There are only a few days to go until I run my first race of 2016: Yamacraw 50k. I’m really excited to hit the trails of Big South Fork in Stearns, Kentucky.
I have been remiss in keeping this blog updated – and I’ve avoided the inevitable post that says “Boy have I not been updating much.” Kind of a stalemate. Perhaps the first step is to admit that I’ve been lazy?
While I have not been talking about what I’ve been up to, I have been up to a lot. Specifically a lot of running.
My run streak, which began inadvertently on December 29, 2015, and officially on January 1, 2016, is going remarkably strong. When I hit the publish button for this post, I had 94 straight days of running behind me. It has been a wonderful accountability tool.
“You could skip today’s run. The weather isn’t ideal,” says the lazy athlete on my left shoulder.
“Yes, but then your run streak would be over. Don’t want that, do you?” asks the ultrarunner on my right shoulder.
Lace up shoes; pound the pavement. 94 days and counting.
Since I use a Garmin watch (see below!), I primarily use Garmin Connect to upload and track my runs. However, I discovered Smashrun through a fellow blogger, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. Smashrun caught on pretty quickly that I was doing a run streak and started counting the days for me. Not only that, but there are all sorts of badges you can get when you upload your runs there. Check it out! It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve found the badges oddly motivational. They also send a weekly running report (like the one on the left), which is kinda cool.
I have two new pieces of running gear! Usually gear comes one at a time because it ain’t cheap. But, one thing was free.
I’ve been interested in SPIbelts for a while. There are other brands out there (like Flip Belt), but SPIbelt was the only one (that I know of) giving them away for free on Leap day. SPI stands for “small personal item,” and I have taken that to mean potatoes (see below). Before the belt even arrived, I was already calling it my tater sack.
SPIbelt is a belt with a small pocket that you can put stuff in. They’re designed not to bounce around or be uncomfortable, which I can attest is the case for my particular belt (a black, standard SPIbelt). I crammed two potatoes’ worth of roasted potato wedges in my belt and went for a 22-mile run, and I barely noticed it was there. The heat from my body actually kept the taters pleasantly warm. Just kidding. That’s kinda weird.
I knew that the battery life of my old 410 was not going to cut it for ultramarathons, especially anything that takes longer than eight hours to complete. So I did some research and found a new one. I’m now the proud owner of a Garmin 230, which is so fancy and pretty, I can hardly handle it. Also it boasts a 16-hr battery life and loads of other features and data that give me heart palpitations.
- Internal cadence sensor. I don’t know how it works, but it’s great to see my cadence. I should be between 170-180, and I’m typically averaging 176. Yay fastfeet!
- Smart notifications. This means I’m a little easier to get a hold of while I’m out running. Ashley has promised not to text me unless it’s important or motivational. (example right)
- Live tracking. Ashley (or anyone who I invite to the party) can track me on my run. This is especially nice when I’m running 22 miles on generally not-runner-friendly roads. I haven’t tested this on the trails yet, but that’ll be next!
There are other things like V02 Max and recovery advisor, but I need to learn more about how to use that information before I get too excited about it.
New nutrition! (NEWtrition?)
There were a few weeks when I finished a trail run completely drained of energy. After a few runs with this experience, I started thinking I need to up my calorie intake while out on long runs. My first successful foray into calorie intake on the run included eating dates. Usually one date every 45 minutes. I also will drink a bottle of Skratch. This is how that breaks down caloriewise:
- 1 Date: 23 calories
- 16 oz Skratch: 80 calories
- 18-mile trail run: ~2,132 calories
- I would need to eat 92 dates to match that calorie burn. Not gonna happen.
So I’ve started bringing roasted sweet potato wedges on my long runs. It has made a huge difference. I eat two potatoes plus the Skratch, and it has kept me from bonking, and helps me feel like I can keep moving after my run is over, rather than laying down in the back of the car with a towel over my eyes.
Plus I get to eat potatoes while I’m running. Potatoes are delicious.