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Tillman Training: What to Eat Before the Race

Every year, my family does the Pat Tillman run in Tempe, AZ. My son started doing the race when he was 6-years-old. He beat me that year. The next year, I trained a little harder. He was seven. He beat me that year too. Now he's eight, and I've realized that matter how much I train, no matter what I eat to prepare for the race, he's going to beat me. He's growing up and getting faster, and I'm growing older and getting slower. I give up.

Training for the Tillman run isn't a big deal. It's only a 4.2 mile run, so there's no need to carb-load a week before the race. But it is hot, so you do need to hydrate and be conscious of what you eat the day before and the day of. Plan to drink about 20 oz. of fluids before the race. Coconut water is good, you can also make your own electrolyte water with 1/4 tsp. salt to 1 qt. of water and add things like cucumber, fresh mint, lime, lemon or stevia as a sweetener,

For food, think "light lunch" for dinner the night before. Low-fat, fresh foods are great with lots of fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid alcohol (save the tacos and margaritas for after the race!). The morning of the race, have some energizing foods like nuts, granola, oats, and fruit for breakfast. Running on an empty stomach or a dehydrated body is never a good idea!

Italian Chicken Pitas Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time:15 minutes / Servings: 4 Pitas Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, chopped

  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped

  • 2 scallions, chopped

  • 1 tbsp. Sicilian Spice blend (or 1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning and 1/2 tsp. red chili flake)

  • 1 cup white rice, cooked

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped

  • 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped

  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • 2 Pita bread rounds, cut in half

  • 1/2 cup warm marinara sauce or ranch dressing (for dipping)


  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat. Add chicken, bell pepper and scallions. Season with spices and salt and pepper. Stir until combined and cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes until veggies are soft and chicken is browned and cooked through.

  2. Stir in rice and cheese and cook until cheese is melted and stringy, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in fresh tomato and basil until combined.

  3. Stuff mixture into four open pita halves. Serve with warm marinara and/or ranch dressing.

Stuffed Maple Granola Apples

Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 20 minutes / Servings: 8


  • 4 large Braeburn, Gala or Fuji Apples

  • 1 cup raw oats or crushed granola bars

  • 1/4 cup dried cherries

  • 1/4 cup chopped dates

  • 1/4 cup crushed pecan pieces

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup good quality maple syrup

  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon


  1. Cut the apples in half and use a melon-baller to scoop out the seeds and insides. Leave about 1/4" of fruit attached to the skin. Discard the core and seeds, but keep the rest of the apple and roughly chop it. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl.

  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the chopped apples. Stir until combined.

  3. Evenly spoon the granola mixture into the emptied apple halves.

  4. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mediterranean Watermelon Salad


  • 3 cups watermelon, cut into 1" cubes

  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

  • 2 cups cooked pearl cous cous

  • 1 large cucumber, chopped

  • ½ cup crumbled Feta cheese

  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint

  • 2 tbsp. Balsamic Viniagrette dressing


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Pineapple Infused Sake Prep Time: 15 minutes / Refrigeration Time: 48 hours / Servings: 16 Ingredients:

  • 1 large pineapple, peeled and chopped into large chunks

  • 2 bottles clear, filtered sake


  1. Prepare the pineapple and place it into a large, sealable container.

  2. Pour the sake over the pineapple chunks and seal the container.

  3. Place it in the refrigerator for 48 hours.

  4. If you prefer not to have any pulp or fruit in the served sake, run it through a strainer or a cheesecloth before serving.

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