For the past several years the health food industry has promoted a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates as a means of convincing us that to maintain a healthy weight we needed to eliminate carbs.
Prior to the high protein fade athletes believed, and I still do, that to run your body at peak performance you needed a diet high in healthy carbs and low in proteins and fats.
So it was refreshing for me to meet a person that actually promoted the “old school” diet. Jason Braswell believes that his diet should be very carbohydrate heavy and low fat.
“I aim for a diet of approximately 70 percent cabs, 15 percent protein and 15 percent fat,” he said.
“I’ve found that this diet keeps me lean and also keeps me supplied with energy for my training. The biggest part of my diet is grains and pasta. I do believe, however, that my nutritional habits could be improved upon, and that is an area that I have been studying lately,” Braswell said.
Braswell didn’t just happen into his high carb diet, but gradually gravitated upon it while discovering his passion for running.
“I started running in college as an alternative to an unhealthy lifestyle,” he said. “My inspiration was my younger sister, Erica, who had a successful high school career in Alabama, setting several state records that still stand.”
“Erica went onto have an excellent track and cross-country career at Auburn University. Seeing the genetic proof I knew I had to be a runner,” Braswell said.
While attending law school in Chicago, Braswell, started running with a group from a local running store and he focused on shorter races of 5 and 10 kilometers (3.1 to 6.2 miles).
“My running began to take off thanks to the friendships that were forged with a number of people from that running store, which helped me a great deal. Those friendships remain strong to this day,” he said.
Overtime Braswell graduated into becoming a long distance runner and took on the challenging training demands required of racing for extended periods of time.
To date Braswell has completed four marathons (distances of 26.2 miles) with a personal best 2 hours 48 minutes at the Chicago Marathon.
“I’m hoping I can lower my personal best marathon time when I do the Hilo Marathon in March,” he said. “The Hilo Marathon is the current long term focus of my training and when I am 16 weeks away from that race I will put my entire focus onto it.”
Braswell runs between six to seven days per week and his mileage can vary from a low of 45 miles to a high of 85 depending on his race schedule plans.
“I believe in the benefits of cross training, particularly for runners struggling with injuries, but I have never been one to partake in it,” Braswell said.
“I like to spend all of my exercise time running. I have been fortunate to stay pretty much injury free throughout my running career, so I haven’t really had to resort to cross training to keep my mileage down.”
Braswell is currently at the lower end if the mileage spectrum. “I am trying to build slowly before going into what will probably be a four month training schedule for the Big Island International Marathon,” he said.
In 2003 Braswell received his law degree and has spent the past six years practicing in Chicago at one of the country’s largest law firms. But he and his wife, Melissa, were frequent visitors to Hawaii and they decided to give up the corporate life and to follow their passions for a more fulfilling lifestyle here on the Big Island.
On September 9th the Braswell’s became the proud owners of the Big Island Running Company on Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona.
“Before moving to the Big Island we spent a lot of time dreaming about ways to make Hawaii our home,” he said. “We spent a considerable amount of time in the Islands and always found it difficult to return to the mainland. When the opportunity to purchase a running store in Kailua-Kona presented itself, we knew it was meant to be.”
Braswell has gone full circle in his passionate love for running. From his days of discovering the health values of running, to enjoying the comradraire, competitiveness and the endorphins experienced with prolonged distance running.
It was a group of people, organized from a running store in Chicago, that has led the Braswell’s to owning their own running store right here in Paradise.
“Our vision for the Big Island Running Company is to establish it as a cornerstone for the Hawaii running community. We want to use the store to support local running groups and local events and to support the youth track and field and cross country programs,” he said.
Running has meant so much to Jason and Melissa Braswell that they want to share their love for the sport with everyone on the Big Island.
“We want to reach out to the community to encourage the development of new runners, whether trying to run their first mile or first marathon,” Braswell said.