Final Marathon Thoughts

This will be my last post before my race on Sunday. In order to not go completely insane, it think a mind dump is in order here.

I’ve learned so much in the past six months and wrote about it here.

That’s not what I want to talk about today. Today I just want to bare it all.

To be honest, I’m not as anxious as I predicted I would be. I get anxiety a lot actually, but I’m good at holding it in and coping. I know what to do when I get anxiety. As of right now, I only feel one thing:

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Excitement.

I just want to get out there and run!

My runs this week have felt fine. Nothing good or bad. I think that is a sign that I want to race. I want to run 26.2 miles in one go, cross the finish line and smile.

I have a time goal, sure. But I think what I keep remembering is that this is my first marathon. I am not putting as much pressure on myself as I used to. I feel relaxed about this. I know I am only 24, and have many running years left. Nothing rests on this.

I also have decided that it’s ok if I do not like this race and choose not to do another one. It is ok if I decide that my favorite distance is something shorter (or longer and slower). I have freed myself from needing to be a marathoner. I can be a one and done person.

My plans for this race are to enter the pain cave, but manage it. My friend and SHVP teammate said this of the marathon:

“It’s like, the longest distance where you have to go fast.”

I agree with this. I will have to push for 26.2 miles and hope it doesn’t go to shit. There are a lot of opportunities for it go to hell. There will be low points, high points and mental battles. I know I can physically run the distance and I feel confident and mentally strong. However, that does not guarantee success. I will have to race longer than I ever have before.

Shit show or not, it will be epic.

I have fears (not practicing nutrition enough), doubts (why am I entering the elite field again?) and just general worries (what if I get lost?). But what keeps me from going down those rabbit holes is the confidence I have in what the past 6 months have showed me and the wise words from my running mentors about my chances.

I’m not going for any other reason than to finish 26.2 miles with a smile.

Let’s talk post race. I’m already getting emails from fast women in my community about XC season or other races. I have decided to put all those thoughts on the back burner.

I am not ready to think about after the race. Regardless of how it goes, I am taking a 1-2 week break from exercise and my pretty good nutrition plan. Even if I end up only jogging or don’t feel tired, I need this mental break. I have been focused on this goal for 6 months (plus all the base building beforehand). I tuned my diet in, I slept as much as I could, I prioritized recovery, I ran hard. I need the time off.

Then and only during those weeks after will I even think about what’s next. I will not entertain too much thinking about this or commit to anything before I am done with the goal at hand. Running will be there after the two weeks.

So that’s what I’ve got today guys. That’s it. I’m ready. I’m going to do it.

What do you think about 3 days before a race? Read my pre-marathon mind dump here! #vegan #runner #marathon Click To Tweet

No questions. Thanks for reading!

The Seasons of my “Diet”

If you eat, you have a diet. I’ve long stopped seeing the word diet as a way to lose or gain weight. I feel the need to preface this post with that.

What I’ve noticed in the past two years of my running and blogging life is that the only factor that has stayed constant in my eating is being vegan.

I’ve often felt the allure of being in a vegan camp (cult?). How neat is it to have a little tribe of people eating the same way, sharing recipes and believing they have some secret to well being and happiness that everyone else is too dumb or weak to use? I am completely guilty of this even if I’ve never said it out loud.

I remember going raw for a month and loving it. The new recipes! The people telling me how amazing I was! It was an adrenaline rush I’d never experienced. Honestly, it felt good. I didn’t find going raw hard or annoying. It was just something I was trying.

I remember being in the high carb, low fat camp and again getting pulled into that mindset. There were others like me who were on the same high. It felt good to be labeled in this way. I liked the label. It was almost as if being vegan wasn’t enough. I wanted to be vegan. It wasn’t good enough to not eat animal products, I had to also be fruitarian, organic, carbing the fuck up or whatever those people say.

Then I started eating more nuts, avocados and coconut oils (because they sounded good and I was tired of the high carb community and their dogma) and suddenly I wanted to be some fat adapted person. I was again falling into the labeling camp even though the reason I stopped the other one was because I hated it.

I don’t think I went overboard this time with a label. I never claimed to be ketogenic or denounce carbs, but in my mind I was eating a slew more fats, so I basically was fat adapted right?

Now I find myself enjoying more fruits again and raw nuts etc. Oh my God what label can I be now?

Well guys, I don’t have an answer, because I don’t want one.

Last week I posted about the things I’ve learned from marathon training. I specifically did not address nutrition, because if I’ve learned one thing about that it’s that my diet has changed and will continue to change throughout the year. It will want higher carbs or raw foods at certain points, and more fats at other times.

My diet goes through seasons.

The Seasons of my #vegan diet through #marathon training Click To Tweet

I wanted to write this post to be transparent, but also to have a record for myself when I start getting interested in labels or specific vegan diets again. It’s not worth it to label myself a certain way, because I listen to my body. If my body is telling me to eat a certain way for a period of time, I will listen.

Being in the vegan community is amazing. There are so many great people, campaigns and recipes. However, just like any community, there are problems and if exploited, can harm you or the movement.

It’s almost like school. You can go to the best college or prep school in the country, but there are aLeah’s problems beneath the surface. Drugs, drinking, cheating and violence are all there regardless of the academic standards or money.

The vegan movement is like that for me. I’m in the best school, but if I’m not careful, whenever I have a problem (like a bad race of running) I am susceptible to other diets within the vegan community to solve my problems.

“Recover faster only eating dates and bananas!”

“Being fat adapted teaches your body to not bonk!”

These things are so attractive to someone like me. I am not professional or elite, but want to be faster so badly (not bad enough to dope of course), that what worked for one athlete I admire must also work for me.

This is so false I cannot believe have fallen and continue to fall for it time and time again. It will probably cross my mind again to get into a certain camp, but the next time, at least I have an arsenal of tools to prevent it.

I’m not high carb, low fat.

I’m not high fat, low carb.

I’m Ellie and I’m trying the best that I can.

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I’m linking up and sharing meals for WIAW

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[strawberries and cream protein cookie dough&apple] [dates, banana chips, cashews&unpictured smoothie]

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[bowl of greens&rocky road banana ice cream]

What are some diet camps you’ve accidentally fallen into?

What is the allure for you? Why would you choose a label?

Don’t forget to check out this post and leave a comment to win some B Happy Peanut Butter!

B Happy Peanut Butter [it’s not smooth, it’s not crunchy, it’s SMUNCHY!]

I love crunchy peanut butter. It’s a staple for me in my training and diet.

Smooth is a fine stand in or if it’s really on sale, but nothing holds the same pizzazz for me like a good old spoonful of crunchy, nutty peanut butter. The mouthfeel, the texture, the taste. Everything about crunchy nut butters is something I look forward to.

I’ve even made my own nut butter before in two steps: make the smooth first, then stir in the chopped nuts.

Doesn’t everyone do that?

Well, as I would later find, I also enjoy a “middle ground” version of peanut butter. Not smooth, but also not exactly crunchy. Smaller bits of nuts, still spreadable (and spoonable) and 100% delicious.
B Happy Peanut Butter is a new to me company that makes a type of nut butter they title “smunchy”. I was happy to recieve a couple jars during my training cycle, not only because peanut butter is my recovery food, but because this company is known for being delicious! Thanks to Emily for turning me on to them!

It’s a finer ground crunchy peanut butter that still holds onto that mouthfeel, but the chunks aren’t as big.

I am now a huge fan! As the jar states, it was hard for me not to eat it all by the spoonful.

Actually, let’s get real, it took me two days to eat the jar of original. I then dove into the apple cinnamon and loved that too.


The original version is great for sandwiches, as a topping for pancakes or Vegan Protein Cookie Dough and the apple cinnamon is perfect as is. Really I just ate it with a spoon. The apple chunks balance out the richness of the peanut butter, so I could eat more spoonfuls without feeling like my throat was clogged.

If you’ve ever eaten PB straight you know what I mean.


The apples cut it nicely and it was actually refreshing, not how I would usually describe a nut butter, but it works.

Another thing I love about B Happy Peanut Butter is the small batch, small company vibe. Based out of Zionsville, Indiana, the company keeps quality high in a single factory. I am happy to pay a bit more for that! The flavor names are also adorable:

Plain: KeepSmunchy

Apple Cinnamon: Pay It Forward

Snickerdoodle: So Happy Together

What else do you need?

Check out their website and B Happy!

Check out B Happy Peanut Butter! Eat your peanut butter with a spoon! http://bhappypeanutbutter.com/ Click To Tweet

Anyone interested in a giveaway? 

Leave a comment and email down below and I’ll pick a random winner for one jar of the original KeepSmunchy peanut butter. 

Tell me: What would you put this peanut butter on?

Marathon Training [05/16-05/22]

Taper week 1 is over and complete! I have not lost it yet!

I feel just like everyone said I will, so that brings confidence to the outlook on the race. I feel phantom soreness and on alert to falls or niggles. I still have my large appetite and have been keeping the carbohydrates up. I have noticed my craving for dense fruits like bananas and dates has increased so I’m listening to that. If my body wants carbohydrates, I’m giving it that.

One thing I’ve learned through this marathon season about nutrition is that usually (not all the time) when I think I need a dense piece of cake, my body does want sweet things, but it will be satisfied with a whole food source. Instead of diving into a piece of brownie or cookie, having dates and nut butter (the best dinner after Ragnar!) or banana ice cream topped with nuts will satisfy my craving and be even better for me.

Ok, enough nutrition, let’s talk about training!

Training Log

Monday: 7.5 miles @ 8:00 pace

Tuesday: 10.7 miles @ 7:19 pace

Wednesday: 15.4 miles @ 7:45 pace

Thursday: 11.6 miles (45′ easy, 3×1 mile reps, 1 mile c/d)

Friday: 11.8 miles @ 7:45 pace

Saturday: 8.7 miles @ 7:22 pace

Sunday: 

Total mileage:

This week I said goodbye to two of my running group. One is only for three months as she’s done with school for the semester and the other is for a long time as she is moving to Korea with her husband. They are a military family.

On Monday I ran comfortably on the treadmill as it was the first run post Ragnar. It felt good and not sore. Tuesday I got back outside and ran a nice pace even though it felt relatively easy. Wednesday was my favorite run with my women’s group. I will miss them very much!

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Thursday I did some marathon effort miles, but honestly I think my fitness is where it needs to be. Anything faster increases the likelihood for burnout and injury. I feel good right now so I’m just riding the fitness out.

Friday and Saturday were easy runs ending with a lot of mobility and dynamic movements. I think keeping up those routines is important for recovery as when I am not running this week, I am still on my feet at work.

This upcoming week, I am going to practice my mantra: relax, relax, relax! It got me through Ragnar, so it’s what will help me get through Buffalo.

I also got a couple pictures from the Ragnar race website of one of my exchanges. I look happy, but this couldn’t be further from how I felt. Sometimes, you just gotta smile for the camera and fake it till you make it.

Taper week #1 is done! One week till the @buffalomarathon #vegrunchat #marathontraining Click To Tweet

How was your week?

What is your favorite mantra?

I am linking up with Meg for Week In Review, so head over there (after leaving me a comment of course!) and see what everyone else did last week!

Running Links [05/22/2016]

Good morning everyone!

This morning I am feeling a bit sore in my abs (specifically my obliques) and that’s kind of out of left field. I was hoping to avoid soreness this week and the next, so I guess the little core I’ve been doing is either too much or I’m not recovered yet from the ab circuit I did Friday.

From my experience, I need to eat a bit more and try to stretch/relax. The only problem with the second part of that is the business that is CTB this weekend. My job requires a bit of healthy stress to function. Oh to be a professional runner and literally run, eat, rest and run again. That would be wonderful this week!

Actually, reading about the lives of elite athletes sounds boring sometimes. I love having days off, and it would be ideal not to have more time to rest, but honestly, I like that my job gives me some stimulus where I don’t think about running. It’s a nice break and provides a sense of accomplishment I enjoy.

As I enter into the final week of taper before Buffalo, I feel ready in a sense that I want to run 26.2 miles. I am confident that I can finish it and that is alluring. No matter what happens for time, the build up to this point gives me confidence that if the race doesn’t go my way, i can train for another. I have made it up to this point. I am fit and ready.

After this race, I will have the confidence to do it again (or realize I don’t like marathons and not do another).

Running Links

All in all, I’m in a good place. Enjoy the links today guys. There are some good ones!
17 NutritionL Tips For Vegan Athletes via Running on Real Food

Let’s Talk Body Image via Belle Lap

What To Do Between Training Cycles via Suzlyfe

Current Feelings On Ultra Training via The Athletarian

Mental Freakouts via Tina Muir