If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that. Okay fine, I’d probably only have a nickel because I generally surround myself with pretty decent people that can keep their mouths shut, but I’d probably have about 5 extra bucks in my pocket if I had one for each related look I get.
Long story short, in January I signed up for the MRTC off road series and ate like 5 cinnamon rolls the morning before a race. It obviously didn’t go so great and could no longer ignore the fact that I was being an idiot. There was no guessing what could have gone wrong or wondering why I felt the way I felt. No, Margaret, you chose to eat cinnamon rolls before your race and you got what was coming for you. Looking back, it was not necessarily like I thought those Sister Schubert breakfast pastries were a good idea to eat pre-race, but with the dangerous combination of believing that you have the digestive system of a goat and the “I’m a runner, I can eat whatever I want” attitude, I threw the caution that I didn’t have to the wind and I honestly didn’t even think twice about it.
In all seriousness, I finally realized I put my body through the wringer daily. I expect so much of it during training and races, but with what I was putting into it I should have known what I would get out. It was time to make a change.
The next weekend I had dinner with some friends who had just completed a “Whole30” (based off paleo) and they looked amazing. I was already three glasses of Cab Sav in and ordered “It All Starts with Food” by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig within two minutes of them telling me about it. I didn’t care that the lifestyle diet did not sound ideal for runners. I knew that I needed some structure (and I knew I couldn’t live without chicken so vegan was clearly not an option) so I ordered the book and I’m pretty sure I started eating paleo the next day.
Since that night, everything for me has changed. I look at food completely different and feel 10x better not only in races, but also throughout the day. I have a new love and appreciation for cooking now that I prepare for myself 3 full meals a day. I have gotten faster in my running, more efficient at work, and I don’t miss the junk at all. For those of you who might not be as familiar with the paleo diet, I do not eat refined sugars, grains, legumes, or dairy. This is where I should say that I also do not drink alcohol, but that would be a lie and you would find that out pretty quickly.