I think it's perfectly fine to eat primal and have your weekly indulgences. You can carb load with other things besides pasta, or you can keep eating the pasta, whatever you want to do. I wish I had a date night every week with my husband, and relaxing and having a few drinks sounds really fun to me, totally something I would do if I could. I say go for it, and consider your indulgences to be your 20%.
Julie, do it. You will feel so amazing. Instead of pasta carb loads have sushi. And drink up when you go out on Friday nights. I did this diet for a year and a half drinking 3 glasses of wine almost every day. Drank half a bottle (probably more than half) for my birthday this year.
Also, do the WHOLE program. The food as well as the sleep, the sun and the fitness program. Drop the chronic cardio, the chronic calorie restriction, the fear of animal fats and everything. It's a fountain of youth, this stuff. I've got a spring in my step I haven't felt in like ever. Good luck.
Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 170 x 3. Current Deadlift: 220 x 3
I think it won't be that hard of a transition. Sometimes it may seem like the members of this site are "all or nothing" but I don't believe that to be the case.
As far as the pasta goes, I have been eating this way for a few years now and now I really can't eat it. I think you will naturally transition off of it. I eat sweet potatoes almost every day and I had about 4 within a 24 hour period before my last half marathon.
Also, I drink wine pretty much every day, and have beer with friends once a week. I definitely obey the 80/20 rule and it hasn't affected my appearance or my energy and I am very active.
I think of "doing paleo" as striving toward an ideal. It's not a binary label like "vegan", for example. Probably everyone fails with respect to some tenet, at some point. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good.
And if all that's holding you back is your pre-race meal, which as many have noted is easily replaceable, and a few drinks a week, which in itself is not even a problem, then it looks like you're off to a good start!
2. There's more to Primal than food. PLAY is a component. Live a little! Some alcohol is more primal (wine, cider) than others (beer, spirits)
3. This isn't a diet. No diet, no cheat.
Most people here will admit to eating 'off plan' sometimes. (I ate pasta and pudding last night, have a carb hangover this morning, back on plan at the next meal) Unless you have food allergies/sensitivities, eat whatever makes you feel good, or is the best choice from whats available at that opportunity.
STRIVE for 100% compliance, ACCEPT that 20% will be out of your control, or temporarily inconvenient. You don't have to do primal perfectly to enjoy the benefits. I am dedicated, but hardly disciplined.