"Hey, Sam, want some french fries?" the sadistic critic asked.
He then opened the bag and our whole pod smelled like a deep fryer -- in a good way.
I begged off the fries. It was hard. I was hungry. Suddenly, the baby carrots and raisins I had squirreled away for a mid-afternoon snack seemed so, well, so paltry and unsatisfying.
But I had to be vigilant. My marathon in Eugene is in 12 days and I have started tapering. That means, for the uninitiated, a steady reduction of mileage. For me, that means dropping from 57 mileage last week to 41 this week and then down to about 30 next week, the last before the race.
You always hear how people love, love, love tapering. All that hard work and brutal 20-milers over the winter months is behind you, etc. But aside from my customary anxiety about getting injured in the last two weeks, the marathon taper means that I've really got to watch what I'm eating.
I'm weighing in at what, based on past experience, my optimal racing weight should be: 143 pounds. I haven't been "dieting" during my 20-week marathon build up, just eating about the same as always. With the increased training volume, though, nearing 60 miles most weeks, plus swimming for cross trainnig, I've dropped a few pounds simply because I've been expending more calories than I've ingested.
During peak weeks, I ate ... and ate ... and ate. Not the deliciously bad stuff -- like my daughter's penchant for baking chocolate chip cookies -- but generous amounts of complex carbohydrates, fats and lean protein. I've been having an intense love affair with peanut butter sandwiches for weeks now. (Side note: It's weird, in every marathon training cycle, I have different food cravings; kind of reminds me of women who report craving different foods with each pregnancy.)
The point is, now that my training volume has been reduced, pre-marathon, I've got to make sure I don't keep eating at the same rate as before.
If I were to eat in the next 12 days as I did in the previous 12 during heavy training, then I'd probably go into the marathon weighing about three pounds more than what I'm at now. Lugging those extra three pounds over 26 miles takes a toll, you know.
So the fries and chocolate chip cookies will have to wait -- until at least May 3.
The marathon is all about delayed gratification. So we know the drill.