I was running with a friend in a State Park in Maryland in the later 70’s. He was not a runner but a brave soul that was game for anything. During the run which was less than 50% of my normal speed so Dick Herman could stay with me, nature called. Not a good thing for a runner especially when it comes to a number two-er. Well no choice but to go to an isolated area in the woods and do my thing. No choice but to use the leaves available to me to do what needed to be done. When the nasty deed was done i emerged on the road and instinctively beat on my chest and let out a loud beastly bear growl. Dick immediately followed with a reciprocal growl which was easy for him as he looks like a big bear.
That tradition continues to today, Dick in his early sixties and me in my mid fifties. One day Dick and i decided that the local cemetery was a perfect place for the run. In this case the contour is somewhat circular so i was running and passing by Dick and running my normal pace. Something did not seem right on one of my laps when i did not see Dick but I kept going. Well around the turn Dick jumps out from behind a headstone with the growl in full force and scares the living daylights out of me. A women who was in the area sees Dick with his shirtless hairy chest beating on his chest with full force. Poor woman runs to her car a few feet away and takes off in what seemed like horrible fear.
I use to run with a girl friend down a back trail in a wooded California area just north of Malibu beach. One day i decided to stop and drop my draws and continue to run. Patti could not stop laughing. Every time i did this trail with her, I’d drop my draws, a symbolism of immaturity as it was. I got caught one time by an unusual on coming hiker. We rarely ever saw anyone on this isolated trail.
There are times you feel the aches and pains and your breathing is heavy and things just do not seem right. Then you continue to struggle and at some point find your rhythm, but nevertheless it is not your day. When the run is finished, you are darned happy you got through it. We all know there are days to back off from a long run or hard run. True dedicated runners though run through pain and will not stop and quiet during their workout as quitting is considered a defeat by us die-hards. I have never stopped one run in more than 5 years. I have taken spills where I was bleeding and still finished my run. I ran in intense typhoons and was thrilled I was out there. I have had the common stitches/cramps and still ran through. I even got nailed by a snowball as the result of a Mac truck speeding by and its tires sent the snow at my head where I saw stars for a period of time but ran through the initial pain and shock.
The point being is that the discipline and will power to never quiet leads to the feeling of empowerment. If I can get through these difficult and at times painful runs, this empowers me with major feelings of accomplishment and this carries over to every aspect of life which truly means the feeling of personal freedom.
The best policy in my opinion is the old adage that if you leave it on the table and two days later it is spoiled, then it is good for. But reality is as follows. We all have different constitutions.
I feel like crap after a Big Mac and fries so I stay away from that kind of food. I feel great after my breakfast which is a salad which consists of fresh broccoli and carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, hot chilies, beets, onions and any other fresh veggies I can find at my local market. Then I add any of my favorite salad dressings. This is my breakfast and it works for me but many think I am nuts.
Every time I eat a lot of fruit, I feel the sugar highs in a bad way so I nibble only from time to time. But a chocolate bar before my weight workout and I feel great.
Rule of thumb is we runners are taking care of ourselves and we have little weight problems because of our hobby so we need to find a diet that’s right for us.
I love pasta but i can only eat it at certain times of the day. If I eat oatmeal for breakfast I am shot as I feel like my stomach has cement in it. But that same oatmeal as a night time dessert with a little fruit added and I feel great. Find out what works for you and perfect it. Try to experiment and try to follow some of the laws of the food gurus, but do not take them as God-sent laws. Enjoy food from time to time that are what you love such as hotdogs, hamburgers and fries.
The idea of drinking lots of water throughout the day is a winner so try to drink as much as you can handle. Sports drinks is your call as i am not a fan. Chocolate milk or powder protein are great for many and makes me fill like a brick wall after. Coconut water many believe is great and it does work for me especially where i live in the Philippines where this fruit is in abundance.
But let’s sum this up as you are a runner and diet is so important, yet it should allow us from time to time to indulge ourselves in the less healthy elements in our diet. The key is through trial and error to find the right diet for your energy and health, as we all have different constitutions. So find what is right for you.