3 Ways Running Changed My Relationship To Food

Throughout my teenage and early adult life, I struggled with never measuring  up. When I was in high school, I was an athlete and felt a lot of pressure to do well. Some of it was from myself, but I also got a lot of external encouragement to be the best. My senior year of high school, I stopped eating as much in hopes of becoming a better athlete. The reasons I believed this vary from the media to my chubby childhood, but regardless, it happened and I lost weight.

This cycle continued in college of eating all the fat free foods or trying the new health trend. I stopped playing sports and just worked out because I knew that was “healthy”. I don’t remember too much except that running was always my favorite. When I got out of college, I started running more often and my life changed both physically and mentally. I had finally moved out on my own and realized I had to get out of the diet culture women are forced into and figure out what health meant to me.

3 Ways Running Changed My Relationship To Food #runchat @runningblogs #vegrunchat #vegan #running Click To Tweet

The first step was healing my relationship with food. Running was crucial in helping me do that.

1.) I wasn’t scared to eat any foods

Of course, when I turned vegan, this changed to any food as long as it was vegan, but other than that, I have no restrictions. I eat sugar, grains, processed foods and anything I really want. I also do this on days I do not run. That is very important to me, because I do not run so I can eat. Running taught me to respect my body and also respect when I am hungry regardless of the reason.

2.) I stopped caring about how much I ate

My friends, who were also runners, ate a lot too! I never felt embarrassed by my appetite and I stopped caring about what other people thought. I am not an advocate however of eating competitions or bragging about how much you can eat because for one person, a lot of food is normal, whereas for another it’s too much.

3.) I started trying new foods

Again, it helped going vegan, but also as I came into myself as a runner, I started trying new recipes from Runner’s World or athlete cookbooks. I wanted to eat what athletes ate because it looked both delicious and kind of fun. I had never really cooked before, and running increased my appetite and I found myself wanting a more diverse diet. I also think that when I got back from a run, the endorphins running through my veins relaxed my mind. I was more apt to try something new because I didn’t care what I was eating. I was just happy.

I do not think running is a cure-all. I did a lot of work on myself during this time to heal. However, finding a passion like running always reminded me to treat myself kindly, eat well and enjoy life.

Starting to run again and Holiday things

Last week, I started to run again. I felt good and recovered enough to move a bit more than a walk and elevate my HR a bit.

I kept all my runs to about an hour with one longer run of 10 miles on Friday. All of them were on the treadmill as Syracuse got a large quantity of snow this week. I’m not complaining because zoning out listening to podcasts felt really good.

Running felt good.

No workouts, no mile paces to hit or number to reach. Just good running and base mileage.

I keep up with a lot of other athletes on Strava (the elites I just ran with at TNF actually) and some of them began running a bit this week, others not so much. That goes to show that we all need different types of recovery.

I’m not starting to train again until January. No focused workouts or running if I don’t want to. I might do a progression run or fartlek if I’m feeling good before then and it sounds fun. I hesitate to run outside right now for two reasons:

1.) I run at 6AM and it’s dark

2.) I don’t know where I am going

Honorary reason 3.) It’s freezing, wet, slushy and I don’t want to fall

Besides running, I started my job at Strong Hearts Cafe this week. There is a lot to learn, but the environment is such that I will pick it up quickly. The people are productive and nice, the food is delicious. I’m enjoying it.

I got invited last minute on Saturday to go to Disney on Ice with my sister and her boyfriend’s family. When I say last minute, that really is what I mean. I was on my way back to Syracuse from Ithaca and my sister called. I had 40 minutes to get there (a usual hour long car ride)…and I got there.

It was magical and fun and all that jazz. I’m glad I went, my sister and I usually have a lot of fun.

I went to a cookie party with my friend Suzie (hey guuuuuuuuuuuurl!) and got a goodie bag to take home.

When I finished it, I decided to make some of my own. I don’t have an oven, so no bakes are my friend. I made dark chocolate PB cups. The chocolate recipe is from this post by Leah.

They turned out pretty good, but chocolate and peanut butter are hard to get wrong.

This week contains more work, seeing friends and enjoying the Syracuse weather.

Happy Holidays!

A Week of Running and Food Training for an Ultramarathon

A few weeks ago, I kept track of a week (actually, this is 6 days) of food and running around my long run of 26 miles. This was for a project I am working on, and I do not usually track my food, but it was enlightening and will help me in my next training cycle.

Many people ask what I eat to fuel my training as a vegan. Well, the following list is what I consumed during a 70 mile week before the North Face 50 Mile Championship race.

What fuels a #vegan ultrarunner? Check out this post to find out! #whatveganseat @runningblogs Click To Tweet

If you have any questions or want to work with me in the future (I am working on setting up a vegan running coach page) email me directly at:

elliepell8@gmail.com

November 19
Run: 11.1 miles
Breakfast 7:52AM
–1/3 cup oats, 1/2 cup cocoa almonds, 1T chia seeds, 1T flax seeds
– 1 apple
– 2 cups coffee
Lunch:
-vegan chicken salad (apprx 1 cup), lettuce, tomato, sprouts, onions in a wrap
-pickles
-lemon sparkling water
PM recovery bike (40 minutes) 3:30PM
Dinner:
-Pizza from Pizza Aroma, veggie and sauce
Dessert:
-coconut almond joy bar (it’s a CTB pastry, DELICIOUS!)

November 20
Run: 8 miles 6:00AM
Breakfast: 10:00AM (late)
-breakfast burrito (hash browns, tofu scramble, cheese, mushrooms, spinach, onions in a wrap)
-salsa
-2 cups coffee
-sparkling water
Lunch: 2:00PM
-pasta with marinara sauce and black bean meat balls
-salad with dressing
Strength workout 4:00PM
Dinner: 8:00PM
-pesto quinoa with roasted tomatoes and almond/flaxseed meatballs (got the recipe from Brendan Brazier’s Thrive cookbook)
-broccoli with dip
Dessert
-Banana with vega protein powder and peanut butter (I mash it all together)

November 21
26.2 mile run 6AM
-10ozTailwind, run gum
Breakfast 10:30AM
-1/3cup quinoa, banana, 1 cup cocoa almonds, 2T peanut butter, almond milk
-Apple
-2 cups coffee
Lunch/snacking throughout the afternoon
-large s’mores latte (don’t judge me)
-1 cup rosemary salted almonds
-1 apple
-1 Larabar
(I never know how to eat in the afternoon of a long run or race that causes me to eat a very late breakfast, but I’m trying)
Dinner 7:00PM
-pesto quinoa with almond/flaxseed meatballs
-acorn squash with nutritional yeast and marinara sauce
-couple cups of Kool-Aid
Dessert
-Clif bar with 2T peanut butter

November 22
XT 60 minutes 6:00AM
Breakfast: 7:30AM
-1/3 cup oats, 2-3T peanut butter, 1 scoop vega protein powder, blackberries
-apple
Lunch: 11:30AM
-1 cup peanut noodles, 6oz smoked tofu, 1 cup Asian veggies
-salad with dressing
Snack: 4:30PM
Peppermint mocha soy latte
Dinner: 7:00PM
-2 cups quinoa, sweet potato cheese sauce (3/4 cup)
-2 cups brussels sprouts with BBQ sauce dip
Dessert: 8:30PM
-banana ice cream (2.5 bananas) with chocolate almonds

November 23
Run 15.1 miles 6AM
Breakfast: 8:00AM
-1/3 cup oats, 1 scoop vega protein powder, blackberries, maple syrup and almonds (1/3 cup)
-apple
-2 cups coffee
Lunch 12PM
-vegan chicken salad bagel sandwich (vegan chicken salad, cranberry sauce, LTO, rosemary salt bagel)
-salad with dressing
-sparkling water
Snack: 4PM
-Clif bar, 2 cups coffee
Dinner 7PM
-bowl of random shit (hummus, baba ganoush, chickpeas, olives, carrots, mushrooms, taboulah, tomatoes)
-snap peas and baby corn with BBQ sauce as a dip
-2 cups Kool-Aid
Dessert
-“Kentucky Pie” not sure what’s in it but it was GREAT!

December 24
Run 6AM: 8 miles
Breakfast: 7:30AM
-Chocolate chip scone
-2 cups coffee
Turkey Trot 10AM: 6.3 miles
-2 cups coffee on way home
Lunch: 1:30PM
-Sweet potato corn chowder (2 cups?)
-salt and vinegar chips (ate out of the bag but probably 3 servings
-pickle
-a handful of “puppy chow”
-sparkling water
Snack: 4:30PM
-2 apples
-2 cups coffee
Dinner: 7:00PM
-Mac and cheese with lentils and salsa (2.5 cups)
-green beans and baby corn with BBQ sauce dip
-2 cups Kool-Aid
Dessert
-1 cup puppy chow

Thoughts about this week:

Damn I can actually cook good food! No longer do I just eat peanut butter and banana. That was fun for a while, but I’ve grown up and appreciate all different foods.

I enjoy cooking for myself and taking time to prepare meals.

I believe in packaged foods for snacks and try to have one each afternoon even if I am not hungry.

Again, any questions, do not hesitate to ask.

Well, I moved! [My thoughts about off-season]

This past week has seen a lot of change. I finished a big race, started my off season and moved a few hours away.

Right now, as I sit here on Friday night in my new apartment (which is like a tiny home and I love it!), the snow is falling thickly outside, I am drinking tea and the anxiety I had all afternoon has lifted.

Off season gets me.

When I finished those miles last Saturday, I felt like I had given it my all and was ready to let my body heal and enjoy the holiday season. The first few days of this are easy and great, especially when I have something to focus on (like moving).

Today, I finished my last big carload, put up decorations and organized everything. I am really happy with how it looks, but also sad that now I have nothing to hold my attention until I begin my job on Monday.

It’s snowing out so although I did venture out into the city of Syracuse once today, going out there now would be foolish and I would most likely spend money I should save.

I miss running, but at the same time, I enjoy not elevating my heart rate past laughing really hard. I miss the high after a great run, I miss the sweat, heck, I miss the iPod that went missing at the race! At the same time, I know that a week is not sufficient enough to repair both physically and mentally from a long season.

A season that was supposed to end two months ago, but didn’t when I discovered I liked going long.

I know my body and mind need more time and that is clear as I got tired soon after lunch today and all I want to do with myself is read.

READ ACTUAL BOOKS!

While I’m doing other things, I think about the great book I will read when I am done.

Yup, that’s my Friday night (I was going to go out, seriously, but it’s really coming down out there!) and although it’s different for me, I’m learning to accept it and enjoy it.

I may not be training, but I still get tired early and still wake up when the sun comes up.

I am in this weird zone right now.

It’s like, a state of emotionless acceptance of my state of being. (<—that took me a full 5 minutes to think of)

Cookies and milk before bed

I have a theory that my body is still recovering (obviously) and it doesn’t want to do anything to freak itself out and hinder the healing process. Therefore I do not feel emotion very intensely right now. I do not get super excited or super angry about anything. I smile and laugh and some things make me sad, but I do not attach much feeling to this. It’s like my body doesn’t want to share it’s energy with anyone else.

P.F. Changs with Suzie 🙂

Energy is contagious after all. If my body wants to conserve it, it certainly isn’t sharing with anyone else.

Garlie gnocchi with roasted tomatoes and onions

Part of my nonchalance also has to be due to the change in weather. The second day of my new life in Syracuse we got dumped on with snow, so it’s not exactly motivating to go out and hang. I’d simply rather just curl up with my book and live through the characters as they did not run 50 miles last week and have the energy to be excited or angry.

I am excited to start work on Monday and I love living in my tiny house, it will be a great adventure.

Peace. Shalom. Happy Holidays.

RunGum Squad 2017

During my last race, I decided to try something new (not new on the day, but new in racing as you all know NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY)

At mile 25 and 40 I took a sports product called Run Gum which essentially is a caffeinated performance enhancement. It was created by Olympian Nick Symmonds as a way to get the effects of caffeine without the sloshing from coffee or sports drinks.

“Our energy gum is packed with caffeine, taurine, and b-vitamins, similar to many energy drinks and energy shots, only you don’t need to put anything in your stomach. Plus, since our caffeine is delivered as gum, it enters your system faster than drinks, shots or gels.”

Run Gum website

I first tried it during my long treadmill marathon, enjoyed the way it gave me a bit of mental clarity and focus, so I decided to use it at the 50 miler.

At mile 25, I was still coming back from nearly getting thrown off the trail and feeling off balance maneuvering around the side of a mountain. I enjoyed the immediate flavor the gum provided and also the immediate result from the caffeine. It helped bring me out of my slump and also gave me the focus to not fall off the side of the cliff on the out and back.

I took the gum again at mile 40 right before the steep climbs and although it was not a panacea,  it made my thoughts less negative and the hill seemed more reasonable.

How did I make it through 50 miles? Training, heart and @rungum #runsquad #rungum Click To Tweet

I will most likely use Run Gum at my future races because I think it would also booster performance for half marathons if taken at the starting line.

It is for these reasons I applied and was accepted to be a Run Gum ambassador for 2017. This means that I will represent a company I both enjoy using and support their message. Nick has been a voice for athletes and very vocal about our rights these past few years so although I am not a track and field elite athlete, I appreciate what he is doing for the running community.

I will share updates as I get them, but right now you can use my code DECSQUAD2017 to get 15% off your online purchases at RunGum.com

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask! This product is not just for runners, but for all people who like to get outside and be active.

Try the product, have a great season!

See you out there!