Friday, April 4, 2008

Pre-Race Meal

Just 10 days left to the BIG DAY...April 13th is looming fast and I am starting to feel like I have recovered from the skiing holiday.. I am meant to be at the peak of my fitness and I managed to do a 7 mile run yesterday, with 3 x 1.6 miles really fast, but I am having the old negative thoughts that always creep in at about this stage before a marathon...Have I done enough training? Should I have done more long runs? Why, oh why did I go skiing 2 weeks beforehand? I know I can run 26 miles, I've done it three times before, but can I do it under 3 hrs 40 and can I keep the pace steady so that I don't blow up at mile 18? Only time will tell and I'll just have to leave it to careful pre-race preparation and fate now. I'll do a separate post on my pre-race prep and my race day strategy tomorrow.

I think I have decided what to eat the night before the marathon - Spaghetti, toasted pine nuts, basil and parmesan pesto topped with pancetta. I tried it out last night and it was not only delicious, but also dead quick and easy to prepare for a group of people (I think we will be about 6 or 7), it is foolproof, easy on the stomach, very calorific ( good calories, however) and full of goodness and slow-burning carbohydrates - guaranteed to make you sleep like a baby and run faster the next day (I hope!). We also had some very tasty oven-roasted peppers as a starter. Peppers are a great source of antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin A, fibre, lycopene and folic acid and we try to eat them as often as we can (in fact, my son steals them from the fridge and eats them like an apple). We then had a fruit salad for pudding. What a healthy meal!

Oven-roasted peppers - serves 4
4 red peppers, or a mixture or yellow, orange and red peppers cut in half with seeds removed (count on one pepper (i.e. two halves) per person)
4 medium tomatoes, diced (or some Sugocasa)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4-6 anchovies, chopped finely
basil leaves
black pepper (no salt needed because of the anchovies)
extra virgin olive oil and good balsamic vinegar
  1. Place some tomato, garlic, chopped basil and anchovies into each 1/2 pepper (I did not have any tomatoes last night, so I used a dollop of Sainsbury's Sugocasa in each pepper and that was really delicious)
  2. Add about two tablespoons of olive oil to the peppers and some black pepper and place in a really hot oven (about 220 C)
  3. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until soft and caramelised (they should be going a little black around the edges to be at their best)
  4. Take out of the oven, sprinkle over some fresh basil leaves, some more black pepper and and a little balsamic vinegar (you could also add some feta cheese here) and eat, scooping up the juices with some chunks of crusty bread.
Spaghetti, toasted pine nuts, basil and parmesan pesto topped with pancetta - serves 4
400g spaghetti
pot of pesto (I used Sainsbury's Taste the Difference pesto last night which I really liked)
lots of fresh basil leaves
50g pine nuts
parmesan shavings
pack of pancetta or smoked bacon cubes
  1. Gently roast the pinenuts in the oven until golden (180 C for about 5 minutes) - keep checking them as they are really easy to burn.
  2. Cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions.
  3. Meanwhile saute the bacon and warm the pot of pesto.
  4. When the spaghetti is cooked, spoon it into a big bowl with a pasta spoon. Add a ladle of the cooking water to stop it sticking. Add the pesto, tear in a couple of big handfuls of basil leaves, add the pine nuts, some black pepper and as much parmesan as you want and toss the spaghetti. Top with the pancetta, some parmesan shavings and a few more basil leaves and serve. It looks really attractive in a big bowl in the centre of the table. (Sorry no photo!) Let people add more parmesan and black pepper to taste.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused by you call your spaghetti meal slow burning as I do not see your recipe calling for whole wheat pasta. If you use white pasta than you consuming easy to digest starch that hits your blood system almost as quickly as drinking sugar water, except the vegetables and cheese in the dish will slow the absorption down a bit. If you want to eat something that absorbs slowly I suggest you eat whole grain products.

foodierunner said...

I hear what you are saying, and yes, generally I would always go for the whole grain option. However, the great thing about pasta (whether white or whole wheat)is that it has a low glycaemic index, which means that it will produce a gradual, sustained rise in blood sugar levels, unlike drinking sugar water, which will hit your blood system very rapidly. My aim for Saturday night is to eat something that is high in slow-burning carbohydrate, low in fibre and easy to digest so that I can get a good night's sleep. I always try to avoid too much fibre the night before a marathon and this is why I will choose to eat a good quality white pasta on Saturday night.