Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Somedays running is such a natural mood enhancer

I am not just in a good mood right now, I am in a veritable gurgling whirlpool of bonhomie.  In other words, I feel great.  This normally would not be that noteworthy, except for the fact that I wasn't feeling that good when I woke up this morning. In fact, I was tired, pooped, done in, K.O., ready to roll over, turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.  But I ran anyway, and it was good.

Let's back up a bit....This past weekend, the family and I packed up our minivan extraordinaire (that is to say, I packed it all by myself) to the gills with borrowed camping equipment, food, and enough changes of clothes to get us through a four-seasoned year, and hit the road for an adventure.  This was only the second time in 15 years that I had been tent camping, and it was the first time for Hubby - at least as an adult.  We headed down to the Northern Kettle Moraine to camp in style at an area lake with some friends, and it was a blast.  Doing some trail running, a couple of short hikes with the kids, hanging out at the lake with the collective kids, enjoying a beautiful star-filled night with a campfire and, of course, smores, made for a wonderful memory-filled weekend, but it was tiring too.  

Ready for the trail!
The kids liked the steep downhills
on the trail best.  Me - not so much.
Tough on the knees.
At the lake, the kids enjoyed damming up a natural spring and then
destroying the dam.  Such fun!
Seeing as we were out of town for the weekend, and I didn't want to take three hours away from family time to run an unknown trail on Sunday, I decided to push off my long run until Monday.  This was not a bad idea, but not having recovered from the weekend away, I started that run off feeling a little run down.  (You know it is bad when you head out the door, and you don't really even have an idea of where you are planning to run.)  I knew I was tired, but I also knew that quitting this run wasn't an option.  As much as Hubby keeps advising me to listen to my body in these final weeks leading up to the Jungfrau, I just can't shake the need to get in those last couple of long runs.  With the injury this summer, I feel I lost a lot of prime training time, and I don't want to miss the last couple of weeks to boot.

Monday I opted not to run trails.  Instead, I dropped the kids, and my car, off at my parents' house and just headed out the door with the loose idea that I would do a loop around town - literally.  So, off I headed.  I won't bore you with the minute details of my run.  I will bore you with some of the highlights, however.

First off, I decided not to do a run/walk like I have been doing of late.  Why?  I don't know.  Why do I do any of the things I do?  Mostly on whim, and that is what this was.  I thought I would just start out running, and that is what I did.  By mile 1, however, it was clear that just running wasn't going to work for me, so that is when I settled into a run/walk, where I would walk every mile.  Very scientific, no?  That worked pretty well for me, and I was able to be pretty consistent with that.  At the one-hour mark, though, I thought I should add in walk breaks every 60 minutes, just to celebrate those hours ticking by, you know?  Also, I celebrated a couple of hills that way, too, but not too many.  For the most part, I ran the hills.  I also celebrated the park and the gas station where I refilled my water bottle by walking up to them.  Hmmm, I may also have celebrated all the nutrition I took in by walking during those breaks.  Really, on a three-hour run, who needs to be fumbling with little baggies and such?

So, lots of celebrating going on.

My new favorite long-run food!
Food-wise, I did pretty well.  I planned on taking in about 100 calories every half hour.  A little much, to be sure, but I wanted to guarantee any bonking I did wouldn't be for food.  (I would save that for water. More on that later.)  I ended up eating: a package of Clif Shot Blocks (over two breaks), Buddy Fruits Pure Fruit Bites twice, and one package of Buddy Fruit Raspberry Coconut Milk Pure Blended Fruit.  By far, my favorite to eat was the Raspberry Coconut Milk concoction.  Aside from the fact that I was burping up coconut flavor for the rest of the run, it was the food item that went down the easiest and was somehow the most satisfying.  I have used them a couple times on runs now, and I really, really like them.  The only downside to it that I can see is that they are kind of heavy and bulky to carry - compared to a Gu, for example.  However, on the positive side, I can buy them at Walmart.  

So, the bonking on water came between miles 12 and 13.  I had stopped at a park to refill my water bottle, but the angle of the water stream was such that I couldn't fill my water bottle completely.  So, at about mile 12 - the only place in my run of course with nothing around - I ran out of fluid.  This proved to be one of the hottest, most miserable miles I have experienced in a while.  With no other businesses nearby, I contemplated going into one bar I passed, but I felt I didn't want to deal with the questioning stares of the local barflies.  Instead, I took my chances on a motorcycle repair shop I saw in the distance, but when their water fountain proved defunct, I was stuck sucking it up and running into town.  A gas station about a half mile into town proved to be my salvation, and the good folks there were nice enough to not care as I trudged my stinky self into their clean environment and filled up on water at their sink. 

Some interesting interactions with people on the run of note:
  • I almost got run down by a car pulling out of a business's parking lot.  I actually had to skip out of the way to avoid being tapped by their front bumper.  I am all but positive the driver was purposely trying to kill me, but Hubby thinks he or she probably didn't see me.  I don't know, because I wasn't looking at them either.  Lesson learned, always make eye contact with questionable drivers.
  • One man shouted after me not to worry, no one was chasing me at one point.
  • A lady handed me some Baptist church literature as I was waiting for traffic to clear at one intersection.  I was too polite to say no, so I ended up carrying that for about five miles.
  • I wandered into a chocolate shop at about my halfway point hoping for a free sample.  As it turns out, I don't think they like stinky runners either, because I was not offered a sample.  (They ALWAYS offer me a sample when I look like I can pay for things.)  I was very put out by this.  (sic)
  • One lady at the gas station struck up a conversation with me about running.  It turns out she can't run because it makes her feet hurt.  At that point, I could with all honesty look her in the eye and tell her that running made my feet hurt too.  It turns out she is neighbors with two running friends of mine, so proof again that the world is a small place.
At three hours into the run (according to my watch) and 15.5 miles, I decided I needed to be done.  Unfortunately, I found myself about four miles from my parents' house.  A quick phone call there had my dad loading up the kids in my car and driving out to meet me at what would turn out to be Mile 16.8 for my run.  For the second time in my running life I was picked up on the side of the road.  This time, however, it was after a very long and successful long run, not because I was calling it quits early. (I cannot thank my parents enough for how supportive they are in all my endeavors.  I guess hope springs eternal that  - even though I don't say it enough - they do know that I appreciate what they do for me.)

Random view on my long run.  A good place to stop and contemplate the woes of not having any water to
drink for over a mile.  
A good run Monday and a very busy day yesterday seemed to ensure that my run this morning was a tired and heavy-legged affair.  At my request, however, my friends in the Wednesday morning running group humored me and chose a route that ensured 5.4 miles of maximum hills and shady, wooded trails.  The run kicked my butt, but somehow it was just what I needed to boost my mood and lend me a little energy for the day.  I think two days of rest and/or rowing, depending on what I can handle, and then my - hopefully - 20-miler on Saturday. That will be my last long run before the Jungfrau.  I am starting to feel slightly ready for this adventure.  I don't have the panic completely at bay, but at least - at this point in time - it is not threatening to swallow me whole.  We'll see how the week unfolds.

Happy Running!


  1. Very impressive long run! Hope your 20 miler this weekend goes well for you.

  2. Good job...your long run route looks very very familier :) Same route I take. What chocolate shop do you run by?~

  3. Camping sounds awesome! We've been talking about making a tent investment in order to take all the kids.

    I love your long run fueling choices. Never thought of trying the squeezy fruit things. And to beg for hills not long after that...sounds like a perfectly crazy runner move to me.:) I like it.

    Good luck on the 20 miler!