What to Eat During a Ragnar Relay Race

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I’m kind of annoying when it comes to food, I know. Here are the main reasons:

  • I’m not going to waste calories on crappy food, it better be delicious. You can’t have bad ice cream but is that dry grocery store cupcake worth it? No.
  • Gluten gives me weird leg cramps sometimes. I can eat it in small doses (and if it’s worth it, like amazing looking bread or homemade pasta or pizza… and beer.) but I can’t do a ton. Also I don’t love most foods with gluten – I’m not a pasta or bread type of gal, honestly.
  • I just function better with lots of veggies and lean proteins. I need a lot of protein and fat to feel full. Blame it on all the running.
  • I’m not into refined sugar or added sugar… too sweet for me.
  • I also don’t eat processed stuff because… ew.

Let me tell you what my eating habits have done for me:

  • My hair is incredibly strong and thick. It used to be falling out and thin and brittle. I had to get a ton cut off because it was just dead ends.
  • My skin is great. (That’s also my skin care routine and a little bit of genetics.)
  • I really don’t get sick. My boyfriend had mono and I did not get it. I don’t know how that happens, but I’m taking it.
  • I have a ton of energy… despite my three-four coffee a day habit.
  • I’m able to run a zillion miles a week (JK, 40-50.)

So there you go. Eating real, unprocessed foods makes you a healthy person with great skin, hair and energy.

Everything I read about Ragnar when I was researching what to eat during a Ragnar Relay said “prepare to feel like crap because you’re going to eat like crap”. I didn’t feel my best, but I didn’t feel awful. By Monday I felt like myself again. I also don’t think I really got too terribly hangry/hangxious (anxiety set on by being hungry). Also lots of runner food – bagels, pasta, bread – are not things I eat. So in true Cassie fashion, I way over-prepared in the food category.

Breakfast Friday Morning: Overnight Oats with Cherries, Pistachios and Carob Chips
My go-to long run food is oatmeal and in the summer, it’s overnight oatmeal because it’s cold. Plus, it travels well. I went with cherries for their anti-inflammatory priorities, pistachios for extra fat (and salt) and carob chips because pistachios + cherries + chocolate = amazing. Oh, and prior to this, I ate some yogurt with half a banana and a little peanut butter because I woke up at 4:30 and didn’t want to eat real breakfast until 9:30 or so.

ragnar relay dc | almost getting it together

Overnight oats with pistachios, cherries and carob chips.

Lunch/Dinner Friday: Pulled Pork Salad
Emily found a great restaurant near our first van exchange in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia called Earth Dog Cafe. It was literally so West Virginia, I loved it. It was a BBQ place with a ton of options. I knew I wanted vegetables (I’m a salad fiend) but how could I turn down pulled pork? I couldn’t. It was probably 4ish by the time we ate so it was kind of linner.

ragnar relay dc | almost getting it together

Pulled pork salad with honey mustard dressing from Earth Dog Cafe.

Snack/Pre-Run Friday Night: Carrots and Hummus and Sweet Potato with Sun Butter
I totally ate both of these without thinking about taking a photo. No one cares what these look like anyway. I think I also snacked on some energy bites (secret recipe coming soon if I ever get around to making them again and photographing them without eating them all first).

Post-Run Saturday 1:00 a.m.: Chocolate Ice Cream and a Salad
I packed a salad. I know, I’m a nut. I wasn’t sure about the availability of vegetables and I get really anxious without eating greens. The container was way too filled with spinach so I dumped it in the ziplock bag I had to make sure dressing didn’t spill everywhere. I also do this on planes. It had the usual random protein (roast turkey), goat cheese, pumpkin seeds and strawberries.

Prior to the salad, I had chocolate ice cream from South Mountain Creamery, where our second leg ended. It was amazing. In the photo you can also spy my cool safety vest.

ragnar relay dc | almost getting it together

Dump your salad in a ziplock bag for easy mixing.

ragnar relay dc | almost getting it together

Ice cream from South Mountain Creamery.

Breakfast Saturday Morning: Overnight Oats with Blueberries, Cashews and Cashew Butter
I had a basically empty cashew butter jar so I made overnight oats in a jar so I could just throw it away after. Fun fact: one time TSA almost confiscated my overnight oats because they weren’t sure what was in the peanut butter jar. I wasn’t hungry but knew I needed to eat before I ran.

ragnar relay dc | almost getting it together

Overnight oats in with blueberries, cashews and cashew butter. I also randomly had like three super painful paper cuts so note my cool band-aid.

Lunch Saturday: Vegetable Tacos
We had lunch at Rosa Mexicano in the National Harbor near the finish line (another Emily saves the day when it comes to food). We had salsa and guac then I ordered vegetable tacos. Not the smartest post-run food, but like Emily said, after a long run (albeit broken into three parts) you need to just give your body whatever it feels like. I should have had protein but whatever.

http://www.rosamexicano.com/

Tableside guac and salsa at Rosa Mexicano.

http://www.rosamexicano.com/

Farmer’s Market Vegetable Tacos at Rosa Mexicano.

Dinner Saturday Night: Crab Soup and Salmon Salad at Roasthouse Pub
We stayed the night in Frederick, Maryland before heading back to Pittsburgh Sunday morning. We had to go somewhere with a good draft list (re: Team Beer) and Emily found three places and I we ranked them and Roasthouse Pub won. I was about to eat off my arm so I ate half the soup and the salad before remembering to take a photo. This is why I don’t do things like this often. I also did my one Team Beer thing of the weekend and drank a beer. Which was delicious.

agnar relay dc | almost getting it together

RJ Rockers Strawberry Bomber Wheat

agnar relay dc | almost getting it together

Roasted Pepper and Crab Soup from Roasthouse Pub.

agnar relay dc | almost getting it together

Salmon salad from Roasthouse Pub.

Chat with me:
What are your go-to travel foods? Are you as crazy about vegetable consumption as me? What is the best thing you ate this past week?

33 comments on “What to Eat During a Ragnar Relay Race

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Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy on September 17, 2014 9:18 am

How long did it take for you to do that pulled prok? I ha e a slow cooker and I haven’t made pulled any thing but i don’t know how long to cook it nor what cut of meat to get!

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:09 pm

It was at a restaurant so I didn’t make it. Typically for pulled pork you want a pork shoulder, to sear it in a skillet, then to cook on low for 8 hours or so.

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on September 17, 2014 9:58 am

I really want to do a Ragnar, and you know how ridiculously mindful I am of my diet… let’s just say that Gu is not my snack of choice! But I am totally with you. Just because I have to get in calories doesn’t mean that I am going to waste them. That said, if it is in front of me, I do tend to eat it regardless of what it is…
Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Sweet and Savory Recovery Oatmeal (Gluten + Dairy Free)My Profile

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:10 pm

DO A RAGNAR. And pack lots of snacks and plot out where you can eat REAL FOOD not just bagels and bananas haha.

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Kelly on September 17, 2014 11:30 am

This is super helpful! I’m running the Colonial200 in May. You can’t just live off granola bars while doing a relay so this post is awesome!

Kelly from Miles-to-go

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:10 pm

Ooh, what is the Colonial 200?

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Em Todd @ CFGF on September 17, 2014 11:46 am

This is awesome. You definitely out did me in the food prep category. I was TERRIBLE. And felt terrible. At least I ran well. :)

Lesson learned. I need to prep and pack more next time. And really stick to my plan. I don’t do that enough.
Em Todd @ CFGF recently posted…TEAM BEER RUNS RAGNAR DCMy Profile

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:10 pm

Next time we will food prep together. In our boxes.

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Marissa @Barefoot Colorado on September 17, 2014 12:12 pm

I just ran my first relay race and my eats were not nearly as delicious as yours! Next time I need to plan more — because your pictures had my mouth watering!
Marissa @Barefoot Colorado recently posted…Reach The Beach Relay Recap: Day 1My Profile

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:11 pm

Haha well I can’t pack ice cream but overnight oats are the way to go!

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Ang @ Nutty for Life on September 17, 2014 1:13 pm

Hahah you know my vegetable tendencies. I HAVE to eat a veggie with bfast every day.
My mouth started drooling at your oats with pistachios, chocolate and cherries. #embarrassing
Ang @ Nutty for Life recently posted…Are You There, Angela? It’s Me, Your Blog.My Profile

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:11 pm

There may be no better combo in the world than pistachios, chocolate and cherries.

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Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner on September 17, 2014 2:47 pm

We have lots in common too! The eating was one of the hardest parts for me. I didn’t bring enough real food and I thought there would be more places to stop. I was starving and very hangry a lot! I would bring more next time. It is especially hard being a vegetarian too I think. We were also at Rosa Mexicano afterwards. I got the veggie tacos.:) hope we get to meet one of these days
Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Ragnar Relay- 20 things I Learned & LovedMy Profile

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:12 pm

How did we miss each other there? Ah, that guac was much needed.

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Amanda on September 17, 2014 3:06 pm

Just wanted to comment on the beer haha! I love RJRockers. The brewery is right down the road from me.

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:12 pm

That’s so cool, it was my first time having it!

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:18 pm

That’s awesome! First time having one of their brews :)

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Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on September 17, 2014 4:47 pm

Looks like you did a pretty good job! Whenever I am out or away..since all of my allergies and restrictions..I am ALWAYS packing my food…it is second nature.
Haha, and the amount of veggies I eat in a day would probably scare a lot of people. GIVE ME THEM AL!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Ultra-Fluffy Vanilla Pumpkin Chickpea PancakesMy Profile

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:16 pm

I’m getting better about packing less food and just dealing with stuff but it’s so nice to just be prepared.

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Shashi @ RunninSrilankan(dot)com on September 17, 2014 6:12 pm

Your eats while travelling are so inspiring!

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:15 pm

Thanks!

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. on September 17, 2014 6:14 pm

Amen to not wasting calories on bad food! I’m definitely kind of anal about what I eat… especially when I travel. But I have allergies so finding food I can eat while out is kind of a hassle — better be safe and pack some. And seriously, if you know what works for you and you feel good doing it, why mess?!
Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. WIAW… when i’m tired .My Profile

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:18 pm

Totally agree, you don’t want to feel like crap when you’re traveling!!

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Jessica on September 18, 2014 4:35 pm

I was nodding so much at this. I agree about food quality – I’m not going to say no to an occasional burger or dessert, but I have no problem passing on McDonald’s or a stale sheet cake.

When traveling I try to bring oats if I can (just make in the hotel room), but my husband and I like to do some meals on the cheap by going to the grocery store and sharing grapes, cheese, and prosciutto or similar.
Jessica recently posted…But I Love You MoreMy Profile

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Cassie on September 18, 2014 5:17 pm

Def usually travel with oats… love the idea of grapes/cheese/italian meats!!

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Lesley @ the Breakfast Runner on September 19, 2014 3:33 pm

1) You’re SO right. Ice cream is ALWAYS worth it.

2) So impressed you remembered to take pics of everything you ate. I’m the worst at that.

3) Looks like your TJ’s cashew butter finally bit the dust. Mine was gone weeks ago.
Lesley @ the Breakfast Runner recently posted…Carb Loading Plan + Grocery HaulMy Profile

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Cassie on September 28, 2014 10:02 am

I’m halfway through the second jar. That stuff is DANGEROUS!

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Faith VanderMolen on September 20, 2014 10:03 pm

Oatmeal is always my pre-run meal of choice. I can eat quite a bit and it always sits well. Lots of good eats! I’d love to do Ragnar someday:)
Faith VanderMolen recently posted…Homemade Clif BarsMy Profile

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Cassie on September 28, 2014 10:02 am

IT’S SO FUN. Do it!!

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Davida @ The Healthy Maven on October 1, 2014 8:54 am

Fun fact, the TSA tried to confiscate my overnight oats last week but I put up a huge fight. Then once I got past security I decided I didn’t even want them and had a very unnatural craving for bacon. Moral of the story: I am basically paleo.

P.s. We should probably start eating processed foods to deal with our #thickhairgirlprobs

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Cassie on October 2, 2014 1:28 am

THEY TRIED TO CONFISCATE MINE ONCE TOO! What the hell? Then I had to explain myself… such a pain.

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angela on October 12, 2015 2:22 am

Finally! Someone else who can’t live without greens! I was beginning to think I was the only one. ;) I’m running the Napa Ragnar in a week and a half, and I wont be surprised if I pack a salad like you did. Great ideas, thank you for sharing!

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Cassie on October 14, 2015 12:39 am

You’ll have to let me know how it goes!

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