Posts tagged ‘refuel’

St Jude Half Marathon Recap 2009

I don’t think I could have asked for a better first half marathon. Even five days after St. Jude and despite a cold, I am still on a half-marathon runner’s high.  I have stopped wearing my medal, but I am sure strangers can still see the pride beaming from my face.  After all, finishing your first half marathon is a big deal.

On race day, I woke up ahead of the alarm and had my planned breakfast.  All my clothes were laid out and I dressed slowly.  I decided on two tech shirts (purple showing) and my fleece vest with purple shorts over black tights.  It was about 25 degrees when I left the house and it felt that way.  My boyfriend took me downtown and dropped my close to the start.  He would meet me at the finish a few hours later.

The next hour was spent waiting and walking in an attempt to stay warm.  I was not very successful but met a few nice people to keep my mind off the chill. All morning I was amazed at how calm I was.  I never got butterflies.

At exactly 8:00, the race started.  I was in corral #10 and began my race with 17:30ish on the clock.  The first mile was slow, especially because my toes were completely numb and refused to wake up.  Finally in the second mile my feet felt normal and everyone around me seemed to wake up, too.  There were gloves and sweatshirts flying through the air as people began ridding themselves of now-unnecessary layers.  I was struck by the thought that if this kept up, I would be running with a bunch of streakers by mile five. Luckily things leveled out.

My pre-race plan divided the course into three segments: 1) First five miles: this was the twisty part of the course weaving in and out of downtown streets hitting a few of the Memphis highlights and ending on the St. Jude Campus.  2) Next five: straight stretch for three miles followed by a winding two miles through Overton park.  3) Final 3.1 miles: another straight stretch back downtown toward with several downhill surges and a few final turns into the AutoZone Redbirds Stadium.

I knew if I made it to mile 5 feeling strong, the rest of the race would go well.  I knew if I made it to mile 10, the rest would feel downhill.  Luckily, I was right on both accounts.  After a very slow 11:00 first mile, I got a little elbowroom at picked up to the 10:30 pace I maintained most of the race.  The highlight of this stretch was running through the St. Jude Campus and seeing all the kids and employees that came out to support us.  It was inspiring to see firsthand what an impact this fundraising event has in their lives.

The next stretch was fairly flat with a few hills.  Spectators continued to line the roads and cheer for us.  St. Jude did a great job with the course, having water, Powerade and portas at each mile marker.  There were so many volunteers braving the cold to support us and it was much appreciated.

During mile 8 my knee began hurting and continued for about half a mile until it stopped as abruptly as it started.  No complaints now, especially as it has not hurt since.  When I rounded the corner out of the park and hit Poplar just before mile 10, I knew I had made it to the final stretch and would make it.

The final stretch was a mix of energy and exhaustion.  I am not sure if the energy was from gels and apple juice or adrenaline, but it waned a few times.  I had a back up plan of calling my sister if I ever really wanted to stop running, but it never got to that point.  At mile 12, I picked up the pace and despite being tired found I had the energy to maintain.  Downtown was coming closer with each step and before I knew it, I turned the corner and saw the stadium.

I started to see people who had already finished the half who had come out to cheer us on.  Then I really got excited. I actually told a few people who were walking, “we got this” as I ran past, hoping they would get excited too.  I started to sprint and ran into the stadium, only to realize that I was not quite at the finish.  One more big push and I crossed the line.  I had done it!

I did not experience the tears I had expected but still felt a great sense of accomplishment.  I texted boyfriend, “Did it,” and began looking for water.  I passed up the post-race photos for water and a heat blanket.  Luckily there were a few great shots of me sprinting to and crossing the finish line.

I found boyfriend and before I knew it, we were walking back to the car.  The day was done.  I had run and finished my first half.  The sheers size of what I had done hit me as I looked at the car clock on the way to my house.  Only 5 hours before we were leaving my house, and now we were back.  It seemed like days.  I ran literally half the time we had been gone.  It was an amazing feeling that felt even more amazing under a warm blanket after a hot shower and half a pizza.

I would say the big thing about race day is realizing that it’s not the only day.  Each day of training led me to this point.  And it doesn’t end on race day either.  I am already working toward the next one.  It was a wonderful moment, and one of many I hope to have as I continue running.  Thank you for sharing this one with me!  All your support through my journey meant so much.  I hope you enjoy the pics!


December 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm 3 comments

Ready to run!

Since my first run just three months ago, I have trained consistently.  I have covered uncounted miles and acquired several pairs of running shorts.  I have even purchased 4 pairs of fancy wool socks at $14 each.  I have finished two races and was happy with both finish times. I have read a running book, a triathlon book and everything Running World has ever published on its website.  I have also faithfully read many great blogs and runner tweets.  Today, it is quite obvious that all my prep work is complete and there is just one thing left to do: run.

I could make it a lot more complicated.  I could talk about all the many feelings and thoughts running through—how I almost cried when I got my race packet at the expo because I was so excited or how I have obsessed over the ever-dropping temperatures that are now estimated be about 28 degrees when I head out in the morning—but the one thought coming in loud and clear over every other thought is that I am ready to run.

My legs feel great.  My running kit is all laid out.  My gels and apple juice are in the right pockets and zipped tightly in my fuel belt.  The camera is charge.  Boyfriend knows where to be.  I am very carbo-loaded.  My playlist is finalized.  It is time to run.

Tonight, I plan to relax, knowing all the details are taken care of.  I am sure there will be a moment of panic in the morning—even in the middle of the night—but I am ready.  Tomorrow is my first half marathon and I am ready!  All those shirts and stickers in the expo? Tomorrow they all pertain to me. It is so overwhelming I can’t help tearing up just a little.  It must be all the carbs.  Tears, freezing temps and 13.1 miles will all be tackled tomorrow.  I am ready to run!

December 4, 2009 at 10:52 pm 1 comment

Getting closer

Sunday was my long run.  You know, the super long 10-mile run?  It was, in a simple, beautiful word, awesome.  I tried to do everything as if it were race day, and while I know that is much easier to do when it is not race day, all went well.

I felt great when I set out.  My first mile was a little slow, just 10:22, but I decided not to sweat it and just keep running a solid pace.  Throughout the run I could tell I was holding pretty consistent to 10:30 miles.  Each time I wanted to slow down, I just told myself I had the juice to keep going.

About 8.5 miles, I had the temptation to cut the run a little short.  I just starting to get tired, but I never seriously contemplated an easy out.  Before the thought had really formed, I got this mental picture of myself finishing my race in two weeks and almost started crying I was so proud.  That definitely kept me going.

When my Nike+ said 400 meters, I was ready to cross the finish line.  I started sprinting.  I next thought it said 50 meters to go and I really picked up the pace.  Then it said 100 meters to go.  I will admit to shouting “bitch” a little more loudly than one should in a nice neighborhood, but kept sprinting.  Finally, those great Nike+ words, “you have completed your workout.”  I had done it!

My final time was 1:45:38 with an average 10:33 mile.  For my 9 miles last week I averaged 11:01 per mile, so this was a major improvement.  This was also the first long run where my splits were consistent instead of getting progressively slower.  Even better, I feel much better the day after this 10 than I did after last week’s 9.  It is amazing what I week of resting and hydration can do!

I refueled with two 4 oz apple juices and one gel.  I will do one more of each I think on race day but otherwise I felt good. I did order the purple shirt, and it should be here this week for a few test runs.  Otherwise, I am going to try to take the advice of my friends and taper.  I think that must be easier said than done though, because I am bummed I don’t get to do another 10-miler this weekend.

I am hitting the gym tonight to stay loose, then 5 miles tomorrow.  My goals for the week are to eat well and sleep well.  Why is that the hardest part?

Photo credit:

November 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm Leave a comment

Creative hydration on long runs


Finding a refueling solution for my long runs has turned out to be easier than finding a hydration solution.  I have a running belt but it does not have the ability to hold water bottles and I really don’t want water sloshing around during my runs.  I have been unable to find any water fountains near my typical routes.

I know people who run figure eights so they can come back by home and grab a bottle they leave out, but being so close to home might make it too easy to stay home. Since none of my friends have volunteered to set up a water station for me, I have been forced to be creative.

Last week, I decided to put about 2 oz of water in a tiny snack zip bag and put it in my running belt.  I got all the air out in the hopes of it not bursting when I was jostling about.  If I had stuck with one, I might have been successful, but I added another.  About halfway into my 7 miles, I removed the first bag and sucked down my 2 oz.  Awesome!  Then I noticed the other bag was completely empty and looking back I saw a huge wet spot over my butt.  Nice.

I finished the run with no water to wash down my gel and left determined to find a solution.  Sunday at Target, I walked up and down all the liquid aisles until my eyes landed on these mini boxes of Juicy Juice. Juicy Juice calls them Fun Size and each box is 4.23 oz.  So small, in fact I thought they just might fit in my belt.  I took a chance and bought the apple ones (not like I won’t drink them anyway).

I tested it when I got home and both my phone and a Juicy Juice will fit in my belt!  I tested it Monday and the box stayed in tact over my 4.75 mile run.  Luckily there are lots of trashcans in the park.

I am headed out for 8 miles tomorrow.  Now to make sure apple juice goes down smoothly on the road.

November 5, 2009 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

Weekend running prep

There could be a thousand reasons why I am in a good mood today despite all the rain, but I am pretty sure it is because of my 7 mile run tomorrow.  I mapped out a new route that will take me through both neighborhood and park, as well as conveniently by a “just in case” bathroom.

Doing anything new always makes running more exciting for me, and there will be several new aspects to my run tomorrow.  This will be my first attempt to “practicing” eating race-day food.  I know there will be a bagel involved, but I am still deciding what will go with the bagel.  The Elvis Bagel seems especially appropriate for a marathon in Memphis, but bananas are not a great pre food for me. I guess that is why I have a few more weeks to test.

I have an updated playlist ready to go because 7 miles is a long time.  I am listing to it as I type just getting all excited.  I love this feeling and plan to use it throughout my hopefully dry run tomorrow.

My sister will be running in a 5K in Orlando Saturday, her first run since our race last Saturday.  She has been super pumped about running all week while I have been bummed, but today I think we were both back to reality and are still considering the Disney Princess Half in March.  We won’t decide for sure though until I survive St. Jude in December.

Good luck to my sister and all the runners and racers out there this weekend!

October 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm Leave a comment

Testing Ways to Refuel Mid-run


One of the major differences between running and cycling is the lack of pockets and holders.  On my bike, I have two water bottle cages, a saddlebag and a bento box.  All my jerseys have additional pockets just in case I need more places to stash my stuff.  So far, my runs have been short enough to throw my key around my wrist and head out, but my 6-mile run tomorrow is where that changes.  I am become a true distance runner.

Including my warm up and cool down, I will be exercising for more than an hour, which means the need to rehydrate and refuel during the run.  I went to the running store yesterday (to buy pepper spray in case the white Honda comes back) and picked up two gus and some electrolyte jellybeans to try.  I always keep the jellybeans in my bento box, but everyone keeps warning me that running is harder on the digestive track and you should test your fueling agents.

I will test the gu tomorrow, but I also want to test some “real” food. I read a great blog post about a mid-run Rice Crispy Treats.  After searching around, I found a marshmallow treat recipe that uses Cheerios and incorporates peanut butter, too.  That sounds like the perfect power snack to me (and way better than raspberry gu). I may whip up a batch this weekend to test Monday.

It’s going to be 48 degrees in the morning, so I will be wearing my new running tights.  In fact, I pulled out all of my winter cycling gear and found that most of it will translate well into running.  I know 48 is not that cold, but I live in the South and 48 degrees with a 10 mph wind is cold to me.  I am topping off all the new stuff with a running belt to hold all my new snacks. Why is it that new stuff always makes running more fun?

I am ready for a great run to kick off a great weekend.  One week until my 13K debut with my sister!

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October 16, 2009 at 8:21 pm 1 comment

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