Choosing your perfect pre-race dinner is arguably as personal as finding the right pair of running shoes. It’s gotta be just right for top-notch performance - not too heavy, not too light, and it better make you feel good.
If you catch me at any pre race dinner, there’s only one meal I’ll ever be eating: Spaghetti Bolognese with a side of leafy greens. I’ve run well over 50 races in my running career and let me tell ya, there is nothing that’ll get you faster to the finish line than a hefty bowl-o-carbs + protein the night before.
To put my teeny pasta addiction into perspective, we need to go all the way back to 1997 when Walt Disney released “Flubber.” The cute little ball of green goo was cool and all, but remember that woman who turned 100? There was one thing she had lived her whole century of a life to do: swim in a colossal pool of spaghetti.
Get me a Costco size swimming pool and approximately a bazillion trillion noodles and I’d be treading away happy as a clam. Sadly, slightly unrealistic and too many noodles in ungodly places, so instead I stick to a concoction much closer to home and guaranteed for top notch performance on race day. Warning: please DO try this at home.
JJ’s Spaghetti Bolognese
A 65 year-old family recipe
5 large carrots (peeled)
1 head of celery (approx. 7 stalks)
¼ cup diced red onion
¼ lb lean ground pork
¼ lb lean ground beef
40 oz. canned whole tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 bunch of fresh basil (approx. 15 large leaves)
1 box of whole wheat noodles
Seasonings (optional/altered): salt, pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder, red pepper flakes
- Sauté in olive oil the carrots, celery and diced red onion for approximately 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Add ¼ lb ground pork and ¼ lb ground beef.
- Add seasonings to taste. Generally, 2 tsps. of: salt, pepper, and garlic powder. 1 tsp. red pepper flakes. Cook meat until brown, approximately 8-10 minutes.
- Add canned whole tomatoes and tomato paste, then cover completely and simmer on medium/low for 10 minutes. Add basil after 5 minutes of simmering.
- Bring a pot of water to a bowl, add noodles and cook for 5-7 minutes on high heat.
Once the noodles are cooked and the meat sauce has simmered for at least 10 minutes, dish up and bon appetite!
Enjoy my family recipe and good luck next race day! For more pre-race dinner recipes, tweet me at @jackelizabethk.