Monday, January 21, 2013

Runners High

This last weekend, I had an 8 mile long run. To me this was no big deal, as this was just another long run in my training plan gearing up for the half. I have run this far before, and I had even run farther. Why should this run be any different?

In the past I've always used Fruit Punch Sports Beans as my fuel source during long runs. I loved the taste, they seemed to get along with my stomach just fine, and I thought that they were actually helping me--boy was I wrong! On my long run Saturday, I decided to try something new. Everyone else uses different types of fuel, and while I like the sports beans, I really hasn't given anything else a fair try.

So this weekend I decided to give gu a try. A few months ago, I had gotten a gu sample pack on amazon, and never tried any of the gels. So I pulled out a few and gave them a whirl. I also had picked up some gu chomps at the running store when I got my new shoes, so I figured I'd mix those with the gels. I took one gel before my run, one halfway through, and I munched on my chomps every so often when I felt like I could use one. Now onto the run...

It was ridiculously windy on Sunday. Like 20-40mph winds windy. They were so bad that over night I kept waking up to the loud gusts and the windows shaking (they sounded like they were going to be blown in!) and on top of that is was not that warm out either. Needless to say, I really was not looking forward to this run which I thought would be torture, but I got up and got dressed, and off I went. We decided to break up the run by running 2 miles then walking for a few minutes, and repeating to the end. We were also trying a new trail.

The first half of the run, I felt great. The wind was at our back, and wasn't causing any issues as all. I felt like I could easily keep a 10:30-11:00/mile pace while running, and did just fine with running 2 miles before walking. The trailed was between some neighborhoods, and relatively shielded by trees most of the time, although there were a few open fields. It was very straight and completely flat.
Then we got to the halfway point and turned around. Omg, that's when the wind really hit us. I gulped down my second gu, drank a few sips of water, stretched my calves quickly, and then we were off again. At times it felt like I was running against a wall. The wind was just unrelenting and constant. But then something happened. I had enjoyed the first half of the run, but not quite as much as what happened when I was about 5 miles in. All of a sudden I was REALLY enjoying myself. I felt happy and giddy, and was actually smiling as I ran! I found that I actually loved the challenge of running against the wind. I felt like I could just keep going forever! I usually run around a 12:30/mile pace during my long runs, yet somehow, I was easily keeping a pace of 11:00/mile, and most of the time was closer to 10:00/mile. I felt like I just had so much more energy and it felt amazing!

I fully think it was the gu that did this, so I am officially a convert. Gu is my new fuel of choice! I hope it works that way every time. If so, I know I have a few PRs in me in the next few months, and it makes me so excited! I felt like I was finally faster, for the first time in a long time. Finally it felt like my training was paying off, and I think it was the gu that helped take me that extra step!

I have 10 miles this weekend, and am hoping it will have a similar feel to this run. Here's to hoping this keeps going!

Until next time... Happy running!

New Shoes!

So FINALLY, after what seems like a year of saying I was going to, I got new running shoes! The shoes I've been running in, I've had for 3 years. In the beginning I ran on them a bit, every once in awhile, but never on a consistent basis. Before I ran my half marathon in October I planned on getting new ones, but that never happened. Finally this past weekend, I decided enough was enough. I have a lot of races planned for this year including 4 half marathons (if you would have told me this a year ago I would have thought you were crazy!), so I knew I needed to suck it up and finally head to the running store.

My last pair of shoes were just ones I picked based on "cuteness." They had pink, they were Nike, and that meant I could use my iPhone app with them to track my runs. I put no thought into what kind of shoe would be good for me based on my stride or how I run. Heck, at the time, I hadn't even run my first 5k yet (man that seems like forever ago!). While they were okay, I never loved them, and last year when I started training for the half in October, I kept getting blisters on the ball of my foot (which was not helped by getting good socks). So I knew that I wanted to try something different and stray away from the Nike brand.

Here are my old shoes, I don't even remember the model of these anymore.

The bottoms didn't look as bad as I thought they would, but there's still some wearing down, and the tearing of the fabric under my ankle bones on each side, so they needed to go.

On Saturday headed to my local running store to get fitted, not sure what to expect because I'd never done it. I put on some comfy pants (would I need to run?) and my running shoes. When I got there, they basically just watched how I stood, seeing if I pronate or not, watched me walk, and then took measurements of my feet both with and without weight-bearing. I pronate (which i kind of already knew) and have flexible arches so I would need some shoes that would provide stability. They brought me out a few pairs to try, and I found a pair that I loved! They felt great, and bonus, they just so happened to be on sale!

I ended up with a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12's. They are last years model, but they felt great so that was completely fine with me! Also they are blue and silver, so when I dress as Cinderella in the Princess Half Marathon next month, they will match my costume! I was very anxious to try them out, so I put them on for my errands for the rest of the day to try them out. I had a long run of 8 miles (more on that in my next post!) that I REALLY wanted to try them out, but knew I needed to do a few shorter runs first. So far I've only worn them to do my errands, but I'm looking forward to giving them a try tomorrow on my run!

I was going to also post about my long run this past week, but decided this was enough for today:-) I'll save the rest for another day this week!

Until next time, happy running!