Monday, March 21, 2005

A very boring update (in which I ask for advice)

Surprising exactly no one, Saturday’s run was lovely and fantastic, and completely free from the heartbreak of food-related cramping (even though I totally had a bean burrito for lunch on Friday, which is not even just a little against the rules so don’t tell my coaches, k?).

I roused myself at 6, forced myself to eat a small breakfast, and moped around for a few extra minutes before heading out. It was early, y’all. So early, in fact, that I almost decided to stay home and not! run!, and given how anal I am about Sticking to the Schedule and my attendant paranoia about suddenly losing any pulmonary fitness thus far attained, that’s should show you how not! happy! I was.

But, the weather was unbelievable. Or rather, it entirely predictable based on climate, past experience, weather forecasts, and the approach of spring (and by the way, Happy Vernal Equinox everybody!). But by unbelievable, I mean that it was sunny, warm, and extremely pleasant for running in, despite the fact that we had to meet at 7 a.m. (Have I mentioned how early that is?)

And, continuing the non-dramatic narrative arc of my Saturday (in which I was not surprised by cramps, oversleeping, or the weather) it turned out that, Lady Fab or not, there were plenty of lovely and fantastic people to run with. I struck up a nice conversation with, let’s call him CML, who I’d never chatted with before, and he stayed at my comfy 10:30/mile pace, despite the fact that he intends to finish the marathon in under 4 hours. We are both v. smart and intellectual, of course, and had many deep and interesting thoughts to share. Had you all been on that trail to hear our conversation, you would undoubtedly have been extremely impressed. But, since none of you were there (as far as I know) I will repeat two impressive revelations:

1) Running long distances can be painful. Okay, I know, you know that already, but we’re not just talking about the gee my legs are tired kind of pain. We were talking (in great detail) about the gee my nipples are bloody kind of pain. Thankfully, as a girl, I don’t have to worry about this particular form of chafage, but I was able to share insightful thoughts on the limitations of Body Glide and the relative merits of the Man-Bra (Bro?) vs. duct taping gauze to the region vs. wearing one of those super tight Under Armor shirts. Boy readers of this site: what wisdom do you have to share?

2) Forcing your friends to eat gross things is funny. When running long distances, one must to eat to replenish glycogen stores. This, you all know. One of the best ways to do that is to eat Gu or Gel or other manner of specially-formulated sport products. If one is being charitable, one might compare the taste and texture of these products to a melted starburst (when eating a fruit flavor) or to frosting (when eating chocolate or vanilla). Frosting, as we all know, goes on cakes. And cakes are fun at parties. And parties are good ways to get friends to donate money. So, we came to the obvious conclusion: serve Gu-frosted cupcakes at fundraising parties. Heh. Pastry chef readers of this site: any good Gu-centric recipes?

So in this manner, 10 miles flew by, and, it should be noted, was much easier than the first time I ran that distance.

But here is where I actually need some advice:

When I started training, our coaches told us about run/walk ratios, explaining the many benefits of walking before you needed to and of experimenting with such things during shorter runs. It all sounded quite reasonable, and I resolved to run/walk during my training runs at a 10:1 ratio (roughly a minute per mile).

Except: the people who ran at my pace and distance didn’t want to run/walk, and I preferred to have someone to run with. So I eschewed the walk part of my ratio, except for brief walk breaks when I needed them, and which have been getting rarer and rarer. In fact, on Saturday’s 10 miler, I didn’t need to walk at all.

All of this is well and good. But is it reasonable to expect that if I continue along this trajectory, I will be able to run the entire 26.2 miles without smacking my face against the brick wall of “silly girl shoulda walked 10 miles ago”? And if that’s not a reasonable expectation, should I be doing a run/walk ratio already?


Blogger Jonathan Segal said...

I haven't been able to force anyone to eat GU, which, by the way, I think is delicious.

I don't mind the bleeding nipples anymore. They make me look (and feel) tough.)

As far as walking, I say eff'em and run the entire thing. I'm sure you can. That's what I want to do.

7:59 PM  
Blogger David said...

I don't wear a top if I can help it so I have never bled. I love Gu but only straight up. I think you'll end up wanting to walk. We just don't ever know when.
As for CML, all I could think of was Call Me Later.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous BD said...

I never had bleeding nipples but I experienced some very, very sore and tender ones during training. My solutions were:
(1) Use Body Glide and apply liberally to ALL chafing areas, including nipples.
(2) Try different shirts. Cotton t-shirts sucked. My very expensive microfiber shirt sucked. My cheap on sale at clearance prices microfiber shirt rocked.

Once I found the right shirt life was good.

About the walking. Use training as your guide. If you find you can run far without walking then keep running. If not, then walk. I almost never walked during training, even on long runs, except to keep the liquid going in my mouth when drinking. But there were a couple of long runs during which my muscles cramped and I *had* to walk some of it. No shame in that. During the marathon I would walk through aid stations for only as long as it took to drink something. But I did stop to stretch, use facilities, etc. if I felt like it. I was enjoying the race.

The point is that you'll know by the end of training whether you can run the whole thing or if you need to do a run/walk ratio. But if you train using a run/walk pattern then it is imperative that you use it on race day. Never change anything you did in training on race day.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the bleeding nipples. I use nipguards (just type it is to get to their website) during my marathons and long runs. Work like a charm, hurt like a.. a lot to take off. I also use the tried and true athletic tape.

Run/Walk. I've never tried it during a marathon. I always walk through aid stations, so I get the gatorade in my tummy instead of on my shirt.

3:10 PM  

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