Daily Run: Thank You, Running, for Not Killing Me Today

November 22, 2008 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Daily Run, Product Review, Training Method | 10 Comments

Time of Day: 7:35 AM

Weather: Overcast. Slightly too cold to be perfect running weather, but close enough.

Duration: 2 hours 42 minutes

Estimated Distance: About 20 miles, but maybe even more. Twenty miles at an 8 min/mile pace is 2:40, so I ran out 1:20 and then turned around, but I think I may have gone a little faster than 8 minute pace on the way out.

Notes: Today I added another reason to be thankful for running: it did not kill me. In fact, given my recent aches and pains, I can’t believe how well my 20-miler went. It was not without its moments of discomfort, but I was rather nervous about this run, survived, and now I feel great about running a marathon in 3 weeks.  

Pre-run: I fueled with a Snickers Marathon Energy bar again. I can’t believe I used to shun these things as glorified candy bars. Maybe they are, but if a candy bar makes me run well, so be it. I did abs, as always. I spent a lot of time stretching and rolling out. The weather was teetering on “cold,” so I wore long sleeves over my tank, but ended up taking off the long-sleeved t-shirt about 25 minutes into the run and picking it up on the way home. I was cold at times, but mostly comfortable, and the chillier weather made hydration much less of an issue.

Run: The first 30 minutes of my long runs are always so hard, both mentally and physically. Does anyone else have this problem? I think Thursday’s elliptical speed intervals made my legs tired and they needed a little warm-up time. My stride felt wonky, Cranky Knee was cranky, and therefore I was afraid of the many, many miles ahead of me.

Gradually, I warmed up, the stride felt less wonky, Cranky calmed down, and I got to the softer surface of the park. I ran around it a few times and watched little kids play soccer. I love watching four-year-olds play soccer, clammering after the ball in one big pack of small kicking legs. The goalie was sucking his thumb. Such a stressful position. Hehe.

Last time I ran a 20-miler, months ago, I had several moments when I wanted to STOP. With capital letters. I felt much, much better this time, and even increased my pace towards the end. Overall, I’m extremely pleased with this run.

Except for one thing: I think the Clif Shot Bloks are upsetting my stomach. After one Blok, I felt a little off, after two Bloks, it was emergency restroom time. So, I need your help. This can’t happen during the marathon, but I don’t have much time to experiment with different fuels before then. Do you have a sensitive stomach, and if so, what do you use? I feel like I should have fuel for the race, but honestly, the Bloks are only 100 calories each, so I don’t think they’re worth a port-a-potty stop. It may be in my best interest to just run on empty if I can’t find something better. Maybe I can just grab Gatorade handed out at the race?

Tip: Guess what? It’s really hard to get gel packs open when your hands are cold. I read that holding them in your hand for 10 minutes will help get them open and make them easier to swallow. It works!

Post-run: A walk around the block. And by “walk,” I mean hobble like an old lady, and I definitely wished for a cane.

Lots of stretching, especially the Achilles, which hated me for a good hour. Lots of rolling out, too.

Water, prescription anti-inflammatory, and half of a Myoplex Deluxe Bar. I could have used more food, but my stomach felt gross and I figured I would be eating a full meal soon anyway.

I did not eat a full meal soon. I took an ice bath (only 16 minutes, it’s November now) and a shower, and then promptly went comatose for two hours. When I finally dragged myself out of bed (yes, I made it to my bed, don’t worry), I felt like I got hit by a truck. I feel better after coffee and food, but weird because I was in bed for so long. Today may not be as productive as hoped.

I’m disappointed by my lack of appetite on long run days. After 12 miles, I can eat like a horse, but after 20 I just don’t feel like it. I eat out of necessity, of course, but what a buzzkill to be able to eat as much as I want and then not want to eat! Does this happen to anyone else?

Three weeks from tomorrow. After today’s run, I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m ready.



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  1. JESS! YAY! congratulation, omygosh, what a great run!!!! i can’t believe how good you felt toward the end, that’s the best feeling ever to feel strong for t he end of a run– a long run, too!!!! that’s really too bad about the clif bloks. i don’t think i should be giving advice, since i haven’t tried anything or run that distance, but i feel like if it’s only 100 calories, then gatorade would work as a perfect substitute. SWEET! have a relaxing night!!!! way to go:)

  2. Hi Jess! I’ve been lurking on your blog for a long time now, but I decided to delurk today to give you my experiences with fueling/long runs. I am the queen of sensitive stomachs. When I was training for my first marathon last summer/fall (I ran the Long Beach Marathon in October 07), I pretty much had to stop once every long run for an emergency bathroom run! No fun. What I found -and this sounds kind of weird -was that any mid-run fuel that was made from brown rice syrup (which Shot Blocs are) was really hard on my digestive system. I ended up relying on Panda raspberry licorice bars, which are about 100 calories too, I think, and molasses-based, which seemed to be easier on my stomach. They’re a good shape too, I rolled them into the waistband of my shorts or stuck them in my sports bra. Here they are on Amazon, but I found them at Whole Foods and outdoor supply stores (REI). If you can’t find them, I’d just suggest trying mid-run fuel that is made from something other than brown rice syrup (like honey, or even something basic and evil like sugar, gummy bears even) and see how that goes! Good luck! I love reading your blog.


  3. That’s great that you had such a wonderful run! Sometimes I think confidence matters ALMOST as much as getting in the long runs.

    I would like to say that the first time I trained for a marathon, I would come home after my long runs, putz around, eventually take a shower, and then pass out. The rest of the day was always shot – I could never do anything requiring brain power. Or movement, really. But, I will say, that (for me) it was only that way for the first go-around. If you choose to train for and run more marathons, chances are you’ll get to a point where you can bang out a 20-miler in the morning and then go about the rest of your day.

    As for the appetite thing, I’m with you there, too. Anytime I run over 12-ish miles, my stomach is not so happy with me and I can’t eat very much. I’ve just come to accept it, and I try to make up for the calorie deficit the day before or after. I also have a really sensitive stomach, but I have found that the Powerbar gels (Strawberry Banana is the best!) work really well for me. Since you don’t have much time to experiment, I would say just go with what makes you the most comfortable… or least uncomfortable. Maybe carry some Bloks for the end just in case you feel like you might crash? And if it’s close enough to the finish, then you won’t have to wait long for the restroom.

    This is a super long comment now. So I’m going to cut myself off. Good luck working it all out!

  4. Thanks so much Lacey and Peggy.
    Peggy: I have both an REI and a Whole Foods in my area, so I’ll check those out!

  5. Alex: Haha yes I was useless today. That’s a good idea to carry some Bloks for the end of the race. I still have one in the cabinet anyway.

  6. So glad to hear your 20-miler went well! It’s all downhill from now until your race!

  7. phew, glad to hear things went well iwth the run!! but i LOVE that you call your knee cranky. i think i shall have to adopt this 🙂

    i have no advice, since i’ve only done a half… once 🙂

  8. Congrats on the 20 miler. I did an 18 miler on Saturday and didn’t feel as hungry as I thought I would be, but when I’m running shorter distances, I am starving the whole day, it’s weird. I also tried cliff shot bloks for the first time during this run, however I only took two over the course of 18 miles and chased both of them down with electrolyte water (Ultima), but didn’t get the same reactions as you. I’m sorry it didn’t work out. How was the gel? I heard that if you take the gels with the caffeine it can cause digestive issues. Good luck on the rest of your training!

  9. Andrea: I’m using the Shot Bloks that have caffeine, so maybe that’s my problem. I also only used two (so I’m wondering if they’re even worth it).

  10. wow amazing job on your 20 miler!!! you did great 🙂

    i have had some sort of event after every single 20 miler i have run and i hate it!! i just want to be able to sleep for a few hours like you did 🙂

    i hope the stomach issues get themselves figured out. i take in a lot more calories than that especially on longer runs and during the marathon. i MADE myself eat and drink when i know i didnt want to and i think that is why i never hit the wall. i would be nervous to not take anything but you know your body better than any of us 🙂 those last 6 miles can be rough though if you dont have enough energy in there to keep you going. good luck and HAPPY TAPER!!!

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