Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

On the eve of Thanksgiving, it's that time of year when many of us reflect on our lives and the people and events of the past year, and think about what we're thankful for. Perhaps fittingly then, it was sometime in the last few weeks that Kelli asked me if—with my ankle injury and being forced to withdraw from the Virgil Crest ultra—I was disappointed with this year's ultra trail racing season. Absolutely not.

Every athlete faces injury and setbacks at various points in their career or life. It just goes with the territory. And while the timing of my ankle injury in the month preceding my biggest and most important ultra of the year was certainly unfortunate, when I reflect on the 2012 season there is much to be thankful for:

  • I completed my most aggressive year of trail running to date, with 8 races and 7 finishes
  • I set a first-time personal record (PR) at the 50k distance
  • I set a new PR for the 50-mile distance on a mountain course
  • I won my age group at the Long Island Making Tracks for Celiacs 5k
  • Prior to my ankle injury, I consistently finished in the top 10 to 20% at races
  • I exorcised old demons, finishing the Bimbler's Bluff course at which I DNF'd last year
  • I set a new PR for trail running mileage - my year-to-date total stands at 1,094 miles as of today
  • I further dialed in my gluten-free training and race nutrition
How could I possibly lament my ankle injury and the Virgil Crest DNF with all those positives staring me in the face?

A number of wide-ranging factors made this very positive year possible. A few of them are worthy to note here, since they're relevant to gluten-free nutrition:
  • I switched from eating primarily white potatoes to mostly eating sweet potatoes, in part for their lower glycemic index and their status as an excellent source of gluten-free carbohydrates
  • I switched from eating primarily Thai jasmine rice to mostly eating Indian basmati rice, again for the lower glycemic index
  • I incorporated First Endurance gluten-free products into my race nutrition, especially the Electrolyte Fuel System drink, EFS Liquid Shot, and Ultragen
  • I paid much closer attention to my pre-training, race morning, during, and recovery nutrition windows
Looking ahead to the coming weeks, months, and year, I'm terribly excited about more great things ahead. In the meantime, though, I'm ready to feast on all sorts of delectable gluten-free delights this Thanksgiving, ranging from the brined turkey and gravy, to the mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and apple pie.

If you happen to be looking for a tasty recipe or two for dessert this year, might I suggest:
Finally, what are you thankful for this year? Whether it was a friend or family member who surprised you with the care they took to prepare a safe gluten-free meal for you, or a coworker who made sure that the office party had a gluten-free option, or anything else, who are the people that made your gluten-free life a little extra special?


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