Lake Serene Hiking and Marathon Nutrition

Lake Serene {Life Lately July 2} | This Runner's Recipes

Happy Thursday, friends! I’m kicking off the Fourth of July weekend by participating with the awesome people at Nuun Hydration in a virtual 10K today. Wish me luck! What are your holiday weekend plans?

Run Ride Hydrate {Life Lately July 2} | This Runner's Recipes

Last weekend Ryan and I hit up our local REI to buy some more hiking gear. We are both outdoorsy people and enjoy hiking quite a lot. We even went hiking in Turkey Run State Park for our honeymoon back in September. Charlie loves hiking also, so it’s a great family activity that gets us all exercise and fresh air. Hiking in Washington requires much more technical gear than hiking in Indiana did, so we bought a new backpack, hiking shorts for both of us, and some GUs (for running, but more on marathon fueling in a bit). I plan to write a post soon on what hiking gear I use, since I am in love with all of it and a few readers have asked me about my hiking boots.

REI {Life Lately July 2} | This Runner's Recipes

On Saturday, after Ryan and I headed to the gym to do our respective workouts (8 easy miles for me), we dined on oatmeal pancakes, eggs, and coffee, and then packed up for our hike! We headed to the same trailhead as we took last week to see Bridal Veil Falls, but instead we took Lake Serene hiking trail.

Lake Serene {Life Lately July 2} | This Runner's Recipes

Lake Serene is an alpine lake in the Cascades that actually flows into Bridal Veil Falls. This 7 mile round-trip hike included climbing over rocks, stairs over steep areas, and a rather steep incline (roughly a 2200 foot gain, with most of on the gain over 2 miles). This was one of our most challenging hikes yet, in part because of the heat advisory that most of the PNW was under (it was in the 90s in the nearby town of Gold Bar).

Even with the heat, every careful step up the rocks and every ounce of effort was worth it when we finally arrived at Lake Serene. This lake was gorgeous, as if it had been created by the words of one of the Transcendentalists like Emerson or Thoreau. The water was cool and incredibly clear (and even safe to drink, although only Charlie imbibed.)

Lake Serene {Life Lately July 2} | This Runner's Recipes

Charlie is a strange dog (except don’t tell him that, he thinks he is a human and my baby) and detests the water. We made him swim a bit (on leash) while we waded in the water. He was not a happy puggle.

Lake Serene {Life Lately July 2} | This Runner's Recipes

After spending an hour at Lake Serene and enjoying a light lunch by the water, we began the hike down. Since it was so steep and technical, the hike down took as long as the hike up (about 2 and a half hours up, 2 hours and some change down). Charlie got back at us for coercing him into the water by manipulating us. He pretended to be tired until Ryan started to carry him. As soon as he was in Ryan’s arms, Charlie got the most satisfied smile on his face—the same grin he gets when he receives a piece of chicken or pushes my Macbook off my lap so he can sit there.

Gold Bar (the town nearest to Lake Serene/Bridal Veil Falls) has some amazing little food stands along the road. A giant cup of water (to which I promptly added some Nuun, which tasted extra good because of the heat) and a natural all-beef hot dog tasted heavenly after our 5+ hour hike.

Post-hike Nuun {Life Lately July 2} | This Runner's Recipes

After a hard and hot hike on Saturday, we completely vegetated spent Sunday binge-watching the second, third, and fourth Terminator movies. We’ve already bought our tickets to see Terminator: Genisys on Friday. I can’t explain my love of action movie series, because there’s some I can’t stand and will never watch (Mad Max, Fast & Furious, Bourne movies) and then there’s some I absolutely love (Marvel & Avengers, Star Wars, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, X-Men). Being super-lazy on Sundays is the only way I’ve found to squeeze hiking and a long run into the weekend without being too sore for Monday’s speed work.

Proper nutrition and sufficient fueling are always essential for me, but they have become even more important as I’ve begun marathon training and we’ve started adding harder hikes to our weekends. Last week I learned that a long run and a several hour hard hike in one day will leave me very hungry and my energy will drop very quickly if I don’t have enough calories and nutrients. I certainly want to avoid marathon weight gain, but I also don’t want to deprive myself and get injured or sick because I’m under-fueled.

I’m also researching more about carbo-loading and the best sources of carbs to take in before a long run and eventually the Portland Marathon. I don’t eat a lot of gluten in my diet, but I also do not avoid it and have a few servings and keep it whole wheat (usually in the form of some sort of homemade bread) a week. I try to instead eat lots of fruits, vegetables (especially sweet potatoes), and gluten-free grains like oats and brown rice to get plenty of carbohydrates and lots of nutritional variety. Still, in the day or so before a race, I tend to cut back on fibrous vegetables and eat more gluten (and from more refined sources like regular flour instead of whole wheat).

Lately, I’ve read some interesting articles (including the one on marathon training in the July Runner’s World, but I think the article in available in print only) on how gluten before a race may not be the best choice, since even for people like me who can tolerate gluten for no problem, it can cause inflammation and GI distress when your stress levels are elevated. I used to eat a bagel and egg sandwich the night before a race and half a bagel and a banana the morning of the race (and make my own bagels to avoid preservatives and sugars), but I’m wondering now if different sources of carb such as russet potatoes or white rice would be a better option than breads/wheat-based carbs for dinner the night before long runs and races. So please, if you have any advice on fueling before a race and practicing that fueling before a long run, please weigh in!

In other marathon fueling new, GU released a Maple Bacon flavor. Our REI didn’t have it in store, so I stocked up on Salted Caramel and Salted Watermelon, but I am so eager to try this flavor. Hi, my name is Laura and I love bacon.

I’m mildly bummed about this because it conflicts with the Portland Marathon and I can’t go, but I want to let you all know about this amazing retreat that some of my favorite running bloggers are hosting and presenting! Rise.Run.Retreat is a retreat for women runners in the other Portland (Maine) on October 2-5. I’m really hoping there is one next year and that it doesn’t conflict with a race, because I really want to attend!

Questions of the Day:
What’s your favorite flavor of GU (or any energy gel)?
Would you go on a running retreat?
What you eat for dinner the night before long runs and races?

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11 Responses

  1. I haven’t thought too much about how gluten affects my performance, but I am still trying to figure out what works best for me the morning before a long run or race. The night before I have been fine with pasta or a baked/sweet potato. I used to eat bagels before my long runs but now I feel like they just weight me down. Um I am not sure how I feel about maple bacon gu…you will have to let me know how that goes!

  2. I’ve been liking salted watermelon and salted caramel GUs lately. Guess I’m liking the sweet and salty combo ;-). And I LOVE Nuun! So refreshing and yummy!
    I would definitely go on a running retreat!
    A sweet potato with chicken and spinach has been a tried and true meal for me that not only is good on my stomach but gives me lots of nutrients to fuel my runs/races. I used to do pasta and it just doesn’t sit well with me. It is such a trial and error process to figure out what works for you!

    1. Salty and sweet is such a great combo! I’m curious now to try sweet potatoes for a pre-long run dinner – I eat them all the time so I know they’re kind to my stomach.

  3. I love the name of that lake! It definitely does look serene up there! Sounds like a great Saturday. I’d love to do a running retreat! I, unfortunately, can’t do the one this year either, but it’d be great to do one one day!

    1. You can definitely tell how that lake got its name! It felt like a different world and you never would have thought a huge city was just an hour away.

  4. hahahah Charlie… I like your style. He knows what he’s doing! I love the salted caramel Gus. If I could go anywhere on a running retreat it would have to be a beach… I love flat running followed by an ocean swim!

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