Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2


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Runday Funday!

It seems the theme of the summer is going to be rain. Lots and lots of rain. It’s been unseasonably cool these last few days, and today was no exception. It was in the upper 60s, but super super muggy.

Our group was a little bit smaller than usual because of the holiday, but we still had a really great turn out.

I set out with my usual partners for 12 miles, with the plan to just take it slow and get the mileage in the book. On our first hill, about 2.5 miles in, I tried to keep the slower pace, but just wasn’t able to – for the rest of the run, I just powered up each hill, waiting for my partners at the top. I don’t know why, but I have a really hard time keeping a slower pace on hills. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not necessarily a problem – but I do feel a little rude pushing past everyone on hills during training runs (I certainly feel no guilt during races, however!). But ultimately, it’s about my running and I need to do what I need to do.

Because we were running so long this week, we crossed the main road into another part of the zip code. Normally I don’t care for running over there (it’s just so far from the store if something happens or the weather suddenly turns), but it was surprisingly enjoyable today. It started drizzling a bit on the way home, which was such a welcome relief from the humidity.

When we got back to the store, they had bagels and coffee waiting for us. 🙂 I do love a long run bagel.

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Just after we returned it started down pouring. I was sooo glad we got in when we did 🙂

Today’s run got me up to nearly 35 miles for the week – a new weekly high for me! I’m thinking a few (very) easy active-recovery miles are in the works for tomorrow to push me up over 35 (I train on a Monday through Sunday week).

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For the last two years I’ve followed pretty much the same fueling strategy, but I’m switching it up a bit for the marathon to see if I can find an even better method. I tried Gu Rocktane today for the first time. I was a little hesitant about it at first because it has more carbs than what I’m used to, but it also has more sodium and electrolytes, which I think could be beneficial for me on those super hot, sweaty runs. Dealing with hyperhydrosis I need to be extra sure I’m fully hydrated without allowing the electrolyte balance to get too far out of whack. To my surprise, it didn’t seem to bother my stomach at all and I only needed one, around mile 5.5, to get through the run. Runningwarehouse has certain flavors on sale right now, so I may have to stock up on a few more.

Something I noticed today was that my quads felt so strong going up those hills. My calves, not so much, but it was such a great feeling. With Baltimore being such a hilly course, that makes me really optimistic about this whole experience.

With that said, I think it’s time to go enjoy my rainy 4th with a good movie marathon. Happy 4th of July Everyone!!

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Product Review – Hammer Gel

On the morning of the Baltimore Half Marathon, our training hosts had a veritable smorgasbord of gels, chews, and other fuel available for us. Being the ever-vigilant runner, I opted not to try anything new on race day, but grabbed a few items for later. One of them was Hammer Gel.

24353-DEFAULT-lI have been a long-time Gu user – it’s admittedly not the most appetizing thing I’ve ever ingested, but it does its job well and has never let me down. My only complaint with it is that it can be a bit difficult to get down. Texture withstanding, it’s thick, and when you’re in the middle of a hot race and your mouth is getting dry, that thick texture can be a bit of a burden, no matter how much water you have to go with it. This is particularly problematic if you’re gunning for a PR and don’t want to slow to a walk to get the packet down.

When I went out for my long run on Sunday, I decided to try out one of the Hammer gel packs that’s been mingling with my Gus for a while. The packet is a bit bigger, but not substantially so. The gel itself was thinner than Gu, making it easier to get down, and not as brightly colored. The flavor isn’t as intense, though, which was a bit disappointing but not a deal breaker. My only real “complaint” about Hammer is that you can’t squeeze the tab back into the gel pack opening for easy trash disposal.

For a run of 7 miles I typically only have one packet before I head out, and Hammer served me well on the run. I never had a lack of energy or felt like I was verging on fatigue. Unlike Gu, I didn’t seem to be burping quite as much in the minutes after taking the Hammer gel.

Verdict: I have one more packet which I’m looking forward to trying again, to see if I get similar results. Based on this one-time experiment, I would definitely consider Hammer Gel in the future, especially if it’s price is comparable to Gu. It’s always nice to have multiple option. I would happily recommend Hammer Gel to long-distance runners or other endurance athletes.

For Your Comparison: 

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Gu Nutrition Info

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Disclaimer: I got this product free through my training group, but received no compensation. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own. 


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Sore Legs Antidote

Summer is peak training time for so many of us runners. Whether you’re adding major mileage or tackling that killer hill you’ve been eyeing up for a while, many of us spend a whole lot of time bellyaching about our aches and pains. 

We’ve earned these aches, no doubt, but sometimes they just need to go away, stat. 

I’m a big fan of the foam roller/the stick and icing to soften the blow, but sometimes that’s just not effective (enough) or we want to switch things up. 

For many of us, food is fuel first, pleasure second. If that fuel can kill two birds with one stone, all the better, right? Well, Competitor has some great ideas on how to double-up the benefits of what you’re putting in you to kick up what you’re putting out on the road

While you’re sitting in your ice bath, why not head on over and give it a read. It should take just about as long to finish as that ice bath should last. 

after the hard workout


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Real food

Last night the local farm market announced that they’ll be opening mid-May, which makes me oh-so-happy 🙂 (it seems spring really will happen… at some point…)

And then I saw this article posted on Be Well Philly, with substantial evidence that eating real food is healthier for you than any of those silly fad diets everyone swears by: http://www.phillymag.com/be-well-philly/2014/03/26/ditch-diet-now/

I love growing my own veggies and using them in my meals – it’s so much easier to include healthy items when a) all you have to do is go out your back door to pick them and b) you’ve put the time and energy into growing them. If I could, I’d have like an acre of fruits and veggies. But alas, it’s not in the cards right now. There’s just something so much more satisfying about cooking that gorgeous red pepper you grew from scratch rather than something you picked up at the store.

What are your favorite veggies? What are your favorite foods to grow?


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Consider the Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is really having its moment in the spotlight right now. If you don’t know what a kohlrabi is, It’s a funky, alien looking veggie that inspires more questions than meals for most. I have been intrigued by it for a while – the NYT has been talking about it for about a year now – but finally tried some when of the farms at our local farm market had some at the last day of the season. It was a deep purple and just begging to be tested. I must admit, I wish I had tried it sooner. It’s fantastic sliced into a salad. I never made it beyond that because it was just too damn good in salad form and was devoured before we could try any other recipes.

20131113-005247.jpgA recent article in the Washington Post reminded me of our extraterrestrial little friend. I’ve always been a huge fan of broccoli, cauliflower, and iceberg lettuce (like, ridiculously so), and recently spinach, bell peppers, and onions, but have often struggled to add new veggies into my repertoire.

What are your favorite veggies? What do you do with them? What’s your favorite veggie side-dish or entree? I’m a sucker for roasted broccoli with a bit of olive oil (or truffle oil), salt, pepper, red pepper, and parmesano-reggiano cheese. But one can only subsist on broccoli for so long (although it has served me well for 30 years)


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Product Review – Power Bar Performance Energy Blasts

It turns out that while training groups certainly provide camaraderie and coaching, there’s another big perk – free stuff! Before our long run on Saturday morning we had a guest speaker talk about nutrition and hydration. Best part? Shoe boxes full of free fuel for us to try! Trying not to be too much of a hog (there were still lots of people out on their much-longer-than-mine runs), I grabbed a variety of items that I have never tried before.

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Before my hill repeats workout this morning I decided to try out the Power Bar Performance Energy Blasts in orange flavor. I have never had any Power Bar products before, but I know that races tend to have their products out on the course and that I should probably try their stuff out sometime.

Observation: The bag is one serving, and has about 8 (maybe 10?) pieces in it. Each piece is about the size of a quarter, but about 1/2″ thick and is really quite chewy, like a gummy bear, but has a moist center.

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Opinion: The first thing I noticed is that the serving size seemed pretty big. It probably took me 20 minutes to get all of them down. However, I really liked them. I know you still need water to help the stomach absorb them properly, but it wasn’t like a gel where you NEED the water to wash it down. They sat well in my stomach and I felt fully energized for tackling my nemesis hill.

Bottom Line: I would happily try these again. These certainly aren’t something I could see myself stashing and munching on the run, especially because it took so long to chew each one and the packet it pretty big. But if you’re someone who tends to have a lot of nervous/anxious energy before a race, they could be a great option for pre-race fueling because they give you something to focus on that isn’t down the hatch in 7 seconds. Also good for people who like to pop a small bite on the run more frequently rather than chugging a gel pack every 45-60 min. Just make sure you don’t have a stuffy nose, or it could turn south quick.