Five Runner Things Friday

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! 

I hope that one day this is true.  The part about running because I already eat a lot..

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. 

11 thoughts on “Five Runner Things Friday

  1. That’s some amazing running! Wow! Those pants you mention sound all kinds of awesome. Just like something my poor knees might be happy about – need to check them out.

    To answer your questions, I have never taken a potty break during a run but on a few occasions I have had to shave off a few kilometers and run, REALLY RUN, home to save myself from blushes. And at stoplights I am that idiot who bounces in once place as I have this stupid notion in my head that if I stop a) my legs will get stiff and b)the run will be null and void (stupid, I know). As for fuel – the longest I have run in one go is 30km but I try to do a weekly 21-23km run. A short run for me is usually about 10-15km. The “shorter” runs I do without anything, even water. For anything around 20km I will bring a water bottle with me but I have not gotten into gels etc. yet. I am a bit wary of the sugar highs and also the effect on my stomach (a volatile beast). As I usually run first thing in the morning I always go out on an empty stomach so I am sure a bit of fuel might be useful… :-/
    Soreness? – Biofreeze and Neurofen. And try to avoid any chaffing before the run by generous application of Vaseline anywhere and everywhere that might be at risk. 🙂

  2. Potty breaks: take em if you can. Stoplights: assuming this isn’t a euphemism for something else, I wouldn’t worry about them. Stopping for a couple of minutes isn’t going to diminish the benefit of the workout to any significant degree. The benefit you get is from depleting your muscle glycogen and conditioning your body to keep going in spite of that. A two minute rest break isn’t going to significantly restore glycogen levels over the course of a long run. Favorite mid-run fuel: Honey Stingers, Shot Bloks, and/or Fig Newtons. With water, of course. Combating soreness: eat something within 30 minutes – 1 hour consisting of balanced carbs and protein. If you want to soak, avoid heat which will make things worse. Fill the tub with enough cold water to cover your legs and get in for ten minutes. Helps immensely with recovery.

    You are doing awesome – keep it up, and remember to schedule an easy week now and then.

  3. Nice! Have you tried Body Glide for the chaffing? It has worked wonders for me. My 2nd toe on my right foot takes the majority of the punishment for some reason too. Toenail is long gone.
    I don’t think you can help but be sore after a long run. But I always walk for 15-20 minutes after and then do a good stretch session. Keep it up!

  4. Stoplights irritate me FAR more than a potty break. I ran my first half marathon needing to pee, so now I’m okay if I have to stop on a long run. I try to go easy on myself when it comes to training runs.
    I like VegaGels or Gu for my long runs. I dislike needing to chew things, so the gels work for me, but I know some people hate them!
    Ice bath, foam rolling and a recovery drink work wonders on soreness. Magnesium in your diet helps – and you can also buy it in oil form to rub on sore muscles and that’s supposed to help too (per my awesome massage therapist!)

  5. oh my! If I could get through a long run without a bathroom break I would be stoked. It never happens on runs over 9 miles long. Never. Sometimes it’s just to pee, but more often I get the runner’s trots (um yeah, yuck). I think I might be a bad runner, but while I hate getting out of the groove, sometimes the little walk re-energizes my legs to finish strong!

  6. Ooh Chafing – I still remember my first experience with ‘bloody nipples’ as I was ramping my mileage a couple of years ago … OUCH! 🙂

    Most of my routes don’t have stoplights, but I WILL run around to avoid traffic at a stop sign.

    As for pee breaks … I really try to work around them, but there have definitely been times when I was glad for an isolated area or a porta-potty left at a construction site for the weekend …

    So cool with your running mileage! Awesome!

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