Monday, November 2, 2015

Race prep week!

"Long runs are pretty easy - it's the crawling out of a warm bed at 6 a.m. on a weekend to go for a run in below freezing temperatures that is hard." ~Mark Remy, author of Runner's World Rule Book

So, I ran the Milwaukee Running Festival 1/2 marathon this past weekend (RACE WEEKEND RECAP UP SOON) and race week meant several things, but mainly it meant extra sleep, hydration, and proper fueling.  These are the few things I try to follow every week before a race.

Sleep….  I try to make sure I’m going to bed on time, and getting enough sleep.  I was in bed, asleep by 9:30 every night last week.  Sleep really makes a difference.

Hydration…..I made sure my big Nalgene bottle was next to me, and full of water at all times – this includes at night.  If I woke up in the middle of the night, I made myself drink some water. 

Fueling…. Proper fueling for me doesn’t mean vacuuming giant bowls of fettucine alfredo and lasagna for every meal.  It means making careful choices with what I put in my body in the days leading up to a race.  For example, I’ll have a low maintenance smoothie for breakfast by blending strawberries, banana, spinach and yogurt together.  Lunch may include chicken, lettuce, radishes and goat cheese rolled into a low carb wrap, avocado and apple on the side.  Dinners include some whole grain pasta, veggies and protein (see one of my race week recipes below).  By keeping things simple, I don’t run into any stomach “issues” that could potentially lead to dehydration.  I make a serious effort to not go out to eat at all in the week leading up to a race because I prefer knowing exactly what is going into my body.  Plus it’s cheaper since we runners like to spend lots of money on race fees and race swag. ;) 

Motivation …. I keep my current favorite running reads on my night stand in the week leading up to the race and I read a few pages in the morning, and in the evening.  This puts me in a good place mentally, as it’s my true belief that running is more mental than physical. 

I continuously check the race course, the weather, my shoes, the race start time. 

There are exceptions to every ritual – for example, the Festival swag included a free coupon for Noodles so a couple of my race pals and I grabbed lunch there on Saturday, since it was a Sunday morning race.  I loved running and spending time with some of my Ragnar teammates, and enjoying the inaugural Milwaukee Running Festival.  

This dinner recipe was simple, delicious, quick and easy.  The best part is, you can use just one pot.

½ package whole grain pasta (I used Ezekiel sprouted whole grain pasta)
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
½ yellow onion (you can use white, this is just what I had on hand)
4 c low sodium chicken broth (I used veggie, again because it’s what I had)
¼ - ½ c half and half, or whole milk
Chicken sausage

Saute the chicken sausage in minimal oil in the bottom of the pot.  Remove and chop or slice, however you prefer it.  Slice the green pepper, red pepper and onion into strips (similar to how you would for fajitas).  Wipe out the pot, add a minimal amount of oil, and saute the veggies for about 5 minutes.  Add sausage back to the pot, add cilantro, the pasta (if using linguine or spaghetti, etc. snap in half) and pour the broth over top.  Add a bit of minced garlic and black pepper.  Bring to a boil until noodles are just over al dente.  Turn down to simmer, cover, and simmer for about 7 minutes.  Mix in half and half, or milk, and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Sprinkle with some parmesan.  Amazing.

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