Not Every Run Is the Best Run

With my half marathon less than two weeks away, the pressure is on! On Saturday I had another 9 miler on my schedule, and I was looking forward to it all week. Then Saturday came, and I didn’t want to do it. I had to go a little later in the morning (around 9:30) because Stephen had to take our dog to the vet, and it was already near 70 degrees by that point. (Apparently we’re skipping spring and going straight to summer. Lame.) I knew it was going to be hot, and I have gotten so used to running in 40- and 50-degree weather that I knew the heat would be a rude awakening. Still, I knew I had to do it if I was going to be ready for my race, so to the park I went.

This run was the first one where I was using energy gels. The last 9 miler was tough because I didn’t drink enough and then had serious gastrointestinal issues later on. I decided that the Gatorade G2 may be the reason my stomach was always upset after my runs, but I still needed to replenish my electrolytes, so I decided to buy some Gu energy gels. I bought 3 flavors: vanilla bean, lemon sublime, and strawberry banana. I brought the vanilla bean and lemon sublime with me and planned to take them around miles 4 and 7.  I also brought 2 16-ounce bottles of water with me.  I run a few laps around the park’s trail and then run in a nearby neighborhood, so I left my water bottle by my car so I could just stop briefly to drink some water before continuing my run. I felt good about my plan to stay hydrated and fueled, so I started my playlist and began my run.

The first few miles weren’t too bad, but it wasn’t five minutes before I already had sweat running down my face. Despite a forecast that called for a chance of rain, the sun was out in all its brightness, and I could feel beads of moisture start to form on my forehead and in the crooks of my arms. But I knew dwelling on how hot I was would only make this the world’s longest run, so I tried to distract myself with my music and just run. This worked most of the time, but I still watched my Garmin a lot more than I have in the past. I took my first Gu (the vanilla bean) at 3.75 miles, and it was so yummy! I really didn’t expect it to taste very good, so I was pleasantly surprised at its taste. It was a very sticky, gooey substance, and I chased it down with a considerable amount of water before starting my run again. (I’m going to have to figure out a way to run and fuel/hydrate at the same time, but I’m not there yet. Even in past races I’ve always walked through water stations because I end up choking if I try to run and drink at the same time, but other runners seem to manage it.) After my brief break I headed into the neighborhood. Here I managed to tackle some hills and kept a relatively steady pace the whole time. With the exception of my first mile, which I consider a warm-up, all my miles were between 11:45-11:55, and I was happy with that. Still, I wanted the run to be DONE! It was hot, and I was not enjoying myself as much as I have on previous runs. I toyed with the idea of quitting at 7 miles, but I knew I had to finish this distance so I would be set to run 10 miles this week. I told myself the morning of my race could be really hot, and I certainly wasn’t going to let heat prevent me from running the race, so why let it prevent me from finishing this training run?

I took my 2nd Gu and more water at mile 7 and headed back into the park to finish the last 2 miles. Not too long after I had taken the Gu, my stomach started to feel unsettled. I realized I had probably drunk too much water too quickly, and it was all sitting in my stomach like a brick. I ended up taking a walking break (my first one) for about a minute and a half before running again and actually felt much better. When my Garmin beeped to signal the completion of mile 8, I looked down and saw 12:26 as my time. I thought, “Oh, no you don’t, Erin, you’re not going to finish this run at a snail’s pace!”

So I finished mile 9 in 11:15, the fastest mile of the whole run. 🙂

My run on Saturday wasn’t my best run, but I still got out there and gave it my all. If I do the same thing the day of my race, I know I’ll finish and finish strong.

FTC disclosure: Gu did not compensate me in any way for my review of its product. The opinions in this post are entirely my own.

6 thoughts on “Not Every Run Is the Best Run

  1. You are doing great girl, and you are going to do GREAT in your 1/2. Can't wait to hear all about it. For your half, consider your gels at mile 6 and 10. (Also, some time try the Shot Blocks or Sports Beans. Tastes like candy!) Running with you in spirit!


Tell me your thoughts! I'd love to read them.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s