11.1 Miles and the Magic of Recovery Food

So, after my Spanish feasting and fun on Saturday night, I got up bright and early yesterday to do a long run. My goal was to hit 11 miles and do so at my goal half marathon pace of 10:20-10:30 mile. What can I say? I nailed it:

Mile 1: 10:27

Mile 2: 10:04

Mile 3: 10:01

Mile 4: 10:01

Mile 5: 10:07

Mile 6: 10:10

Mile 7: 10:16

Mile 8: 11:06 (this is where I stopped to refill my water and eat a GU)

Mile 9: 10:21

Mile 10: 10:31

Mile 11.1: 10:15 (and 9:43/mi pace on the last .1)

Total: 11.1 miles at 10:18/pace

I’m pretty thrilled about this because it is my third-longest run ever and my longest run since the half marathon I ran in 2010. This distance also allows me to assess my performance and set a goal for the Arizona Half Marathon on 10/6. Based on this, a 2:15 time is actually a possibility if I can hold pace and if I am properly rested. Keep in mind, this 11.1 miles comes on the heels of what (just barely) was my highest mileage week ever last week. I ran 21.6 miles last week, which beats my prior longest-mileage week of 21.0 miles in 2007. I will be happy with any new PR I get on 10/6, but it would be nice to have something I feel really proud of.

After running yesterday, I knew I was going to be sore so I decided to load up on natural anti-inflammatory foods for the rest of the day. I learned a little about anti-inflammatory foods as an alternative to pain medications from reading Scott Jurek’s book (reviewed here), but I was surprised and pleased to learn from Internet research that many anti-inflammatories are already a part of my diet! Here are things I enjoyed yesterday after running:

  1. Walnuts: After running, I made myself a brunch of pancakes with crushed walnuts. My lunch of a lentil burger also included ground walnuts in the patty.
  2. Olive Oil and Ginger: Oil and vinegar is my go-to dressing, but olive oil and ginger are also known anti-inflammatory foods. The dressing I made up was 2 parts olive oil, 1 part rice vinegar, and ginger and garlic to taste.
  3. TurmericThis spice which often appears in curry also shows up in yellow mustard. I put some mustard with an extra 1/4 tsp. of turmeric on my lunch lentil burger.

    Image from Steve Lupton/Corbis. Time magazine’s story on Turmeric includes University of Arizona research!

  4. Sweet Potato: Yes, I still have some leftover sweet potato enchiladas from last weekend’s Mexican dinner, and happily sweet potato is a good source of nutrients that help fight inflammation.
  5. Omega-3s: I take flax seed oil supplements as a source of Omega-3s, and while they also contain Omega-6s that may contribute to inflammation, as long as these nutrients are kept in balance they should be OK.

My list of foods also included some things to avoid. Sugar, processed milk, caffeine, potatoes, and tomatoes can all contribute to inflammation–so I kept my dairy intake low, skipped the coffee, and avoided the latter two vegetables yesterday. I’m happy to report that, after some light yoga last night, I feel all right this morning. Still a little sore, but I think I will manage today’s pool workout just fine. Next time you do a long run, try these natural feel-good foods to help your recovery!

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