Tuesday, December 8, 2015

More Carbs, Please

I think I love finals week(s). Why? Because I've worked tirelessly to get (almost) all of my grading done, my copies made, and my final exam keys created. I graded our final exam essays yesterday, and I am going to take the final exam review sheets for a fairly easy completion grade. Which means I am going to walk around the room, put a stamp on my students' papers, and call it a day. Of course, we're going to go over the final exam reviews, and that's when those who truly did the review will be rewarded. Because though I have told my students over and over and over again that the review extensively covers the material on the final exam, many of them still find reason to doubt me. Anyway, I love finals week(s) because I actually have some free time. Yeah. I finished my FIRST book of the semester today, so I'm feeling pretty darn good.

Definitely recommend

And with all of this free time comes some extra time to run. This past weekend I ran an easy (who would have thought I would use easy as my adjective) 10 miles though and around Hermann Park and Rice University, and I was feeling good. Had I gotten started earlier, I would have kept running, but I had a new car to buy.

And while I'm finding my running groove now, a couple of months ago, that was not the case. In fact, almost every run I went on was a struggle for me. I would get three miles in and lose any semblance of energy I thought I had. I would get stitches in my side that I just couldn't shake, my legs felt like jello and I would end up walking home, and something was just off. Granted, I was in the middle of volleyball season, so my energy level was going to be a little bit lower than usual. But it had been a while since completing five miles was a struggle. My shins felt fine, I was drinking plenty of water, but my diet was nowhere near what it should have been.

Let's back up a little bit. You guys know that I am training for a marathon. And someone said to me recently, "It's hard for me to imagine that you could gain weight with all of the running you're doing right now." And yes, I am doing a lot of running. But for those of you who run, how hungry does running make you? I mean, I am always hungry. One of my co-worker once commented on the "hearty breakfast" that I eat each morning. It's all healthy (the chocolate chunks are dark, after all), but it is definitely hearty. And how easy is it to say to yourself, "Hey, I ran 10 miles this morning! I can eat whatever I want!" It's very easy. And it's actually quite common to gain weight while training for a marathon. And I didn't want to do that.

I know at one point in time I wrote about how I was going to be okay with gaining weight during my season of marathon training. As long as I was fueling my body the right way. And while I've never been one to count calories, I do remain at least a little conscious of it. And I think I was being a little too conscious. Because my carb intake was low low low. And as a direct result of that, so was my energy level. I don't think that I was consciously avoiding carbs, but there was no bread nor potatoes nor oats to be found in my daily diet. So, the next week I took home-packed (delicious, if I do say so myself) sandwiches for lunch, and the result was almost instantaneous.

Brunch at The Dunlavy
Suddenly, running became fun again. I no longer dread those long runs, and running no longer feels like a chore. I feel strong after finishing a run, instead of stopping to walk halfway through. I look forward to my evening runs, and I continue to be amazed at how much of a difference two pieces of bread can make.

Happy runner
My point is this: don't be afraid of carbs! I take such pleasure in heading up the road to Grub Burger Bar and indulging in a full-sized burger with a generous side of sweet potato fries, which is exactly what I'm going to eat on Saturday before my first 30K on Sunday. I no longer feel guilty about polishing off a plate of my quinoa chocolate chip pancakes. Carbs are the first thing burned off during a run, so while I don't need to eat a full pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every once in a while is a-okay. Because my body needs it. And being able to comfortably run is much better than fitting into a smaller pair of jeans. I'm just saying.

And that's all I've got for you guys tonight. Be on the lookout for this year's second round of Student Quotes coming soon. Boy, do I have some good ones!

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