Carla Molinaro

  • AGE: 30
  • FASTEST MARATHON: 2:51
  • LOCATION:

I love running and I am a bit obsessed with finding any physical challenge that takes me completely and utterly out of my comfort zone. Oh, and I am pretty sure I can run faster than a horse when I’m powered by peanut butter on apples – if you haven’t tried it yet you are missing out on a taste sensation!

ATHLETE DIARIES

Each week each member of Team Whole Earth updated us on their training journey
leading up to the big event, Man V Horse!

I have been away skiing for a few weeks and this was my first week back into my regular running schedule and I’m not going to lie… it hurt. I’ve been on six runs this week and run 73km in total and it feels great to get back into a routine! I joined a new running club this week too and it was so nice to have other people to run with – they spur you on and I find it adds a bit of a competitive nature to my training so I run quicker (which is never a bad thing). This week I have mainly been running on the roads. Living alongside the Thames there are absolutely no hills around me so I took a little road trip to Boxhill (the biggest hill in Surrey) to start to get a bit of hill running practice in for Man V Horse. The biggest high was overtaking a cyclist riding up Boxhill, it’s just too much fun. My focus for the next 5 weeks or so is building up my hill strength so hill reps are heavy on my agenda. I’ve also started going to yoga again because I’m so inflexible! It made me realise just how important yoga is in keeping your body supple and injury free so it’s back in the training programme. Nutrition wise, I’ve been a bit obsessed with apples and Whole Earth 3Nut butter – I fear I may turn into an apple covered in nut butter soon!

This week’s training has been great. I have completed a mix of training this week although one session that did stick out was on Tuesday night where I had to do a 600m time trial on the track. My lungs were still burning when I got up on Wednesday morning!! All in all I did 2 track sessions, 4 road runs and finished it off with a trail race! I’ve run 65km in total and I finished the week on a massive high and went up to Scotland to take part in the Fling relay. It’s a trail race that follows 52 miles of the West Highland Way and my wonderful relay team won! This was my first trail race and I can’t wait to find another one to do, I am not too sure if I can wait until Man v Horse in June! I have been snacking on Whole Earth peanut butter on toast in the afternoons before training. It really fills me up and keeps me full for a couple of hours…which is pretty amazing as I am normally hungry all of the time!!

This week I have run six times and covered 48KM and it’s been a bit of a different week for me! I spent Monday running in a heat chamber on a treadmill at 40 degrees C at Kingston University. This is in preparation for next years Marathon des Sables and it was so interesting to learn about the sports science associated with running in the heat. I then mixed it up, running on the track road and I did a nice hill session on the trails around Box Hill.

Going into this week I felt pretty tired after racing along the West Highland Way on Saturday. My track session on Tuesday evening where I did 6 x 600m was particularly emotional but luckily I had some boys to race! My favorite run this week was at Box Hill this morning, it is so pretty up there and I love getting lost on the trails!

I have been snacking on peanut butter on toast this week and I had almost forgotten how good it was! My whole family now appear to be fuelled on peanut butter, which can only be a good thing!

Next week I’m going to start to up the distance that I run, from now until a couple of weeks before Man V Horse. I want to try and practice running with a back pack on a bit more too as I am hoping to do a few ultra races this year and need to get used to the feeling!

It’s been a mixture of road, trails and track this week. I also found a new park to run in this week, which was beautiful and full of deer! I love finding new places to run, it adds a nice variety to training. All in all I have been on 6 runs and completed 50km in total but I have found this week really hard. I was really tired and it showed when I turned up to training on Thursday night and had to go home after the warm up! I felt awful and had no energy. But I did recover…I took Friday off training and have just been on a wonderful run on the trails today so it is nice to end the week on a high!

I’ve made some awesome peanut butter bars this week which have been a highlight. They are super tasty and are easy to eat whilst running or to snack on just before you head out on a run – I warn you now, they are addictive!!

Building my endurance is going to be key over the next few weeks. I am going to have to start ramping up the distances and I need to try and get my long runs nearer to the 20mile mark

This week I have completed most of my runs on the trails, but managing to sneak one cheeky run in on the track which took my weekly run count up to 6; with 60km being covered in total. I was really tired last week so took an extra rest day which has made the world of difference to my training! Sometimes you need to take a little extra rest to let your body catch up with the training that you have put in.

It’s pretty flat where I live meaning only a couple of the runs have been hilly, because of this I have tried to do as many of my runs on trails as I can this week. I also got a new pair of trail shoes which made my hill session today so much easier – it’s amazing what a little extra grip on your shoes can do!

I’m loving the Whole Earth Red Fruit Crunch with Greek yoghurt and fruit as an afternoon snack – It has plenty of protein, carbs and a little fat in there too which is prefect to eat after training!

I am in Cyprus for the next week so I am going to explore, find some new trails and enjoy running in the sunshine!

This week I’ve been in Cyprus so I had a host of new places to run! I tried sticking to the trails as much as possible, which are all pretty rocky and dry. I completed seven runs in total this week and I covered 60 km. The first 4 days in Cyprus were pretty hard because it was so hot out there. Once I started to acclimatize to the heat my pace started to quicken and I had a few really good sessions. I also completed two hill sessions which is very unusual for me, but I kept finding awesome hills to run on in Cyprus!

I had to go a whole week without Whole Earth peanut butter and I think this has scarred me for life! I will be most certainly taking peanut butter supplies with me on all future holidays – there is no way I’m letting that happen again! This is especially important to remember around race times, as you don’t want to be changing your foods leading up to and including the day of the race as this can lead to all sorts of trouble!!

Distance, distance, distance…there are only a few weeks to go until Man v Horse so next week I will be getting the last long runs in before I start to taper.

This week I have been on seven runs and covered 75km in total. I have been running on the road quite a lot which included two trail sessions, one track and the rest on road. I also ran in Richmond Park for the first time which was lovely and jam packed full of runners, cyclists and walkers. I have really enjoyed training this week. I raced at the London 10,000 on Monday. Although I didn’t quite get the time that I hoped for it was a really fun event. I am also racing again today on the track, where I am doing 800m and 3000m…a slightly different race to Man v Horse in a couple of weeks, eek!

I tried Whole Earth Peanut Butter in porridge for the first time this week…all I can say is HEAVEN! If you haven’t tried it already what are you waiting for? I found it kept me fuller for a lot longer than normal, due to the added fat and protein content.

I am slightly nervous about Man v Horse but I am sure my fitness will get me through. Next week I am adding my final bit of distance before Man v Horse. It will be a big week in terms of distance with some hills and intervals thrown in as always!

This week I completed nine runs and ran 85 km in total. I ran on trails as much as I could, but my four early morning runs were all on the road. On Monday I did a great session where I ran up and down as many hills as I could. It was great fun and made me realise just how hilly Man V Horse is going to be this weekend!

I have completed a mix of intervals, long runs and hill reps this week and it was really nice going from a really slow hill run to sprinting on the track in the same week!

As my training has increased this week I have been even hungrier than norma! Peanut butter is calorie-dense it is great when you are trying to eat extra calories and it doesn’t fill you up too much! I’ve been eating a lot of Whole Earth peanut butter on apples and straight out of the jar on a spoon this week. Despite being tired now after a big week of training, I am raring to go for the race!

This week I have completed three runs totalling 45Km. I unfortunately caught a chest infection days before Man V Horse which was incredibly frustrating, and a real low point to my week!

 

This week I ended up completing two road runs to test out my chest and then of course the Man V Horse race itself, which was over a mix of trails, hills, rocks and a tiny bit of road. Despite being unwell my high has to be completing Man V Horse. It was stupidly challenging but was an extremely fun race in the Welsh Valleys!

Whole Earth peanut butter power balls and bananas, combined with some awesome crunchy peanut butter the night before the race was an absolute godsend to get my energy levels up and fuel me for the race.

Unfortunately getting ill last week was not ideal, and it made me feel a little unfit. There was however not much I could do about it and so I enjoyed the race and didn’t worry about where I finished!

Next week I am taking a few days off running to let my body recover properly, and then I am going to begin training to race in the Alps in 4 weeks time! If you would like to read more you can find my full race report about Man v Horse here: www.carlamolinaro.com

As Whole Earth ambassadors each member of our team have taken part in two additional events
and we have asked them to share their experiences with us.

I’d never done the Chester Marathon, after a little bit of research I discovered that it was a fast flat course bar two hills at 22 and 24 miles – a great time to include hills in a marathon!

I was quite interested to see how the marathon was going to go as 6 weeks prior, I’d moved to a new running club and got a new running coach – a slight shock to the system! I went from doing 50 miles weeks to 90 miles. However, I enjoyed doing more miles and my body seemed to respond well. Feeling good, my fingers were crossed for a nice fast time and a Personal Best on Sunday.

Before the race I made sure I had enough glycogen stored and stocked up on lots of carbs. This included pasta and pastries, Whole Earth Peanut Butter on toast and Apples and Peanut Butter Power Balls that I make with peanut butter, coconut, oats and chocolate chips… they’re absolutely AWESOME!! It is so important to be as fuelled up as possible before events like these as you don’t want to go into the race with your glycogen stores half full and not have enough energy to fuel you to the end.

The planning and prep paid off, and I came second with another 2:51 finish. Now time to rest, eat and get some much needed sleep!

Congratulations on becoming a member of Team Whole Earth! How are you feeling?

I’m surprised and very happy!

What made you enter to become a Whole Earth sponsored athlete?

I take part in lots of different races and I’ve competed in a lot of ‘normal’ road events like marathons and half marathons – this year I wanted to do something different. One of my friends has also raced in Man V Horse before and loved it so I thought I should try it too!

How are you feeling at the prospect of racing 60 horses cross country?

I think it’s obviously going to be a lot harder running that distance cross-country as opposed to on the road. It will be pushing boundaries so I can’t wait.

Tell us about your running background?

I started my sporting career as a triathlete when I was at university. I then did triathlons for GB in my age group and I got to see some cool places around the world. Then in 2013 I thought it was a good idea to do an Iron Man, ¾ Iron Man and ½ Iron Man in 6 weeks… it was intense but I loved training for it and I felt really fit! It was shortly after this that I got into running. I entered a half marathon and did quite well so I thought I would try a marathon. I did my first one last year at the London Marathon. It was a great experience and it was amazing to hear my friends in the crowd shouting my name. I finished in 2hr 51 minutes and was really pleased with that result. I did hit a barrier at 12 miles but managed to get through it. Instead of constantly checking my watch and trying to finish in a good time I decided to just ignore it and run for the joy of it. That’s when I really started to enjoy running.

What do you love about running?

I like competing against other people, the feeling of escape running gives you and I do like feeling physically fit and knowing my body is in shape. I also like seeing new places and whenever I go on holiday I always try to ensure there’s a running route nearby so I can take in some of the scenery.

Tell us about your most challenging running experience

I did another marathon in Frankfurt last year and that was definitely the toughest running experience I have ever had. It was mentally very tough and I put a lot of my pressure on myself to do a similar time as the London Marathon so it was quite a challenge.

What are you looking forward to at the Man V Horse event?

I am intrigued to see how it works! And how close we will be to the horses when we’re racing…

This race is quite a unique one, will you do anything differently to prepare for it?

I do cross-country running already but I need to do more long distance trail running to prepare for this race.

What’s your favourite Whole Earth peanut butter and how often do you eat it when you’re training?

I love crunchy peanut butter! I eat it every day with apple slices. I’m a little bit obsessed with it.

What’s your favourite peanut butter snack before a race?

If it’s a race in the morning I will usually have oats and berries with some peanut butter.

TEAM WHOLE EARTH 2015

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