The Run Down - The RunVermont Blog

This Rookie’s Ramblings, (Erin, #2): Different types of fuel

by Erin on February 18, 2013 · 10 comments

in This Rookie's Ramblings (2013)

This second official training week was a mixed bag.  I had a couple of days where I got home from work, ready to go, was out the door and feeling energized and great.  I also had a couple of days where I felt as though I was trying to run in a pool.  This can’t be coincidental.

I’ve been jotting down keys to successful runs as I think of them, and maybe you can help me add to the list with your own suggestions.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

-drink a lot of water throughout the day

-eat enough (protein and vitamin-rich foods)

-time my eating before AND after runs to avoid all sorts of catastrophes

-get enough sleep

-listen to “pump up” music before starting run

What are your favorite pre and post run snacks or meals? The whole eating component has actually been the trickiest for me, so perhaps other teachers out there, or others with hectic work schedules, can give me some advice.  Sometimes I don’t have time to eat during the day, or I eat inconsistently.  What are some great running snacks I can fit in between classes?  This might be a bit of a TMI moment, but if I eat too close to my run I get a stomachache, and if I don’t eat soon enough after I get dizzy and nauseated.  I had a rather unfortunate incident after my first half marathon that resulted in poor Dave cleaning up after me, as I lay miserable and helpless on the floor.  (You’re welcome.)

This week was also one where running provided an excellent outlet for me to channel some thoughts and emotions.  February 17 is the five-year anniversary of my stepmother’s passing, and I thought about her and my dad (who passed away last year) a lot.  There’s a horse farm on one of my new running routes, and as I ran by I thought about Cherokee, my stepmom’s horse, and how after she passed away, rather than selling him, my father gave him to a little girl at the barn who didn’t have a horse of her own.  I also thought of some of the random conversations my stepmom and I had in the car while she drove like a maniac (forgetting her glasses and calmly commanding us to “be my eyes!”), like her insisting that my burly father was “cute,” eliciting pretend groans of disgust and disbelief (ewwww, he’s Dad!).  These stories often creep up unannounced, little moments that pop into my head seemingly inexplicably, and would otherwise be very inconsequential but for the fact that I know I can’t make any more of them with my parents. These moments now matter immensely; they’re tiny gifts my memory continues to give me, as though dispensing them at intervals that will last me the rest of my lifetime.

My dad came to cheer me on at both of my half marathons, even positioning himself in the middle of the road in a camp chair with a cooler by his side at the Mad Half so as to get the best view.  And the truth of the matter is that in part, I’m running this for him, because I know he’d be proud of me.  I always played better, or imagined I did, once I heard his voice cheering me on at all of my high school field hockey and lacrosse games, and seeing him on the side of the road during those halfs bolstered my determination and helped me put some power in my stride.  I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling cheated out of having him walk me down the aisle this summer, but the beauty of running is that I rarely feel self-pity or sink into sadness, like I easily can while sitting on the couch.  Something about moving my body, breathing in fresh air, and being outside (or perhaps the rush of endorphins…) helps me to realize all of the amazing things in my life for which I can and should be thankful.  So thank you thank you thank you to my best friends who are running this marathon with me or cheering me on (especially my sister-in-law Meaghan and someday-sister-in-law Lindsay, who could very easily not be a part of my life if they didn’t want to, since Colleen (my stepmom) is no longer alive, and my sister, who almost didn’t survive last year), and for my grandfather walking me down the aisle, and for all of you!  Your comments and support is also appreciated!  I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite songs to run to, and in return maybe you can share some of yours.  Until next week, where I’ll more closely examine my running music and the development of my still red foot!


1. \”Rock That Body\”

2. \”Whatever You Like\”

3. \”Push It\”

4. \”How Bad Do You Want It\”

5. \”Dust on the Bottle\”

6. \”Up Around the Bend\”

7. \”Uptight (Everything’s Alright)\”

8. \”Survivor\”

9. \”Lonesome USA\”

10. \”Do You Want to Touch (Oh Yeah)\”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim F. February 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

Try chocolate milk post run.

2 Erin February 18, 2013 at 10:26 am

Kim, will chocolate soy milk do the same thing?

leandre 3 leandre February 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Erin: Bagels with PB, honey and banana are great snacks. Make it in the morning and nibble half here and half there. Handfuls of almonds or a couple packets of oatmeal can usually be eaten on the fly, too. You might also try making a big smoothie (Greek yogurt cows milk/soy milk/almond milk, berries, etc.) and pour it in to smaller containers you can freeze (Ball plastic canning containers work well). By late afternoon it will be mostly defrosted and is easily slurped down quickly.

4 Janine February 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I’m so happy to see Push It on your list! I recently discovered an app called TrailMix that will adjust the tempo of your songs to play in sync with your running pace. I downloaded it in hopes that it might motivate me to stick with my C25K routine. I haven’t tried it yet, but if it works like it’s supposed to, it could potentially make ANY song an awesome song to run to! You might want to check it out!

PS: It was so nice to see you yesterday! I’m grateful that we were able to spend some time together. I hadn’t realized it was the anniversary of Colleen’s passing. I enjoyed reading your memories of her and your dad in this post; the way you describe them as being “tiny gifts” really struck me as powerful. :)

5 Amber February 18, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I eat a banana about 30 mins before a run and I do chocolate soy milk after a long run. The caffeine and protein is a great mix (especially for those of us that don’t drink milk). I highly recommend.

6 Holly February 18, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Bon Jovi- Wing and a Prayer for when your “half way there” in your work outs! its great!

7 Dave M February 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Some very nice words about your dad – you are blessed to have his memory cheer you on. I am fortunate to have both my parents healthy in their early 70′s, free to travel whenever the mood strikes. They have come to both of my marathons and while their cheering isn’t a big thing (if they can get to the viewing areas on time), knowing they will be there at the end is always great.

You were asking for advice on run prep, but I was looking at your list thinking “yup, yup, yup…” – you’re on the right track, so once you know what you need, you can fine tune it to what you like. When I started running seriously about 6 years ago, I used to need much more food and water before runs, or at least I thought I did. I wouldn’t do more than 6 miles without a water bottle and a gel. Now, I can run 10 miles without carrying water (if it’s not too warm) or eating more than a Clif Bar or Power Bar. Short weekday runs don’t need more than a glass of water or Gatorade beforehand. But as they say, each of us is an experiment of one, and your mileage may vary. Good luck and have fun training!

8 Andrew M February 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Erin, I love reading your posts each week you really have such an amazing way with words! Usually before a long run, I eat a full breakfast, eggs, toast, coffee, wait about an hour then go for it. I think it is kind of up to you as everyone has their favorites. After the run I usually drink water and eat a banana or some fruit right away, then about 20 minutes after I’m done I eat more substantial foods, tuna, more fruit, as well as buzz up a smoothie. Keep up the good work and you will be crossing the finish line before you know it!

9 Katie K. February 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Dad would be very proud of you for everything you’ve done in the past year, sis! As soon as I have this baby I’m going to let you have the choice of pushing my double jogging stroller or walking my dog, Crazy Daisy…either one should help with your training!! Anything I can do to help, Erin ;)

10 Lauren Fowler February 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm

After long runs, I usually want something easily digestible (vs an entire meal), and I usually do a smoothie with a frozen banana, almond milk, and almond butter. Then, within a few hours, I’ll eat a regular meal with some carb and a good source of protein. It’s just important to find what foods work best for you before/after runs and getting in some carb & protein.

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