As I passed the marathon nine-mile marker, I thought, “I’ve never run this far before.” And then I thought, “Huh. I feel pretty good.” I smiled on.
At mile 10, my taste buds began to get a little antsy. I caught sight of a woman handing out Starburst. “That sounds good,” I thought, and I ran across the course to grab a couple. I had never tried to open Starburst while running before. Heck, I hadn’t eaten Starburst in years. (Gelatin, ya know, but I was willing to indulge in the fun of this great Akron event.)
I picked at the wrapper, trying clumsily to break free the orange square from its paper. Finally, I ran up to a few onlookers. “Can you help me with this Starburst wrapper? I can’t seem to get it.” They helped with big smiles and sent me on my way, enjoying the quick rush of gummy sugar.
In eating that tiny tangy candy, I broke my fast from inflammatory foods. The week leading up to the Akron Half Marathon, I had tried to eliminate inflammatory foods from my diet. I wanted my joints to move smoothly.
I dropped bread from the menu and other gluten-filled yummies. I also left out nightshade veggies for the week, which meant I didn’t enjoy a single beautiful tomato from my garden for the whole week — or the peppers, or the eggplant.
My health coach and wife, Terra, suggested I mix my caffeinated coffee with half decaf. Good advice. Excluding coffee cold turkey might have had catastrophic effects. After all, I was trying to cleanse my body of impurities, not kill it.
Instead of reaching for a Thursday evening beer, I chose to keep hydrated with water, and lots of water on Friday.
In the end, my experiment worked. My body felt strong after 13 miles.
It probably helps that I enjoy running, especially on the trails through the woods or with happy Akronites cheering along the route. Whether it’s snowing or a beautiful summer day, I love the freedom and energy of a run. It’s exhilarating.
Also, I wasn’t starting from scratch. My everyday diet keeps most impurities out of my body — not because I’m a vegan, but because I try to eat whole, unprocessed foods. Terra and I prepare our meals. We know what’s in them, and we leave a lot of junk out. I’m sure this makes training for a half marathon easier.
Oh, and the homemade mix my friend Brad made? Oatmeal, chia seeds, dates, coconut oil, lemon zest, cacao nibs, and a sweetener like maple syrup. There’s no hydrolysate, but I can live with that.