The carbo-loading has begun

Written by Gretchen McKay on


With the Pittsburgh Marathon just days away, the focus for many runners -- along with the family and friends who've been suffering through training with them  -- has turned from hill repeats and tempo runs to a different kind of workout. 


Carbs, that is. And lots of 'em.

Race expos are fun, but no tradition is more treasured among runners than a pasta dinner a night or two before a big race. 

The idea is to increase the amount of fuel stored in your muscles to improve your athletic perfomance. Carbohydrates are your body's main energy source; by loading up on them in the days leading up to an endurance event such Pittsburgh's 26.2-mile race through 13 city neighborhoods, you won't feel as tired slogging out those last few miles to the finish. marathon course

Theoretically, anyway. 

Pittsburgh restaurateurs have cooked up a few events aimed at filling those hungry belllies. 

On Friday, May 2, eight restaurants in Lawrenceville are teaming up for the Lawrenceville Carb Crawl. Download a coupon on the marathon website, and you'll get 15 percent off your party's bill (excluding alcohol, which you shouldn't be drinking anyway because it's dehydrating) at eateries such as Franktuary and Industry Public House.  The event runs from noon until closing.

kateromane dinneThere also still are a few $90 seats available at the gourmet pasta dinner that e2 chef Kate Romane is catering at First Presbyterian Church, Downtown, on Saturday, May 3. The family-style dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. with an antipasta bread bar (pictured at left), will include a variety of homemade pastas: ravioli with local spinach, cherry tomatoes and handmade farmers cheese; chicken with ramp and arugula pesto; and asparagus and spring peas with prosciutto cotto and cream. You'll also get to fill up on Kate's famous meatballs. 

Also, area Bravo! restaurants, Del's Bar and Ristorante in Bloomfield and Lidia's Pittsburgh in the Strip District will be offering special pre-race menus and prices; reservations are suggested. 

And at Bocktown Beer & Grill, anyone who shows his or her medal will get a complimentary draft on race day. At both the Robinson and Monaca locations. 

And if you'd rather do your own cooking?

The PG's four-part series on how to fuel for a marathon featured close to a dozen carb-heavy dishes that should appeal to runners and non-runners alike. There's even a few recipes for vegetarians and vegans, such as the Mushroom Bolognese pictured belowmushroom bolognese and a really tasty sweet potato and kale dish from ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek, whose book "Eat & Run" was featured in the PG in 2012.

Good luck if you're running, and see you on the course ... and at the finish line.

UPDATE:  Osteria 2350, on Railroad Street in the Strip District,  is offering a 10 percent discount on meals through Sat., May 3, with a Pittsburgh marathon/half-marathon bib. 

Gretchen McKay, Pittsburgh Marathon and e2 photos

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