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.

26 comments:

  1. Looks beautiful! Amazing run! I love the wrist saver...will absolutely have to get one. With all the craziness going on lately, it unfortunately makes me realize that as a solo female runner, I need to be extra cautious.

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    1. You can't be safe enough out there. That's why I always carry my phone too.

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  2. Looks like a beautiful run...great pace lady! I like shot blocks, honey stingers, gu chomps better than go...easier and less messy, at least for me. No tummy issues w them either. I carry my phone in my fuel belt on long runs along w a few bucks and honey stingers. Glad you're having a nice time at the reunion! FYI I love that wrist saver thing!

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    1. Carrying cash is a smart idea! I need to remember that when I go out.

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  3. What a great run! Wish there was more green around me right now, nothing but dirt and prickly plants out here in AZ. Thinking the wrist savor is on my list of things I need.

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    1. But you have mountains in the distance too, right?! We need some of those.

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  4. That run looks amazing - how sweet of your husband to help you plan it out. I realized early on that my husband being romantic was about practical things rather than roses and sweet nothings. This weekend, he got up at 5am to drive me to my race start-line and then stood about in the drizzle at the end to see me finish. I think that's more romantic than flowers!!

    I also love love the wrist saver...where did you find that?

    I've never had shot blocks...maybe I should try them.

    That reunion is amazing...I'm an only child. My family reunions are me, my mum and my dad. A little smaller ;)

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    1. The wrist savers are over at personalsavers.com. Waking up early to help with race day is true romance! And way better than flowers. They just die in three minutes anyway. Medals last a lot longer.

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  5. First of all, LOVE this post! You crack me up and that family reunion sounds just awesome! Second, your husband is amazing and I love how he helped you make your route! Third, my husband's family also lives in Kentucky and while I have not done a long run there, my longest run has been 8 miles. The hardest part is the dogs that run free. MOST are all bark and no bite except one but thankfully that one is a chihuahua and I can usually intimidate him into staying on his side of the road. But I LOVE running there and I have many of the same views you do (except more cows and tabacco than corn and horses). I need one of those wrist bands and so does my mom (she lives in the TN country). And lastly, GREAT long run!!!

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    1. Yes! The dogs are always running free, which is great, but sometimes scary. A pretty mean looking dog almost bit me on a KY country road last year, but luckily it's owner was in the yard when I ran past and called the dog off. It was my scariest dog moment, and I have been determined not to get dog attacked ever since.

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  6. That loooked like one of those "I love running soo so much!!" runs! Awesome!

    Also- I am a huge fan of shot blocks! I have a hard time with how huge they are though so a trick I learned is cutting them in half and rolling in sugar (so they dont stick together) and carrying in a baggie. Way easier to chew and the extra sugar doesn't hurt!

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  7. What an amazing run. Thanks for all of the pictures and visuals! The reunion looks like fun. I have no family other than my immediate here in Canada so no, we do not do reunions. LOL My husbands family does but we never go. Snobs. :oP

    I've never tried shotblocks. I always just use Gu, it's what I know.

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    1. If you live by your family, every day is a reunion, right.

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  8. I love the Shot Bloks. I use them for all of my long runs. I like their tall skinny packaging. I usually cut the package in half and then stand the little packages upright in my skirts compression short pockets on the sides of my legs. They stay in place and then all I have to do is pull out a half package and pop the Bloks like tic-tacs. :)

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    1. Great idea! I was wondering how I could fit in more than one pack for a race.

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  9. What a beautiful long run, it's always fun to explore new places. I'm a fan of Shot Bloks as well but had no idea you can find them at Walmart?!

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    1. They were $1.97 at wally world. Not sure how much they are at other places, but just thought I'd share that in case you are cost comparing.

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  10. Wow, so much fun! I love soccer :) The horse story is amazing! I was imagining it while reading:) Horses usually just ignore me:( Way to get in your mileage and I love that your husband planned the route and you were able to stash the water. My favorite race fuel is Sharkies, so awesome! I usually have my phone (for emergencies or cool pics) and my sharkies on long runs. I try to plan my longer runs around water fountains since I hate carrying water, but I like the stashing idea:)

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    1. That's so funny because I also bought a bunch of Sharkies when I bought the shot bloks. Wal-mart has been having Sharkies on clearance at a couple of stores I've been to. I should have cleaned them out, but I bought just a few packs for a buck each.

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  11. These are great to run with too. YOu can fit in your hand if you want to. I don't like anything in my hands as I run so I put it in the front pocket of my camel back. Fits nicely in good sized back shorts pockets:

    http://www.amazon.com/Knuckle-Blaster-Stun-Gun-Joggers/dp/B005NTAEJK

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    1. Wow, that is very cool! If you're reading these comments, e-people, check out that link. It's for a handheld stun gun.

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  12. I have tried the Shot Bloks.. I am a fan! Gels make me gag and it's not cute. Your long run looks like it was lovely. I love it when I get to change up the scenery!

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  13. The picture of you guys running hand in hand is too cute. That is quite a big family! Now I know what you mean when you said you guys had tons of nieces and nephews.

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  14. Clif shot bloks are the shiz - the only things I buy. I'll use GU and such when I've gotten them free, but never in a race.

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    1. I need to find a place to get a great deal on them. Any ideas?

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