Food & DrinkThe Athens Diet

How One Runner Is Fueling Up for This Year’s AthHalf

Editor’s note: In The Athens Diet, we ask Athenians to record everything they eat and drink for one week. This week, musician, writer and runner Erin Lovett describes how she is preparing for this year’s AthHalf half marathon, which happens Sunday, Oct. 21. For more on the race, see this week’s feature.


It’s about a month before the AthHalf, and I’m in panic mode. I packed my fridge with veggies after agreeing to document my training diet for Flagpole, thinking as I did that I would look very badass as I flawlessly balanced my townie lifestyle and athletic prowess. Easier said than done, but let the record show that an attempt was made.

I totally killed it for Monday breakfast, though: roasted red potatoes, sautéed chard, two scrambled eggs and grated parmesan. I have some green tea and, later, a cup of yerba mate.

Sunday night, my boyfriend Patrick and I made barbecue sandwiches from Morningstar pulled “pork” (we’re both vegetarian) on brioche buns with pickles and homemade slaw (Patrick is an amazing cook currently working on the line at The National) so I have some leftovers for lunch. I also drink one of Kroger’s new Fizz & Co. brand seltzers, designed to mimic soda. The one I’ve got is “cola” flavored. It does not taste like Coke, but it does remind me of Coke, which is kind of nice.

On Monday nights, I teach swim lessons at the YMCA, and by the time I get home I’m too exhausted to even think about the crisper full of veggies in my fridge that I bought specifically to make myself look super healthy for this article. Instead, I reheat some leftover pizza I ordered after my long Sunday run. I reheat two slices in the oven instead of the microwave and top it with sriracha, which feels fancy.


Tuesday morning, I down some Kashi cereal with almond milk and blueberries while I get ready for my morning run (four-and-a-half miles). After the run, I make some green tea and eat a few handfuls of almonds. Later that day, I read an article about the environmental impact of almonds and start feeling terrible about my life choices.

For lunch, I meet my friend Lauren for our traditional Taco Tuesday at Taqueria del Sol. On this particular Tuesday, we order the special—black bean enchiladas—with a margarita on the rocks, because life is short.

Tuesday night, I meet up with some friends to play a tabletop RPG called “Monsterhearts,” hosted by our friend Peter. (Peter also co-hosts RPG nights the first Tuesday of every month at the Rook & Pawn, and he’s an amazing gamemaster!) For tonight’s game night, Peter and his husband Austin have used an old Chili’s gift card to buy us all dinner. I have a black bean burger—actually delicious!—and various fried and trademarked side dishes that we all share. Peter is also an amazing baker, and made us cookies. Somehow, there are more margaritas involved.


Breakfast Wednesday is two scrambled eggs and a cup of green tea. For lunch, I make buttered noodles—a dish that gets a bad reputation, but makes for an easy carbo-load. I top it with fresh parmesan and black pepper. That night, Patrick suggests we go out to The National for dinner, and I will never say no to that, so I postpone cooking my vegetables for one more night. We split an order of the dates with manchego cheese and a veggie plate. At home, I have a couple pieces of an Endangered Species dark chocolate bar. Dark chocolate has this magical ability to satisfy my sweet tooth in about three bites, despite not even being very good.


For breakfast, I have a piece of wheat toast with peanut butter and a cup of green tea before my run (four miles). Afterward, I eat a few pieces of banana bread. For lunch, I make a baked potato. One of the perks of working from home is the luxury of a baked potato for lunch. That, and never wearing pants. I top it with butter, sautéed onion and chard, plain Greek yogurt and some shredded cheddar cheese. It is absolutely decadent. After work, I again can’t bring myself to cook, so Patrick and I go to Willie’s and get two massive tofu burritos. I can barely pick this thing up. It’s perfect.


Friday is a rest day in my training schedule. (For anyone curious, I am following a half-marathon training plan by Jeff Galloway that can be found online.) I have a little Kashi cereal and almond milk for breakfast with blueberries and a cup of green tea, and I’m feeling extravagant, so I make another baked potato for lunch. Later, I have another piece of banana bread with a cup of yerba mate. On Friday night, Patrick and I contemplate going out for drinks to the point that we actually make it downtown, but we end up just walking around together through downtown and North Campus for a while, which is actually really nice. On the way home, we stop by Taco Stand and get tofu burritos again. Again, they are perfect.


Saturday morning, I have a piece of wheat toast with peanut butter before walking to the track for speed work. (I run eight half-mile sets at a pace 30 seconds faster than my desired race pace.) Afterward, I grab a biscuit with egg and cheese from Ike & Jane before I run errands. Later that day, I finally pull out all the veggies I bought and make the grain bowls I intended to make every single night this week! I roast sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and chickpeas in the oven while I cook farro with lemon zest and butter. I top it with parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice. I feel like Gwyneth Paltrow.


Sunday’s run is 11 miles. I have two scrambled eggs and a cup of green tea before I head out with a bottle of water and two energy gels. Many people find them unsettling, but I really like Gatorade energy gels for long runs, and today I bring along their ominously named “Chocolate Outrage” flavor, which tastes like cake batter and fury.

After my run, Patrick and I join some friends at Big Family Cafe for brunch, and I have a Spanish omelet with potato hash, an apple muffin and coffee, which, after a weeklong hiatus, tastes like pure magic. Later that day, Patrick makes sushi bowls: He quick-pickles some cucumber and carrots and preps some yellow pepper, avocado, seitan and seaweed, serving it all over seasoned sushi rice. Not a bad way to end the week! I’m no Shalane Flanagan, but I hope to have at least made enough good choices to carry me over the finish line.