Worcester Running Festival Half Marathon, 19 June 2016

What: Half marathon

Where: Worcester, Massachusetts

Course Map:

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Who: Just me, with moral support from Drew

Time: 02:42:50

Splits: (according to Simon)
Mile 1: 11:21
Mile 2: 12:33
Mile 3: 13:25
Mile 4: 11:57
Mile 5: 12:12
Mile 6: 12:22
Mile 7: 12:42
Mile 8: 12:45
Mile 9: 13:16
Mile 10: 13:14
Mile 11: 12:39
Mile 12: 11:25
Mile 13: 11:18
Mile 13.1: 1:59

To read a nitty-gritty race-specific recap, check out my review on BibRave!

To read about my pre-race (mis)adventures and neuroses, check out my last post.

Quick background: This was my second half marathon, and I didn’t train properly at all. My longest training run for it was a mere 5 miles, and the farthest I’d run in 2016 was a 10K. So it’s fair to say I was a little nervous going into this race!

I was grateful that I had splurged on a hotel room close to the start, because not only did it mean extra sleep before the 7am start, but it also meant I didn’t have to suffer the porta-potty SNAFU that happened before the race. Rumor had it the porta-potty delivery man got lost on the way to the race, and there were no porta-potties on-site until right before the race started. Oops! They opened up City Hall so the runners could use the bathrooms in there, but I heard there weren’t many stalls, so the line was ridiculous. It ended up delaying the race start by 10 minutes, as the race director wanted everyone to have a chance to use the loo if they needed.

At last everyone was gathered at the start, and after Beyonce sang the national anthem (recorded, unfortunately… would have been ridiculously awesome if she had been there!) we were under way.

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Eventual winner leading the pack on the left.

It was forecast to be about 87* F (30.5 C) by 11am, so I was also grateful for the early start! It was in the low 60s at start time, and I was almost a little chilly in my minimalist kit. I wasn’t complaining!

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As usual, being goofy after crossing the start.

In addition to my run club singlet, I was rocking my Under Armour shorts that are so light and cool that they feel like they’re not even there… only without the awkward naked feeling. I love them.

I was also trying out an EnduraCool multi-cool thingie (the wicked bright orange scarf thing around my neck), which one of my Shammie friends had been raving about in recent weeks. Knowing how terrible I am in the heat, I liked the idea of having a cool thing to put against the back of my neck to keep my temp down. It was a little awkward and floppy, and the part against my skin warmed up pretty quickly, but all it took was a quick adjustment and it was cool again. Plus, when kindly locals were handing out ice along the course, it was a perfect place to store it, and kept it from melting for way longer than I expected. That was pretty sweet.

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Is that an excited smile, or a grimace-smile trying to mask my worry?

The first mile was through downtown and had a nice downhill section, and I was feeling pretty good. Mile 2 was also decent, and had some shady bits near Elm Park which were nice.

My plan going in to the race (or, at least the one I sort of came up with as I ran the first mile and realized I should have a plan) was to stop every mile to have a short walk break and a chew, and to take water at every water stop, along with another walk break. Also, I told myself it was totally okay to walk anytime I started feeling even a little bit fainty… having not trained, and knowing how hot and hilly this race would be, I knew I wouldn’t be gunning for a PR. My only goals were a) to finish, however long it took, and b) to stay conscious, even if it meant walking slowly for most of the race.

There were a good number of runners near me for the first 2.5 miles, and I was leapfrogging with several who were also run-walking. One of my worries going in was that I’d be the only run-walker and that I’d finish last, but that worry was completely unfounded. And anyway, there’s no shame in finishing last… I’ve done it before!

The feel of the race changed a bit between miles 2 and 3, when I hit The Hill. Worcester is known for its hills, and I knew going in that at least one of its famous hills would be part of the course. Thankfully the hill came early in the race… at first I was annoyed that I hit it so early, but then I tried to think about how much worse it would have been if The Hill had happened in Mile 12! Yeesh.

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Google Street View of the start of The Hill. Notice the lovely shade and an example of the giant houses that line the street!

Against my better judgment, I tried to run The Hill. Slowly, but still. Maybe it was all the hills I ended up accidentally scaling during my training runs, but it didn’t feel too bad, at least for a while. I made it maybe halfway or 2/3 of the way up before I needed to walk the rest, and that was enough to put me in front of all the runners I’d been leapfrogging. I ended up being on my own for a few miles starting at this point, which was a weird sensation. Especially when I’d come upon a turn without obvious course markers and had to cross my fingers that I was going the right way.

Luckily The Hill was shady and populated with giant, gorgeous houses that I could look at and distract myself with. And, when I got to the top, there was a small group of people with cowbells cheering me on, offering high-fives, and shouting “You’ve beaten the hill! That’s the worst part of the race!” That was awesome!

The next mile consisted of winding my way downhill through quiet, shaded neighborhoods. I liked the downhills, but it was a bit boring and lonely for that stretch. That is, until I took a walk break and a guy came out of nowhere to pass me, yelling “Pretty far from the pond, eh?” and pointing at my singlet. I was silent with confusion for a second or two, then he yelled “You’ve been pacing me this whole race so far! Keep it up!” and took off. Turns out he was the only other runner from my city in the race, and – as I found out later when I caught up with him – he does most of his running at my favorite pond path. Small world!

The next mile was pretty uneventful, except for the sparkliest water stop I’ve ever seen. There were tables on both sides of the street (this part was out-and-back, so the lead runners were starting to pass me going the other way) that were decorated with shiny streamers, and people were ringing cowbells and cheering. One lady had a giant bucket full of ice, and I took some to tuck into my EnduraCool, where they melted slowly and kept me cool for a few miles. One of the neighbors had his sprinkler going for us, too. I loved these people.

At the end of this street, just before Mile 6, we turned onto Mill Street for my least favorite stretch of the race. We ran right on Mill St. for a while, then turned around and ran the other way for a long time, then turned around and ran back. For nearly four miles we were on an endless, nearly shadeless, stretch of road that had nothing to look at along it. Well, at one point there was a pond with a little beach, but that was it. It was all woods, fields, and abandoned-looking buildings, with a few houses in the middle bit. It was bleak. Some of my slowest miles happened along this stretch, and I walked a lot. It was also open to traffic, and cars were coming awfully close to our narrow little coned-off running section. I didn’t love it.

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A particularly bleak stretch of Mill St., courtesy of Google Street View.

The only bright spots along this stretch were 1) the aid station that had Honey Stinger gels, and 2) my pond-runner buddy. I caught up to him early on during this stretch, when he was walking. He grinned and said “welcome back!” and we chatted for a bit as I took a welcome walk break with him. Turns out we had both missed the race last year and had taken the deferment, but then neither of us had trained beforehand, him due to injury and me due to, well, me being me. We ended up leapfrogging each other a few more times, each time shouting encouragement to each other. That definitely helped me get through the Mill St. stretch!

My chews ran out at Mile 9, and I stopped at Mile 10 to take the gel I picked up at the aid station. I’d never had a gel before – chews have always been my fuel of choice – and wow. (I know, I know… never do anything new on race day.) I should have taken it near a water stop because I almost choked on its sweetness and it made my mouth so sticky. But, it also gave me a serious kick start; once I started running again after taking it, my legs didn’t feel as tired and my energy levels definitely went up. It was like a miracle gel. Cheers, Honey Stinger!

The rest of the race from there was a repeat of earlier bits of the race, so I had an idea of the terrain and knew how many more water stops there’d be. Other than those water stops, I ran (and somehow negative-split) the last 5K. I think I just really wanted to be done running at that point!

As I got to the last .1, I kicked it as hard as I could without wanting to faint. I turned the last corner and spotted Drew, making sure to make another goofy face at him:

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Plenty of porta-potties by this point!

I have a memory of smiling big at the photographer at the finish line, but my picture says otherwise:

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Sigh. I made this pic small because it’s much too terrible to look at larger.

I was handed a bottle of water and a medal immediately after crossing the finish (yessss!), wandered off to some shade, and tried to stretch. My legs were so wobbly. Drew found me, and together we waited for my race buddy to cross the finish so we could cheer for him. Then I wobbled off to find a snack – there was plenty of pizza (at 10am, ugh) and a handful of bananas left, so I grabbed a banana before attempting stretching again. I also posed for a hometown pride photo:

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Wormtown represent!

…then wobbled off back to the hotel for ice cold water, a protein shake, and a much-needed shower. I had finished! And, somehow, despite the heat, the hills, and the lack of training, my finishing time was only 5 minutes slower than my other half, which was run on a cool day in October on a flat course. Not too shabby!! However, despite pulling off a surprisingly decent race, I think next time I’ll make sure I train. And… maybe no more summer halfs. I think one was good enough.

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Tales of Turkey Trots and News Good and Bad

Happy Monday! I hope you all had an excellent weekend, and that those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a happy one!

Now, where to start?

I guess I’ll start with the bad news: I may have reinjured my dodgy metatarsal.

Sigh... (source)

Basically my reaction to this news. (source)

Let’s backtrack real quick to two days before my Treadmill Run of Glee. I was at work, doing normal worky things, when I started feeling ghost pains on the ol’ metatarsal. I knew I was going to try my first run that weekend, so the timing was pretty crappy. It lasted maybe 5 minutes… ever-so-slight twinges that were almost not even noticeable. I tried to stifle a sense of dread and went on with my day.

I carried on with my plans to run because the pain didn’t return after that one instance… I thought hoped it was a fluke. Then I got the same ghost pains on the way home from that run. And then the next morning it hurt to put my sock on. Nooooooooo. 😦

I emailed my ortho and may have threatened to chop off my foot. He chose to ignore that threat and told me “no impact for a week,” and that if it still hurt he’d see me again to check it out. Not a bad diagnosis given the 6-8 weeks I was just off, except…

Thanksgiving was during that one week of no impact activity, and Thanksgiving was the annual Shamrock Turkey Trot! I’d been so excited to run it, and had even had bought a silly turkey hat for the occasion! Plus it was also my birthday, and I really wanted to start the day off with some Shammies fun. Boo.

Well, every cloud has a silver lining, right? I emailed my friend E to see if I could still partake in the (in)famous after-party if I didn’t run, and turns out she got injured too, and was also under doctor’s orders not to run for a while. We made plans to walk the Trot together, and I felt so much happier about it all.

Thanksgiving dawned bright and early (the Shammies meet at 6:30am for this run!) and I was instantly so happy that I dragged myself out of bed so early. I’ve missed these people!! I donned my festive hat:

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…layered up in preparation for a chilly walk, and then everyone took off on a 4-mile run:

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Running off into the gray morning

E and I were at the back of the pack with N, a fellow injured Shammie, and I started walking only to have E and N start jogging. Wait, whaaa?

Okay, sure, this is fine. It’ll be good to test out my foot to see how it feels. We’ll go slowly and gently into this good morning. No worries. … Yiiiiikes.

We all agreed we’d take it easy, and if anyone started hurting we’d stop and walk the rest of the way. And you know what? My foot didn’t hurt at all! Not during, not after. This injury is a curious one.

All in all we ran 1.68 miles and I managed to run the whole way. I was huffing and puffing and felt so incredibly out of shape, but it felt so good to run, even if it was against my better judgement! With E’s encouragement I even ran all the way up the Hill of Doom, which I’ve never been able to run up without walking before. Boo yeah!

It was pretty awesome running around town in that turkey hat. One lady actually stopped, even though she had a green light, to let E and I cross in front of her, laughing and yelling out her window that she’d never hit a turkey on Thanksgiving. I got lots of waves and felt like a celebrity!

The rest of the club trickled back into the parking lot and our Turkey Day feast began. One guy opened the back of his truck as a table and we tucked in on all the pastries and, um, “special” coffee and other beverages people had brought. I met some new-to-me Shammies, learned that a few share my home city (Woo represent!), and caught up with people I haven’t seen in months. It was fantastic.

I love these people (source)

I love these people (source)

And now I’m in the midst of my no-impact sentence. My foot has felt fine since the day after my treadmill run, so I’m kindling yet another flame of hope that it was nothing and that I’ll be okay to continue running soon.

And the good news (in addition to my naughty Turkey Trot)? I got word that I’ll continue to be an ambassador for both Nuun and Honey Stinger next year! I was so pumped… I love both brands and am so happy to be able to keep representing them in 2016!

Have you ever had an injury that just wouldn’t go away completely? 

How was your Thanksgiving?

Sting or Bee Stung!

I’m wicked excited to announce that I’ve been accepted to be part of the 2015 Honey Stinger Hive!

7631469844_d438250b21_zI discovered Honey Stinger Energy Chews over the summer, when I started gearing up for long runs in preparation for my half in October. I took them with me on my first 5-mile run and loved the boost they gave me… not to mention how tasty they were! I also brought some along to my first 10K and, like I wrote in my post all about my half marathon fueling plan, they definitely got me through my first attempt at running 13.1 miles in one go.

I have to admit, when I applied for Hive sponsorship a few weeks back, I never expected to be picked. All the athletes pictured on their website look like they’re in the midst of triathlons, or cycling down mountains, whereas I am an anonymous back-of-the-pack runner. But, despite my dodgy-at-times motivation, I swear I am trying to get stronger and faster, and I do love me some sweet Honey Stinger chew goodness. So I’m totally pumped to be part of the 2015 Hive, and I’m looking forward to trying their other products and letting them fuel me toward smashing my goals in the new year!

Reflections on a Half Marathon: Fueling

After my somewhat melodramatic post the other day about how I’ve been struggling with running since my half (well, struggling with running since I started running again two weeks after my half is more accurate), I thought it might be a nice change of pace to talk about something I liked and did well. So, consider this the second in a small series of what worked and what didn’t during my half marathon (the first being my post about race-day kit).

What worked? My fueling plan.

Pre-race, a.k.a. ALL the pasta!

To be honest, I had no idea how to approach fueling in the week or so before my half. I’d heard of carbo-loading, but didn’t really know what that entailed other than vague memories of hearing about my high school cross-country team having spaghetti suppers before big races. All I really knew was that I wouldn’t eat anything high in fat or otherwise questionable the night before my race.

Enter the Runner’s World twitter feed. It’s like they knew I had my first big race coming up (or, you know, fall is a popular time for many people to run their first)… first they posted a link to an article about how to taper properly for your first half marathon, then they posted a link to an one about how to carbo-load properly. That’s what I’m talking about… way to be there for a clueless newbie, RW!

The gist of the carbo-loading article is this:
-Choose carbs that are easy to digest – rice, pasta, potatoes, white bread, tortillas, oatmeal, bagels, pancakes, etc.
-Related to the first point, avoid carbs that are also high in fiber if you’re worried about GI issues
-Start loading up (as in 85-95% of your diet) on carbs 2-3 days before your race, not just the night before
-Make sure you take mid-race fuel

Well, anyone who knows me knows I love me some pasta. If I could eat some form of pasta for lunch and dinner every day, I probably would. So I embraced the advice of this article and stuffed my face with pasta (and a few other carbs thrown in) for lunch and dinner, starting about 4 days out from my half. It was glorious.

Mid-race, a.k.a. sting or be stung!

I started experimenting with different types of fuel as soon as my long runs started taking longer than an hour to complete, and the kind that consistently worked best for me was Honey Stinger Energy Chews. I tried out a fueling plan during my 8.5-mile training run, which involved stopping roughly every 30 minutes for a chew or two, some water, and a quick walk break. It worked well the two times I tried it during training runs, so I made the conscious decision to use that tactic during my race.

For the race, I carried my dodgy water bottle, mostly for “emergencies” between water stops; I planned to stop and take a cup at each water stop, and also decided that I’d take Gatorade at the two stops it was offered at. In the bottle’s zippered pouch I carried my iPod and headphones (I don’t usually run with music, but I was worried I might need some serious motivation) and a baggie with 2 pouches’ worth of Honey Stinger chews.

As I wrote in my race recap, my plan to walk and fuel every 30 minutes didn’t exactly go as planned – a few times I stopped before 30 minutes had passed, and a few times I was able to go a little more than 30 minutes. Despite the minor time discrepancies, the fueling itself went well (apart from honey stickiness, but that was to be expected) and I had enough water for the majority of the course.

Overall fueling report

I would call my fueling efforts, both before and during the race, a success. I did not bonk, hit the wall, faint, or do anything else unsavory. During my two longest training runs I did get a bit bonkish (is that a word? it is now) despite fueling as I went, so I give a lot of credit to my pre-race carbo-loading. Glycogen stores FTW! I’m definitely going to stick with this method for future races.

How do you prepare for big races food-wise?

What type of mid-race fuel to you prefer?

Weekend Wrap-Up, 8/3

How is it August already?! This summer is flying by just a little too quickly for my taste! Especially as that means my first 10K is only 23 days away… yikes! Anyway, let’s see how I did this week:

Monday (scheduled): ??
Monday (actual): rest day

Usually Mondays are rest days for me… at least lately, when I’ve been running races on Sundays… but after the super lazy weekend I had, I thought maybe I should do something remotely active. Yeah, no. My lack of motivation shouldn’t surprise anyone by now, right? Drew had a soccer game after dinner, and I sat on the couch and read. The book I was in the middle of was due back at the library on Wednesday, so I really didn’t have any choice, especially since it wasn’t renewable. However, I did sprint through the pouring rain in the morning to get to a meeting across campus that was scheduled right in the middle of a thunderstorm. So that was something…? (And hey! I didn’t get winded! Hooray!)

Tuesday (scheduled): speed workout
Tuesday (actual): speed workout

The scheduled workout was 5 repeats of 800m at 5K pace / 100m recovery / 200m at mile pace / 300m recovery. Drew and I were both suffering from dodgy shins so our first two repeats were rough. I gave up trying to work on building my endurance and walked my recoveries instead of trying to jog (let’s be honest… my 5K pace is slower than everyone else’s recovery pace, so walking seems about right!). The third repeat was slightly better, and just as we were starting our fourth, Steve announced that Flying 30s were about to start because everyone else had finished their 5 reps. (Sigh.)

Drew surprisingly kept working on his 800m – he’s like me and loves sprinting the best – but that worked out for me because it meant I was the fastest sprinter for once! (At least until the last sprint when a former college sprinter started going all-out. No one was catching that guy.) One of the guys who runs a really fast 5K and always blows by me during the rest of speed workouts was trying to keep up with me because I don’t think he liked getting chicked in the sprints, but he was no match for the girl once known as Speedy Gobzales, no siree. 😉

This probably makes me a giant nerd, but I love looking at my speed charts after doing track workouts… you can really see the different parts of the repeats, and it’s fun to see how steady (or not) I was able to keep my speed.

Data from Simon. Look at those sprinting spikes at the end!

Data from Simon. Look at those sprinting spikes at the end!

The plateaus were my 800s, followed by little dips of recovery, then small spikes of 200m at “mile pace,” then big dips when I had to stop for water, and the fourth plateau gets cut off abruptly so I can do 3 Flying 30s. According to Simon, my top speed got to 4:07 on those sprints… it seemed fast until I realized elite marathoners complete entire (multiple) miles at that pace. What the heck?! I suddenly feel very unfit! (But it’s fast for me, so I’m happy!)

Wednesday (scheduled): core/arms/legs
Wednesday (actual): um… arms?

I’m noticing a bit of a trend here. It’s so easy to fall into a routine of just plopping down on the couch after I get home and change out of my work clothes… Drew and I tend to crack open a beer/cider and put on a movie or Friends before dinner, and once that happens the rest of my evening is pretty much out the window. I should start doing a quick circuit right after I change and before I sit down… make myself fit in in there!

I did get a bit of an arm workout though, as I rode the struggle bus through a small fit of baking:

Blueberry muffins... mmm

Blueberry muffins… mmm. I experimented with using brown sugar instead of white and they came out a bit pointier than usual. Still tasty though!

I always forget to put the butter out first to let it soften, so my right arm (unfortunately just the one…) got quite a workout trying to mix the chunks of butter into the batter. When I finally start working out my arms regularly, I’m going to have to work my left extra hard to even them up a bit.

I also walked a lot on Wednesday, which is better than nothing I suppose. My work sponsored a volunteering day and different groups were assigned to various organizations around Greater Boston. My group got sent to Cradles to Crayons, which provides clothes, books, toys, and school supplies to homeless and low-income children. My little subgroup of librarians got to work in the books section (so much fun!) and there was a lot of back and forth wandering around that section of the warehouse. The volunteer bus also dropped us off at a remote part of campus, so I had a nice walk along the river back to work. So despite the fact that I didn’t actually work my arms/legs/core, it was still a good day!

Thursday (scheduled): Shammies Fun Run #4
Thursday (actual): Shammies Fun Run #4

First, official results from last week. As you may remember, I was given a very generous finishing time of 20:45 for Fun Run #1, so last week I posted pictures from Simon to show what Fun Run #3 looked like in case the official results were dodgy again:

2.42 miles in 25:58; average pace 10:44

2.42 miles in 25:58; average pace 10:44

This time they were spot-on – at least as spot-on as you can be with a stopwatch and popsicle sticks – and my official time was 25:44. Still slightly generous – I stopped Simon pretty quickly after finishing this time – but I’ll take it.

Now for this week:

2.42 miles in 26:02, with an average pace of 10:46

2.42 miles in 26:02; average pace 10:46

Mile 1: 10:38; Mile 2: 11:!5,

Mile 1 in 10:38, Mile 2 in 11:15, and the last .4 miles in 4:09

This week’s fun run felt awful. I did not have fun. I walked to the race as my warmup again, but I got home later than usual and had to dash around – not even time to put sunscreen on, oops – and speed-walked the whole way instead of a nice, steady pace like last week. My shins didn’t like that.

I also started the race way too fast. I got caught up in the excitement of the start and took off with everyone else… I looked at Simon and I was running a 9:15. It’s hard at these races because I am so much slower than everyone else, and there are no walkers or back-of-the-pack peeps, so if I go at my own pace at the start I’m running by myself almost immediately. For this run I think I was trying to at least keep sight of the other runners, and clearly it was to my detriment. (I also wanted to start the race speedily because my neighbor, her daughter, and her 5-year-old grandson were at the starting line to cheer me on – the 5-year-old ran the kids’ race beforehand – and I didn’t want to jog off slowly in front of them. Silly, I know.)

My shins weren’t too bad, despite their anger during my warmup walk, but as soon as I ran off the pavement and onto the trail around the lagoon, my legs turned into lead. Usually the trail part of the course feels so nice after pounding the asphalt, but this time it was like suddenly running through molasses. Maybe because of my fast start? The whole lagoon area was a struggle, and I had to walk more of the Mile 2 hill than usual. After feeling so good about the fun run last week, this week’s felt slow and disappointing. AND I had to call Drew to pick me up afterwards because I started feeling really sick on the walk home… I thought I was going to pull a Lineker and no one wants that. Especially since so many people were out enjoying the nice evening.

Despite the “bad” race, Simon shows that it really wasn’t all that bad. It was only 4 seconds slower (closer to 3 even) than my “great” race last week. My first mile was faster by 5 seconds (that’s it?! after my speedy start?), my second was slower by 9, and my last .4 miles was faster by a single second. Really not too far off! It made me feel a little better too when I was talking to my Shammie bus friend (we’ll call him G) who said that everyone he talked to said their races this week were slower than last week’s. Maybe it was especially humid or something. Ah well. Hopefully next week’s will be better!

Friday (scheduled): rest day
Friday (actual): rest day

Drew and I went out to dinner with my buddy M-Dawg and had a good time catching up. Drew played soccer like the good, fit man he is, and I sat on the couch. It was nice.

Saturday (scheduled): long run
Saturday (actual): family time!

I spent most of the day hanging out in Central Mass with my mum, step-dad, and grandma and it was awesome. My choices of things to eat weren’t great at all, but it’s nice to have a splurge day once and a while!

Sunday (scheduled): recovery run or rest day
Sunday (actual): long run

With my first 10K bearing down on me, I’ve started getting worried about not having my mileage high enough. This has actually been a good thing because the worry has been motivation enough to kick my butt out the door and attempt long runs. I needed that kick in the butt today too… I was so sleepy this morning, and it was all overcast out, and I just wanted to sit on the couch. Instead, I got myself outside earlier than I ever have for a non-race run, and accomplished my longest long run yet!

longrun

That .01 really annoys me… I kept walking a few steps after Simon beeped because I thought the screen was going to change. Next time I’ll stop him at a nice even number!

I walked down to the pond as a warmup and figured I’d do two laps – each lap of the pond is about 2 miles – and then run part of the way home. I was aiming for 4.5 miles, or a little more if I felt up for it. The first lap was hard… my bad food choices from yesterday did not provide my body with good fuel stores, and I only had a banana and 2 Fig Newtons for breakfast, not wanting to eat too much before a long morning run.

Luckily I had thought ahead and brought along one of the packs of fuel that came in my Runnerbox – some Honey Stinger energy chews. I know fuel like this is meant for longer runs, but I’ve also read that once you’re running for an hour or more your body usually needs some carbs for energy and, because I’m slow, I figured I’d probably hit the hour mark. I ended up stopping for fuel after the first mile, which was earlier than I wanted, but my body was struggling. I had 2 of the chews and almost instantly felt better; it wasn’t as much of a struggle to get my legs going. I had a few more around the 2.5 mile mark and again they seemed to swoop in and rescue me. I was glad I brought them!

My splits looked like this:

Mile 1: 11:54
Mile 2: 13:01
Mile 3: 14:44
Mile 4: 11:41
Mile 5: 12:00

Not too bad… the first mile was a little faster than I wanted, and miles 2 and 3 were long because they included fuel stops (I didn’t even try to keep running as I ate the chews… the package was hard to maneuver and I wanted the breaks, to be honest). I also walked for a bit during mile 3 because it was so pretty around the lagoon that I wanted to take some nice pictures that wouldn’t be all blurry from my running:

These ducks all converged on me when I stopped to open my chews, and all lined up waiting for me to share. I may or may not have said - out loud - "I don't think you'd like these, little guys. Sorry. Can I take your picture anyway?" Passersby probably thought I was crazy!

These ducks all converged on me when I stopped to open my chews, and all lined up waiting for me to share. I may or may not have said – out loud – “I don’t think you’d like these, little guys. Sorry. Can I take your picture anyway?” Passersby probably thought I was crazy!

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When I hit 4.5 miles, I was feeling pretty good. Again, feeling the pressure from knowing I have a 10K coming up, I figured I’d go for it and try for 5 miles. If I couldn’t do a full 5, anything after 4.5 would be a bonus. I was so pumped that I was able to make it a full 5! If you had asked me even just last year if I thought I’d be able to run 5 miles, I probably would have laughed. When I stopped at 5 miles and started the walk home, I felt incredibly tired and a little sore, but I was also so proud of myself for pushing a new distance. Huzzah!

How was your week?

What’s the longest distance you’ve ran?

What kind of fuel do you prefer for your long runs?