but no beans!  Well ok I’ll have a margarita… when in Mexico, right?!

The real important thing about fueling is knowing what works for you.  Not Kara Goucher or your iron-stomached boyfriend.  YOU.  I start paying close attention to my diet the week before and make a few key changes :

  • Stop eating froyo for dinner.  I’ve argued that the calcium gets my bones ready for the race, but the chocolate-covered-sugar-rolled-everything that goes on top doesn’t do much for my nutritionals.
  • Break up with diet pop.  It makes me gassy and burpy.
  • Don’t try that new Indian place you’ve been dying to go to.
  • Eat PB&J.  Eat JIF from jar, avoid feeling like a 6 year old.
  • Eat pizza.  Order fancy toppings to avoid feeling like a broke college student.
  • Drink lots of coffee.  Because the world is a better place when I do.

After priming for a week, the night before is when the real magic happens.  It’s time to full-out carbo-load, baby!  Here’s what got me through 26.2 miles of rain, hills, and estrogen this weekend at NWM :

The finest of food groups - Pre-race CARBS!

–     Two apple cinnamon pancakes w syrup.  For $8.95 I thought they should’ve been laced with miracle drugs, or at least the meaning of life.

–     A giant bowl of oatmeal with raisins & walnuts, sprinkled with a little brown sugar.  Why waste precious energy chewing when you can just swallow your food?

–     And 16 ounces of frosty, crisp, Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Because if it’s worked for dad all these years, why wouldn’t it work for me on Race Eve?  (bonus : Race insomnia?  Not here.  A nice barley pop will put you right to sleep)

So there ya have it.  Take it or leave it, call AA, whatever.  It works for me and I see no reason to cut my favorite carb from my pre (and post) race rituals.  If it aint broke…

Sarah Soon-To-Be

Side note : Pabst, if you’re reading this, call me.  Don’t you need a counter to Michelob’s Lance Armstrong ads?  I see a promising partnership on the horizon…


Because sometimes Gatorade just won't do...


10 thoughts on “Lessons in Carbo-Loading

  1. Girl, your carb loading seems a lot like mine! As stressful and crazy as it is, it really is something I look forward to. An excuse to eat like a crazy person? Yes please.


  2. PBR kinda rocks. Of all the cheap beers it is the best! Followed by Miller Light. IMO. Natural Light is the absolute worst. Keystone right behind it (though the “Keith Stone” billboards and commercials are funny so I’ll give ’em that). Don’t get me started on Coors. Blech.

    I did the wine options the night before but I did have a beer after the race to aid in carb recovery ;-)


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