Though I didn't hit the time I'd been shooting for by a long shot, the 13 miles this Sunday felt decent. For some reason, I insist on picking routes with significant elevation gain/loss, which is a good thing...I think. The main issue though, is that I expect times that, for me, probably require a flat course. Oh well. If we're being frank, I'm sure I won't change my ways or adjust my expectations. Fortunately there were some good parts about the run as well :)
I'd heard so many positive reviews from runners with sensitive systems, but had kind of shrugged it off as just another gel that would give me cramps. While at my favorite running store, Running Revolution in Capitola, I queried the seriously badass employees (one was a marathoner many times over and the other had recently completed his first Ironman) about Hammer products. They both gushed and I had liked the Hammer Endurolyte tablets (electrolyte mid-run replenishment), so I somewhat grudgingly bought an Espresso Hammer gel. It was AWESOME! Seriously awesome in fact! Not only did it taste good (imagine that!), but it wasn't nearly as thick or slimy feeling as the Roctane GU I'd barely been able to choke down on a run weeks ago. And the best part of all being that it didn't trigger cramps, aches or sh*ts. All good in my book.
Thus far, Hammer gels join a diced up PB sandwich on my short list of fuels that work for me. A friend also recommended those little pretzels filled with peanut butter as an alternative to the sandwich. She said that the added salt and crunch were great on the run; makes sense to me and since those things are delish, I'll be trying those soon too.
2. KT Tape
I got a freebie sample from Running Revolution of KT tape, which is similar to Rocktape. I'd been having some pain in the arch of my right foot since it developed around mile 18 of my first 20 mile run...greeeeeeeat. They showed me how to wrap my foot with the KT tape to support my arch and it was awesome. I didn't have any discomfort on the 13 miler and the tape didn't move an inch.
I'd discussed my arch issue with a Running Rev employee who also happens to go to the same CF gym I do and he gave me an awesome tip. I'd been attacking my arch with a lacrosse ball at night to try and massage the pain away and not really icing it. He said that an overuse injury like that needs a lot of icing and a little compression, but not a lot. So he recommended that I fill a plastic water bottle with water and a little rubbing alcohol and stick it in the freezer. The alcohol keeps the water from freezing solid, making it an awesome icing tool. I would roll it underneath my foot with enough pressure to depress the malleable ice in the bottle while I moved; this provided enough compression on my arch while still icing the crap out of it. Highly recommend it!
The run down: