Training, tapering, carb loading will only get a runner so far. The speed work and LSD (long slow distance) are nice, but they are de facto window dressing. There is but one key to a successful marathon race- eating enough gravy. The quandary is this- is it plausible that one can consume TOO MUCH gravy in the 24 hours leading up to a race? Mind you, I am not Canadian. You can’t even chart a “gravy LD50” on those audacious Northerners, as, for them, too much is never enough. Sadly, Americans lack the genetic chutzpa to tolerate kiloliter doses to the savory, meat-laden brown stuff. Here is the conundrum- I enjoyed a massive, gravy based chili for lunch. Do I now stake out the traditional pre-marathon triple bacon cheeseburger with a family-sized mashed potatoes and (sweet nectar of the gods) gravy?
Clearly in need of counsel, I looked to the ITP for marathon advice. The Pirate has long been a source for timely advice. Leading up to the last marathon it was this: “Dad, I don’t want to put too much pressure you on, so, you know, don’t try to win the race. Try to get second.” Then as she carefully looked me up and down, she slowly and quietly muttered, “Or maybe third.” (Yeah, that’s my little 8 year old motivational speaker. At her behest, I finished an overall second.)
Today the Pirate’s advice was sensible, “Don’t go out too fast.”
Sadly, her offering ignored the more pressing dietary query.
Chili Jr. next offered some wisdom, “Look out for rocks. Oh, and trees too.”
Again, good stuff, but not germane to tonight’s meal selection.
Pre finally spoke up, “I don’t know, Dad. Just try not to eat a bee, like you did last year.”
I had completely forgotten that at last year’s iteration of this race, a bee had flown into my mouth and stung the back of my throat. A fraction of a second later, I was spitting and cursing a blue streak that would have made Andrew Dice Clay blush. I squashed the little sucker flat with a ferocity rarely seen in human-to-insect combat. Fortunately, the swelling did not (entirely) close off my airway and I kept running.
Today’s chili can be summed up as this: Has gravy, chicken breast, and mushrooms, and olives. Lacks bees. It is everything a pre-marathon chili needs to be.
¾ pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped in small pieces
1 T chili powder
½ t black pepper
½ t paprika
½ T hot sauce
8 oz sliced white mushrooms
½ C sliced green olives
2 C chicken gravy
3 C cooked rice
- Place chicken in a pot and add the seasonings (including hot sauce) to coat.
- Cook chicken until it is nearly cooked through.
- Add mushrooms and cook another 3-4 minutes.
- Add olives and gravy.
- Simmer for 30 minutes on low.
- Serve over cooked rice.
The chili was out of this world. The savory spiciness of the gravy perfectly blanketed the moist and tender meat and mushrooms. The olives lent their marathon-priming salinity. Just perfect. The ITP lent their seal approval despite certain members thinking it spicy.
The only hiccup with this chili is that a small amount was KICKED TO THE FLOOR by a fellow runner. As he attempted to stretch his quadriceps, the GUEST ITP managed to punt the pot of chili from the stove to the floor. Thank goodness that, like cats, chili pots always land on their feet.
Enough already. Off to the diner for triple cheeseburgers with mashed potatoes and gravy.