I’ve spent the past few weeks “feeling my way through the darkness” of training for my first ultra-marathon! Most notably, I got used to running with a hydration pack, experienced the restorative powers of salt pills, and learned some trails are better for hiking.
Clothing & Gear
Hydration packs. Camelbak Dart. I’ve owned this pack for a while but haven’t run with it in a while. The bladder holds 1.5 liters of water. There are two pockets on the back – one large compartment along the center and a smaller one on the bottom. On the front straps, there’s a mesh pocket that’s wide enough for a smart phone. I like it but wonder if it’s more than I need for a 50 miler.
Anti-Chafing. Squirrel’s Nut Butter. I got this in a Runner’s World Box a few months ago and decided to pack it for my first ultra-marathon long run. I got a little bit of “chub-rub” and it worked great! My only complaint is that it didn’t spread very well when cold.
Headphones. FRESHeBUDS Wireless Earbuds. I’d been wearing these earbuds frequently and tried them on a 25 miler. I hadn’t charged them enough before the run and they died after about 3 hours. I love the idea of wireless headphones but don’t want to spend the next month finding a pair that will last for nine hours.
Nutrition & Hydration
Nutrition. Clif Nut Butter Filled Energy Bar. I ate the chocolate peanut butter bar on my 25 miler and it was yummy! But, it didn’t digest well on the run. I think it was too rich at 230 calories, 11 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein.
Hydration. In an attempt to make sure I drink enough during my upcoming ultra-marathon, I did a sweat rate test on an easy run. I weighed myself before and after a one-hour run and lost about one and a half pounds, which equates to about 24 ounces an hour. I’m definitely not drinking that much during my runs. I might drink 12 ounces during a marathon!
Trails. I’ve probably passed the Potomac Heritage Trail hundreds of times over the years when I’ve run through Roosevelt Island. I decided to check it out on my run last Sunday. Big mistake for a novice like me.
The trail is very technical. At points, there were large rocks or fallen tree trunks across the track and I was reduced to walking. It was beautiful but if I return it’ll be for a hike.
Water Fountains. One of the challenging of winter running is finding working water fountains. Last weekend, I expected to drink at Fletcher’s Boathouse but the fountain was turned off. This past weekend, I had a similar experience at the Martin Luther King Memorial.
Art. Scarlet Natural Chaos, by Arnie Quinz. I noticed this sculpture in Georgetown this weekend. I thought, “How have I never noticed this?” It might have been installed this fall and it’s probably been that long since I ran through Georgetown.
Media & Motivation
Music. “Wake Me Up (Acoustic),” by Aloe Blacc. This song came on during my first long run of my training for the San Diego 50 Miler. It hooked me right from the start because I really am feeling my way through the darkness with this ultra-marathon training!
(My “Songs of the Week” playlist on Spotify.)
Podcasts. “Episode 411 – Tina Muir,” by Marathon Talk. This was an interesting episode that featured Tina Muir, who is the former host of the RunnersConnect Run to the Top Podcast. She talked at length about her struggle with amenorrhea for nine years and how she got her cycle back by gaining some weight. Mario Fraioli, who was also training for his first ultra-marathon in California, was also on the show. But the best parts of the episode for this American was the hosts kept talking about how one of them was “pauly”. (Or, “pawly”?) I gathered that they were saying he sick but I’d never heard that expression before. Later in the episode, there was a reference to weight in “stones”. I love hearing English expressions that us Americans don’t understand or use at all. (Good luck, Meghan! I missed six questions.)
“Episode 130 – I Voted, (Marc Goldman),” by Pace the Nation. I enjoyed this episode because it allowed me to reminisce about the 2017 New York City Marathon and meeting the hosts after last year’s race. I really did wish they’d made the trip. I tweeted out a picture of the beer I had in their honor.
— JT Running DC (@jtrunningdc) November 6, 2017
Motivation. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius
As I started training for my first ultra-marathon, this quote seemed truer than ever. I need to become more comfortable with running slowly.