Did you know that carb-loading is a 3-day affair? Not one meal, not 3 meals, but 3 days? This is something relatively new to me. (I first heard it at the Run Show back in April.) When we started running, and when we ran our first marathon, there was talk of the “pasta party” in which you ate a bunch of pasta so your muscles would have enough fuel to burn the next day. I thought it was as simple as that. Have a plate of spaghetti for dinner and you’d be good to go. Well, it turns out it takes at least 2 days for your muscles to fill themselves full of the fuel (glycogen) you’ll need to run 26.2 miles. And that is if 85-95% of your calories are coming from carbs.

I had no idea.

But because I’d like to avoid hitting the wall, I’m taking it to heart and learning how to carb-load the right way. Thankfully, Runner’s World did a feature on just that in the November issue, which, thankfully, got to my mailbox just in time. Pasta, rice, bread, bananas, tortillas, crackers, fruit juice, yogurt, oatmeal and swedish fish are all on the list of things to eat in the days before a big race. They say that, if done correctly, you should gain at least 4 pounds during the carb-load.

I had no idea.

Good thing there are lots of different ways to get your carbs. I’m making some carb-heavy dishes that I’ve made before (a variation on the beany linguine and some ginger fried rice), but I wanted something new, too. Which was great since I had someone else’s fideos noodles to use, and a suggestion to make sopa de fideos. I found this recipe from Simply Recipes, which I liked since even though it is “sopa” it is less soupy than the other recipes I looked at. The noodles are fried, then simmered in the broth until they’ve mostly soaked it up. Super easy, but different enough to make it feel fresh and fancy. Thanks to Jolena for the suggestion. I’ll be making it again.

Sopa de Fideos adapted from Simply Recipes

serves 4

My fideos noodles were coiled like this. I don’t know if they come like that all the time, since I’ve never actually bought them. But just so you know, you’re looking for the coils or nests of angel hair when you are shopping for this. (Also, please kindly ignore the fact that my pasta is slightly over-fried in the picture above . . . multi-tasking will do that sometimes.)

1/2 lb. coiled fideos noodles or angel hair nests

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, minced

2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

2 cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper

In a 9-inch frying pan (with lid), fry the fideos/angel hair nests on both sides in hot oil until golden brown in color. Remove from pan. In the same oil, brown the minced onion, add the chopped tomato. Add chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When broth is boiling, add fried pasta and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook until the pasta has soaked up the liquid, about 30 minutes.

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