A good day to have run with water

This seemed more organized while I was running it

Today’s run (street): 4.4 miles

I’ve been trying to get out early on weekends and managed to do that most of the time. I wish I got an earlier start this morning. By 7:45 AM, the heat and humidity were already raging. I’d considered trail running which is generally cooler, although it can be very buggy on days like today. I ended up staying local, but mostly avoided my neighborhood. My route ended up looking a little strange.

I thought about taking water with me, but my Ultimate Direction water bottle is cumbersome and has a tricky valve. I should get another Amphipod Hydraform bottle. My old one got me through many training runs at Bethpage. According to Garmin Connect, the temperature was 81° during the time I was out. It didn’t show the humidity level, but I’m guessing it was about two thousand percent.

Although I did my best to choose shady sections of road, there was a lot more sun. I was surprised to see a lot of other people running this morning. Most were moving quickly, at least compared to me. But that didn’t bother me because I was getting in my miles. I’d hoped to run four and, despite conditions, I covered even more. By the time I got home, my clothes were completely soaked.

The torture continues

You’d have thought I’d learned my lesson about connected home technologies, but I went to Home Depot this afternoon and bought the Wink hub. The setup went much better this time and I’ll know at dusk whether the programming worked. Even so, with this morning’s tough run and a better experience with the lighting system, I feel like I accomplished something.

Empty bottle syndrome

Amphipod Hydroform: leaky top

Today’s run (Bethpage State Park): 9.1 miles

This has been a tough week by any measure, and I’d hoped to address my sleep debt by getting eight full hours last night. I didn’t quite make that, but I did manage seven. Even so, I still felt a little off this morning. I was glad this wasn’t my half marathon weekend because it wouldn’t have gone well.

My plan was to run 12 miles today. Over the past six weeks I’ve done base training at Bethpage on Saturdays, going from 7 to 11 miles by adding a mile every week. Last weekend I broke that cycle, because I was resting on Saturday for Sunday’s 5K race. With only two weekends left to train for the LI Half, I knew I needed to go out for long run today. Sunday is likely to be a washout with heavy rains expected.

I had a late morning appointment so I tried to get out early, but I didn’t quite succeed. I determined that I’d run out of time if I stuck to my original plan, so I cut my distance goal to 9 miles. I had bought some Gatorade G Series Prime Fuel, it’s sort of like a gel in liquid form, and added it to the water in my Amphipod hand bottle. I wanted to test that combination for use during the half.

I dressed lightly for the low-50’s temperatures, but I should have worn an even lighter top layer because it was HUMID.  Almost immediately after I started my run, I noticed that the hand bottle was leaking and sploshing red-tinted liquid all over my hand. I had wrapped a paper towel around the bottle for insulation and dryness but that quickly soaked through. I wasn’t even a half mile into my run when I decided to dump some of the contents to minimize the spillage.

I wore my Brooks Adrenaline to help prevent further aggravation to the sole of my left foot. Prior to putting on my sock, I had rubbed some capzasin cream onto the area that has been giving me trouble. I don’t think it did much to help, but it didn’t hurt to try. By the time I finished mile one I knew that my foot wouldn’t be my biggest problem on the run.

There were many runners, mostly in pairs or groups, along the trail today. Almost everyone greeted me as we passed. I had hoped that all my base running and recent speed focus would make today’s run easier, but I really struggled throughout most of the way through. By the time I reached the steep incline leading over the Southern State, I was concerned about having the strength to complete the entire out-and-back.

I only went .75 miles into the Massepequa Preserve before turning back and facing the climb over the parkway from the other direction. Once I came down I knew I had less than 4 miles to go, but I knew the last two miles would be very difficult.

By the time I was ready to drink from my bottle I saw that there was nothing left to drink. This was a disappointment and the lack of hydration, combined with glycogen and electrolyte depletion, made me grateful that I didn’t attempt the full 12 miles, as originally planned.

I ran the first half of today’s run a minute per mile faster than the second half. The humidity didn’t help an already tough situation. As I slogged through the last two hills, I kept visualizing the final downhill section that would lead me to my car. Nine miles this morning was far tougher than the eleven that I ran two weeks ago.

Due to the Amphipod’s failure, I wasn’t able to assess the effectiveness of the G Series Prime Fuel as a supplement to my water supply. Worse, I am now without a useable water bottle for the race. I hope to find something this week that I can test next weekend. I’m traveling next week so I’m not sure when I can do that. One more week to train and then it’s time to run the LI Half once again. At least I’ve trained hard for it, so far.

Seeking out a wrap and a baffle

Clammy and sloshy hydration

I went over to City Sports at lunch today because my CS Insider dollars expire at the end of the week I didn’t want to lose them. I had hoped to find a new hand bottle to use on my long runs, because my Amphipod Hydroform unit is falling short in too many ways. Although it has a hand strap, there’s no insulation between this bottle and my hand. The heat from my hand quickly transfers to the bottle and melts the ice inside. Soon after that, my hand heats up the remaining liquid.

Besides this heat issue, I don’t really like the feeling of the cold bottle against the palm of my hand when I run. It’s uncomfortable, and the condensation makes the bottle feel clammy. As the bottle empties, the water sloshes around inside. This becomes annoying over a long run.

City Sports didn’t have a large selection of handheld bottles today, so I pretty much struck out. If a bottle exists that has an insulating wrapper and a baffle inside (that prevents sloshing) I’m ready to buy. I ended up spending my Insider dollars on Nuun electrolyte tabs along with some GU Roctane gels. I have the necessary contents, I just need a better bottle to put them in.

Me and Dave on the Bethpage trail

Start of the Bethpage bike path and its first big hill

Today’s run (Bethpage bike path): 6.3 miles

This morning I finally caught up with my running buddy Dave, who I haven’t seen since the winter. He’d just come back from a long vacation in Greece with his family where he had many opportunities to run. We had decided to cover about six miles today, the first time I’ve done a run over 6 miles since mid-June.

We started at 7:20 AM while it was still fairly cool. The humidity hadn’t risen much and we were sheltered by the bike path’s tree cover that starts about a mile into the route. We maintained an easy pace and, before I knew it, we’d passed the 30 minute mark. We then turned around to complete the second half of the run.

Along the way we saw a number of people running in groups, perhaps in training for an upcoming race. There were the usual cyclists, most of them polite, but one rider overtook us on the final hill and screamed “Move over!” before he passed. Not too cool since there was plenty of room for him already.

Between the relaxed pace and the interesting conversation the hour-plus run went by very quickly. I had brought my Amphipod hand bottle, filled it with crushed ice, for hydration. The contents stayed cold as the ice melted and it provided a cool supply of water throughout the route. We finished the run feeling like we’d had a good workout and had the sweat to prove that. I was really pleased to break the 6 mile barrier after many days, along with great company, a nice course and near perfect weather.

Personal distance record on today’s base run

A Personal Distance Record on the Bethpage trail

Today’s run (Bethpage State Park): 11.2 miles

For the second weekend in a row I’ve followed a dissatisfying trail run on Saturday with a great distance run on Sunday. Rather than over-analyze this, I’ll just assume it had more to do with the time of day that I did these four runs (good runs: early, bad runs: afternoon). With a half marathon coming up in six weeks I’d been working on building up my base with 8.25 mile runs over the past couple of weekends and a personal distance record of 11.2 miles this morning.

I began today’s run at Bethpage State Park at 8:00 AM and I ran well, feeling much better than I did yesterday. The winds were coming from the north and the first half of my out-and-back run was in a southern direction, so I had a little extra help at times. Unfortunately much of the second half included chilly head-on winds that made the tough hills even tougher.  But with all runs you take the good with the bad. I just wish I could take the bad first and experience only the good at the end.

There were many people on the trail today; walkers, cyclists and runners in about even numbers. Lots of friendly hellos too. Of all my running venues, Bethpage definitely has the happiest people. I was only passed by a couple of people along my route. One was a boy no older than 18 who ran past me at a pace that I can only sustain for about 200 meters on a track. After my turnaround in Masspequa Preserve he passed me the other way, his speed undiminished even though he had run at least seven miles by then.  Unbelievably, this young man passed me in the other direction when I was about three miles to my finish, meaning that he was still charging hard after 11 miles. For the record, I also passed some runners today!

I was glad that I brought along my Amphipod hand bottle, that I filled with Gatorade G2. After mile four I began taking sips every half mile. I believe that was the key to getting past some tough periods, especially at mile 10 when the risk of a bonk was very real. But there was no stopping and no slowing down and I finished my distance in 1:46:34, or 9:31 per mile. That’s a realistic target for race day, which means I’ll need to finish the LI Half under 2:05. I think I’ll fold speed work into next week’s runs and while I’ll target at least one long run, I’m not sure I’ll need to run 11 miles again. But I just might.

Making it through with Hydration and GU

Today’s run (Bethpage State Park): 8 miles at 9:49 (variable terrain)

I wanted to put in some mileage this morning but I couldn’t face another long run around the local roads. I’ll probably be back on the street tomorrow but this morning I needed a break. I set out for Bethpage early under cloudy skies that felt like they could give way to rain. I decided that was fine because much of the bike path has decent tree cover. By the time I arrived, the skies had cleared but not to the point where the sun came out. I was happy for that. Running with sun is fine in winter but this time of year I prefer cool and dry with gray skies above.

There were numerous walkers on the bike path at the start of my run. I made my way up the short steep hill that gives way to a long downhill section that almost catapults you through mile one. But it’s a little like having desert before your meal. Easy as they are to manage at the start, those hills are a bear to address at the end. Soon enough, I was into the wooded part of the trail, trying to gauge my readiness to complete an eight mile circuit. I brought along my Amphipod water bottle to see how things would go with some in-run hydration.

I’d also brought along a GU energy gel (Mandarin Orange flavor) that I plan to have for next week’s race. My last experience with a gel pack (Honey Stinger chocolate flavor) did not go well but I still like the idea of having restoring carbs during the second half a longer run. I still don’t love the Amphipod bottle because it’s very cold to hold at the beginning (filled with ice) and it sloshes as the water supply depletes. Still, having water made a difference and it made my gel experience much better than last time. I ate the gel at the 4 mile mark and it helped me enough to maintain my first half pace over the last four miles. I took a few side trails that run parallel to the paved path. My turnaround point at four miles went around a small pond that was also ringed by a dirt trail.

There were numerous runners along the way wearing team shirts and on my return leg I noticed mile markers along the bike path. It wasn’t until I was near the Bethpage Parkway circle that I realized the Ocean to Sound Relay routed through this course. I really wanted to participate in that race but I couldn’t get a team together. That’s probably for the best because I’d prefer to focus on the Great Cow Harbor 10K next Saturday. About a mile from my end point I was surprised and happy to see Dave coming from the other direction, one mile into his run of the day.

Later this afternoon my daughter and I did a run around the middle school field. She really ran well and maintained a decent pace throughout our run. I think her training is making a difference. I’m hoping mine is too.

Return to Jackrabbit

Today’s run (street): 2.4 miles at 9:24 per mile

Yesterday I headed over to Union Square with my friend CK for lunch and a visit to Jackrabbit Sports. CK was in need of a new pair of running shoes. The NB 1225’s he was using were a year old and had a lot of mileage. He was never very happy with these shoes, mostly because of their wide toe box that can make the forefoot feel unstable. I showed him the Brooks Adrenalines that I wear and really like. He tried on a pair and initially said he felt “flat-footed” but after a few minutes he said they felt very comfortable. I could tell CK was ambivalent about the shoes and I encouraged him to try other pairs. He selected a pair of Saucouny Guide 3’s and loved the fit and the energy return that he thought was better than the GTS-10’s. CK bought the Guides and I picked up an Amphipod water bottle that is form fitted for carrying while running and has a strap that secures it to your hand. I’ll probably use it on Friday during my Central Park run. I could have used it last weekend when temperatures were close to 90.

This morning I headed out again for my run and was surprised by how cool it was compared to Tuesday. I actually felt cold having dressed for warmer temperatures. It took a few minutes to get comfortable but once I did it felt pleasant because there was little humidity in the air. My pace felt much brisker than yesterday’s and while it was still a leisurely 9:25 average per mile that was :15 per mile faster than the day before. If not for my time constraints I would have added more miles. I returned home fresh and wishing I had more time to run. I guess it’s always to finish wanting more.