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Top 5 Places to Carbo-Load in Houston

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Houston marathon runners, you've trained long and hard (I hope) in preparation for running 26.2 miles this coming Sunday. Now, it's time to eat. A lot. Although carbo-loading has its critics, many aspiring endurance athletes still swear by the practice. Sure, you can eat your weight in bagels and whole-wheat tortillas and cereal, but that's no fun. Here are my picks for the best places to top off those glycogen stores.

5. Shipley Do-Nuts

Iced pastries shouldn't be the foundation of a carbo-loading diet, but one or two the night before the race are a much-deserved treat and a great way to spike your blood sugar. Stick to the dense cake varieties rather than dairy-heavy cream kinds to avoid GI distress.

4. Fratelli's

You can't go wrong with pasta (though go easy on the heavy sauces) in terms of marathon fuel. While a jar of Prego and a box of Barilla will certainly suffice, Fratelli's offers some divine handmade selections and is hosting a special "carb festival" the day before the marathon. Entrees include penne with spinach, chicken, and sun-dried tomatoes, lasagna bolognese, and spaghetti with homemade meatballs.

3. Jus' Mac

Eating a skillet of noodles and cheese is a sure-fire to put yourself in a food coma...from which you will emerge energized to run all morning long! Add an appetizer of fried macaroni and cheese balls for extra oomph, but from personal experience, I advise you to skip any dish that includes chilies lest you want to be burping fire the first few miles of the race.

2.Star Pizza

Although deep-dish pizza initially sits like a brick in your stomach, it does amazing stuff for your legs later. Go for a whole-wheat crust with vegetables for toppings to avoid the dehydrating effects of salty pepperoni and sausage.

1. Blue Nile

Marathons may be what white people like, but in case you haven't noticed, it ain't us crackers who are winning most major races. If you want to run like a champion, eat like a champion, specifically one from Ethiopia. This country's trademark carbohydrate, injera is made from teff, a super-grain rich in fiber and iron and thought to be responsible for its runners' unparallelled dominance in long-distance running.

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