Running. It’s a strange beast. Runners will gladly spend 80% of their runs chasing the other 20% that are just like floating on clouds. People who don’t run don’t always understand the pain we put ourselves through, why we continue to do something that seems to be breaking our body down slowly but surely, and why we endlessly rehash our last run or race for ways to improve. At some point this year, I made the decision to focus my fitness and training into running, with a few cross training sessions thrown in for good measure. The decision has been a good one-I’ve lost a few pounds and discovered that the more I run, the more I’m able to run. But I’ve learned some lessons lately-and we’re going to talk about them.
CW-X Pants-Jeff got me a pair of these pants for my birthday. I started ogling them when we were at a sporting goods store a few weeks ago and got obsessed. They claim to stabilize your knee and hip joints, have targeted knee and core support, and are compression for an added bonus. I was understandably wary of the price tag ($100 for a pair of pants I “can’t” even wear besides running?) but I think they’re worth it. I’ve saved them for my long runs the last two weeks, and I was able to run them relatively pain free-and the mileage adds were no big deal. I don’t know that they helped me run farther, but if they’re holding my knee and hip in place so they don’t get out of alignment, they’re worth it. Plus…my butt looks kinda awesome in them. 🙂
Gu-Also a new thing on my long runs. I’ve been a bit wary of gu over the years. Most of my workouts have been done with a focus on weight loss or at least weight maintenance, so taking IN calories always just sounded like the wrong idea. Obviously, with double digit runs that theory doesn’t work. Need fuel to keep going. With the StrideBox subscription Jeff got me for Valentine’s day (does he know how to treat a runner or WHAT?), I’ve had it right in front of me, so I figured I’d might as well try it. My first Gu experience was OK. I had a vanilla packet and ate it while running. I may have tried to take it in a few bits and got Gu on my hand. That’s pleasant when you have 5 miles left! Last night, I had the Salted Caramel Gu during a potty break. It went down easier, tasted fantastic, and kept me going. My attitude has changed and I may have to grab some for further long runs!
Chaffing-Yeah. I forgot about this one. Last week, wore a tank top for my long run, and by the time I got home my left arm and corresponding torso area were a bit raw. Gotta ease back into distance while having exposed flesh so I can build up my runners callouses!
GI Issues-I’ve felt a bit frustrated lately because a lot of my runs have an element of danger to them. I never know when the tummy gurgles will come, but it’s almost a given that I’ll have a scary moment on almost every run. Between that and the fact that after my surgery, I cannot seem to run as far without a potty break as before, it’s been a bit disheartening. My longer routes have to be planned with a public restroom I can stop at in mind. I’m a stubborn person, and like to just keep moving until I’m done-having to stop makes me feel like the run was less successful. But I’ve come to realize that it’s just biology and doesn’t really reflect on my abilities or diminish the run. I still ran 12 miles last night, and the fact that I had to pee and stop at a few stoplights doesn’t change that. It’s been kind of nice to go for a long run lately and realize that most of the “problems” I encounter have nothing to do with my leg strength, cardio capacity, or ability to run the distance but are instead simple biology and mechanics issues that happen to the best of us.
Toes-I told Jeff last night that when we got in bed, I could feel each time the sheet moved over my “bad toe”. Second toe in on my right side is notoriously bruised and threatening to fall off pretty much any time I’m in a good running phase. It gets blisters on the tip too, so that’s fun. Got a pedicure for my birthday last week-I’ve already pretty much destroyed the polish on my middle toes. I know pedicures for lady runners are a mixed bag-some of us like them, some girls don’t like to alter the natural callouses they gain by putting in their training. I’m definitely a girl who likes to get pampered, and the magic massage they do on my shins is worth a million dollars to me.
I’m on my fourth 30 mile + week in a row. That’s just unheard of for me. Last night was supposed to be 11 miles, but my technology failed me and I ended up running 12 to make sure I covered my distance. I don’t really know where I plan on stopping the increase in mileage. I’ve never thought I’d be a person who could run a marathon, but it’s starting to seem attainable. I’m just going to keep going until it stops being enjoyable or the distance gets to be too much. If I’m able to ramp up to 20-22 miles on a training run, well then I’ll hop online and find an upcoming marathon in our area that I can do. But I don’t want to sign up for one and set myself up for a bad experience. If half marathon distances are my jam, that’s cool with me. I learned during that last 10k I ran that I do better when I’m confident that I’ve run beyond the race distance so I know when I can push and when I need to slow down. With my next half marathon scheduled for May 4, I’ve got plenty of time to get used to the distance. And hopefully I’m going to crush my PR-but if I don’t…well, yeah, I’ll probably be disappointed. But there’s always next time! And good news-my Mom and I are running another 10k together! Last weekend in April-and this one sounds hilly!
My question for you this week is this: Those of you who run long distances…what’s your feeling on having to take a potty break or a stoplight break during a long run? What’s your favorite mid-run fuel? How do you combat soreness after a long run? Last night, we had to run and get supplies for tonight’s baby shower, and Jeff kept laughing at how sad and pathetic I looked trying to walk fast.