The Road to Paris - On a Plateau - Asics Target 26.2 Training

The highs, lows (and everything in between) of my 16 week Paris Marathon training plan.

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17/02/2013 at 19:47

Calorie Watch! Food & Drink Diary – Thursday 14th February 2013

Valentine's Day - surely a romantic evening meal and desert can't put me in Ruth's bad books?

7:20am - Breakfast - Fruit and Fibre Cereals (about 50g) w/ Semi-Skimmed milk

8:30am - Bottle of water

9:30am - Cup of tea

11:00am - Banana, bottle of water

12:00pm - 6.2 mile run - 1 mile w/up comfortable, 4 miles steady. 1 mile c/ down ( see separate post for full description)

1:15pm – Lunch - Bulgar wheat, feta cheese, radish, cucumber, tomato salad with Italian dressing, bottle of water

2:00pm - Clementine, Cup of tea, bottle of water

5:00pm - Bottle of water, cup of tea, apple

8:00pm - Dinner - Chicken in red wine sauce with potatoes and mushrooms, 'melt in the middle' chocolate pudding, Sparkling Elderberry juice (not a bad substitute for the usual wine!).

9:00pm - Pint of squash, Cup of tea

10:30pm - Glass of water

17/02/2013 at 20:01

Day 60 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (14/02/13)

Target: 4 miles steady @ 7:35m/m - 8:00m/m

Actual: 6.2 miles - 1 mile w/up @ comfortable (8:10m/m-9:00m/m), 4 miles steady @ 7:35m/m - 8:00m/m, 1 mile c/down @ comfortable (8:10m/m-9:00m/m)

Total: 6.24 miles in 47:48 @ 7:40m/m

Mile Splits: 1st mile @ 7:58m/m. 2nd mile @ 7:31m/m. 3rd mile @ 7:37m/m. 4th mile @ 7:29m/m. 5th mile @ 7:28m/m. 6th mile @ 8:04m/m

As I cut out 2 miles from yesterday's run due to time constraints, I added these on to today's run and used them as an extra warm-up and cool-down. I did wonder if adding these 2 miles would have any effect on my upcoming half marathon performance, but decided with still a day's rest to be had, it probably wouldn't at all.

I'd struggled the a couple of days earlier getting up to 7:30m/m during a progressive run, but today I had none of these issues, even though I was running exactly the same course. It was much easier indeed. I don't know if this was because my w-up was at a faster speed.

The sun was shining. It wasn't cold or windy. It was nice weather for a lunch time run and escape from the hectic office. As soon as I had reached half way, and I was on the return leg back to the office it felt much easier to keep my pace and it felt good knowing I had more in my legs to give if I needed it. It did cross my mind whether I'd be able to keep this speed up and go even faster for 13 miles on Saturday, but I tried to ignore these negative thoughts.

Here's my run form today:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/273292141

17/02/2013 at 20:08

Calorie Watch! Food & Drink Diary – Friday 15th February 2013

Carb-load Friday! I'd been waiting in excitement for this day to come for weeks, but when it finally did, I struggled to eat as much as what had been asked of me. My appetite and food intake has certainly decreased since starting this training!

6:50am - Breakfast - Fruit and Fibre Cereals (about 50g) w/ Semi-Skimmed milk. Large glass of orange juice.

8:30am - Toasted bagel with honey and jam, Bottle of water, cup of tea

10:0am - 100g of jelly babies, low fat chocolate milkshake and bottle of water.

11:15am - Cup of tea

12:15pm – Lunch - Pasta with pesto sauce, sunflower seeds and parmesan, glass of orange juice

2:00pm - Yoghurt, cup of tea

3:30pm - Banana sandwich, small glass of orange juice

4:30pm - 3 Jaffa cakes

6:30pm - Dinner - Macaroni and cheese, fish cake and steamed broccoli. Pint of squash

8:00pm - Pint of squash, Cup of tea

9:30pm - 2 slices of toast with butter, Glass of water.

17/02/2013 at 20:18

Day 61 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (15/02/13)

Target: Rest

Actual: Rest

CARB-LOAD FRIDAY!

RUTH MCKEAN wrote (see)

Breakfast: Large bowl of cereal /porridge (60g of dried cereal) with milk & 1 full bagel with generous spread of honey & jam & 200ml glass of orange juice (approx. 130g)

Mid- morning: Nibble on half pack of jelly babies (100g of sweets) and 500ml of low fat milkshake (approx. 120g of carbohydrates)

Lunch:  100g pasta (dried weight) salad, low fat fruit yogurt & large banana & 20ml glass of fruit juice (approx. 120g of carbohydrates)

Mid afternoon:  banana sandwich and 400ml of fruit juice & 3 jaffa cakes (approx.110g).

Dinner: 100g of pasta or rice or large jacket potato with usual foods but keep vegetables and meat/fish to small portions.  Large glass of fruit juice (300ml) or full sugar diluting juice and low fat fruit yogurt (approx.115g)

Before bed: large bowl of cereal or 3 slices of toast & jam (approx. 60-70g of carbohydrates).

Let me know what you think to the above.

All I had to do today was to focus on my carb-loading. It's a good job I didn't have a run, as I don't think I had enough focus to do both!

Before today, I was looking forward to scoffing my face with no feelings of guilt, but when today finally came around, I actually found it a struggle to eat everything that Ruth prescribed.

I didn't leave enough time to eat my extra bagel for breakfast, so I ate this when I got to work. With the extra jelly babies and milkshake consumed before lunch, I really had no appetite left to eat come noon. I'm not sure if this was because I'd been sat at my desk all day and not been very active?

With my lunch, I wasn't able to eat all my pasta let alone eat an extra banana and yoghurt. I managed about two-thirds of the 100g dried pasta before throwing in the towel. I ate the yoghurt an hour or so later when my appetite returned and the leftover pasta with dinner come the evening.

By evening I think my body had gotten use to the extra eating and I wasn't struggling as much, although I'd ran out of orange juice and didn't feel like another yoghurt once the main course was finished.

I did only eat 2 slices of toast, not the three prescribed by Ruth as the last meal of the day as well. All in all not a bad effort, failing only on eating a banana, yoghurt and a slice of toast over the whole day!

17/02/2013 at 20:32

Calorie Watch! Food & Drink Diary – Saturday 16th February 2013

Today was probably the most important race day of my running life. While my mind was on a good pre-race eating routine, I celebrated a little after the race with foods I normally wouldn't eat.

7:00am - Breakfast - McDonalds Porridge with Maple Syrup, small bottle of orange juice.

8:00am - Bottle of water (sipped throughout the train ride to Dorney Lake Half Marathon)

9:00am - A few bites of jam sandwich and small cup of tea

10:15am - Dorney Lake Half Marathon - 2 SIS Go Isotonic Gels, every 35 minutes. Several gulps of water during the race.

11:50pm – 2 cartons of Vita Coco drink (100% coconut water) after race had finished

12:45pm - Lunch - Sausage baguette with tomato ketchup, bottle of water.

3:30pm - Dinner - Lamb shank with red wine sauce, mash and peas, small glass of Diet Coke

5:30pm - Pint of squash. Rest of leftover jam sandwich from earlier today (waste not want not!).

6:30pm - Cup of tea, 2 Lindor chocolates from Valentine's Day (I was impressed it wasn't more!)

8:00pm - Pint of squash, Cup of tea, Trial packet of BBQ crisps received for free in  the Race Your Pace Seminar goodie bag.

9:30pm - Glass of water

17/02/2013 at 21:30

Day 62 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (16/02/13)

Target: 13.1 mile half marathon plus 1 mile w/up and c/down

Actual: 1/2 mile warm-up, 13.1 mile Dorney Lake Race Your Pace Half Marathon, about 20 metres of warm-down and stretching

Time: Half Marathon completed in new PB of 1:34:48 @ 7:16m/m

Splits: 1st mile @ 7:11m/m. 2nd mile @ 7:16m/m. 3rd mile @ 7:19m/m. 4th mile @ 7:19m/m. 5th mile @ 7:20m/m. 6th mile @ 7:16m/m. 7th mile @ 7:19m/m. 8th mile @ 7:15m/m. 9th mile @ 7:19m/m. 10th mile @ 7:19m/m. 11th mile @ 7:16m/m. 12th mile @ 7:19m/m. 13th mile @ 7:10m/m

The day had finally arrived. Today had the ability of shaping the rest of my training plan for Paris. It had the ability to put me in the right place mentally as well in my search for a sub 3:30. I know I was putting extra pressure on myself, but for me, that's the best way I perform - when there is pressure on me to prove myself. The weather Gods had been extremely kind to me today. The sun was shining. There was no wind, and the course at Dorney Lake for the Race Your Pace Half Marathon was as pancake flat as you could possibly get. If I wanted to get a PB (better than 1:40:07) there would be no better time than today. If I didn't, then there would be no excuses and my dreams of getting a sub 3:30 in Paris would take a serious knock.

I arrived early at Dorney Lake, dragging Mrs. Shady Ady along for moral support. In the taxi from the train station (shared with several other chirpy runners including one of the Runners World pace makers) to the starting area, Windsor Castle loomed over the sheep grazing, mist covered moors. It was a vista frozen in time.

 

http://s4.runnersworld.co.uk/members/images/403074/gallery/dsc_0469.jpg?width=350

Considering the pressure I'd put on myself to perform today, I was more relaxed than I expected I'd be. Meeting with Mel, Steve and Sarah certainly helped push any butterflies well out of sight. This was the first time since training day that I'd worn our official Target 26.2 t-shirts. It surprised me how many people recognised us (especially Steve, who owns the bragging rights at the moment for being most recognised Target 26.2 member!) and approached us to talk about our training so far.

The start was pushed back to allow those arriving late to make the start. This was lucky as after serving my time at the long toilet queues (I swear, even if you had enough toilets for each and every runner, there'd still be queues!) I was able to get a half decent warm up in before making my way to the starting line, including some acceleration strides. My knee, which has been aching a bit recently wasn't giving me any pain, which was a relief and a weight off my mind.

Dorney Lake Race Your Pace Half Marathon is a 4 lap course around the rowing course where the Olympics were held. It's not the most scenic or interesting of courses, but to be honest it would have been no different if it was a half marathon ran through Amsterdam's red light district. I was so focused on my running, I paid little attention to what was around me. The only time I really did, was when passing my wife near the finish area every lap, attempting to give her a smile to show all was going to plan.

................................................

17/02/2013 at 21:35

....................................

My original plan was to run the first mile or two at close to 7:30m/m. This was to account for the congestion of runners early on. After this I was going to run up until 10 miles at between 7:20-7:30m/m and then depending on how I was feeling, I'd increase the speed for the last three miles.

I didn't do this. The congestion I was expecting never materialised, which meant I was able to run the first mile slightly faster than what I needed to do. I was feeling so relaxed, it wasn't difficult to keep a pace of under 7:20m/m. After 4 miles of keeping this pace, I decided that because I was feeling good, I'd continue on to see how long I could keep this speed going for.

http://s4.runnersworld.co.uk/members/images/403074/gallery/dsc_0471.jpg?width=350

Five, six, seven, eight, nine miles passed by and I was still keeping the same pace. I knew now that I was definitely on for a PB, but I had no idea how much by. I was most impressed by how I'd managed to take my gels and drink at each water station without dropping any time. Normally when drinking out of of plastic cups and from water station congestion, I lose a good 10 seconds every time. There's nothing more I hate than plastic cups - it's hard not to get a nose full of water. One runner had the ingenious idea of carrying a straw around with him. I've never seen this before!

Another new feeling was reaching the latter stages of the race and actually passing people still. Normally it's me that's passed, not the other way around. I'd started to recognise quite a few of the runners around me and it was nice to be noticing I was keeping the same pace as those around me. I even had time to chat to one girl who was training for the Vienna Marathon. I can normally only mumble or grunt communication when running, so to hold a conversation made me realise the improvements I'd made since training started.

http://s4.runnersworld.co.uk/members/images/403074/gallery/dsc_0477.jpg?width=350

By the time I'd reached mile 12, I was definitely tiring a little. I decided not to go all out for a fast finish yet. This could wait for the last mile. I'd noticed my cadence had started to slow and so was my speed. Not by a lot, but I was now for the first time starting to see my Garmin showing a mile speed of over 7:20m/m. Luckily I was running next to Alex's Girl for the final stretch and I mentally tried to copy her cadence, which was much faster than mine. I think doing this definitely kept me going for the last two miles and made sure I kept my speed to under 7:20m/m. Thanks Alex's Girl!

http://s4.runnersworld.co.uk/members/images/403074/gallery/dsc_0481.jpg?width=350

The last mile felt really good again, I think because the finish was in sight and I saved enough for a sprint finish, getting a new PB by over 5 minutes. I like to dissect races once they're over and see areas in which I could improve. This is the first time where I can't see any real negatives from my race. I set out with a target in mind, I bettered this on every mile split and still felt good at the finish. I don't think it could have gone more perfectly and it's opened my eyes to what I can actually achieve now come Paris.

/members/images/403074/Gallery/DSC_0484.JPG

Probably the best thing to happen today other than seeing all the othher particpating Target 26.2 runners obtaining PBs too (well done Sarah, Steve and Mel!) was my first ever negative split. It might be by only 5 seconds, but it's negative nonetheless. Negatives - after enjoying Martin Yelling's Race Your Pace Seminar, my knee had become quite stiff again. It is a slight cause for concern, but so far it hasn't actually affected me during my runs - only when they've finished. I'll be giving this some TLC over the next few weeks for sure.

Here's my run form today, where I finished 189th out of 1047th:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/274044305

Edited: 17/02/2013 at 21:42
17/02/2013 at 21:56

Day 63 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (17/02/13)

Target: 5 miles easy (9:10 - 10m/m)

Actual: Cross-training - 21 miles in 1hr on exercise bike on rolling hills program setting.

Today should have been a nice easy  recovery jog. My knee was quite sore after yesterday's run. In the evening when I returned home I spent the evening following the RICE philosophy with a bag of peas on my left knee. What a rock and roll way to spend a Saturday night!

There's no swelling of any kind, but it was just stiff. I attempted to go for a run today to see how it was feeling, but it was still a little delicate. I'm sure once it had warmed up, there would have been no issues at all, but I don't want to risk anything, especially after exerting myself so much the day before.

Instead I went on the exercise bike. I chose the rolling hills program and started off slowly. Once I was sure there was no pain from my knee I started to pick up the speed and reps per minute. I finished the 1hr ride covering 21 miles. There wasn't as much resistance today as other programs I've used, but it was still a good workout and I covered almost 2 miles more than the last time I used this setting in the same amount of time.

Since doing this, I haven't really had any issues with my knee. Tomorrow is either the choice of a 4 mile run or cross-training. Again I'm tempted to play it safe and go for cross-training and give my knee another day chance of rest. I'll see how it is tomorrow morning and make a decision then!

I'm also intrigued to see if getting a pair of trainers with  more stability than the neutral Asics Cumulus that I'm currently using now will offer help on this issue.

17/02/2013 at 22:07

Week 9 Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training Round-up (W/ Ending 17/02/13):

Day 57 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (11/02/13)

Target: REST OR NON IMPACT CROSS TRAINING

Actual: 20 minutes of stretching and use of my foam roller, 5 pull-ups and about 20 push-ups

Day 58 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (12/02/13)

Target: 1 MILE EASY, 5 MILES PROGRESSING FROM 8 MIN/MILE TO 7.20, 1 MILE EASY (7)

Actual: 7.36 miles in 58:17 @ 7:55m/m - 1 mile easy, 5 miles progressive from 8:00m/m to 7:20m/m, 1 mile easy

Mile splits: 1st @ 9:01m/m. 2nd @ 7:58m/m. 3rd @ 7:46m/m. 4th @ 7:39m/m. 5th @ 7:25m/m. 6th @ 7:16m/m. 7th @ 8:54m/m. Last 0.36 miles @ 6:22m/m

Day 59 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (13/02/13)

Target: 6 miles comfortable @ 8:10m/m - 9:10m/m

Actual: 4 miles comfortable in 33:48 @ 8:24m/m

Day 60 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (14/02/13)

Target: 4 miles steady @ 7:35m/m - 8:00m/m

Actual: 6.2 miles - 1 mile w/up @ comfortable (8:10m/m-9:00m/m), 4 miles steady @ 7:35m/m - 8:00m/m, 1 mile c/down @ comfortable (8:10m/m-9:00m/m)

Total: 6.24 miles in 47:48 @ 7:40m/m

Mile Splits: 1st mile @ 7:58m/m. 2nd mile @ 7:31m/m. 3rd mile @ 7:37m/m. 4th mile @ 7:29m/m. 5th mile @ 7:28m/m. 6th mile @ 8:04m/m

Day 61 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (15/02/13)

Target: Rest

Actual: Rest

Day 62 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (16/02/13)

Target: 13.1 mile half marathon plus 1 mile w/up and c/down

Actual: 1/2 mile warm-up, 13.1 mile Dorney Lake Race Your Pace Half Marathon, about 20 metres of warm-down and stretching

Time: Half Marathon completed in new PB of 1:34:48 @ 7:16m/m

Splits: 1st mile @ 7:11m/m. 2nd mile @ 7:16m/m. 3rd mile @ 7:19m/m. 4th mile @ 7:19m/m. 5th mile @ 7:20m/m. 6th mile @ 7:16m/m. 7th mile @ 7:19m/m. 8th mile @ 7:15m/m. 9th mile @ 7:19m/m. 10th mile @ 7:19m/m. 11th mile @ 7:16m/m. 12th mile @ 7:19m/m. 13th mile @ 7:10m/m

Day 63 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (17/02/13)

Target: 5 miles easy (9:10 - 10m/m)

Actual: Cross-training - 21 miles in 1hr on exercise bike on rolling hills program setting.

Target: 37 miles

Actual: 31.2 miles (less due to missing out on Day 63 five mile recovery run and c/down after Hal Marathon on Day 62)

I'm a little disappointed not to complete my set mileage for week 9, but I think I took the sensible option in resting my knee today after yesterday's half marathon. Again there were far more positives than negatives to come out of training this week, and mentally I feel far closer to that sub 3:30 Paris time than I did a week ago. I'm looking forward now to week 10, which should be my highest mileage week so far.

17/02/2013 at 22:29
Alexs' girl wrote (see)
Shady,
It was a pleasure to be your private pacer for the last few miles.
I am training for London again this year.
To give you a clue about me, my Marathon PB is 3:18, this was prior to a car accident, a dislocated rib and knee problem. But I am back to fitness again now and really loving the marathon training. I am hoping to be comfortably under 3:30 and as close to 3:20 as possible.

Hey Alex's Girl........I actually feel even more honoured running in your company now I know what your marathon PB is and what you're planning on going for in London. I really hope all goes well for London. I hope you can get as close to 3:20 as possible and that the training continues to pay dividends. To be so close to your PB after the accident shows great determination. 

After Saturday's race it's the first time I've felt confident of breaking the 3:30 barrier. All I need to do now is put in 3 excellent long runs before my taper starts and I'll be even happier! I'll be interested to hear how London goes for you, especially as our targets are very similar. All the best! 

17/02/2013 at 22:50
Ady - sorry I find it hard to keep up with your thread! But, can I ask - how many gels did you take during the HM? I think you said 2 every 35 mins? Did you take two together, twice during the race? Did you take any at the start?

I'm interested because I changed my gel stratergy during my last marathon. It was 5 laps and a friend who was marshalling handed my gels out sink took the first one at 7 miles then 12, 17, 22. Normally I don't take the first one till 13/14 mikes then every 3/4 after that but I think I benefited from taking the first one earlier.

I like the straw tip - I also hate plastic cups. I'm doing a HM in a couple of weeks and I know they will have them. Might experiment....
17/02/2013 at 23:11
Shady_Ady wrote (see)

Haha........I've officially made it now I have a bonified stalker......I couldn't think of anyone better than you Malcs! Anyone that joins in carb-loading with me has the job for life!

We were all definitely very lucky with the conditions yesterday. Flat as a pancake and no wind. You can't get better conditions than this for a race and potential PB! Absolutely perfect conditions!

Glad you had a good time at the Llanelli run with Jen. Were you happy with your time or were you just running it for the chance to catch up with Jen? 

Really pleased for you - great PB, well done! Like the pics too - do you ever stop smiling?

I managed 21:09 on the Parkrun. I had planned just to take it easy but as soon as it started I just couldn't help myself . The only other 5K time trial I've done was the one we did at bootcamp so I didn't really have a PB to aim for...which was nice. Anyway, yes I was very pleased indeed given where I am with my training.

I hope you can get that knee sorted. Sounds like you're ok when running but have more issues afterwards. I have picked up a little hamstring issue this week (which is why I was thinking of taking the parkrun easy). It didn't affect me at all during the run but after was a little sore and quite tight. Of course being the fool I am I decided to still do the 18 miler that I had planned for today. Luckily it was fine but like you I'm on the RICE. Will rest now for a day or two I think. 

Minni - how is your training going? I see you're doing a fantastic job with Sarah. Sorry I haven't been over on your thread, I've just been so busy that I've had to focus on stalking Ady. 

I tried Jelly Babies for the first time during my LSR today. I'm considering using them instead of gels. I had no digestion issues and I felt reasonably good. Is this an ok strategy - would anyone advise against this? I also took on no water for this first time in a long run after focusing on being fully hydrated before heading out. No problems at all.

The run went really well. It probably helped that I inadvertently strayed into the Lanelli 10 mile race so I got that benefit of other runners pulling me along. However, I left the race for the 2 mile climb back to base and I managed MP uphill for that (they do like their hills in Wales). 

So what's the plan for this week? Are you doing a shorter LSR ahead of Spitfire the week after? I think this will be my plan.

18/02/2013 at 01:39
Ady - congrats , well done on the pb must be a massive confidence
boost.
Edited: 18/02/2013 at 01:40
18/02/2013 at 09:38
Day - absolutely brilliant performance! Great report as well. Delighted for you. Things are looking great for Paris.
18/02/2013 at 09:58

Malcs

I actually tend to use jelly babies for most of my runs that are over the 90-120mark as I just prefer them BUT in hot conditions can get messy!

18/02/2013 at 10:14

Ady- many congrats on a pb, sounds like you nailed it!

18/02/2013 at 10:25

Lost post!! So sorry if it re-appears and this is a repeat!

What a great results, I can say nothing other than your hard work has paid!  This is a great HM PB.  

Carb loading was great. Although I would say easy on the fatty sauces (cheese on pasta!) and protein as these will fill you up more. You need very little fish/meat/lentils or other low carb protein sources (if any!) the night before or even day before!. This is just extra calories and load on your stomach.

Regarding  comments on bowel movements: if you have problems with bowels (which you do not) I would  reduce fibre two days before (low fruit and veg, no fruit and fibre! white bread pasta etc ) and keep fluid high. But this has not been an issue so try and not to start focusing on this becoming an issue.

I feel the best way for club runners and even those aiming for a sub 3 is to start race with good stores of carbs in body hence the increase in carbs. Still suggest for you that you do a 2 day high carb intake before Paris. If not comfortable with this please let me know as I know you are happy to do 1 day but 2?

18/02/2013 at 11:41
RUTH MCKEAN wrote (see)

Malcs

I actually tend to use jelly babies for most of my runs that are over the 90-120mark as I just prefer them BUT in hot conditions can get messy!

Ruth - thanks so much for the fast reply. That's great to know. I took about 10 of the little fruity fellas on my 18 miler having had cereal and a banana about an hour before setting out. Had no energy issues whatsoever.

Yes, I can imagine in the heat it could get quite sticky. However, if it's hot when I'm running a marathon I am done for anyway.

PS. 90-120 minutes I assume...or were you talking miles? 

18/02/2013 at 11:53
Malcs wrote (see)
Minni - how is your training going? I see you're doing a fantastic job with Sarah. Sorry I haven't been over on your thread, I've just been so busy that I've had to focus on stalking Ady. 

Hi Malcs!  I know its really hard finding time to stalk everyone.  I'm on holiday this week so will hopefully find time for some reading back. My training is going well (I think).  I haven't done any races really since the Brass Monkey was cancelled but have a HM in a couple of weeks so we'll see then.   How's it going with you?  Jelly babies - I binged on them once before an evening 10k and had to stop en-route to, erm, download data so never touch them now! lol.  I do think it was the quantity I ate more than anything!

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