Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jelly beans on the run

Did I mention that I gave up sweets for February and decided to extend it through Easter? (Yeah, I know I did. :) Anyhow, the exception is for long run days, which are usually be Sundays but may be Saturdays on occasion (like next weekend). The reason for that is not just to allow for running fuel, but just to treat myself.

Anyhow, today was long run day (18 miles, baby!), and for fun I had packed snack bags with jelly beans and gummy bunnies. Specifically, Sweet-tart jelly beans and gummy bunnies. I picked these out based on the opinion of Charlotte from The Great Fitness Experiment (love her! Go read her blog and book!) that this variety is the best Easter jelly bean. And I do love Sweet-tarts. My quick review on the candy...the gummy bunnies are way too chewy to eat on the run. I'll give the rest of the bag to my dad. The jelly beans were good...I'll keep them...but I'm not sure if I agree that they're the best. I suspect that I would like the Starburst jelly beans even more. And if I can find Jolly Rancher jelly beans, I'll be all over that! (Clearly, given my newfound jelly bean quest, I need to keep the long runs coming!)

A word on candy as fuel...I don't see how it matters much. 100 calories of jelly beans (which is a 3/4 serving, and the amount I bagged in each snack baggie) vs 100 calories of's all high fructose corn syrup, right? Yeah, the Gu has electrolytes and stuff, but I drink nuun in my water bottles. The only thing I miss is caffeine, but I did have coffee beforehand, and this is a training run, not a race. For a marathon or half, I'm sure I'll stick with Gu.

This week has been a good week in my comeback from nowhere. (If I used that sentence in a previous post, I apologize.) My speed work on Thursday morning called for 6 x 800 intervals, and I feared that the track might still be flooded and muddy from our days of rain (though Thursday morning itself was blissfully dry). So I decided to do them on the road, on my usual route. Since I was shamefully starting late again, it was perfectly light (at, ahem, 7 a.m.), and I would have no difficulty measuring distance on my watch.

There are goods and bads to intervals on the road. The good...less intimidating than the track, it's just running with a break every half mile, and I get the benefit of the ups and downs of the road (which would also be a detriment on the ups). The bad...I just can't run as fast on the road as the track, and stoplights mean that I sometimes have to stop during the half mile interval.

So, I did my warm-up of about two miles, then started my 800s on a downhill. Yes, that makes it easier, but I'll take it. I think anything that helps me improve leg speed is good, and running on a slightly easier downhill does that. The first half mile was really fast (for me), about a 7:45 pace, which is what I was running my good 800s at last summer. The rest were slightly slower, 8:00 to 8:15 pace. Still, I'm happy overall with the results. As I ran out of time I started shortening my recovery intervals from 400 to much less. May not have been best practice but it allowed me to get them all in without having to cut them short just to get to work. (Yeah, I know that's getting old...I'm sure they think that at court too.)

On Saturday I ran a 10K! The Smelt Run in LaConner. I feared that the weather would be bad, a return to the rain we've had so much of. But although it did snow at the beginning, no rain happened. There was a pretty tough wind during much of the run, but that was no surprise...this one is always windy.

IPhone pic taken by my mom...that's me in the blue top and florescent hat...and a lot of LaConner street.

Somewhat to my surprise (and delight), I managed to average an 8:30 pace and finish under 53 minutes...I think the clock time was 52:42. A good tempo run! After the race my parents and I went down to The Calico Cupboard and managed to get in a breakfast order before the changeover to lunch (the race hadn't begun until 10 a.m.). I had a veggie scramble with hearty grain toast and fruit. Very good. My dad had banana and coconut pancakes...envious sigh....

And that brings me to today. Eighteen miles on the schedule and rain in the forecast. But I woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground and sunshine! Beautiful! Temperature wise it was a little cold, so I dressed a little more warmly than necessary. The sun shining on me really heated me up. But I eventually took off my gloves and I didn't need to take off my jacket until mile 16.

Mentally (and physically), I divided the run into three parts. The first part was six miles and took me through the hardest hills and to the point of entering the Centennial Trail. Part two was five miles on the Centennial Trail to the Armar trailhead. The last chunk was the final seven miles, which I also divided further along the way.

I ran the same route as my last 16, 18, and 20-milers. I'm going to change it up soon but this is so convenient and I've already measured each route. I did manage to step it up a little bit. My first mile, plus 1-2 miles up a long hill, skewed my pace a little, but I did a lot of the (other) miles around 10-minute pace. For the final three, I really pushed myself to get solidly under 10 minutes. They were approximately 9:30, 9:40, and 9:00. I know the last one was exactly nine minutes. I wanted it under, but the last tenth was in the Safeway parking lot and dodging cars really slowed me down.

I got out the jelly beans at eight miles and had a few every mile for the next few.* Then I got out the gummy bunnies at mile 14 (too chewy) and had three of them each mile through 17. After the run I got my Americano at Starbucks and treated myself to a salted caramel petite treat bar. Yum oh yum.

The rest of the day I'll admit I spent pretty much lying around reading and going from one meal to the next. Lunch, half a Subway footlong and fruit, dinner (during the Oscars), three smallish pieces of Papa Murphy cowboy pizza and a pile of green beans and yellow bell pepper (to support the Oregon Ducks in their men's basketball win over OSU). I also had a delicious flourless chocolate cookie earlier in the afternoon...from Calico Cupboard but I've looked up recipes and I want to make some soon. Later I also had an evening snack/dessert of Chobani apple cinnamon yoghurt with chia seeds, plus a fun size Kit Kat. Generally I prefer to get plain Greek yoghurt and flavor it myself, but I did buy a few of the new flavors for fun.

A good day, a good week, and back to work tomorrow!

*I did eat a pretty hearty breakfast before I left...a large bowl of oatmeal (3/4 cup oats), with sliced banana, chia seeds, dried cherries (cooked in the last couple minutes) and brown sugar. It left me full and I wasn't hungry at eight miles, but I wanted to practice fueling on a schedule. Plus, I don't think that getting hungry is the cue to fuel in a run...that might be too late.

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1 comment:

lindsay said...

Good luck on your no-sweet challenge. :) I think the long run rule is a good one! And jelly beans as long run fuel - that just sounds yummy.