Summer Running Recap

 Running post! Those of you who don't care about running can check out now. See you next week.

This summer my primary running goal was to train effectively for the Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon. It's in Fort Wayne on September 29. When I say "train effectively," I had a couple of particular things in mind:
  • learn how to consume calories both before and during running. 
In the past I've had GI problems and heartburn from eating as little as a banana within 2 hours of running. But I knew that had to change in order to train for and run the Half. Thankfully, I've more than accomplished this goal. At first, I would just eat a few bites of banana before running. Then I started wearing my fuel belt, even on relatively shorter runs, to get used to drinking water with a small amount of the low-calorie (G2) Gatorade mixed in. For each weekly long run, I increased the amount of Gatorade, and now I can safely consume two 10-oz hip flasks of it during my long runs - no heartburn or fear of it coming back up. SUCCESS.

I've also tried putting half an electrolyte tablet (Nuun) in each hip flask, after the Gatorade runs out.

I'm a bit on the fence about this product. One the one hand, they are small and easy to carry in the storage pouch of my fuel belt. They're easy to use and I think they do help me feel better.
But damn, they taste like chalk. Chalk with a hint of lime. The low sugar content is good for my sensitive stomach, but I don't really enjoy the chalky taste.

As for pre-run eating, I can eat as much as a whole banana  + a "mini-thintini" with a scant spread of peanut butter on each half. The first time I did this, it not only stayed down easily, but I felt SO MUCH BETTER! Wow! Calories make a HUGE difference when running for 2.5 hours. I was shocked, but in hindsight, not eating enough in advance kind of explains why some of my long runs were such a struggle.

(This is a mini-thintini, in case you weren't sure.)

My second big goal: 
  • learn how to run really far without having a mental or physical breakdown. 
This has also gone about as well as it could have. I spent some time in physiotherapy (that's physical therapy to you Yankees) to help my right foot. It has some kind of tendonitis, and I've done a ton of exercises to help strengthen that entire side of my body, since it's not just a foot problem. Apparently I have a weak right hip and butt, but the exercises are helping a lot. I've also made some form adjustments that added a lot of mental frustration to the whole process. Just, you know, re-learn how to run. No big deal. It actually has made a big difference, but it's a lengthy process.
I was concerned with the mental challenge of running for that long, since I take breaks during my long runs, and it sometimes feels like it takes forever to get through them. I don't listen to music when I run (too afraid of being snuck up on), so it's just me providing myself with company and entertainment. Running several comparable distances to the Half, including now two 13 mile runs, has really helped. Next week is my last long run before the taper (!), and by then I will have run three 10 milers, three 12 milers, and two 13 milers (I like to call these the Tour of London runs, because I run all over the city). I feel like I know at least somewhat how I'll feel at the 12th mile. And I can only hope that I'll feel better in the race environment, especially since Kira (aka, Mama K) will be with me!
Since I've made it this far into the training cycle without (additional) injury or a lot of crying, I'm going to call this goal mostly achieved. I still have a few weeks to go!
After that, I have a couple of fall races at shorter distances on the agenda. Fall is the best for running.

A couple of other random things that came into my life this week:

Omg y'all, the masala hummus (store brand, no less) is so good. It would probably be very simple to make, if you have all the right spices on hand. I have high hopes for the spicy hummus.

Also, a delightful collection of seasonal gourds.

Happy Fall!

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