I recently spent a week trail running in the Alps and it made me think about food as fuel rather than as a pleasure. Of course you can still have delicious and nutritious running fuel, but it requires a lot of planning, especially when you are away from home. We were staying in a mini chalet with a double ring hob and a mini microwave/oven (similar to what we have in the Paris flat). We travelled by train so could carry very little of our own food and the nearest supermarket was 10 miles away and we knew we would have to lug any fresh vegetables we wanted in our sweaty back packs. I’m basically trying to justify why I failed so miserably at fueling up in a macrobiotic way, and I would love to hear of any tips for macrobiotic recipes, which compliment extreme sports with as little preparation as posisble.
I feel completely at home in the mountains and for me this is what life is about. Fresh air, freedom, simplicity, and you can’t argue with the views (our campsite is in the bottom of this picture).
So on day one we grabbed a warm croissant from the campsite bakery and then sipped on Miso soup with extra seaweed, now there’s balance for you. We decided to run to the nearest big town, which was 10 miles away. And so off we bounded with our sloshing Camelbaks and gooey energy bars. We ran through the woods with the soft moss flying up around our enthusiastic faces. We crossed dry river beds and clambered down landslides. We stopped in mountain villages to take water from the public fountains and dipped our fingers in the glacial river water.
We ran and ran and felt full of life, but there is only so much running you can do on a croissant and a Miso soup and for the last three miles all I could think about was food. Food becomes fuel when doing distances like these and if we were to make it back we had to eat large. Of course a bowl of steaming brown rice and Kale doused in Shoyu would have gone down a treat and given us the slow burning energy we needed for the return journey, but if I have found it hard to source this in Paris then there was almost no point looking in our mountain town. We were lucky to find a restaurant open in low season and there was little choice. It was either French bread with cheese and ham or Pizza (which is after all the same thing but flat).
After two hours of resting and fueling up we headed back. We probably ran about 13 miles of the 20 mile round-trip. It was a fantastic feeling but a bit excessive on our first day. I could hardly walk for the rest of the week, let alone run – although we did do something every day (I count ping pong as something by the way).
Anyway we were very active all week and we consumed a lot of French bread, red wine and croissants (and an obligatory Tartiflette). I was wondering how I could have made this more macrobiotic. I enjoyed my Miso soup each day but I could have cooked brown rice each evening, and made energy bars with maple syrup for running, and I should have brought some quinoa or millet with me to make salads and burgers. I could have easily packed some pumpkin seeds, but all this involves planning and I am not too good at that.
We were careful with our water supplies and buying the right trainers to support our ankles, but I think a little more preparation on the food side of things would have helped us feel even higher than we did when we reached Les Deux Alpes. Something for me to work on.