One of the perks of a running addiction – especially a long-distance one – is that you can eat like a horse. And I'm not talking about a Shetland Pony; I mean a Shire horse. The Big Daddy Fat Dog—err, horse—of the equine community. And I’m not talking about a giant vat of salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The odd doughnut, too.
However, while it’s scientifically proven that bulldozing your way through an all-you-can-eat buffet is fine following
a race/workout; caution has to be taken beforehand, to avoid calamitous
consequences. Namely having to make an emergency pitstop in Mrs. McGuigan’s
rhododendron bush at No. 42 – just past the 5k mark.
Pre-workout or race, a runner would be wise to avoid eating
anything spicy; anything creamy; and, above all else, anything fibrous. Taking
an eye off the ball in regard to any of the latter trio, will inevitably result
in a racing shorts-related explosion; preceeded by 30+ minutes of agonizing foreplay.
I’ve twice made schoolboy errors in the above regard – and the gastric firework displays that subsequently ensued would have made Guy Fawkes proud.
first time was back in April, 1999, the day before the
London Marathon. That particular date happened to be my 26th birthday,
so I and some friends indulged in a birthday dinner-come-pre-race meal
restaurant in Victoria.
I plumped for chicken and
pasta – which, on the face of it, seemed like a sensible enough choice. Except that the pasta came
with a thick, rich creamy sauce; likely laden with calories, saturated fat
and the effortless potential to play havoc with my marathon race plans.
I was oblivious at the time; but I’d made a humdinger of a mistake.
morning, some 18 hours later, I was forced to make multiple
trips to the porta-potty pre-race, as 40,000 runners gathered at
Greenwich; and I think I had most of them lined up behind me at some
point, as I tried not to hog the bog too long.
The signs weren't good as
we limbered up on the start-line; a mass of potential energy, blending
nerves and excitement. And that was just my bowels.
miles in, my large intestine felt like it had a gorilla swinging from it...
To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.