Friday, June 17, 2011

Outrunning Poor Nutrition

Below is Kelly R.A's account of her recent San Diego "Rock and Roll" Half Marathon. Take the time to read it and learn from her experience!

Thanks for sharing, Kelly! Still proud of you, Sherri and V! We always learn more from our "failures" than our "successes".


“You can’t out-train poor nutrition.”

I’ve seen it scrawled on the whiteboard. I’ve heard it from Coach Chris countless times. I’ve worked it, I’ve embraced it, I get it. But last weekend, I finally understood it – completely (and its compadre, “you can’t outrun poor nutrition.”)

I looked forward to the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon since fall: A road trip with my best training buddies, time in amazingly beautiful southern California, and a respite from work and motherhood. A few weeks before, Sherri, Vanessa and I decided we had gotten a bit too squidgy around the middle and made a pact to shed some poundage before we had to drag it around for 13.1 miles. I went right back to what I learned from Chris and Bridging the Wellness Gap - logged daily calories, went to sleep without a full stomach, ate good stuff – and quickly lost 4 pounds. I headed west with my new bright pink Nikes and a great deal of gratitude and excitement.

It started slowly - After a delicious dinner of steamed fish and veggies, I was searching for that sweet treat, and dear Vanessa had no chocolate in her home! Was it because of the time change? Was it because I was finally feeling relaxed and almost carefree? Who knows? All I know is that with each meal, I kept driving the nutrition bandwagon into a ditch. I ate a few snacks here and there. I spent hours of sampling protein bars and shakes and other goodies at the race expo, and followed that with a big dinner and wine. My rock bottom is unfortunately documented on Facebook, where you can see me devouring a huge custard-filled doughnut for Saturday’s breakfast. I rationalized that the 90-minute sweat-fest of Bikram Yoga later that day had washed away my sugary sin, but I know better.

My pre-race dinners are usually fish and veggies and sweet potato, cooked at home while my feet are nestled in compression socks. This time, I still had fish and some veg (potato) but they were slathered in a buttery sauce, and my feet were tuckered from a fun frolic on the beach and boardwalk. We didn’t time our meals very well, either – mostly because we were too busy having fun to care about being off schedule. (Trading in the burpees for burps, I guess)… Of course, no decadent beachfront dinner would be complete without a soft-serve ice cream cone at the Beach Wave hut. Imagine DQ on steroids - that was it. Endless cone and cream down the gullet, less than 12 hours before the race.

The Three Amigo's at the race start

Race day dawned with perfect temperatures, no humidity - glory! But my insides were far from rejoicing. I spent much of my pre-race time intentionally and intestinally challenged due to my food faux pas. By the time corral 28 reached the start, I was worried less about the impending heat than where the porta-johns were located. Everything about this race felt different: At mile 5, I felt my legs tighten the way they usually do at mile 8; my fingers swelled more than usual and I could not keep my head firmly in the game, much less in a pace. I kept telling myself “just run this out, run past this,“… but really I couldn’t – because “this” was me, not something to outrun.

I finished. It was a blast. And I am in the toughest recovery yet from any half marathon I have done. I had a lot of all over pain, I am still not eating well, and my usual umph! is more ugh!

At the race finish - lesson learned and all smiles. A win/win...

I share this not because I am proud and not because I enjoy talking about my personal digestive habits with all of you. I simply want to share a lesson learned, may it benefit someone somewhere. I know that poor nutrition played a big part in my performance and recovery. I guess I needed to test the theory, learn the hard way.

Now, I’m looking forward to Whole30 and Whole9 – perfect timing! Time to make my body feel good and I know I will perform better. I know it won’t be easy to say no to soft serve and other summer treats. But I also know the alternative – and I’m not trying to outrun anything anymore.



  1. You nailed it, soul sister. Can't outrun yourself - love that.

  2. Love your willingness to put it out there. Thank you for sharing this, Kelly! 1) I can tell it is from your heart, and 2) it helps me to know that others share the same struggles. I certainly do not wish that on anyone, but I appreciate knowing that I am not alone in my bad choices sometimes.

    Looking forward to the next 30 days - no cheating, no excuses, b/c we are worth it! :)

    Hugs to you, my friend!

  3. Great post, Kel! You have such a wonderful way with words..........
    Looking forward to this little "challenge" placed before us. Love ya!