Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hills, Snow, and Rain Oh My!!

The kids and I headed out to PA this weekend for grandma's 80th surprise birthday party. It was great to have the family all together! The party was great and we were able to get a lot of pictures with grandma and her many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren! I packed outside running clothes in the off chance that the weather would cooperate for today's long run. I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to nice weather (well if you would consider 37 degrees nice weather). I put on my Garmin and out the door I went. I was cold at first, but was comfortable within the first five minutes of the run. My plan was to run five miles out and five miles back to get in my ten miles. I maintained that plan until I hit hill number eight at mile four. I decided to turn onto another street which was going well until I encountered hill number nine at mile five and a gravel road with snow and ice all over it. Needless to say that section of the run was my slowest mile (10:54) because I had to run with great caution as to not slip on the snow and ice. Miles six through nine included three more hills. At mile nine the sky decided to rain on my parade and of course add another hill to my day! So it turns out I encountered thirteen hills during my ten mile run today.

Now a question for all of the marathon runners out there. How do you mentally prepare yourself for the other 16.2 miles? I was quite tired after my ten mile run today. The furthest I have ever run in the last year is 13.1 (Cleveland and Columbus Half Marathons). While training for the half marathon I would take water with me but nothing else. I only drank water during the half marathons as well. I chose to eat a piece of peanut butter toast before my run today and I think it helped fuel me. I have no idea what to do when running further distances. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated. Do I do the gel packs? Do I drink something besides water such as a sports drink? Any other tips?

Keep running, you're simply the best, you inspire me!


  1. Hi Jodi! Great job with all those hills! You survived just fine, it will all make you stronger. Mental preparation - well, I think just getting used to the long runs ( and increasing the distance slowly) is the best way to feel prepared. And then the excitement of race day will take over for the last few miles. At some point in everyone's training, we all question whether we can do it. The answer is YES!
    As for food/fuel, I am finding I really need something as the runs get longer - I get so hungry! There are all sorts of things to try - I'm currently using Shotbloks, mostly because I don't like the gels, they are easy to carry but hard for me to swallow. The Shotbloks are really dense though, and I definitely need to stop to eat them because otherwise I can't breathe while I'm chewing! So I'm on the lookout for something better too. Make sure you have a good breakfast before - and as the weather gets warmer ( hopefully!) gatorade or something like that is better than water.

  2. Depending on your pace, you will need at least one gel, maybe more. Think in terms of time-on-feet. One gel for every hour. With that being said, if I am running an hour and 20 minutes, I don't worry with it. Let's say 16 miles is taking you 2.5 hours. I would take a gel after each hour. If you have stomach issues with them, maybe just one after an hour and 15 min. Also, the key to the LR is SLOWING down. Classic cardinal sin for runners is doing the LR too fast. It can really exhaust and put you down for the count. So... slow it down and just do it. Mentally, break your LR into sections. If I am particularly dreading one, I will say, "Okay, 9 miles down, 5 more, then 5 more." Or whatever your distance may be. Good luck and YOU CAN DO IT!

  3. Thank you so much for the advice ladies. I greatly appreciate it and will definitely be asking many more questions over the next several months until race day. Thank you for the confidence boost as well. I keep telling myself I can do it, now I just have to convince myself to believe it!!

  4. Now that is a hilly run!!! I wish I could give you some advice.. but I will run my first marathon this year too :-)

  5. Yes Staci, it was definitely a hilly run!! Good luck with your first marathon as well!! :)