During our run - clear:
And after church (thank GOD we were done running) - snowy:
We got covered in only a few inches of snow; it was the 1/2 inch of ice that really did us in. Christian was happy not to have school on Monday or Tuesday.
We had initially mapped out a 10 mile route and 2 five mile routes, but ended up running our 10 mile route twice. I know, I know...it goes against all of my rules (see my post on Running Routes) but one of the five mile routes we were going to run is one of my least favorites and so I was willing to forgo the silly rule this time. All in all it was a good decision to just double up. I think it was more realistic in terms of running these longer routes without passing by home base. Since most of our routes start and stop at the house we typically end up running past the house a few times and Christian and I agreed that pychologically for these long runs we need to minimize "coming home." It makes us want to stop.
Part of my biggest issue with training for the marathon has been figuring out how much I need to supplement my calories during my run with gels or sports drinks to make it through without feeling awful - or hitting the wall. When I ran my second half marathon a couple years back, I struggled a lot around mile 8 and I didn't feel great or have fun. As I told Christian on Sunday, if we are going to run this marathon we are going to have fun doing it and I don't want to feel like bad like that again.
So how do we do it? I have been asking a lot of questions from my known experts as well as doing a lot of reading on the subject of hitting the wall and nutrition. Everything I have learned encourages you to supplement your caloric intake with any run over an hour and then really experiment with what works for you, when you need eat or drink and how much works best. I have tried several different varieties of gels and drinks and sports beans and by golly I think I have it figured out. I understand that you need to get the stuff in your body before you actually need it so you don't run out of energy. I also have learned that mile 18 is the most critical because that is when your body has used up every available calorie and now has to figure out how to keep you running and where to get that energy from.
My strategy is this: I eat an apple and a serving of cereal an hour before we are to leave. I also drink water, and try to get a good 8-12 oz in before we leave. Fifteen minutes prior to departure time I have a Gatorade prime. I carry with me some Gatorade (the step 2 formula) and water. Just to digress a moment, I have engineered this ingenious system of baggies and Tupperware to carry my Gatorade and water in my pocket. I think I am a genius. Christian thinks I am embarrassing myself...and I am definitely embarrassing him. Oh well! I also carry with me at least 2 gel packs. I have one at mile 7ish and the other at mile 15ish along with water. This week I felt great. By great I mean - yes...my legs and my feet hurt like the dickens, but I had plenty of energy to get the job done.
And then there is Christian.... Teaching a 16-year-old what he "already knows" is quite the difficult task. Christian, as strong and as energetic as he is, hit the wall. I'm glad! There, I said it! I am glad he hit the wall. Now here's why: Often, when you are 16...think back...think about it...yep, you got it! You have to learn the hard way. Boy, Christian learned the hard way. He did great overall. It was a long run. However, when we hit mile 18, almost on the dot, he was hurting and he was struggling. He had little to no energy to finish the last two miles. He can do it, and he knew he could but his body had nothing left to give. Why you might ask? Well, Christian said he didn't need a gel. Christian said he was fine to run 20 miles with just water. "OK," I said, knowing darn well what would happen. He knows he needs something now. He's tired of the gels. He said they are kinda gross. Yeah they are, but I'm not eating them because of their delicious flavors, they are a means to the end.
Don't worry, Christian finished his run. With a few encouraging words from Mom and talking him through each step, he made it. See...I'm good for something.
I now get to teach him how to supplement his body so he has enough energy. I'm sure he will be listening as all good teenagers do.
Thanks for your recent comments and keep them coming. We love to hear your feedback and ideas. What's your energy secret? Favorite gel flavor? Only 2 months and 14 days.....