I asked myself that same question this weekend SO many times on my 16 miler this past weekend. Am I really running 16 miles, again? Can I do this? Am I really passing by so many bathrooms?! First off, I haven’t ran over 13.1 miles in a LONG time. Like since May 31st and the 1st marathon experience long time. I knew I have to up my mileage and get my started back in the train of thought that maybe once again I will run another marathon. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could run longer distances once again. I was going to run early Sunday morning and take off from Mr. R’s place, but then when I woke up I realized I left my running shoes at my house. WHOOPS. So then, I waited all day for the heat to pass, and took off right around 5:30. As many of you know, one of my main problems is nutrition while I run. When reaching higher mileage, there comes a point where you must eat something, or your body can’t continue running because your are running on fumes. I have found that the “running” starts a little bit early when I take Gus, shot blox, chomps or anything of that sort, if you catch my drift. After numerous bathroom stops and many upset stomachs I have really looked into different types of ‘food’ to eat on my run, including jelly beans, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pop tarts, and sport beans. For this run, I opted to try the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I made a whole one and cut it into four little squares. I put two in a small snack bag and the other two in a different small snack bag and stuffed them all into my loincloth pouch, along with a small bag of jelly beans. Any extra excuse to eat candy, seriously. I was worried that this too might make me, perhaps, explosive, but I was more than willing to try new things.
I also have had many issues with my fuel belt. Pulling it down the ENTIRE run because it slides up my hips gets a little annoying. Getting chafed from the beast on my back and on my hips also isn’t very pleasant and it about sent me through the roof when I found perfect little bruises from the blasted thing on my hips. Enough is enough and though I vowed I would never try it, because I thought I would hate it, I decided to try to run with a handheld. Now, a handheld is a water bottle with a strap attached so it can stay in your hand. I didn’t want to go out and get one if I didn’t know if I would like it or not, so I decided to try it for the first 8 miles of my 16 and then thought I could drop it at my house. I decided to make my own to test it out and see how I liked it.
Whalaa. Jank, yes, free, yes. A water bottle with a coozie, to help it not get condensation on the outside and get too slippery for me to carry. Reppin’ some Miller lite as well. Can’t go wrong. I was worried that I would get so tired of carrying it.
I mapped my run on mapmyrun.com before hand and wrote down the exact route in my phone so just in case I forgot or got lost, I could look at my phone and know where to go. Filled my bottle with red G2, which I normally don’t drink, but thought, heck this is an experimental run! I put my phone in my new iFitness belt along with my ipod, and attached my loincloth pouch to the belt as well and got my handheld and took off. I wore a running skirt and a running tank and a hat. It was HOT outside and I knew it was going to be a long, hot, sticky, run.
Claude had some issues finding a satellite (i.e. took him over a mile and a half, sometimes he’s a little slow) and he missed me running all the tough hills. Darn him, I wanted that elevation in my recap! Anyways, I NEVER got bored holding the handheld like I thought I would, and not having the bouncing, bunching, chafing, annoying, swishing, noisy fuel belt strapped to my butt felt great. I almost found a weird joy and entertainment in switching the handheld back and forth between hands. The first 8 milers were on a newer route and I didn’t realize how hilly it was, but it was a great first 8 miles. I realized after I got to the turn around and back into the part ‘on my way home’ that the wind was pretty killer. Another nuisance about running in the evening by my house, is that it’s pretty windy. I got to mile four and realized it was time to eat my first square of my sandwich. I was pretty nervous, because I was at least 4 miles away from my house and if something happened with my stomach like it did with the Gus, I was going to be visiting a gas station bathroom, which isn’t a pleasant experience.
I ate the square and drank some Gator and kept going. It was a little hard at the beginning to run and chew that sandwich, but then I was reminded about competitive eaters and the 4th of July Hot Dog Eating contest. A true Champion, Joey Chestnut, said that he gets the buns wet so that they go down easier. I decided the next square I would drink a little more liquid to make it easier to go down. I was about 6 miles in and though to myself, normally, right about here, is when the issues start! Could it be that I feel great?! I trekked on and started to think many positive thoughts in my head along the lines of MUB, You are powerful (enough with the power ranger references right?!) You can do this, and tons of other really weird, weird phrases in my head that kept me going. On long runs I start to get some ADD and sometimes look at the sidewalk and try not to step on the cracks, or sing along with the ipod. Once I hit the wind on the beach path, it was a little overwhelming. It was a very hot sticky breeze that exploded once I turned the corner on my 7th mile. I had one mile to get home and drop off my handheld. Then I had the normal 8 mile loop that I usually run along the beach path.
Once I got home to drop off my handheld, I was SO hot. I started to get dizzy, and almost felt the familiar signs of my asthma coming on. I only get asthma when I try to push my body too far in the heat. This was discovered when I wheezed like a freak back in high school during summer cross country practices and was pushing REALLY hard and running MUCH faster. This was when my roommate also informed me that she was looking and hopefully buying a new BMW later that evening. SICK. Obviously, getting details from her and taking a little bit of a break (15 minutes) to get some water and rehydrate was more important than dying from heat exhaustion, so I took a quick break, which was a little rough on my legs to get going again, but I knew I would complete the run in better shape than if I didn’t stop. At mile eight, right when I took off again, I downed a handful of Jelly Beans. I was worried these might upset my stomach as well, but they didn’t. Mile 9 was another square of sandwich and this time I tried the Chestnut method and got the sandwich soggy in my mouth. This sounds gross, but it worked WONDERFUL. The sandwich went right down the hatch and once my legs started turning over and stopped complaining of being sore, I was off again. For about a mile, I contemplated about how I hadn’t had ANY bathroom problems at all yet. It was a huge victory for me. My stomach never felt upset and though I was tired, I still felt okay. It was very windy and the trek out was pretty brutal for me, but I just kept telling myself that soon I would be on the back end of the last loop and it wouldn’t be windy on my way home at all! I just kept chanting weird things in my head and kept myself going forward. The wall at mile 14 came, just as I expected. More jelly beans down the hatch and then finally I was on my way home. For some reason, I’m an idiot and measured my route wrong. Shocking, not so much. So therefore I walked/jogged/slogged the last (and extra) 1.5 miles home, it wasn’t too bad though because I got to see this pretty sunset. Yea, I know, you’re jealous.
Without the small break in the middle, I would have probably melted out on the pavement, and it was smart of me to stop, even though it took a little bit for my legs to get going again. The best part of my run was I NEVER had to stop to go to the bathroom. It felt great to not have any stomach issues, and to still be able to fuel myself on my run. It also felt great to be able to run without my fuel belt and I was VERY surprised that I liked the handheld so much. I do see how having a hand strap would make it much easier, I’m glad I did the test with the coozie first to make sure that I liked it.
It was one of those runs when I realized once again that I CAN run long distances. It was hard to push myself to keep going after my short break, but I’m glad I listened to my body and made sure that I had a lot of water during that little break time. I also am glad I did some experiments with fueling that allow me to eat during my run without running to the bathroom. The iFitness belt was the best purchase of the month of July, hands down. I can’t wait to write a more in depth review and perhaps, did I hear a giveaway approaching?
Sometimes it’s good for runners to try new things, even if they think it might not work for them. Hello, loving the handheld, loving the pb&j squares and loving the Jelly Beans as an option. I am going to try pop tarts as well, just to see if they are maybe a little easier than so much bread that I’m taking in with the pb&js, but that’s for another experimental run! I also checked a lot of my paces and they were around the 9:30-10:30 time, which is right where I wanted them to be. There were a few hills in the beginning on the new route that challenged me, but they will only make me stronger in the long term. Hills are friends, not enemies! I am really glad I checked out the new route as well for the first 8 miles, it took my mind off of running and kept me looking at all my new surroundings. I also downloaded some great new jams for this run, and I totally recommend them.
Throw It In The Bag – Fabolous Featuring the Dream
Good Girls Go Bad – Cobra Starship
Push The Feeling On – Nightcrawlers
Ice Cream Paint Job – Dorrough
Sandstorm – Darude ( this is the song that I listen to before every long run. It’s a weird, techno mix but it gets me pumped up, then I put it on shuffle)
La La La – LMFAO
Whatcha Say – Jason Derulo
Walkin’ On The Moon – The Dream with Kanye West
So Sharp – Mack 10
So before when I was running long runs and they were kicking my butt, now I can do this to them!
This is another incredible find by my roommate who has an incredible knack for finding things while watching TV. Nigel from So You Think You Can Dance, said “Good luck! Fingers crossed!” but instead it looks like he’s mad and flipping off the contestants. Love it.
Now, bring on some more long distance runs! Let’s strengthen these legs and pass by the portapotties!