February 14, 2013

Carb loading the gluten-free way

If you've been reading since December, you know I tried to put some big girl pants on before the Rocket City Marathon and get all serious about carb loading. Remember this post where I pretended to know everything about it. I have this cool way of being super confident about something right before it backfires. Instead of shooting out of the gate like a rocket on marathon day, I crashed and burned, early in the race and hard.

With MS River Marathon, I still attempted to carb load, starting on Wednesday before my Saturday race, but I changed the rules that Runner's World gave me. Plus I attempted the load without gluten this time. 

1. I didn't count anything. Last time, I calculated every gram of carbs that entered my piehole. This time, the main thing I did was blend up fruit smoothies to drink with every meal, plus I added in some extra snacks throughout the day. I didn't end up feeling three months pregnant like last time, but I still felt more full than normal. 

2. I didn't try to avoid fiber. When the pipes quit functioning during my last race (you get what I'm saying, right?), I immediately regretted trying to cut out fiber. Because, hello (!), my body is apparently a huge fan of fiber. More, please. 

3. And that's pretty much it, but points one and two looked lonely. 

Here are some of the things I ate during my most recent gluten-free carb-loading extravaganza. 

My favorite chocolate milkshake taste-alike, made with spinach, dates, bananas, and cocoa. Recipe here

The fruit-shake stache tells me that this dude was happy to participate in carb loading. He also votes to never end carb loading. 

We scarfed loads of oatmeal. I make mine the cheater way by boiling water in the tea kettle and pouring it over a bowl of oats and letting it stand until done. Then I never burn it, and I don't have to stand around stirring. And I avoid the whole will-I-get-cancer-from-putting-this-in-the-microwave question.  

This was leftover mash. The rice and meatball-ish type things were leftovers, and I added fresh avocado. Here's the recipe that provided the meatball inspiration. I didn't follow it exactly, but it gave me a starting point. Instead of beef and sausage, I used ground turkey, plus I added some oats for extra carbs.

Grits with beet and sweet potato hash were not a huge family hit. You can tell by the way my son looks super into it. My daughter was the only one who didn't act like she was going to die from disgust while eating the hash, but I personally loved it. Plus, it was carb-y. 

This was my desperate attempt at a pre-race meal from Kroger when I found out that Greenville, MS, has basically nowhere to eat except McDonald's. 

That brown rice bowl turned out to be much tastier than I thought when I first spotted it while standing in the frozen food section at 8 p.m. before my marathon, completely desperate for food. I ended up not eating the avocado and only eating some of the carrots, but I scarfed everything else plus some not-pictured corn chips.

I get to experiment with my new non-rules rules again starting today because I'll be running my hometown Mercedes Marathon this weekend. Really looking forward to having some fun running with my brother and other friends.

What's your favorite carb-loading food? 

Do you try to stay away from fiber before a race? 

What do you typically eat the night before a race if you are traveling? I realized too late that I should have planned better. Greenville was a super small town, and I should have researched eating there before we blazed into town right before the expo closed and the town went to bed.


  1. This was really interesting to read..I'm always wondering how the GF people do it when it comes to carb loading. Stealing some of your recipes, too!

  2. I ate plenty of burned oatmeal growing up...not the best. I had to add extra sugar. ;) Now I make it in the microwave every day...and now I am worried about cancer after reading this!

    I do not stay away from fiber before runs. I like to keep everything as normal as possible, although I have never run more than 13.1 miles so maybe I will have to think differently about carb loading when I start running longer.

    1. Probably if you don't stare at it while it's in the microwave like I do, you're safe. The rotating plate hypnotizes me.

  3. Replies
    1. I needed your help finding a good place to eat in Greenville!

  4. I don't necessarily stay away from fiber but I'm sure I don't get much of it since I'm paying attention to getting enough carbs. And my favourite carbs are pizza the night before and quinoa oatmeal in the morning. Tons of energy and then some!

  5. Does beer count as carb loading? haha I like to eat breads/pastas/fruits/veggies..... I don't usually try to avoid fiber, but I do try to avoid foods that I KNOW are full of fiber but that make me gassy (see: beans).

  6. Good Luck, my first is Sunday in jacksonville. Nervous, excited, anxious all at the same time

  7. I have been racing for a year without any breads, grains or legumes. I use fruit and protein powder and nuts. It's worked out great. Almond butter on a banana and fruit crushers from Trader Joes just before I start. I have no bloating and no stoppage problems. Good luck with your race!

  8. Is this a BQ attempt???

    I made the most amazing porridge/oatmeal this morning, I was so proud of it. I used milk instead of just water, it was worlds better!!! And then there's flapjack...you should try it for fuelling, although not before a race!

  9. Looks like your healthy eating is working for you. I love avo with everything, so delicious. I soak my oats in milk for a few hours, avoids the need to cook them too, pouring boiling water over is a good option too. My fav way to carbo load is oats, fruit and nuts.

  10. Good luck this week, sounds like it will be a fun race!

  11. Pizza (or a huge plate of pasta)!!!

  12. I love pizza for carb loading or any time really. Looks like gluten free is working well for you!

  13. I like a veggie pizza and no more than 2 beers before a half marathon. I find that the beer helps in some way! Go figure!

  14. I always made my oat meal that way! it never microwaves the same texture!!!! But sadly, my gluten free diet wont allow me to consume even the gluten-free certified oatmeal as of yet. but heres to hoping i can put that back in my life soon!

    My carbo-loading on my gluten-free/wheat allergy diet has been a lot of Russel baked potatoes, peanutbutter toast, spaghetti and pizza. Not a fan of rice or stir fry or cooked veggies right now. Any ideas for carbo-loading lunches/dinners? I end up eating a lot of snacks throughout the day to help my hypoglycemia such as applesauce, yogurt, strawberries/blueberries/grapes, KIND or LUNA bars, carrots, hummus or guacamole, salsa & tortia chips and bananas....and cookies. they are hurting my sugar levels but hey- gluten free is punishment enough and i'm still underweight from malnutrition and inability to absorb nutrients so I GET THE COOKIES.


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