“I drank my half a gallon of beet juice this morning.”
I said this nonchalantly about one-mile into this weekend’s 19-mile run.
My pacer. My training buddy. My husband. I love to shock him.
“Ha!” I smile.
“Not actually a half a gallon,” I interrupted, “but it felt and tasted like half a gallon.”
Over the gravely hills and through the shaded woods, we continued on miles 82-100 for the week.
One more mile easy before two sets of two miles at tempo pace, 6:15.
“It was about two cups, probably a little less.” And I told him of my plan to experiment with eating more beets and beet juice in these ten days before my half marathon next weekend.
Then we began my first two miles at tempo.
Just my labored breathing.
Two miles done.
Three minutes rest.
So, I quickly explained how after posting this Instagram pic…
…a high school runner-friend messaged me about whether I thought the beets actually help increase stamina in endurance running. Some studies have shown that perhaps the nitrates in the beets may increase nitric oxide in the body, increasing oxygenation of the blood. Hum? Who knows? Maybe?
Three minutes up and I’m off again. This time I start off having to power up a huge hill.
“Hills are like moving one legged squats,” I remind myself. Doesn’t make the hill any less unpleasant.
Crest the hill and start the down.
He stops his Fattie which, he says, rides perfectly on the soggy and soft, wet gravel.
The downhill must be good. He captures me in almost mid-smirk.
Two more tempo miles done. Pace is a little off but we chalk that up to the incessant hills.
Time for nine miles a bit more relaxed. We settle in.
My Garmin refused to load satellites this morning. Broken after several years and countless miles. So I’m running blind for pace, but I have a pretty good feel for what my paces should be. He keeps track from the bike anyway. We chat about vacation plans, my new-found favorite culinary skill of lacto-fermentation, and that makes me think of those beets again.
Oh yeah, my plan is to eat or drink two beets worth every day for 10 days leading up to this coming Saturday, when I have a half marathon. I’ll use a combination of Biotta Beet Juice because it’s quick and easy and I can find it at the store. And I’ll of course use my own beet crop for salads, roasted beets, lacto-fermented “pickled” beets, and maybe even a beet desert or two.
Wow, those nine miles went too fast. We hit mile 15; time for the final four miles of 19 at race pace.
Those miles are hard. I’m not smirking in the least. I do notice that whether or not the beets, after three days of increased consumption, help a whole lot, they sure don’t seem to hurt. My stomach feels good. I get myself over the final five hills and finish out the last four miles hard. 19 miles in 2:15, an average of 7:05 per mile.
Long run, done.
Second one-hundred mile week, done.
Ready to see how hard I can race a half in a week.
Bring on the beets.
Beet recipe ideas:
Have a favorite beet recipe, please share in a comment below…