Mile marker #9 on the Vermont City Marathon course
One of my favorite times of the year is when I run down Pearl St to the lake and I see the fresh orange paint Â scrawled on the asphalt by Acme Glass: 9 | VCM. They usually paint the Vermont City Marathon mile markers on Tuesday or Wednesday of marathon week. I make a point of running down Pearl every day leading up to the marathon so I can get that rush of excitement when I spot the paint. On Wednesday I ran down to the waterfront to do my last speed work before the race and was greeted with that sign of spring a wave of butterflies.
Another “sign” of spring
Reflections on the high fat portion of the high fat taper diet:
The end of the high fat portion of the high fat taper dietÂ for my marathon prep couldn’t have come soon enough. The first 3 or 4 days were fine. I was feeling alright most of the time and was enjoying eating the foods that fit into the diet. Fat has 9cal/g, while carbs have 4cal/g, but it’s still pretty darn tough to get >65% of your daily calories from healthy fat sources as there just aren’t that main unprocessed foods that have that much fat relative to carbs. A few staples make it somewhat easier: coconut oil, coconut milk, cashews, avocado, peanut butter, Drew’s salad dressing. While I usually don’t mind eating redundantly, by day 5 I started to pine for a big bowl of mac n cheese.
After 7 days of the diet I was feeling pretty low on energy. Part of this was from my body struggling to transition/learn to prioritize burning fat to get its energy. But part was potentially from over-training. Training is ideally a successful dance finding your limits by pushing your body and mind right up to that critical edge between tired and fatigued. Fatigue is a big ugly bear that once saddled with it, it’s nearly impossible to shake.
I’ve been battling with fatigue after running higher mileage (90+/week) and a few intense workouts, including a 20 miler with 10 at 5:25 pace, while down in the oppressive Florida heat. I feel like I should have been able to handle the load, so it’s a bit frustrating to feel so sluggish. Wednesday’s 2.5 miles @ marathon pace felt nearly impossible. I wound up running about 5:32/mile, but felt like I was pushing much harder than I should and had a hard time imagining myself holding that pace for 2hr 25m 04s.
I’ve spent the last 2 weeks trying to do as little as possible to try and get some life back in my legs. I think the combination of the fatigue and the high fat diet have pretty much zapped most of the vibrancy in my legs. Yesterday started the next phase of the diet: 3 days of glorious glorious carb loading. I’ve been trying to keep a positive mental attitude and not focus on feeling drained. I’m holding off until Saturday after the carb boost has me hopefully feeling back to healthy before deciding on a race strategy. I felt much better today – the 2nd day of the taper diet – while out on an easy 4 mile jog.