Marathon Week: How I Eat

As I countdown the days before my second 26.2 mile trek, I'm going to reflect on some issues/experiences I've had during my preparation for the Flying Pig Marathon on May 2nd. When I decided that I was going to run the Flying Pig again this year, I knew it would be harder. Last year, my only employment was with the church, so I could flex my schedule and run whenever I could carve out the time. Having a consistent 9-to-5 job meant that I was going to have to adjust my training schedule. Part of that was adopting a three-run-a-week training regimen. I'll try to outline later how this worked out, but in order to compensate for less running I decided to also alter my diet. This is something that I've never attempted, as I like to eat what I want to eat.

Starting January 1st of this year, I gave up sweets. This has included donuts, cake, ice cream, pie, and even what I like to call "dessert cereal." I still drank my Diet Coke, since it's artificial sweetener (me loves the aspertame), but really didn't stray much further than that. In accounting for the times where I've fudged on this endeavor, it's a short list.

  1. Twice over the past four months, I did have pancakes/waffles. This obviously requires the use of maple syrup because that's how God intended it. To be fair, we had the pancakes at home and we use the "light" version of syrup which is less sugary. And I had the waffles last week to carb-load for my twenty mile run. So I was OK with this splurge.
  2. Over the past four months, I had six blueberry muffins. I'm not sure I can justify it in anyway.

Honestly, though, it's probably because breakfast is the only time that I've missed sweets. You start to realize how small the options are for morning eats when you take out the sweets. I've done my share of fruit and have continually opted for the plain bagel. Honestly, bagels and fruit can only carry you so long, so that's why I killed those muffins.

Surprising, it's not been that difficult to deny desserts. It's actually empowering. I'm not going to lie and say that I haven't missed it. Last Sunday, Kaelyn and I were at Fountain Square and she asked for Graeters ice cream. As she polished it off all by herself, I couldn't help but long to have some myself. But as people have offered my cookies and cakes, I've remained vigilant. Heck, I survived Girl Scout cookie season with nary a Thin Mint.

But here's the sad part: I'm not sure I've lost any weight as the result of cutting out the sweets. Maybe I've dropped a pound or two, but you can't really see much of a difference. As you run, you tend to eat more anyway. Instead of opting for sugars, I've just settled for more of everything else. Now since I ran less this year, I might have achieved some sort of equilibrium with eliminating desserts. As my metabolism continues to evaporate, I might just be adjusting appropriately. And while I don't think I benefited around the waist, I did make it throughout the winter without getting ill. And I'm thinking that, if that's the trade-off, it was a good one.

I'm not sure I'll keep this up after the race. I mean, it's been interesting, but I can't say that this "no sweets" diet has changed my life. The big question is, how shall I break this fast? For that question, I seek your input. When I go sugar-loco next Sunday night, what should I go for?