I have such a volatile relationship with running.

I LOVE running. I truly do. I feel free when I run. I feel like I run all my anxieties out of my bed and can experience complete peace. In my head, I am this amazingly fit, powerful track star. My head & heart are 100% in, but my body, well, that’s always been another story. My body shows something vastly different than what my head has made up, instead of that fit track star, I am a hobbling, limping rounder star. One that is burning out slowly.

I ran my first marathon in 2009 and followed up with a total of 9 marathons and 11 half-marathons in a span of 5 years. I burned myself out and overworked my knees, right foot and lower back. The injuries made me swear off running and dramatically announce a retirement.

Buuuut, I have missed running a whole lot and would try to put in some miles here and there.

And then the migraines started.

For the past two years I have battled some awful, blinding migraines. They seemed to follow instances when I would venture to run 4-5 miles. After trying essential oils, the chiropractor and even cryotherapy, I finally made an appointment with a homeopathic & integrated medical doctor. I have a whole other post to write about what was going on health wise, but suffice it for now to say, I have not had a migraine since October!

I had hope that I could start running again and slowly begin to build up miles. I decided to run my favorite half-marathon, Run Through Redlands, this upcoming March and thought I would give you a glimpse into what I eat in a day when I do a longer training run.

4:30 AM-I woke up and immediately downed my daily capful of aloe + lemon + warm water. I boiled some water and had chai tea with a splash of coconut milk and my favorite pre-run meal of 1/4 cup of oats + cocoa powder + almond butter + cinnamon.

Around 6 AM, I headed to downtown Riverside to run my 8 miles. I decided to start downtown near the yoga studio I wanted to attend 8 AM class at and run towards, up & down Mt. Rubidoux. It was a beautifully, clear day. Southern California has been experiencing something new this year. RAIN. I actually planned my run for the one non-rainy day of this week:

I enjoyed the clear skies and finished my 8 miles. I am definitely not as speedy as I want to be, but glad to still have the endurance. I quickly took off my running shoes, rolled out my yoga mat and took a great post run class.

I was SO ready to eat when I arrived home. I thought of a great meal while I was running, as I often do, but first made a recovery smoothie to hold me over while I cooked. A big change I am making in this season of training is to recover correctly! I used to interpret long run days as a reason to eat anything and everything my heart desired. In pre vegan days, this could mean recovering with a cheese pizza and pitcher of beer. I am going into this race a bit more educated and have been inspired by knowledge from Brendan Brazier & Rich Roll. I have learned that recovery is one of the most important parts of training and what I was using before as recovery fuel was causing more inflammation and increased my chances of injury. That definitely explains a lot of the limping I was doing before and I hope to prevent that this race.

10:00 AM-I made a huge smoothie containing; 1 scoop of Vega protein powder, flax seed meal, 1 packet of chaga, a generous shake of turmeric & a handful of frozen cherries (both help battle inflammation), and handful of spinach and a scoop of cocoa. Ironically, I poured it into my enormous Stella Artois glass and chugged it down.

10:30 AM-The meal I conjured up in my mind during my run was; avocado toast with nutritional yeast & red pepper flakes, a chickpea omelette (1/4 cup of chickpea flour & 1/4 cup of water + spices-sage, thyme & garlic salt all whisked together) with mushrooms, tomato & spinach and eggplant bacon! Plus, another cup of chai tea. It was the perfect warm, post cold run meal.

1:00 PM-After breakfast, I was ready for a nap and knocked out pretty quickly. It’s no surprise I woke up and was ready to eat again. My husband made me a grilled toona sandwich that I eagerly consumed.

We all decided to head over to our local coffee shop and spent a few hours reading, writing and browsing the internet. Soon enough, I was hungry again and we chose Indian food!

6:00-India’s Clay Oven is our absolute favorite and the family who owns the restaurant has become our extended family. We visit often and rarely look at the menu anymore, we generally just ask the owner to bring us whatever he  wants. He always remembers we are vegan and how spicy we each like our food.

We started with samosas (THE absolute best I have ever had, even in India I did not have samosas this good). My dish was mushrooms and peas with a coconut milk based tikka masala sauce and a scoop of basmati rice. A true miracle occurred and I kept myself from indulging in naan bread.

Overall, I felt very well fed and nourished. Previously when I would do longer runs, I felt like a bottomless pit unable to feel satisfied, but I think if I continue to eat the right type of foods, I will recover easier and have a more sustainable running life. I am ridiculously thrilled to be running again but still want to take my time and ease into to training.