Half-marathon training has absolutely destroyed my diet.
And by "diet" I don't mean, "counting calories, Slimfast Shakes, and gumming celery sticks LOL!" I mean my actual way of eating.
I've been on a health food kick for the last couple of years, which only got more intense when we moved to Nashua and a Trader Joe's was right down the street from us. When I ran 3 to 5 miles on average, I would end my runs thinking, "Well, that was refreshing! I would like to eat an apple or a salad and continue on this healthy living practice."
After my training runs, I have only one thought on my mind:
"GREASY CHEESY CHEESY GREASY SALTY FATTY GREASY CHEESY FOOD."
I guess that's the difference between burning 400 calories and burning all your calories.
It didn't help that we moved 30 minutes up north, where the local health food shop is exactly the type of organic grocery store that everyone hates. It also didn't help that, in the midst of micro-renovating the house and packing up the apartment, we ate a lot of delivery, a lot of take-out. And it also didn't help that I started hitting the longer distances around this time as well.
Take, for instance, a few days ago: I ran 7.64 miles, went grocery shopping, and downed an entire bag of Cheetos in one sitting. And not one of those, "travel sized!" bags. I mean the kind that technically has 7-9 servings in it. Granted, it was Trader Joe's brand, baked Cheetos, but Cheetos all the same. I'm not nearly delusional enough to think that, just because I bought it at Trader Joe's, the food is suddenly good for me.
I've been trying to get back into the healthy food for fuel attitude, but it's difficult when quinoa takes 15 minutes to cook and the bag of potato chips is right there.
I'm not beating myself up over it, as a 12-mile run burns up 1500 calories (and probably a bit of fat, too, given that a little protein bar in my left hand is not going to magically give me all the calories I need to run an additional three miles). But I'm trying to make a more conscious effort of eating decently. Eating whole foods and avoiding processed crap (because sodium benzoate doesn't giving a flying shit if I've been running for the last 2 hours).
My half marathon is now less than 3 weeks away. With any luck, my running schedule will included three more half-marathons (including the Boston Half Marathon), the Chicago Marathon, and the Boston Marathon, spanning from today until April 2015. It's ambitious, but if there were ever a time to test my physical limits, this is it. And may all the Cheetos and chips wait for me at the finish line.