02 May 2011

Half Marathon Fuel

This past Saturday, I ran my second 1/2 marathon. I had so much fun! The runner's high is for real, and it's such a great feeling! I beat my time from last year by four minutes, which surprised me completely. I trained hard this season, but I was more concerned about having fun than beating my time. The weather was perfect and I had a lot of energy, so in the end I'm glad I pushed myself to see what my body could do. I've been running with East Nasty running club for a couple years, and it definitely makes a difference to have the friendship and support of so many fellow runners. My family also came out to cheer for me. Even though they only saw me for a few seconds as I ran by, it gave me such a boost to know they were there.

My five-year-old nieces, Sydney and Abigail, made these beautiful signs for me. (My family nickname is Miranda Panda.) "go! go go go to the finishshe," "Panda. fly" Love it. :)

As I've been training this season, many people haven asked me what I eat and drink to make sure I'm getting enough calories and carbohydrates. Lots of runners load up on bread and pasta, and I used to do that when I ran cross country in high school. It did not work for me. I ended up getting light-headed and weak during my runs. Now I know my body doesn't do well with so many carbs, so it makes sense why I struggled with running in high school. My diet of mostly veggies, meat, nuts/seeds and some gluten free grains works really well for me, even when I'm training for a long race. I've never had more energy than I do these days.

On Saturday, however, I decided to add in some fructose (fruit sugar) to my diet to give me an extra edge. Last year I only drank water during the race and I hit a wall at mile 12. My roommate and running budding, Katherine (in the pic above), encouraged me and helped me push through all the way to the finish. I wanted to avoid the wall this year, so I went to the Turnip Truck and bought a few natural snacks and drinks that I thought might help. They totally did. I was so energized the whole race (my legs got tired and I was breathing heavy, for sure, but I never felt like stopping). Here's what I ate and drank before and during the race. 

1. Amazing Grass Green SuperFood, chocolate flavor. It really is amazing. I drink this every morning mixed with water or coconut milk or in a smoothie. I've tried lots of green drinks and this is definitely the best tasting one. I love knowing that I've automatically gotten a huge serving of veggies and vitamins (and chocolate!) at the start of my day.

2. Yogi green tea. I also drink this every morning. Back in October I started drinking green tea instead of coffee. I miss coffee sometimes, but I'm really enjoying green tea. The caffeine in it doesn't ever make me jittery. Kombucha and Energy are my favorite Yogi flavors.

3. Fruit leather. I ate the apple one about 20 minutes before the race. I don't do well eating too much before I run, so I kept it light with one of these.

4. Recharge sports drink.  I am not a fan of Gatorade or any sports drinks really. They are too sweet for me, I can't take it. I was really excited to find this at the store and even though I won't make a habit of drinking it, I loved it! Its base is white grape juice, lemon/lime juice--no fake sugar at all. The taste was great and I felt good knowing that I was getting some electrolytes and sodium in me.

5. Yerba mate. Two years ago I spent some time in Argentina. Those people do not sleep and it's mostly due to the amount of this stuff that they consume. I drank about 4 oz. of this and, along with the green tea, I was sufficiently caffeinated.

6. Raw Revolution live food bar. Like I mentioned above, last year I hit a wall, so this year I made sure to carry some calories with me to keep me going. I pulled out this mini nutrition bar at the halfway point and I think it made a big difference in my finish.

That's what worked for me! I'd love to hear suggestions about what works for you because I'm definitely not an expert in this area.

Also, I wish I could share about my post-race food (it was much more exciting), but I don't have any pictures. First, I had loads of almond butter on rice cakes, then for dinner I had a grilled bison burger (no bun), guacamole, and sauteed cabbage. What a great day!


  1. congrats on a new PR! I wanted to run the Nashville Marathon right after I finished the Chicago Marathon, but ended up being injured and didn't get to start training in time. Maybe next year...(although I hear it's hilly...eek!)

  2. Congrats on the race Miranda. I used to use Gu and actually liked the taste of the vanilla. Nowadays, I think I'd prefer the Raw Revolution bar. :)

    CD used the Clif bar drink mix - I think it's sweetened with brown rice syrup. Could be wrong about that. He orders it online.

  3. Congratulations sweet Miranda! We had a blast cheering you on!!