Running – Long Run & New Gear

My long run each week usually happens on Friday. Last Friday, the wind was blowing at 15 miles per hour, and since I really didn’t want a repeat of my last experience, I made the decision to postpone it until today. I am glad I did. Today was only mildly windy. It was cloudy for half of my run and sunny for the other half. The only downside was that after a major downpour yesterday, the humidity was 97%. I’ve lived in Louisiana long enough now that I should be used to breathing my water.

Anyway, drumroll please…I ran 13.5 miles today, and I finished in 2:35. That’s about 11:30 per mile, which I’m feeling really good about today. The bottom line is I know I can finish. After my last two long run experiences, which were awful, I’ve been a bit worried about the race. Now, I’m feeling a heck of a lot better about it.

I also changed up some of my gear a bit today, some of which probably has a lot to do with my performance.

1. I used GU. I’m not sure why I’ve been so hesitant to try it out. It just sounded a little odd, eating this strange gelatinous substance while running. I bought a whole box of the tri-berry, fairly certain I’d like the flavor since I usually mainline fruit punch Gatorade on long runs. I bought one each of the orange and chocolate. I ate (?) the chocolate about 15 minutes before starting out – just like the directions say, because I’m that kind of girl. It was awesome. It was the right consistency for gooey, sticky chocolate. About five miles in, I tried the orange. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I normally like orange, but orange GU is just not right. With about four miles left to go, I broke out the tri-berry. It was pretty good. I’m not upset about having a whole box of it. I would have been really upset if I’d bought that much of the orange. I know this definitely helped me keep going today. I had scheduled out when to use them, regardless of how I felt at the time. I didn’t really feel like I needed the first two, but I was desperate for that last one. I’m glad I used them. In addition to getting me through the run, I think they helped keep my blood sugar from being completely out of whack once I finished.

2. Water belt. I have been using the Camelback Delaney. It holds a gigantic 24-ounce water bottle. Knowing nothing about running with a water belt when I purchased it, I thought this would be great. I wanted to be carrying as much as I possibly could, right? And, because I’m a girl, I also chose it because I liked the color. After several runs with this belt, I hate it. Carrying just the one giant bottle, I feel completely lopsided. I favor my right leg until the bottle is halfway empty. I empty it way too quickly, simply so I can run without the extra weight. And it bounces, and bounces, and bounces, and twists. I can’t tighten it enough for it to stay in place. It drives me bonkers. It would probably be more suitable for hiking, but it is no good for running.

I picked up a new belt at Academy Sports the other day. I debated whether to try it out or take it back. It doesn’t carry nearly as much water as my other belt – just 16 ounces between the two bottles. I finally decided to take it out of the package and try it on. I fell in love with the feel of it. The part of the belt around the front is stretchy, and it has adjustable webbing with a clasp in the back. All my GU, car key, and iPod fit in the pouch. The weight of the water is evenly distributed, and I just felt lighter wearing it than I did with the Delaney. I wish I’d tried it first, because it cost about half as much as Delaney did, too. I also decided to forego Gatorade during my run today and went with water instead. I don’t think I could have done that without the GU. I think I will be sticking with water on race day, too.

3. New running shorts! I have searched high and low locally for shorts that I like for long distance. I came up empty, so I turned to the internet. There, I discovered Lululemon. It’s probably the best/worst thing to ever happen to me. I was incredibly excited to find shorts that actually had multiple pockets and a decent liner. I was not excited about how pricey they are, but if I’m going to be wearing them for 2.5 hours, I want them to be comfortable. My Lululemon turbo run shorts arrived on Saturday. For starters, they actually look cute.

They have two lovely pockets for gels up front.

There is a zippered pocket in the back for your mp3 player, keys, whatever you want to put in there.

But my favorite part? The reflective ruffle. It’s functional and adorable. I’m a sucker for ruffles.

After wearing them for the first time today, I can tell you without a doubt this will be my go-to shorts for long runs. I’ll probably have to work hard to keep myself from wearing them every time I run, actually. Maybe I should buy more. I love these shorts. The material breathes well, moves well, and the liner fits me perfectly. Let me say it again. I love these shorts! I’m going to have to find a Lululemon store.

My next mission will be to find some super great socks. The ones I’ve been wearing hurt my toes after a while.

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