To eat or not to eat, that is the question…..

I never considered myself athletic or an athlete. I played some softball when I was younger (read much younger). I wasn’t going to get a scholorship or anything, but I was descent. I gave that up after my freshman year in high school. It was getting in the way of my saxophone playing (and that actually got me a couple of scholarships). I think what did for me was when I fouled a ball off into my own lip during a softball game just hours before I had to play in a big concert. My lip and my formal dress were nearly the same shade of purple and it is not very easy to play the saxophone with a big fat lip. I also worried about breaking a finger – also not so productive if one is trying to become a famous jazz artist which was my dream at the time.

I have always been kind of a klutz and after I stopped playing softball, my athletic aspirations were pretty well done for. After that, the closest thing to anything athletic I did was marching with the marching band or performing with various bands (that can be quite a workout).

Fast forward 25 years and someone I had recently met said she was training for a marathon with a friend of hers, I asked if they would mind if I trained with them and she said it would be fine. Her friend was in an accident before we even started training in earnest so it was just the two of us. Since that time we have completed 9 marathons and have become the best of friends (check out her blog Chaos & Love). If you spend the amount of time it takes to train for marathons with someone, you better get along!.

I guess completing 9 marathons makes me an athlete of sorts since a surprisingly few people ever even complete one marathon in their lifetime. I plan to complete at least 10 with my friend, not sure when, but I am fairly sure we will. When I was training seriously for marathons, I was in the best shape of my life and I didn’t start training for marathons until I was over 30. I “just” walk them (fastest was aroiund 6 hours and 36 minutes), but it is still an increadible workout – try it sometime;

I am a reluctant athlete at best, but I know that being active is really the only way I can get fit and maintain a healthy weight. I don’t mind working out once I get going, it is the getting going that is daunting. I was pretty off track for a while so I hired a trainer a while back. I had completed 11 sessions with her (along with my husband) and then we went on vacation and missed a month of working out with her.

Today was judgment day. I started dreading the thought of what kind of torture we would endure during our session tonight. I started whining the moment I hit the door after work. My husband, who actually enjoys working out, was not nearly as reluctant as I was. He had actually done some of the things the trainer had taught us during vacation – me, not so much.

Turns out, i felt pretty good doing the workout and he was nauseous and dizzy. I am not gloating – well, maybe just a little. My husband has this “thing” about eating before he works out. He claims he can’t eat before he works out, even if it is several hours before. He claims he can “feel it” so he doesn’t eat anything (or eats very little) and then he feels terrible or his muscles seize on him. That is what happened tonight. He felt terrible. No amount of me, or anyone else, trying to provide him with information on this subject has ever been successful.

I have done quite a bit of research on this topic and have gone through a process of figuring out what I can and should eat before a workout and how much time before a workout this needs to be done. It took me a bit of trial and error (after reading quite a bit about it) but now I know what I need in order to keep my energy up and not make myself sick during the various types physical pursuits I am involved in.

I know that before I start a marathon I need a cafe au lait. Some books will tell you to avoid caffeine before you start a marathon, but I have a cafe au lait every morning so why wouldn’t i have one the day of a marathon? That simply doesn’t make any sense to me. The caffeine jump starts my system and the milk provides much needed protein and simple carbs.

The one time I wasn’t prepared and I couldn’t find a coffee place open (in New Orleans-I probably could have found a hurricane, but not coffee and milk), I was feeling sick (and according to my friend, turning green) by mile 4 – not so good when you have 26.2 miles to do. I also know that I need to carry some almonds, peanut butter or mini protein bars in my pack when I do a marathon. I might need them and I might not, but it is better to be safe than sorry. I also fill my water bottle with ice and then pour orange juice in to full. I don’t like sports drinks (generally) and the sugar in the OJ keeps me going for a while before I have to start alternating water and sports drink.

For intense workouts, like those I do with my fab trainer Yvonne (AKA Trainer Troll when she is trying to kill me), I know that I need to eat some protein and a simple carb (sting cheese and a piece of fruit for example) about an hour and a half to two hours before the workout. If I don’t eat anything, I wouldn’t have the energy to get through the workout and if I eat the wrong thing or I eat close to the workout I will fell nauseous.

I am not an expert, these are just the things that work for me based on quite a bit of research (reading) and trial and error. It is important to do your own research, to find out what works for you and to get to know your body. I encourage you to give it a try. For me, if I feel good while I am working out, I am more apt to do it again and I know that working out is not only good for my physical well being, but my mental health as well. It is not ideal to be fat AND crazy – right?

My hope is that if I keep working out with Yvonne, remember to eat right and provide my body with the correct fuel to keep me going during my workouts I will be 5”2‘ and 110 lbs and completely sane in no time! Tee hee, as if……