Day 9: Count-Down to the Los Angeles Marathon

By Colleen Yorke
Navigational Art and Directions By Colleen Yorke, © 2015.
My favorite thing is to go where I have never been. Today's run felt amazing. After a very long period of dry, warm weather, and ever present dust particles, it had been raining. I jogged two miles down a relatively flat street and back just after the first rain. The crisp smell of wet earth and flowers lingering in the air, not a soul out there, for thirty minutes the road was all mine. I resisted my body's urge to naturally to run it all out. I felt good. I felt strong. I felt ready. After doing a little over 4 miles, my legs were itching for a finishing sprint. But now was not the time to commit to the siren call of the race. So, I continued tapering along at a smooth, steady 8:40 min/per mile pace all the way back. Afterwards I treated myself to a homemade breakfast (Trust me, it had fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants):
Homemade Chocolate Blast.
I got the mileage. I have most of my gear, and with 9 more days to go before the Los Angeles Marathon, it is time to think about food. Proper nutrition is crucial. As I learned the hard way, during a run to Santa Monica, 'bonking' or 'hitting a wall' can happen to anyone, and if it happens to us, we can be sure to know about it. During high intensity exercise and no other incoming fuel supply, our bodies draw energy stored in our muscles and liver as glycogen. But, when the fuel tank gets low, our brain and muscles show signs of fatigue. After that every step feels like wading through swampland with no end in sight. How miserable and utterly unprepared I felt after that 16 miles' run, and I was sure "I would never, ever run a marathon". 
Bircher Müsli.

The truth is: The dreaded wall can surface to even the most trained runner.  'Carb loading' and stocking up before and during a long run maximizes our energy stores. For me, Müsli is a good option and super easy to make. I mix Kelloggs Flakes, Kelloggs Bran with Quaker's old-fashioned oatmeal and top it off with blueberries and some sliced almonds. It is a great source of carbohydrates before a run. After a long run, most of us also get that craving for proteins. I certainly do. Protein is likewise important. White meat, eggs, milk products help to rebuild muscle, repair damaged tissue and stimulate the development of new tissue. I am working on my Marathon meal plan. Suggestions and ideas are appreciated. What are your runner foods?