200 miles of training later, the day finally came, and I was ready to embark on the longest run I have ever gone on. I have always been an avid gym-goer and I’ve run a few 5Ks, but the half marathon was something I really had to train for in order to accomplish.
Since early on in the summer, I bumped up my mileage every week and continued to stick with my training schedule when I got to back to school, thrilled to be running through Boston and finally hoping that I had an excuse to find my way through the neighborhoods a little better, considering I have the worst sense of direction.
After getting lost a few times during training and ravenously devouring post-run meals, I was ready to run. I had never run more than 11 miles, and I had a perfect playlist ready to jam out to while enjoying the Boston scenery along the way. And what better way to enjoy the run than to dream about food?
Mile 1 – The Perfect Pre-Race Breakfast
Being the health nut that I am, and since I’m the kind of person that has to have everything planned out 6 weeks ahead of time, I was thinking about the perfect pre-race breakfast recommendations that I found while researching and hoping that I wouldn’t get hungry during the race.
I had eaten a bagel with peanut butter, half a banana, and a KIND bar sporadically between 5:30 and 7:30 that morning, and I was wondering whether I should have finished the banana, or if I should have had oatmeal or an apple instead. But I was feeling full and confident and pumped to be starting the race, so no regrets.
Mile 2 – Mexicali Turkey Burger
Thinking about the perfect pre-race meal made me dream a little bit about the dinner I had the night before as fuel for the morning. Not a huge pasta lover, I opted not to carbo load in that sense, as I hadn’t eaten pasta almost at all since I started training in July.
I figured choosing a dinner that was similar to how I’ve been eating was the best decision, and I ended up loving the Mexicali Turkey Burger at Back Deck, a trendy backyard-feeling restaurant in Downtown Crossing.
Mile 3 – The Best Summer Foods
When one of the songs that’s been on my running playlist since the summer came on right as I was just starting to warm up from the sun finally rising and from getting further into the run, I dreamt about all the best summer foods that I wish were still in season. I can always go for some grilled veggies, BBQs, watermelon, or fresh-picked berries.
Mile 4 – Pineapple and Mango Smoothie
A refreshing smoothie was sounding pretty good by this point in the run. I found myself trying to concoct new recipes in my mind and hoping I would remember them afterwards (which I didn’t, of course) and I remembered how good the pineapple and mango smoothie was that I treated myself to at the gym the day before the race.
Mile 5 – S’mores Crêpe
While thinking about how crazy it was that I was literally running on 4 hours of sleep, I remembered how I got in bed early, but the excitement and anticipation kept me up. At that point, my health-nut mindset was slipping away and I could have really gone for the s’mores crêpe I saw in a Snapchat Story the night before when I was supposed to be asleep by 9:00, but in reality, I was stalking food Instagrams and social media every 5 minutes until I fell asleep.
Mile 6 – Guacamole
And then there was the dream about guacamole… Because that’s a pretty standard food to dream about at any time, whether I’m in bed or hungry during class or running through Boston.
Mile 7 – An Endless Supply of Sweet Potatoes
Halfway through the run, I started to dream about an endless supply of sweet potatoes. Not only is it my favorite food, but the perfect Boston backdrop as I ran past Jamaica Pond was a breathtaking view and I couldn’t help but want to get in the spirit of autumn with baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Mile 8 – Peanut Butter
As I started to get a little hungry, I thought about my go-to: Peanut butter. A huge jar of it. Simple as that. With a spoon, with a fork, licking the jar clean… I didn’t care as long as there was peanut butter in front of me in excessive amounts.
Mile 9 – Iced Tea
Even though I had my water bottle belt strapped onto my back and attempted to sip the cups of water handed out every few miles, the amount of water that didn’t end up down my shirt, on the ground, or up my nose was minimal. I was thirsty and hot and in need of a sweet, refreshing iced tea.
Mile 10 – An Unnecessarily Elaborate Dessert
At the hardest leg of the race, I could have easily eaten an unnecessarily elaborate dessert: Lava cake, ice cream sundae with chocolate chips, M&M’s, Reese’s… You name it.
Hey, everyone needs a little distraction when the finish line feels too far away, and everyone who trains for anything and then attains that goal has a total right to bask in the glory and treat yo’self.
Mile 11 – Raising Cane’s
The remembered smell of Cane’s at the end of my longest training run came back to me as I clocked in at 11 miles. I’m not a huge fan of greasy food, but the combination of the smell memory and the thought of a huge bucket of fries seemed like it would rock.
Mile 12 – Superfood Succotash at Brunch
As the end came closer, I thought of everything on the menu at Trophy Room, where my family had reservations for brunch once I crossed the finish line. Knowing that brunch was in my near future, I dreamt of the Superfood Succotash that I was going to order and how amazing the combination of sweet potatoes, edamame, eggs, and toast sounded.
Mile 13 – Salted Popcorn
As I ran through the Franklin Park Zoo during the last mile, I thought about the giraffes and birds and ostriches I saw and was feeling the adrenaline too much to focus entirely on food. But looking back, after exerting that much energy and sweating that much, I could have really gone for something salty, and what’s a better spectator snack at the zoo than salted popcorn?
The Final Stretch (.1 Mile)
In the last minute of the race, I don’t think anything was on my mind at all. For the little bit of time remaining, I dreamt of nothing and I focused entirely on my name being called by the announcer and the fact that I had just accomplished something huge that I had worked towards. I just ran 13.1 miles, and I deserved to eat whatever I could dream of.