Health & Fitness.

My Runner’s Brain

I think about a lot of things as a runner that I never thought about before. Basically, there are a lot of VERY IMPORTANT THINGS in my life as a runner that I never considered important before.

  • Race Day Nutrition. And not in the “Eat Healthy” sense, but in the “What do I eat at mile 5 to get me through to mile 13?” sense. Everyone has a different method or system that works for them. And theirs probably won’t work for me. I’ve found a decent system, I think. I take a Gu pack 15 minutes before the long run (It’s exactly what it sounds like, a little pack of gooey substance that is filled with sugars and caffeine.) and gummy chomps ever 4 miles or so along the way. The gummies are hard to eat while I run, but they’re the only thing that doesn’t flip my stomach.
  • Our Fleet Feet closes early on Fridays. Like, by 6pm or 7pm. This means that I need to remember BEFORE Friday to stock up on those Race Day nutrition packs. I forgot about the Friday issues for the first SEVERAL long runs. Now? It’s part of my ritual. Friday at lunch I go by Fleet Feet.
  • Neon Colors ARE AWESOME! Turns out it’s kinda dangerous to run at night. Suddenly I value the hot pinks and neon greens in my running wardrobe. I am NOT a neon color person in general but if look at my running gear basket? You would not believe otherwise. I practically glow in the dark now.
  • Pedicures are a think of the distant past. I have lost 2 toenails completely and I have 2 that might as well be gone as they’re all black. Now, I’ve fixed some of the issues that were causing that (bad shoe size, long nails) but my feet are just more prone to it than some so I’m going to get the black toenail periodically no matter how hard I try to avoid it. When I look at my feet I’m torn between repulsion and pride. It’s a delicate balance.
  • Electrolytes. OH MY GOD. It turns out? Electrolytes are NOT just some fancy word Gatorade companies use in commercials to make you think their drink is better than water. Turns out? IT’S BETTER THAN WATER. Well, not really. But Electrolytes help you use the water more efficiently, helps you actually retain it, so that hopefully you won’t need to carry gallons when you run. I put electrolyte tablets in my water now, and I take and electrolyte pill before I run. YAY! for Electrolytes!
  • Shirts with only arms. What? Yes. I paid 20 dollars for SLEEVES. Not even a whole shirt – just SLEEVES. Some people swear by them in cold weather because, as you warm up, you can push them down around your wrist or easily tuck them away in a pocket instead of tying a shirt around your waist. I’m not 100% sold because mine chaffed my biceps when I wore them. I like them in theory but I’m not sure I’ll wear mine on race day.
  • WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR ON RACE DAY? I’m more worried about this than I was during any formal in high school. The weather is going to be cold early but sunny and I’ll warm up. I’m thinking I’ll dress for warmer weather than usual so I don’t have to run with things around my waist. I’m just going to trust I’ll be okay. But I’ll have to wear my gloves and my ear covers because those parts of me never warm up.
  • Pacing. OH, MAN. This one is stressful. I’m running with my coach who is going to try to get me to the finish line by 2:07. In theory I should actually be able to run faster based on some of my other long run times and based on my speedwork. HOWEVER, I wan’t to enjoy myself – that’s the key. I want to find the balance between PROUD OF MY TIME and FELT GOOD DURING MY RUN. If I go too slow, I’ll feel great but I’ll hate my time. If I go too fast I’ll be proud of my time, but I’ll have been in hell for 2 hours. I’m hoping 2:07 is perfectly in the middle.

What do you find your runner’s brain focused on that our normal brain ignores?

Week From Hell Disclaimer: I am not taking time to proof any of my blog entries this week. Not that they’re ever examples of perfect grammar or spelling even when I DO proofread them, but this week it will be worse. I APOLOGIZE FOR THAT.

9 thoughts on “My Runner’s Brain”

  1. Random thoughts I had while reading this post:
    I had no idea runners ate things while they ran a race!

    I can’t imagine Kim in neon colors. Then I had this mental image of you glowing in the dark, zooming thru the night in bright pink and green, leaving those blurs of color behind you.

    Your poor feet! The words “black toenails” and “lost toenails” pretty much makes me start limping and I don’t even run. Does that not hurt like crazy?!

    Shirts made only of sleeves????

  2. Ha! I could have written this post last week before RNR Savannah.

    Like you said different fuel for different people. I eat breakfast (banana or hard boiled eggs) and then take 2 packs of Honey Stinger chomps along the course. 1 at the beginning and 1 at mile 6.

    Gu is nasty but I did take one of those during RNR Savannah because I was dragging at mile 8.5 and needed that extra push.

    I also take water or Gatorade at each water stop.

    As for what to wear, I need to up my game on this. Can’t wait to see what you wear 🙂 GL!!!!!

  3. My race fuel of choice are sport beans. They aren’t the easiest thing to eat while running either (they really stick to your teeth), but Gu and any not-quite-a-solid-not-quite-a-liquid stuff weirds me out. I ended up buying them in bulk from my local running store so I wouldn’t be without them.

    I MUST run with my own water, no matter how short the race. Even in a 5K, one water stop is usually not sufficient for me. Even on those days where it would be, I’d be too worried that it wouldn’t be enough that I’d panic and focus on that. So I just bring a water bottle with me. (I have one that has a strap for my hand and a little pocket to hold keys, sport beans, I can even cram a phone in there if I need to.) I don’t think I could run with a water belt, but that’s what my husband uses. I may look into the electrolyte tablets you mention. Usually for long runs, I just put a little Gatorade powder in my water. (Not enough to make full-strength Gatorade, b/c that is way too sweet for me.)

    I have been really fortunate that I haven’t lost or damaged any toenails. I might recommend that you actually DO get regular pedicures if that’s your problem; it might help to prevent you from losing them in the future.

    My husband runs with the shin sleeves. He says they work really well, but I haven’t tried them yet.

  4. I will be doing the half on Saturday too!!

    I am with you: hate neon, have the worlds most ugly battered toes, have found that Gu is not good..I mean really not good for me! I stick with plain old fruit snacks from the kids snack box, they work great, single serving size and never cause gastrointestinal distress! Good luck this week, hopefully I will see you and scream…”GO ZOOT”!!!

  5. Love this. Went through a lot of the same thing about 5 years ago training to walk a marathon, except for the electrolytes and concern about my times (the first time, I just wanted to finish).

    I felt like “black toe” was inevitable to some degree — but it wasn’t nearly as icky as it sounds. It’s just a blood blister under the toenail, from the nail rubbing against your shoe. The nail eventually falls off, revealing a pretty new nail that has grown in. Or at least that has been my experience.

  6. Hey, Zoot.

    I’ve been training for my first half marathon, and I’m all over these points you mention. I HATE Gu packets, and I won’t do it. I’m all about Shot Bloks (Strawberry flavor is my favorite). Otherwise, I’m all kinds of gagging. It’s not cute.

    As I prepare for my first half marathon – the Rock ‘n’ Roll in Las Vegas – I’ve been keeping a weekly post about my adventures in training. I’ve talked about just about every angle, including what music to add to my essential running day mix.

    I cannot deal with sleeves. I’m working on finding clothes from my wardrobe that I can leave at the start of the race and not miss. I’m thinking about raiding my closet for an old sweatshirt and dressing a little light, knowing I’m going to heat up.

  7. i was on my way home from taking my daughter to school and saw 2 bikers with shirts with only arms!! I have never seen these before and the day after i read this blog post i see people with them on…The were orange and white striped…totally cool!

  8. My concerns were bathroom breaks. Wear something you don’t like because you’ll never find it again when you peel it off and leave it on the ground, unless you have ppl strategically located to collect your clothing. My other concern was, “What if Aunt Flo is visiting during race day?” She is a monster for me so I was quite worried. Thankfully she stayed away on race day.

  9. When I ran my last half marathon, I had no idea I was supposed to eat something during the race. I thought I could go 13.1 miles no problem! It was only when I spoke to a sports coach that I found out the reason I’d come home from a 10-12 mile run, feeling like I was going to throw up my whole stomach was because YOU HAVE TO EAT! This is something I’m working on educating myself about before I run the next one.

    I’m so excited to read about your race!

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