Sunday, January 9, 2011

Running in the Rain: Halfway

As the sun comes up, we can now see the cows in fields adjacent to the Rail Trail we are on. Our shoes never did get wet and the temperature is in the 50's. Perfect for a long run. We chat and sometimes pull out the ear buds and iPod for some musical inspiration. After months of long runs for endurance training, we are just hitting our stride at 6 miles. Time to ingest some calories and there are many forms available! Jelly Belly Sport Beans, Power Bar Power Gel Shots, GU and Clif Shot Blocks, to name a few. It's difficult to eat on the run, so these quick acting supplements were developed to keep the runner's blood sugar levels up during long periods of strenuous exercise. We schedule our food intake with water breaks to enhance digesting these concentrated concoctions. Run, walk, run. 13 miles to go, but we are close to the halfway turnaround!

Where do runners keep all the snacks, band aids, lip balm, water, car keys and various other supplies they need over the 6 hour training runs? Some shorts and tops have a pocket or two, but there is a whole market full of belts with expanding pouches and Fuel Belts with plastic bottles for water and pockets for everything else. Hydration packs like the Camelback are light weight backpacks the carry varying amounts of water that is ingested through a convenient tube. I prefer the hand held Amphipod Hydraform water bottle holder, which is comfortable for me and easily refilled. Like all of the trappings I've mentioned, you just have to try them out to see what works for you.

See you at 11.5!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Running in the Rain: Part Two

At 5 the rain stops for the moment. We all keep our ponchos on, assuming the worst. Five plus miles to the only toilet and the hydration I started at home is looking for a way out. The night is dark and cool. The clouds hide the stars we saw on our first 4:30 training run of 20 miles. Roosters crow from somewhere out in the darkness. Run, walk, run. Our water angels have already been here (how early did they get up for us?)and left coolers of cold water, electrolyte fluids, cups and trash bags. We joke and head out, some removing ponchos now wetter on the inside than out, which are then stuffed in the back of our stretchy pants. Still no rain, but as the light breaks, we can see the low, heavy, dark clouds above. Passing Mile 5, we know the bathroom isn't far away!

Our set goal is a 16 minute mile pace. We calculate that this 23 miler will take six hours and eight minutes, not including stops for water and bathroom breaks. We travel with our Pace Group aptly named The Sun Risers by previous running warriors. This is the fourth year of the National Breast Cancer Marathon and those who went before have come back to to lead us Newbies and those brave enough to do it again. They cheer us on when we are tired and rein us in when we are prancing along too fast, especially at the start, when we are all enthusiastic and rarin' to get going. Our mentors want us to finish without injury, so we can go the distance in the real race. We LOVE them, of course, because ours are the best!