I think we can all agree that summer is awesome. And one of the best things about summer is summer jams. They’re good for blasting with your windows down, and of course, for running.
Here’s what’s on my playlist right now:
- Boom Clap, Charli XCX
- Midnight City, M83
- Summer, Calvin Harris
- Lose Yourself to Dance, Daft Punk
- Can’t Get Enough, J. Cole
- Classic, MKTO
- Fancy, Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
- Money On My Mind, Sam Smith
- Chandelier, Sia
- Summertime Sadness, Lana del Rey
Good news if, like me, you’re a runner who likes to eat!
I came across this article at active.com about why runners shouldn’t diet, and I agree completely.
When you’re training hard isn’t a good time to start restricting carbs and calories. Instead, eat what you need to stay nourished and energized. You’ll feel better, perform better, and recover faster.
I don’t always eat healthy. But I do try to fill my kitchen up with fresh, tasty foods so when I go to cook a meal or rummage for a snack, I have plenty of good things to work with. This is partly because I, and moreover my skinny, hungry husband, are terrible snackers and can’t handle having chips or cookies or candy in the house without eating them all in about five seconds. But it’s mostly because when there are no chips or cookies to distract me, I get to remember how delicious fresh summer strawberries and toasted almonds are for a snack. And (at least) once a week when strawberries are not cutting it and survival requires fro-yo, I go and get my fro-yo and cover it with candy and feel pretty great about it.
I go grocery shopping once a week, and you will think I’m a total freak but I have a master grocery list that I refer to when making my weekly list. Here is a picture of it. Yes, I am a total freak. Yes, I’m ok with this.
My personal staples for a healthy, happy summer kitchen:
- Fruits and veggies: Strawberries, bananas, lemons and limes, spinach, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes (some of them from my tomato plants that are growing despite my extremely poor gardening skills!), bell peppers, beets, carrots, zucchini, avocados
- Proteins: Greek yogurt, eggs (I get the most delicious ones from a coworker who has an egg farm!), peanut butter (we go through about a jar every week–I don’t know if this is a good thing), almonds, almond milk, hummus, lentils, tofu, chicken breasts (I get big bags of frozen ones to defrost and cook whenever–I know fresh ones taste better but I am lazy), salmon filets (also frozen to defrost and cook whenever), chia seeds.
- Carbs: whole grain bread, whole grain pasta (gluten free for me), quinoa, brown rice, rice noodles, oatmeal
- Other stuff: Olive oil, sriracha (my husband’s favorite thing in the whole world), balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, parmesan, feta, kalamata olives, agave, fresh herbs (I have basil, rosemary, thyme and sage in my garden, and I buy cilantro), spices.
What are your summer staples?
So after agonizing for way too long, I officially signed up for the California International Marathon. On December 7, in the dark and cold wee hours of the morning, you will be snug in your bed and I will be thinking of you with intense jealousy while I run my legs off. My biggest concern is the weather–last year, it was 20-something degrees. The year before that, there were torrential rains. Obviously this is not ideal, aside from the fact that the more horrible the weather is, the faster I will want to run so that I can get my medal, get inside and eat a LOT of warm food ASAFP (As Soon As eFfing Possible).
I know I don’t sound very excited, but deep down inside, I am. Very, very deep down, underneath many layers of whiny laziness.
My husband will be running it too, but not with me. Even though he’s never run a marathon before and he does not have a running blog, he is a former track athlete and he is faster than me. He has big dreams of finishing in under 4 hours, and I am much too slow/lazy to be a part of those dreams. Because although I really love to run, I really don’t love having to do tempo runs at 5:30 in the morning in the November rain to train for my CIM speed goal. I have at least one other friend running it, so as long as she doesn’t decide she wants to run a 7 minute pace or something crazy I won’t be alone.
So, starting in August, if you’re looking for me, I will probably be running, or eating/napping post-run. Until then, I plan to be as lazy as possible because a) this is my last chance and b) it’s important for me to rest up and also eat a lot before I start my training. That is science. And if you’re in Sacramento and you’re thinking of signing up for the CIM, or the CIM Half or the relay, join in the fun…
Running a marathon is great. It’s exciting, it’s challenging, it’s (in special sort of way) fun, and it makes you feel like a complete and total badass.
But 26.2 is not for everyone. You are probably thinking no, it is definitely not for me. But you might be thinking well, maybe I could try.
And I would say there are some things that you should consider before you take the plunge. I am considering these things myself right now, because although I’ve run one full marathon before, I have been tempted but hesitant to run a second.
- Have you run a half marathon? I would strongly suggest trying a half before you sign up for the full shabang. You may find that you hate long-distance running, and it’s much better to find that out at 13.1 miles than at 26.2. You also may find that a half feels like the upper limit of possibility for your body. After running my first half marathon, I was wrecked, I was puking, and my husband who had biked to meet me at the finish had to wrap me in a space blanket, put me on the bike, and push my shivering pathetic body 40 blocks back to our apartment. Heroic, I know. But I definitely needed more training before I was ready to run a full marathon.
- Are you willing to spend a LOT of time running, that you would normally spend doing other things? You will be running up to 35 miles a week or more, depending on your training plan. Some of your long runs could take 3 or 4 hours, depending on your pace, which means you might have to get up pretty early to get your Saturday run in before brunch–on the bright side, you will be VERY hungry for your gluten free french toast.
- Are you willing to hobble around being kind of exhausted and sore multiple days a week? This depends on what kind of shape you are in before you start, of course, as well as how hard you push yourself. A foam roller also helps. On the bright side, if you’re a person who likes naps, prepare to enjoy them thoroughly and often.
- Do you have someone to train with you, or are you okay training on your own? I trained for my full marathon on my own, and ran it on my own too. Although my husband and Tybee spent five long and courageous hours cheering for me, it was hard. Marathons are a largely a mental game, and it helps to have support, or even just someone to talk to to distract you from your own thoughts. Which might include all the ways you might die out on the trail, alone, out in the hot sun, and your iPhone will be stolen off of your dead body which will then be picked apart by vultures and no one will find you until your bleached bones are identified six years later using dental records. Or maybe it’s just me who has that problem?
- Is the person you’re training with reliable? You don’t want them to bail after 4 weeks of training, or on your 20 mile training run, and you definitely don’t want them to bail in the middle of the race. You’re there to support each other, so unless one of you is hurt or puking a whole lot you need to stick together.
- Do you actually like running, or are you just doing this to lose weight, to prove a point, or to feel good about yourself? If it’s any of the latter options, don’t do it. Fitness and pride are great, and they will come naturally with your training. But I feel like it should be obvious that if you don’t like running, training for a marathon will make you totally miserable.
So, what do you think? Should I sign up for the California International Marathon in December? Or should I enjoy my lazy life of running halfs and put it off till maybe next year?
I ran the Women’s Fitness Festival Half today, and it was awesome. It was exciting to see so many women runners out, but there weren’t so many that it was crowded. The course went mostly through neighborhoods, including my neighborhood, including my house, where I took a pit stop, which was amazing. It was hot and a lot of nice people sprayed us with their garden hoses as we went by, which was lovely.
I ran it with my friend Liz, and since it was her first half I told her she could set the pace and I would run it however she wanted. This went great until the last mile, when she went into BEAST MODE and sped up like a badass maniac. And I died a just little bit. It was a very long mile.
Here we are before the race, pumped to start:
Here we are in the post-race photo booth, looking our sweaty finest:
Deena Kastor was there, but I didn’t get to meet her so I can’t dork out about it. Maybe next time. Right now, it’s time for a nap: