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!