Chill Saturday + Pre-Race Stuff

February 17, 2024

Calm before the storm . . .

Tomorrow features my half marathon, 2 soccer games, and probably a lot of rain. Today featured a short li’l shakeout run, a soccer tournament game (C’s team WON 2-1 and he scored one of the goals! Wins have been scarce this year so very exciting when they happen!), and will include piano (G) and a lot of carbohydrate-eating.

he’s on the right with the ball — this ended up being a goal!

Meghann Featherstun’s carb loading calculator is interesting – it suggests a 3 day carb load (375g/day) for me if my goal time is >1:40 and just a 1 day carb load (same amount!) if the goal time is <1:40.

I guess I feel like in an ideal world, I would run ~1:43-5ish and don’t feel like those extra 3-5 minutes would warrant 2 extra high carb days so . . .I went with the 1 day option.

(If I bonk at mile 12.7, I guess we will all know why!!)

I do not generally count any calories or macros but for today I am trying to count up the carbs just to see. 375g carbs is indeed a lot of carbohydrates! So far I have had:

  • pre-run animal crackers (24g)
  • an orgain protein shake (usually Josh drinks these and I opt for Core Power which is lower in carbohydate but I took one of his today! 28g)
  • 1/2 Dave’s Killer Bread bagel with jam (36g)
  • a whole bunch of pretzels (60g)

That is a lot of carbs still to go. Plan on drinking some Skratch and doing pizza for dinner (maybe will eat less cheese / more crust for GI purposes) and likely many more pretzels. I also have a box of thin mints in the freezer to use strategically.

(I don’t recall every doing a purposeful carb load. It isn’t really THAT important for a half, I don’t think. Generally people have enough glycogen on board to run a half as long as they are not depleted. But I have been observing that when you have actively circulating sugar it is easier to go faster – I notice that with my gels during speedwork. Given this, I want to go in with stores tanked up + I am planning a gel at the start and hopefully 3 during the race if I feel like I can tolerate them!).

((PS: I ran a marathon in 2009 with A PIECE OF GRANOLA BAR AND 1.5 GELS as my fuel. Because . . . gels are weakness? Because during your goal race is a great time to conserve calories? I don’t know, but I suspect those last 6 miles would have gone much better had I not been totally clueless about that. Also back then no hobby runners had ‘race shoes’ and I ran in a clunky pair of ASICS Nimbus. Here is my vintage race report!!))

There is no athlete tracking for my race (other than checking the results once those are up) but I will definitely pop in during the day at some point with a race report. Excited just to make it to the start line!

Oh, and here’s the latest weather:

Kind of annoying since EVERY DAY AFTER THAT next week features a gorgeous morning, but could also be worse (last year was!).


  • Reply Coree February 17, 2024 at 1:06 pm

    Enjoy it! I feel like carb loading merits something more exciting that pretzels – a big croissant or something.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 17, 2024 at 1:17 pm

      Ideally you want your carb load to be more carbs and less fat so croissant not totally ideal … more like bagels, soft pretzels, pasta with sauce, rice, potatoes …

  • Reply Elisabeth February 17, 2024 at 1:16 pm

    Agreed with Coree! What’s your favourite food and go big on that!!! (Or maybe it is pretzels, in which case ENJOY!)

    Good luck tomorrow. How the weather cooperates, your body feels amazing, and you just love the experience from start to finish <3

  • Reply Sophie February 17, 2024 at 2:05 pm

    Loved reading your vintage race report and having a glimpse of your life pre-kids, so young and free haha!
    Good luck tomorrow!

  • Reply Louise February 17, 2024 at 3:30 pm

    Good luck tomorrow! I would be interested in a future post about your overall nutrition strategy now vs your old marathon days. I know you had to decrease running significantly to get your cycle back before having A. Curious about what you do differently now! And congratulations!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 17, 2024 at 5:17 pm

      Hmm interesting question! Definitely more protein. More fuel during long runs. More intentionality around eating in general and thinking of how it can support my running goals. But I also feel like pregnancy seemed to “reset” me (once it finally happened!) where I was not prone to the same hormonal disruptions.

  • Reply coco February 17, 2024 at 4:24 pm

    I have organic protein powder everyday for my oatmeal. It’s my favorite protein powder. Glad to hear Josh likes it too. I’t higher in carbs but blends much better in hot oatmeal than whey protein.
    woo chances of raining seems high. that would be a bummer but nothing else you can do.
    carb loading.. its interesting to see what others carb load. I don’t think I can do well with pizza as I’m not sure to it and always feel it sit in my stomach for ages. I do carb load with my usual carbs like oatmeal, sweet potato, vegetable dumplings, or toast.
    Good luck tomorrow!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 17, 2024 at 4:39 pm

      I actually kind of want it to rain – I’m more worried about overheating !!!

  • Reply Elizabeth February 17, 2024 at 4:48 pm

    Good luck tomorrow, Sarah!! You’ve worked SO hard and so, regardless of conditions and results, I hope you’ll be proud of the effort you’ve made to get to race day.

    AND I hope you’re happy with how it goes!! You’ve got this!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 17, 2024 at 5:15 pm

      Thank you! You’re right, the actual numbers don’t matter. I just want to put in a solid effort, and at the end of the day that’s the whole point anyway (not like I’m gonna win 🤪)

  • Reply Lori C February 17, 2024 at 5:05 pm

    Have fun, relax, enjoy every minute of the race. You got this!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 17, 2024 at 5:15 pm

      Thank you!!!!

  • Reply Lani Inlander February 17, 2024 at 5:47 pm

    Enjoy it all!!!

  • Reply Heather February 17, 2024 at 6:33 pm

    My pre race meal is always sushi. It has never failed me.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 17, 2024 at 8:18 pm

      I am regretting my choice of pizza right now but I have used that in the past with success! Maybe next time sushi . . .

  • Reply J February 17, 2024 at 8:21 pm

    I hope you have a great run tomorrow, with perfect weather and the exact right amount of carbs.

  • Reply Suzanne February 17, 2024 at 9:34 pm

    This was fascinating to read — I feel like my understanding of “carb loading” is based purely on Michael Scott’s fettuccine alfredo binge in the race episode of The Office, so it’s nice to see a more accurate depiction. Hope your race goes smoothly and you feel great the whole time!

  • Reply Cate February 18, 2024 at 7:49 am

    I feel like Philly runners know that pretzels are the way to go. Good luck!

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