Fueling Your Run

I’m slightly obsessed when it comes to food and running.  Not just food before or after a run, either…but fueling during and thinking the day before a long run, “how is this going to make me feel while I run tomorrow?”  I used to think about it a lot more than I do these days but I really need to get back to how I used to fuel my body.  I used to have so many healthy things in the fridge and pantry, and I still do, but it’s just easier to reach for the not-so-healthy stuff.

I have some races coming up in October.  I’ll be doing the Perfect 10 Miler; a race for women that I’m pretty excited about because, like Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, a large number of women from Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club will be running it.  The week after, I will be doing the Hershey Half Marathon.

With two more big races coming up very soon, I’ve been trying to get back to eating healthy and trying out different fueling techniques while I run.  When I started training for my first half marathon at the beginning of January, I read a ton of articles on nutrition and different ways to fuel your body during a long run.  I found things that worked well but I don’t know that I ever found the one perfect thing for me.

I started out using Clif Shot Bloks.  They were very tasty but big and sticky and hard to deal with while running.  I tried some different gels but my taste buds were shocked by the salty flavor…and my stomach didn’t like them much, either.  Don’t remember exactly which ones I got but they were gross.  Then, I started using Honey Stinger pink lemonade chews.  YUM!  They are smaller than the Clif Shot Bloks, a little less sticky and so yummy.  They worked very well for me!

My BRF had also given me one of her Clif Shot Energy Gels in mocha (+ caffeine).  I was nervous to try it because I hadn’t liked other gels and I wasn’t sure how my stomach would do with the caffeine.  I enjoyed it very much and it worked very well and this was now my go-to fuel.  That is, until I started training for Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, my second half.  What had been working for me for quite some time was now upsetting my stomach so it was back to the Honey Stinger chews.  I wasn’t too upset because these things are delicious.  It’s like eating candy while I run!  I also branched out to a new flavor.  Their pomegranate chews are very yummy, as well.

I’m not completely satisfied though.  I’m always looking for that product to make my runs feel a bit better.  One of the girls in the running club recently started working with Shaklee.  I had heard about them a tiny bit from the president of our running club because she uses some of their products but I hadn’t really checked them out.  Kim starting her business with them was the push I needed to finally look into them more and try some products.  I ordered the Energy chews and Performance sports drink in orange.

I waited anxiously for my opportunity to try the products out for a run!  That opportunity came when I was running the Cape May Winery 5K put on by Good Day for a Run.  I brought two Energy chews along with me, intending to eat them both 20 minutes before the race.  I got caught up in all of the excitement of race morning though and I forgot to eat them.

It turned out o.k., though.  I started out way too fast and after the first mile, I felt like I didn’t have much left in me and I thought I might need to walk some.  I was disappointed because I had yet to do a 5K in under 30 minutes and I wanted this to be the one!  Then, I remembered I had the chews so I decided to eat one.  After pushing through the next mile, I felt like the chew really kicked in and gave me the boost I needed to finish the last mile of the race…under 30 minutes…28:22!!!

The sky on the way to the vineyard. Running has really made me appreciate nature's beauty more!

The sky on the way to the vineyard. Running has really made me appreciate nature’s beauty more!

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Smile of a girl who finally ran a 5K under 30 min. :)

Smile of a girl who finally ran a 5K under 30 min. 🙂

I needed fuel after my PR ;)

I needed fuel after my PR 😉

The Tuesday following the 5K, I was running in the morning with my BRF.  I was tired and didn’t know if I even wanted to go.  I ate two chews, and by the time we were off and running, I felt more energized!  I have since also used them on a 10 mile run.  I ate one about 15 minutes before the run and one halfway through.  I also brought along the Performance sports drink on this run.  Ten miles was tough because it had been awhile since I had run 10 straight miles and I probably could have used one more chew but I am happy with the way the two products are working for me!  They don’t upset my stomach, they taste great and they seem to be doing what they are meant to do.

What are some ways that you fuel before or during a run/race?

If you missed my recap of Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, check it out here!

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Best Runner Friend

I first saw the term Best Runner Friend (BRF) in the book, Train Like a Mother, by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea.  It is a term I have come to understand and use fondly for someone.

I started out running alone and it was, well, lonely!  I didn’t mind it too much at first.  It was a chance to be alone with my thoughts and, although I love my 3 children more than anything, it was time just for me!  I would head out when the hubby was home to hold down the fort for 2, 3, 4 miles.

Then, it started getting a bit colder, harder to get myself out there, and lonelier.  I would run on the local trail and see people running together.  I had read about running clubs here and there…it was time to seek one out!

One night, I looked up local running clubs and came upon Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club. Women, mothers, different levels and paces, all coming together for the love of the run…perfect!  I then tracked them down on Facebook and joined in on a group run – a run that occurred right after Superstorm Sandy.  The ladies were collecting items for the victims and then going on a run to “replace” Beauty and the Beach, a race that had to be cancelled due to the storm.  All of these women amaze me, inspire me, encourage me and I have come to appreciate the camaraderie of so many of them!  I met who would eventually become my BRF on this particular group run…and who has become more than that since!
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Eventually, Jenna and I started training for our first half marathon.  It’s hard not to get close to someone you’re meeting early in the morning when it’s 11 degrees, still dark, raining, snowing and you’re running together 3-4 times a week!  When you’re running mile after mile, it’s hard not to talk about your families, friends, other interests, your aches and pains, or the fact you have to pee!  It’s hard not to laugh hysterically when the wind is gusting at you and you feel like you’re moving backwards instead of forward or your BRF’s watch beeps at mile 11 before yours so you finish up and then you can barely walk towards each other due to leg muscles not cooperating and laughing so hard.  When you’ve been running together for a month and a half, it’s hard not to celebrate your first double-digit long-run together!  When you’ve been through all of this and more, it’s hard not to consider your BRF to be more than that to each other!

Jenna pushes my limits.  She takes me out of my comfort zone.  She crosses every finish line before me and I couldn’t be happier to cheer behind her or to see her smiling face when I cross that finish line right behind her and we celebrate the awesome job we’ve done!

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