carb-loading fancy

Tomorrow is the 5k. The 5k that I did not successfully convince anybody to do with me. That’s ok, it will be a fun morning and a good race no matter who is/isn’t running or what my time ends up being (I do not entertain thoughts of grandeur). I had a nightmare the other night that it was a truly horrendously slow time, but I’m hoping it isn’t prophetic. The very first race I ever did I dreamed the night before about having to finish the race paddling along in little red wagons, and thank goodness that didn’t come true!

And I’m excited because the weather has finally finally finally cooled off. I was shivering this morning  when I stepped outside to run and there was dew on the ground for the first time in a long while. I love seeing everything slowly creep back to a green color. It’s the kind of weather that makes you feel like you could just run and run and never stop-one of the most glorious feelings.

One myth about racing is that there is a huge need to “carb-load” the night before, the thought being that all those carbs will give a quick shot of energy the day of the race. In the first place, a 3.2 mile race is hardly an endurance event (by comparison) and doesn’t warrant a lot of extra carbs (and calories) to fuel it. A 10k isn’t either. Most research shows that if you are going to carb-load, it should be done 3-4 days prior to the race-and not just with pasta. Complex carbs and diverse meals (including protein, fats, and fiber) are what will make a difference. A night before over-load just makes you feel sloshy and heavy the next day, not energized. The 3-4 day process if useful for endurance events, and that is typically defined as being over 90 minutes. The best bet for a race like a 5k is this: do exactly what you have been doing that works. Don’t go changing up the routine all of a sudden. Be healthy and wise in your choices, but a huge dose of fiber that you aren’t used to isn’t going to help you on race day.

The secondary problem with the carb-loading myth comes from the fact that I am a diabetic and carbs can very often be a troublesome little bugger to handle. Since I mostly try to stick to a low carb diet, getting 75% of my carbs from fruit, the other 25% from a small amount of whole grains or complex carbs (like sweet potato or brown rice), a big plate of pasta is going to create a need for a big amount of insulin. And if my body isn’t used to it, that will make it even harder to adjust with insulin because my body reacts differently to it. The last thing I want is to be up all night with blood sugar woes the night before a race, or even worse, wake up low and have to eat a bunch right before the race.

Running with diabetes can be hard. Diabetes alone is a balancing act, a trial and error process, a continuously shifting disease that doesn’t submit to any definitive rules are patterns. Running can be a wonderful thing for it, but it can also be just one more kink to deal with.So dinner plans for tonight? A big plate of my usual roasted summer veggies-I can never get enough of these-some guacamole and goat cheese for fat and protein, and some fresh summer fruit. Hopefully it isn’t storming tomorrow morning like it is right now!


About thegypsycook

I'm a 22 year old who just graduated college and moved to Dallas to look for a job and help out my 75(!)year-old cousin. I'm a type 1 diabetic runner and I love being in the kitchen-cooking, baking, cleaning.
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