Sunday I had another 20-miler on the schedule and decided to reverse my usual route to avoid getting caught in the climate change march. Perhaps to underscore the theme of the demonstration, the weather had turned unseasonably muggy and I was eager to get an early start.
My run started with a loop of Central Park, then south along the Hudson River Greenway, over the Brooklyn Bridge, and up to Prospect Park. The uphill climb from the bridge was a bit of a slog, but when I got to Prospect I felt like a new person. I was at 17 miles at that point, and I decided to run the full loop and finished on the uphill, just for added fun. I was about 2 miles from home when I finished, but my legs still felt pretty good and I decided to keep running the rest of the way. I have to say that cutting the ‘unknown’ mileage on race day from 6 miles to 4 seems huge psychologically. We’re T minus four weeks to Baltimore, and I think I’m actually more excited than scared.
Now for the smoothie that fueled all those miles… My go-to recipe has evolved and over the years I’ve tweaked it to really optimize for long run fueling. The basis is black cherries, which have amazing anti-inflammatory properties. The anthocyanins they contain protect connective tissue and may actually be more effective than aspirin as a pain reliever. A few years ago I started using peach instead of banana for a little sweetness, as it’s lower in sugar and also high in potassium. I recently replaced whey protein with gelatin, which has been getting lots of play in paleo circles recently. In addition to providing about 6g protein per tablespoon, gelatin also protects joints and aids digestion. The ginger root has been my latest tweak, both for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its stomach-settling abilities. For the liquid component I usually go with almond milk, but depending on your run pace and ability to digest fat on a run, you can swap in coconut milk.
I know there are a million paleo smoothie ideas out there, but I think this is worth adding to the mix:
Modernist Cavegirl’s Paleo Long Run Smoothie
1/3 – 1/2 cup frozen black cherries
1/3 -1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 of one frozen peach, sliced
1/4 cup full-fat yogurt (if you abstain from dairy, throw in more peach for texture)
1 tbsp gelatin
~1/4″ – 1/2″ grated ginger root (I keep it in the freezer)
1/2 – 3/4 cup coconut or almond milk
Throw the ingredients through ginger root into a blender with about half of the coconut or almond milk. Slowly blend, adding more liquid until desired consistency is reached.