Friday, November 17, 2017

Fowl Fun Run 2017

I have not been running much.  I've been trying to let my knee heal from my marathon but still continue running a little so I don't lose it all.  The week after my marathon I ran 33 miles (but that was with 26 miles of a marathon since it was on Sunday, so really only 7 miles).  The following week I ran 16 miles, and this week I've run 6.5 and walked a mile and a half.

Saturday I ran the Fowl Fun Run 10k.  It was a last minute decision to run.  I have run it many times.
Well, I thought I had run it several times, but I've actually only run it 2 times, once in 2012 and once in 2015 (the 5k).  Oh well.  I don't run many 10k's, not because I don't want to, I actually like that distance more than the 5k.  Last year when I committed to running a race a month I planned to run more 10k's and then I sprained my ankle and ran 5k's because I couldn't do more than that. 

Anyway, 2015 was my last 10k, the previous one was in 2012, the Fowl Fun Run . . .  My previous PR, from 2015 was 56.37, and I thought that I could easily beat that time this year.  It was a completely uneventful run.  I tend to run too fast in the beginning, and I needed to run at a 9 min mile to get a PR, so I was going to try to stay at that pace.  I failed.  I kept telling myself I needed to slow down.  At mile 2 I decided if I could get my pace to stay around 9 min/mile than in mile 4 I could speed up as fast as I wanted.  I figured that meant I only had 2 miles left and I could run those fast if I wasn't dying.  I ran 8.45, 8.43, 8.46, 8.38, 8.30, 8.34, and the last 0.2 was 7.52.  My overall time was 54.16, which equaled 8.43 min/mile average . . .a new PR. A whole 2+ min faster than my previous 10k time.  =)  And I felt that I could have run faster for the whole thing.  I wouldn't have been able to do the push at the end (the last 0.2 miles) but the overall time would have been faster.  I did not get an age award, I didn't even wait to find out.  I didn't know where I was in the pack, but the last time I got an age award for that race it was just a ribbon, and I don't really care about ribbons.  I was 6th out of 11, the fastest person my age was 47.47, a 7.41 min/mile, no way was I going to beat that.
In 2015 they raffled off a bunch of things, including a mug that I got, but this year they were only raffling off turkeys and pies, and I didn't care about those at all, so I left.

My knee didn't bother me at all.  However, it was pretty sore on Sunday, so much so that I didn't do a "long run" on Sunday.  I was going to run 8 miles, but I didn't.  After Sunday it hasn't hurt much.  I ran on the treadmill at the gym on Tuesday and then yesterday I decided to run outside.

I don't know exactly what I did, but I stepped wrong and the inside of my knee started hurting a lot.  Previously it's been under my kneecap, so this is a new pain, and it hurts to walk, which the other didn't.  I'm pretty upset about it and rather worried.  I HAVE to run the Last Chance Marathon on December 31, I've run 2 half marathons and 1 full marathon as part of the Washington Marathon Series, and in order to get the medal, I have to run either the Seattle half or full marathon next weekend (not going to happen) or the Last Chance in December.  So this mean that I have to rest completely to let it heal so that I don't have to completely restart my training (I don't know if one month is enough time to retrain for a half).

So no long run this weekend.  I don't know if I'll get one next week either.  I guess we'll see how it goes.  Nancy, my sister, and I are planning on walking a Turkey Trot near her house on Thursday, so I guess that will be the test.  I won't run before that.  I may kill someone.  ; )

Monday, November 6, 2017

"Disturbance"

Well, I'm still having some knee issues.  I waited to run until Saturday.  I had no pain, or discomfort, in my knee after my run on Wednesday, but I wanted to make sure it didn't get worse.  I decided I could do 3 miles on Saturday if I took it easy and listened to my body.  I ran 3 miles and felt great.  It was a good run.
After my run I got a pedicure and overall felt pretty good.

Interestingly, I was reading my first post after my marathon in 2015, and I had the same problem with walking in my first run (I walked the last half mile of that run).  Although back then it was my feet that hurt, and my right one in particular.  I ended up taking almost 2 weeks off to heal.  One day, I remember it pretty clearly, my foot hurt so bad and I was walking to my bedroom, suddenly I heard a loud pop in my foot and then it felt fine.  I don't exactly know what was wrong, but obviously something in my foot was misaligned (or something) and needed to pop back into place.  I wish it was that easy with my knee this time around . . .

Sunday I woke up to snow.
I love snow, and I have the strange desire to want to run in the snow.  I may feel differently about this if I lived in an area where it snowed a lot, but I live in western Washington where I'm lucky to get snow once or twice a year.  In fact, my first snow run wasn't until late November of 2015.  I don't remember if I ran in the snow last year, I think I did, I remember a very slushy run where I was surprised at how hard it was, but I can't find it, and don't exactly remember when it was. 

Anyway, Sunday morning I was sitting on the couch watching the snow, and noticed it was still snowing (or maybe snowing again?).  Chris and I had decided that since I wasn't doing a long long run, I would run after grocery shopping but with the time change I was up earlier than normal on Sunday and I was starting to itch for a run.  I still hadn't eaten anything, so I decided I'd eat something and drink some water and see if I could get it all in me by 8am so I could run at 8:30.  I was successful and was getting dressed when Chris finally woke up.  I told him I was going to go run in the snow and we'd shop afterwards.

I had been debating running 8 miles, but I decided to do 5 because of the snow.  Well, I started running my regular 5 mile route, and on one of the early downhills I had a twinge in my knee. Oh, yeah, I forgot about my knee.  It was okay, so I kept running but thought I'd cut it short if I needed to.  By the time I was at a mile and a half I knew I wouldn't be able to do 5 miles, I got to 2 and a half miles and had to walk.  My knee was really bothering me.  I walked the half mile home pretty disappointed.  It didn't feel like I had run, and I was just discouraged.  I'd like to say I got over it, but I didn't. 
___________________________________________

I got an email from someone regarding the Tri-Cities Marathon I ran last Sunday. Remember the post I wrote last week about it?  In the post I wrote about the guy that was acting crazy, well, the email I got over the weekend discussed him.  I'm going to copy and paste it here, I just found the whole story crazy and a little sad.

Disturbance at our 2017 TC Marathon
 
Some of you may have come in contact with a registered runner at this year’s Tri-City Marathon that caused quite a disturbance at several places along the course.  Or you may have seen his profane and incoherent rant of a “review” on our Facebook page.  If you witnessed his behavior or saw his FB rant, it is obvious that this person has no credibility.  However, I take a lot of pride in our 3RRR club and events and I want to set the record straight.
 
The story starts the day before the race at packet pickup.  Our race director talked with this man and though he seemed somewhat peculiar, he did not appear to be a threat to anyone.  In his discussion, this person was very forthcoming that he was convicted of a felony and formerly abused illegal drugs.  On race morning he exhibited more strange behavior, including a liberal use of duct tape, among other things, but again none of this behavior appeared to be dangerous.  And then the race started.
 
The race started in very dense fog, in some cases visibility was not much more than 20 feet.  One of our women club members, competing in her first serious marathon, found herself running with this man running directly behind her.  When he started making sexually harassing comments to her, it was very stressful, especially since with the fog it felt like she was alone with this strange man.  She was glad to catch up with another woman running on a relay team, but the man behind them just doubled down on the sexually harassing comments.  When they got to the relay exchange point and the other woman completed her run, our marathon runner was so stressed by the man trailing them that she hid in a porta-potty for several minutes in hopes that he would get far enough ahead of her so she would not have to deal with him any more.
 
While on the course, spectators witnessed this man yelling and cursing at other runners, claiming they were trying to “cut him off.”  Our marathon runner caught up and passed the disturbed man on the Cable Bridge heading back over to Pasco and noted that he was yelling at the cars on the way over the bridge.  So much so that the cars were honking back at him.
 
Then came the aid station at mile 16 on the Pasco side of the Cable Bridge.  A number of runners complained to the aid station volunteers that one of the runners in the race was yelling and cursing at other runners.  Aid station workers noticed this man kicking over cones near the aid station.  When he arrived he complained the cars on the bridge were trying to kill him (from his yelling and threatening the cars) and then threatened to kick over the aid station table and dump all the water/sports drink on the ground.  He did not make good on his threat, but his behavior was threatening enough for our aid station crew to call the police.  The disturbed man was taken into custody somewhere around mile 18 on the course.
 
After the police removed him from the race course, they did not have enough to hold him or charge him, so they needed to take him back to his car.  His car was parked at the Shilo Inn and this is where he caused a disturbance at the awards ceremony.  He once again started in with a profane and incoherent rant at the race director, who calmly let him know that he would address his concerns after the award ceremony was over.  When the race director went to find him for a discussion, he had already left the area.
 
Those are the facts of what happened and I wanted you to know.  I want to make two points here.  First, I want to congratulate our marathon race director for a good job of putting on the event and the calm and professional manner in which he dealt with this disturbed individual.  I am not qualified to determine whether this disturbed man suffers from mental illness or this was a drug issue, though the opinion of nearly everyone that came in contact with him was that he was “on something.”  This was our marathon race director’s first foray into race directing and he did a great job of dealing with this situation and avoided letting it escalate.  I’ve been directing races for over 35 years and have never had to deal with something like this.
 
Secondly, as I was collecting information to write this up, I was also getting the news about the tragedy in New York City regarding the terrorist truck driver on the bike path.  Obviously, there is no comparing what happened in New York to our situation with the disturbed individual.  But it reminded me that at our 3RRR events we are not immune to strange behavior or actions by others.  Just as in other parts of every day life, we need to keep alert and be aware of what’s going on around us.  Even as we are competing in our local events.  That may mean taking out your earbuds once in a while if something looks or sounds off.  And then let someone know…just like the runners did at our mile 16 aid station.
 
In closing, I know how hard you work to get ready for a marathon and the effort you put forth during the race itself.  To have that sacred time subverted by some disturbed individual while you are trying to put forth your best effort is a terrible shame.  I am saddened that some of you were affected by this person.  Know that he will not be allowed to register for any 3RRR events in the future.
 
I've been working in the mental health field for 7+ years, and even on Saturday when I saw this guy at the packet pickup and he wasn't doing much but saying hi to people in line, I thought that he had some mental health issues.  I'm no expert, but I truly believe that was his issue, and I thought multiple times during my run that maybe running helped him with whatever mental health issues he had.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Tri-Cities Marathon

You can find the first part of my marathon weekend story here

After my sisters and I got done looking at the parks along the route they were going to go to we went back to my parents house and had dinner, steak, and I set up all my stuff for the race.  I never did get really, really nervous.  It was nothing like my first marathon two years ago.  I wasn't running around looking for missing things, nor did I bring nearly as much stuff, especially food stuff.  Two years ago I had bananas, peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, and Snickers bars, this year, I had my chews and my Nuun. 

With so many people in my parents house (8) with 5 beds, but also we had to keep Damian and Callie (gf) separated, there was not enough room, so my parents hooked up their 5th wheel for us to sleep in.  The first night Damian was in there by himself, however, that put Maddox in a double bed with Chris and I, which doesn't work.  So Saturday night Chris, Maddox and I went to the trailer.  Well, Maddox still has trouble going to sleep without me laying with him, so I just went to bed with him in a pull out bed.  I had originally been in the main bed in the trailer, but moved when he wouldn't go to sleep, but left my phone.  I woke up in the middle of the night and Maddox's kindle was close, so I looked at the time 2am.  Then a few hours later I woke up again and looked at the clock on the kindle again.  5:46am!  I was late!  Like an hour later than I intended to be.  I jumped out of bed, yelled "Oh, sh*t!" and ran to the bed to get my phone.  Chris asked me what was wrong and I said it was 5:45 and I was late.  He laughed and said it was only 2:45am. 

I forgot that Maddox's kindle was set to eastern time (I don't know why). So I laid back down and fell back asleep (thankfully).  I woke up at 4:30 and got out of bed.  I ate my steak and eggs, drank my coffee, drank a lot of water and read a book for a couple hours. 

With the number of people going to the race (11 including me), we needed to take 4 people in my sister's car, so Chris, both my parents, and me all left about 6:30am to get to the race on time. 
The sunrise on the way to town.

On Saturday my sister asked me if I remembered gloves, I said I had some, but wasn't sure why she was curious.  She said two years ago she remembers me saying I wished I had my gloves because my hands were so cold.  I didn't remember that at all, and debated whether or not I wanted to wear them.  I had pretty much decided against it, because I had my running jacket that has flaps that go over the knuckles of my hands but Chris said he thought I should wear them.  The first park is at 4 miles and it'd be easy to give them to someone. 

It was super foggy when we got to the Tri-Cities.  I was kinda disappointed because the drive there was so nice, but I was glad I brought my gloves because it was really cold.  We all hung out in the lobby of the hotel until the start of the race. 

The day before while I was picking up my packet there was a guy that was sitting in a chair chatting with people in line.  He said that he was running his first marathon, and was a little "off."  Then while we were in the lobby waiting, my dad happened to sit next to him on a couch.  He talked to my dad a little bit, told him that his Nike shoes were from the gods and that the Nike check was his wings and when he got tired they would carry him through the rest of the race. Then when I was walking to the start line, he was talking to another person.  He asked the other guy if he had a drink to help with the nerves, the other guy said no, and he said that he drank a "40" to calm down before he got there. 

If the marathon had been one of those pictures with different objects that asks "what doesn't fit" he would have been the obvious pick.  He was wearing kaki pants tied up with a shoe lace and his shoes were so old they were being held together by tape.  I honestly was worried for him, thinking there was no way he'd finish.  

Anyway, they started the race and I, of course, started too fast.  I kept telling myself to slow down, but in the first half of the race I never quite reached 10 min/mile, I was faster.  I know that is bad, my goal was to do the entire race at a 10 min/mile but I felt good with my pace all through the first half and thought I'd have no problem keeping it.  After the halfway mark I added about 10 sec (or more) every mile, until mile 21 where I added 20, then 15, then 30, then 40.  I was able to speed up in mile 26 (speed up to 11:32).  =)

I ditched my gloves at the first park even though it was still foggy, but I didn't want to be stuck with them and my hands were pretty warm.  I debated ditching my jacket but kept it on because there was another park 2 miles away.  At the second park I didn't know if I wanted to take the jacket off yet or not, it was still foggy, but I was worried it would burn off and I'd be really warm.  I ended up giving it to my sister and was glad because it got sunny right after I left the park. 

The marathon 2 years ago, I didn't take any pictures.  I didn't want to slow my time, and I had my phone in an armband that was hard to get in and out.  I regretted not having any pictures of my family or of the beautiful weather.  This year I decided I didn't care about my time that much and I had a flipbelt that held my phone, so it was much easier to get in and out. 
Fog
I took several pictures of my family while I ran, none of them turned out great, but I am happy I have them. 








"Think Chocolate"
 
So back to the "crazy guy,"  he was behind me most of the first half.  I could hear him yelling a lot, so I knew he was back there close.  I had to use the bathroom in mile 11 so stopped at a portapotty and he got in front of me.  So then I was following him, and he was all over, he was waving his arms, and yelling, and swerving, it was very strange.  My sister and Chris were at the turn around point to give me more Nuun and afterwards they told me that right before the turn around he was jumping on rocks.  He slipped on the last one and landed on his crotch on the rock.  I guess he got up and said something like "nothing there!" and kept running. =)

The Tri-Cities has 3 main bridges, one in each town, and the marathon route crosses all three of them.  While going over the 3rd one, I passed the "crazy guy" and didn't see him again.  My mom later said that she saw him cross the finish line, which made me happy.

Between the park at mile 20 (also at mile 6) and the park at mile 22 (also mile 4) I slowed way down.  That stretch is flat, but really boring.  There's not really anywhere for my family to meet me along there, and I was pretty dead.

At mile 22 Damian joined me again.  I think he is why I finished.  I was really, really tired, and felt like I was barely moving. 

At one point a car passed and I told Damian that I thought it looked like someone I knew when I was young, very young.  Then she pointed at us, and pulled over and started yelling "Hi Cathy!"  I thought it was pretty cool, and random, that she happened to be driving by right at that time.  =)  (She confirmed it was her on Facebook later.)

Damian was my cheerleader again this year.  I was more dead this year than 2 years ago, and stopped a couple times and he really cheered me on (yelled at me to get my ass moving). =)  He also pushed me up the last hill to go over the last bridge, which there is no way I would have gotten up that hill without him.  He was pointing out the walkers and kept saying, "See, you're stronger than that!  You can run up it!"  At less than a mile left of the race I told him I was going to give him my bib and he could finish for me, I just thought the grass looked very comfortable, and again, he pushed me and kept me going.  He is a truly amazing kid.

This year the finish line did not have massages, which I was pretty bummed about.  They didn't even have chairs, which I thought was not okay.  The chairs we found belonged to The Arc, which is a agency that helps disabled people, they had people racing in wheelchairs (being pushed).  We stuck around for the awards, I was 5th out of 5 in my age group.  ; )
Can I sit down?

Ouch!
 

He was holding my legs up because they hurt.
Afterwards we went to out to eat at a place called HopJacks.  It's very good.
And then Chris wanted to go see his sister who has cerebral palsy and lives in that area.  We visited with her for a little less than an hour, I just needed to go, and went back to my parents.
Chris's brother playing with my kids
We turned on the (recorded) Seahawks game, and I watched it off and on, partly laying on the floor.  =)  (It was a very, very good game, and I wished I could have watched it under different circumstances, but oh well.)

And we all came home on Monday.  Damian had a hard time getting out of the car for lunch.  He's not in the same shape he was in 2 years ago and his calves tightened up.

I did attempt a run on Wednesday and only made it 2 miles before my knee started hurting. I ended up walking most of the 2 miles home.  It was hurting pretty badly in the last 2 miles of the marathon, especially going down the hill from the bridge, but it felt fine after Sunday night.  I guess the running on it is too much for now.  I will have to take a little break so I don't hurt myself badly.  I still have to run the Last Chance Half Marathon on December 31st to get my Washington Full/Half Marathon Series medal.  =)
Wednesday's run.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Pumpkin patchin'

Well, I ran 26.2 miles.  It wasn't pretty and I was 4 min slower than 2 years ago, which I'm pretty disappointed about, but I finished.  Reading my post from 2 years ago about my marathon, I was way more upbeat about it back then than I am today.  I don't think I failed, I definitely finished, but this time it felt a lot harder. 

I'll start from the beginning, I suppose.  =)  Friday I had a work conference that I had to go to, so I wasn't able to leave work until 5pm.  Our car got fixed on Thursday so Chris, Maddox, Damian, and his girlfriend (Callie) all left from Mt. Vernon after Maddox got out of school.  My sister, Nancy, picked me up from work once I got back from the conference and we went over the mountains.

Friday night I had an awful pain in the right side of my abdomen.  I mean, it was terrible.  I couldn't get to sleep at all.  I was laying on the floor in my parents' dining room about midnight thinking I had appendicitis.  I kept thinking about how I was going to run a marathon a day after getting my appendix out.  I googled it on my phone and found out that (thankfully) my appendix is on my left side, but then I started wondering if maybe I was one of those people where all the internal organs are on the opposite side.

I don't know exactly how I fell asleep, but I finally did and when I woke up I felt fine.  My best guess (and I'm pretty sure it's accurate) is that I had a bad case of gas.  I had been eating pretty heavy foods all week and then sat in a conference all day and then rode in a car all evening with my sister holding in my gas.  When I was finally able to sleep it all came out.  (Sorry for the really gross picture in your head now.)

Crisis averted, we went to a pumpkin patch on Saturday.  It wasn't as nice as the one that we usually go to at home, but we were unable to go at home because of our car issues the week and a half before.  It was a large party that went (parents, sister, niece, Chris, my kids, Damian's gf, Chris's brother and his dad).  Everyone picked out whatever pumpkins they wanted and then most everyone wanted to go in the corn maze.  I decided not to so that I wasn't on my feet that long, but the maze was actually rather small.




We've been doing this photo since Maddox was born.






I got sidetracked looking at these pictures and went looking for all my pumpkin patch pictures. Here's my collage.  =)

After the pumpkin patch, we all split up, my sisters (Barbara and Nancy) and I went to get my race packet and refresh their memories of the route I was going to be running. 

I think I will end here and finish the marathon story in another post.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Shoes

I bought new shoes maybe a month and a half ago, maybe longer.  They were clearance at the running store and men's shoes, which I've bought before.  They were Brooks, which I've also bought before, but it's been a long time.  Well, after several runs in them I noticed I had a sore on one toe that wasn't going away.  It wasn't a horrible sore, but it hurt, and every time I ran it would reopen, I feel like I've had that issue before with Brooks shoes, which is why I quit buying them.  I started running my shorter runs in my old shoes and the sore started to heal but every time I wore the Brooks, it would reopen.

Anyway, one night a couple weeks ago I couldn't sleep in the middle of the night for several hours, so I decided to get on Amazon and buy my trusty Asics that I've been buying on Amazon now for awhile.  Well, the exact shoe I've been buying was out, so I found one similar (I think just the newest version of the one I was buying) and got it. 

Sometimes I wear a size 10 in running shoes (my normal size is a 9) and some shoes it's a size 10 1/2, well, in my sleepy brain (this was about 2am) I couldn't remember what size the Asics are that I already own, so I got a 10 1/2 to be on the safe side.  Ha!  I ran 20 miles in the shoes and then had blisters all over my toes.  My toes still hurt 5 days later.

On Sunday when I ran 8 miles I wore my old Asics.  I didn't want the blisters or the sore on my toes, so I decided 8 miles in worn out shoes would be okay. 

I was talking to a friend who runs and asked if it would be better if I ran in the Brooks that caused the sore on my toe, or the Asics that caused blisters all over my toes, or if I should scrap both and just buy new shoes that fit.  "They" say you shouldn't run a marathon in brand new shoes, but I would buy the same Asics I've been buying.  My friend thought that going with the new shoes would be okay, it's not like I'd be buying a new brand and style, I'd be in the same brand and (mostly) same style that I've been wearing for awhile now.  So I bought new shoes.  They are my 3rd pair of new shoes in about a month and a half (maybe 2 months). 

They came on Monday, and I went for a short run yesterday.  My feet didn't hurt at all afterwards, but it was only 3 miles.  I thought about going 5 miles to test the shoes better, but I also don't want to tire myself out the week of my marathon.  My training has been awful, I figure the rest week would be good. (I hope.)

So, marathon.  4 days left.  I don't feel prepared, but I am not going crazy this time around.  Two years ago I was so stressed out, I wasn't sleeping well, I had a million lists going through my head.  I been having crazy dreams though.  Last night it was about the bus (I'm riding the bus a lot right now because of car issues) and two nights ago it was crazy, weird dreams about Maddox. 

I guess we'll see how it goes.  I may die.  I may not.  I doubt I will get a PR.

My car started acting up a couple weeks ago, and it got pretty bad, so this week it's been in the shop.  I don't know if it'll be ready by Friday.  My plan has been that I'll ride with my sister after work (I have a conference I have to go to so I can't even leave early), but Chris and the kids were going to come in our car.  Well, if our car is not running, then Chris can't come.  Damian is still going to come, he's going to ride the bus to Everett, where my sister will pick him and his girlfriend (yes, she's coming) and then pick me up and we'll all go together.  But my sister doesn't have enough space in her car for her, me, Chris, Damian, Maddox, and girlfriend (not even if the gf stays home).  So I'm pretty bummed that Maddox and Chris probably won't be able to come. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

10 days away

I am not ready to run 26.2 miles.  Nope, no way.  However . . . a week ago today I registered to run 26.2 miles, and the race is in 10 days.  (I am so f'n crazy.)  I have to tell you, my training this year has been much worse than it was 2 years ago, and I thought it was bad 2 years ago. 

Last weekend I ran.  It was a gorgeous fall weekend (no rain!).  I decided to try to do a race pace run on Saturday, not necessarily for the upcoming marathon, but I've been kicking around the idea of going for my under 4 hr time at the Last Chance Marathon on Dec. 31. (I have to run that race to get the Washington Half/Full Marathon series medal, just haven't decided if I'm going to run the half or the full.)  Anyway, I ran 5 miles at a 8:27 average min/mile. 

And Sunday I was going to run 22 miles.  Saturday evening, about 5:30pm I realized I forgot to go to the running store to get Honey stingers.  Damn it!  The running store closes at 5 on Saturdays.  So I looked up online where I could find Honey Stingers, and was told that they are sold at Fred Meyer, perfect, I'll go there.  But no HS's, so back to Google, and Walmart has them!  Yay!  So on to Walmart, nope, that particular store doesn't sell them.  Ugh!  Okay, Super Supplements, this time I called, nope, they don't have the chews, only the waffles.

About a year ago I used the waffles and didn't care for them.  They are big, they are dry, and don't taste great.  While in the store I noticed they also had Gu, which I've never used.  I compared Gu, waffles, and the chews nutrition and decided to go with the waffles, even though they were lacking in stuff the chews had.  But I thought they would be better than nothing, I had to buy a million packages (okay, only 6) just to (hopefully) make it through 22 miles.  This is the nutrition info I found. (I know it's hard to see.)

While the waffles have less calories, I don't really care about calories in my fuel, I want the "good stuff" in the fuel.  (Note: the waffles have more fat, which I don't like.) So what is important in a good long run fuel?  Well, carbohydrates are the number one factor . . . so what do the chews have? 39g of carbohydrates, the waffle has 21g. 
 
I am a very salty sweater, and I noticed during my long runs 2 years ago that I'd get done and want to lick the salt off my skin, so I need salt . . . well, one flavor of the waffles I choose (salted caramel) has a lot of salt 150mg, the chews have 80mg.  I also bought Vanilla waffles, and they had less sodium 90mg, but still more than the chews. 
 
So what other things have I wanted in my long run fuel?  Well, I actually have never thought about it before, but I was looking at the nutrition in the store and saw that the chews had potassium (40mg), the waffles had none.  I thought "huh, I've heard potassium helps with cramps." 
 
Also, the chews have 1g of fiber, the waffles have none; chews have 27g of sugar, the waffles have 10g; and the chews have 1g of protein, the waffles have "less than 1g."  Also interesting, the chews have 100% of Vitamin C, the waffles had 0%. 
 
I also use Nuun in my water, which I started using because of the sodium.
Huh, well, I didn't look at the Nuun nutrition when comparing the waffles and the chews, so I would think that 100mg of potassium would make up for the lack of it in the waffles, however, I have been using both Nuun and chews for a long time . . .

Anyway, I bought the waffles.  Before my run I decided to break the waffles in half, I hated having to do that the one other time I used them during my long run, and I put them in a ziplock bag so it'd be easier to get to (and sweat proof).  And off I went.

I had decided on a different route for my 22 miles.  I get tired of the long run along the freeway (the roads I usually run along follow the freeway very closely for 10 miles or more) and I thought a change of scenery would be nice.  There's a winding road that I used to drive on all the time that I love, it also happens to be a part of the Nookachamps half marathon, so I thought it would be decently flat.  However, I didn't want to do an out and back on that road, mostly because the beginning of it is a steep decline that I didn't want to have to climb back up, so I mapped out another road, Highway 9, that loops around and connects to an old route.  Then I would run near my home (about 3 blocks away) at about mile 13 and Chris could fill my water bottle again, and I could finish the 9 miles on the long flat roads along the freeway. 
Beautiful day for a run!
While mapping this online it looked okay flat, and it sounded like a brilliant idea to run by home a little more than halfway to get more Nuun.  What mapping online doesn't show is the lack of shoulders on the road, and both roads were rather heavily traveled . . .  Oh, and hwy 9? several hills, not huge, but more than I'm used to on a long run.  So, I'm now running on soft shoulders and up and down hills I wasn't expecting, past traffic going 50+ miles an hour.  Not ideal, not ideal at all.  By the time I got to where I was meeting Chris (remember, this is at about mile 13) I was completely dead.  I was fueling with half a waffle every 2 miles starting at mile 5, and a sip of Nuun every mile.  I didn't realize that I wanted water so badly until Chris gave me water and I put another Nuun tablet in.  I regretted it as soon as I took a swallow, and he didn't bring any other water with him.

The run past my house is all uphill, it is uphill for just about a mile, which I normally don't mind much because I'm at the beginning of my run, but at mile 13.5 it is not really what I wanted to do.  But I did know this before I left, so I kept going.

There's a side road that I started taking that parallels the road along the freeway, but also adds some distance, that I was planning on running, however, that road is connected by another road, and you know what the connecting road has? another big hill.  So the whole time I'm on the road going uphill away from my house, I'm thinking "I don't want to run on Blodgett, I don't want to run on Blodgett."  So I try to do some quick calculations in my head (never works) to see if I need that extra distance or not.  I actually had to turn around at the very, very beginning of my run to get something, so I had already added at least a quarter of a mile, so I thought, I could skip that jaunt up Blodgett and just run along the freeway where it's flat.  I forgot to mention that this route would also have me finishing at home with 22 miles, that way I didn't have to ask Chris to come get me.

Well, by mile 18 I realized there was no way I was going to finish 22 miles. My legs were dead and I was starting to walk quite a bit. I called Chris, I had no idea how far I was exactly from the park he usually meets me at but I asked him to pick me up.  I proceeded to walk quite a bit, I think at least half of mile 19 was walking . . . and some crying. When I got to about 18.5 miles I started thinking (my most used mantra) "you can do anything for a mile" and I started to run. 

I forgot to mention, I had exactly 5 Honey Stinger chews left over.  I took 2 at mile 18.  By 18.5 I was feeling a little better and I was forcing "good" thoughts in my head.  At mile 19 I took the rest, and, outloud, said "Come on, Cathy!" and picked up the pace (a tiny bit).  I had decided during the walking breaks that I thought the park was about 20 miles, so I would go that far, and I would go a little farther if it wasn't 20 miles, because I have to run at least 20 miles once, right? 

Well, I hit 20 miles a little bit before the park and I started walking, I was dead.  And Chris wasn't at the park.  I called him, and he said he was "busy" and would be there soon . . . what was he busy doing?  making apple pie.  Insert eyeroll here.  I laid down next to a tree and put my feet up.
Heaven . . . well, until my feet start tingling
from all the blood leaving them.
So why did I go into all the nutrition info earlier?  Because I realized that I felt a lot better after eating those 5 chews at the end of the run.  I thought that the waffles were a huge factor in how my body felt during the run.  Well, the waffles, and the fact that I ran on a brand new route for more than half my run that was more difficult than any of my long runs have been (well, other than the soft dirt one the Leavenworth Half route). Goal this week, get honey stinger chews from the running store.

I haven't run at all since Sunday.  I was going to run on Tuesday, but I felt awful, and was actually laying in bed by 7:45pm.  Yesterday was a huge storm, plus Maddox's parent/teacher conference.  So today I'm going to run, probably 5 miles.  Probably 4 tomorrow, 5 Saturday and probably 8 miles on Sunday.

I have not been as nervous this year as I was 2 years ago.  I don't know why, if it's because I know I trained badly last time too and I still made it, or maybe I just don't care that much this time.  My training was worse this year, a lot worse, but so far I'm not obsessing as much over it.  I guess we'll see how I am next week when it's closer.  I suppose I should look up my eating plan that I did two years ago because I felt it really played a part in how I did for the race.