July 30, 2012

Legit long run and family reunion

Weekend workouts

Friday: Best cross-training ever -- soccer! I played with about 15 other people at our family reunion. Usually we use dirty gym bags and shoes to mark goals and the long gravel driveway to mark the sideline. Not this year. Nope, the cool people of my family actually spray painted lines on the farm grass and built PVC pipe goals. This soccer game was definitely one (of the many) of the family reunion highlights.

Saturday: Long run! 13.22in 1:53

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, I've been family reunioning it in Kentucky for most of the last week. This was with my husband's giant family where there are ten kids, plus all of their spouses, plus all of the kids' kids. It's busy, crowded, scheduled, hectic, fun, relaxing, and amazingsauce all rolled into one.

I still haven't figured out why my computer doesn't recognize that amazingsauce is a word that I don't want autocorrected into two words. If you don't know me by now, Mac, you will never, never know me.

Back to the hugeness of my husband's family. This is a picture of just the grandkids with the grandparents. There is also one great-grandma (we named our daughter after her) in the picture and about two handfuls of great-grandkids.

My own kids felt pretty fantastic about the whole affair. Ask a kid to run free on a Kentucky farm all day, and you will get no sass. They love the guts out of that place.

Next is a couple of awkward faces. Enjoy.

And I took some engagement pictures for my sweet niece and her fiance. Guess what you will do if I take pictures for you? Run your buns off. She had on sandals, so she was only required to do a little running. But don't they look so young, free and in love? I'm pretty positive it was the running.

Rewind to that long run I mentioned earlier. My husband was so romantic and set up the perfect long run for me on Friday night. He drove me through his hometown to plan the perfect route, and we debated water drop-offs and paces. It was every runner's dream date. My repeated quote for the night: "You are being so romantic right now." He's learning how to sweet talk the new runner in me -- with mileage, paces, and potential potty stops.

After unsuccessfully trying to recruit just one of the millions of people at the family reunion to join me for the long run, I took off shortly after 5 a.m. for my lonely exodus through a small Kentucky town. At about mile two, I cracked my first smile when I saw this. Still not a lot of light out, but clearly Kentucky is freaking gorgeous.

After mile 6, I really started to feel warmed up and awake. That's also about the time I got into the old country roads and started on a few hills. The elevation changes were nothing compared to my home neighborhood, so I was still in a great mood post-run. I also ran by tons of sad drought evidence. Here's some lowly looking corn.

The horses still looked happy.

About a mile after that group of horses, a lone horse was in his pen staring at me, and I made a tiny hand flick and said very softly, "C'mon." Just like that, the horse took the heck off. It was the coolest thing I've ever seen. I'm not a horse person, so I didn't really know that my tiny hand gesture and whisper voice would elicit such an explosive reaction.  He raced all the way to the end of his fence line and then around the pen. And also, he won.

Once the sun came up, there was tons and tons of green to make me feel happy, and these country back roads were pretty empty (read: safe for running). Here I am with my tether. I only used one ear bud to lower my risk of getting run over or bitten by a dog.

This is the finish of my run on top of a hill at the farm where my husband grew up. I ran this last bit with the farm dog, and it made me want a dog running partner. At that point, I would have taken any running partner.

I was shooting for 8:57 average pace for 14 miles. I didn't quite make it to 14 miles (the reunion schedule was too busy to keep going), but I scored the added negative-split bonus.

Some things that went great on this run:

  • I drove it the night before and planted six 8-ounce bottles of water by stop signs and under bushes. That worked out perfectly! My first time ever hiding water, and it made me feel totally legit. And I found trash cans so that I didn't have to litter the bottles. Although the last three bottles I had to carry back to my in-laws' farm because no one's trash can was beside the road in that farmy area. One in my shirt (my bra was already full) and one in each hand. Also legit. 
  • My heart rate average was 147 with a high of 163, which means that I was keeping it cool and not overworking. 
  • I tried Shot Bloks for the first time. Why have I not tried these before now? Mistake, mistake, mistake. I randomly found them when I was looking for a running water bottle at Wal-mart (BTW, they don't sell them) the night before my long run, so I picked some up. I almost considered not bringing them, but I'm so glad that I did. I bought the Black Cherry and took one every few miles. Things I loved: how easy the were to break off and squeeze one out of the package without making a mess, no crazy racing heart or intestinal problems, easier to chew and get out of the package than GU Chomps, much better than one giant shot of gel. I like the tiny increments of calories and zing throughout the run. I will be getting more of these. 
  • I wore my Wrist Saver that I won a while back over at Too Tall Fritz. I prepped my spray finger for about six unleashed dogs out in farm country. Thankfully, they were all bark and no bite, so I didn't have to actually use the spray. But I was so glad to have it. 

The rest of the day, I spent praising my husband's romance skills for putting together such a fine run.

What is the one thing you have to take on long runs? 

What is your favorite long-run fuel? Have you tried Shot Bloks?

Have you been to a family reunion this year? My husband's family has a reunion every other year.