Food in Marathon Training

Training for the NYC Marathon means that I receive weekly emails on tidbits that I might benefit by being aware of from the NYRR club in NYC. The messages are welcome and they always get me to thinking if not doing. A recent snippet of news reminded me about my nutritional needs. I’ve always had a weird relationship with food. I’ve always based it on my father’s “eat today while you’ve got it” philosophy. This comes from a man who grew up in severe poverty in Puerto Rico during World War II. He has his skewed but generous version of “the more you eat the better things are”- this all coming from one of the thinnest men I know. Healthy thin, that is.  Fate and hard work being an incredible combination, until now, I’ve always had a plate in front of me at meal times.

I also dealt with a grandmother who pushed food into me until I screamed; ‘Nelson!’ Growing up knowing where I belonged on the food triangle wasn’t easy. My weight has fluctuated over the years.  I’m the person who can’t eat when upset. Those pictures that show me at my most elegant were probably taken when I was most miserable. I’ve worked hard to change all this.

Recently, as I’ve prepared for the 26.2 mile run that could be sheer agony based on not enough nutrients I’ve dug deeper for information. But by accident I happened to watch a television segment of Dr. Oz’s TV presentation on binge eating. Binge eating, is on the spectrum of eating disorders, where one indulges beyond any sense of control.  It may not be savvy to admit but I usually pass his shows up. I’m always troubled by people who are experts on every topic in the universe. I understand he has intelligence, education and loads of staff supporting this knowledge base, but I still change the channel. This time I was caught unaware. There on my flat screen were photos of a dead person’s humongous purple black stomach exposed during an autopsy. The scan of a pre and post binge stomach was awful but not as bad as the looks of terror on a mother-daughter team Dr. Oz brought in to process a severe disorder in a few minutes in front of America. Where is Jerry Springer when you need him? Dr. Oz apparently thought scare tactics would best serve the two and used this macabre intervention. I’ve had a terrible time eating since seeing these photos. I think I may have been traumatized. The pictures of the scans and autopsy flash before me often whenever I sit to eat a meal.

Since I’m training for the NYC Marathon, I have to eat more than usual to keep my body functioning but these days I am literally stopped by the helpful issues that continue to flash across my mind’s eye when I sit to eat. I am usually on the well side of things- I’m not so sure this time. The idea of carbo-loading prior to long runs and a marathon work well with my father’s refrain of “eat today for tomorrow” but I hope I don’t inadvertently turn on a segment of Dr. Oz before November 4th or maybe ever again. I’m grateful for some sense of self and for my Dad who relented on my second plate for the first time only last week. I may be in need of not only the ‘18 miler tune-up’ but a ‘psychotherapy tune-up’ before this is all over.