Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rock 'n' Roll Race Report

...continued from Seattle Recap Part I


After a late night and restless sleep, the 4:00AM alarm came far too soon. Mel enjoyed a little extra sleep, but I'm anal about my morning routine so I roused myself and went through the motions of getting ready (slowly). I woke up with the same headache and 'off' feeling I'd had since arriving and expected it to be one long day.

Mel wasn't feeling so hot either so we commiserated together as we hit the road at 5:10. Jill and her hubby had offered us a ride to the start, so we met up with them (and Zoe) at a local mall to ride together in style. Jill was super pumped to be running her first marathon and her energy was infectious. I started getting excited!

Thanks to Mel's not-so-secret-anymore back road directions, Jill's hubby was able to drop us off super close to the start without any hassle. We paused for a quick photo.

Zoe, Mel, Marlene, Jamie (Jill's friend), Jill

As you can see, we're wearing our 'warm-ups'. It was a cool and overcast morning, pretty much ideal conditions to run in. The temperature was about 55-65F (which still means nothing to me, other than comfortable) and thankfully the sun remained hidden by clouds all morning. And it didn't rain! (The irony is that I found out later it was raining at home, while everyone had warned me about the wet weather in Seattle.) We definitely lucked out for race day conditions.

First stop: Brooks VIP washrooms! Mel was able to score some passes for us and we were greeted by volunteers in tuxedos with mints and Gu Chomps on silver platters, then treated to flush toilets in heated trailers with all amenities, including fun printed Run Happy toilet paper. The best part was NO LINES! (The line-ups for the regular "honey buckets" were unreal over an hour before the start.)

Next stop: Corral 6 for our pre-race bloggy meet-up and more photo ops!

It was awesome to see everyone and share some hugs before getting ready to start. With about 15 minutes to go, Amanda, Mel and I made our way to our corral (#10 out of 38) and it was READY, SET, GO!


Mel has done a fantastic job of recapping our adventures from 0 to 26.2 so make sure you rock 'n' roll over to Tall Mom's Race Recap if you haven't already. Mel remembered all the details of our random sightings (thong girl, camera man) and friends we "ran" into along the way.

It took us about 12 minutes to cross the starting line and it was incredible to see the sea of people behind and in front of us. The corrals were started in waves, which seemed to help a lot with congestion because we rarely found ourselves crowded on the course.

The route was really enjoyable, starting in Tukwila and finishing in downtown Seattle. The first 9 miles took us through some residential neighborhoods and then through a park along the Lake Washington waterfront, which was beautiful. Kerrie was waiting for us before Mile 4 with her camera, sign, balloon and cowbell! Spectator Extraordinaire!

Mel is waving near the middle, I'm off the the right and Amanda is tucked behind the guy in front. THANKS KERRIE!

I felt like I needed to use the washroom for most of the early miles, and finally decided to stop when I spotted a short line up for the honey buckets at mile 7. Given that I was technically racing without a goal, it wasn't worth it for me to continue running in discomfort. I felt so much better! I told the girls I would try to catch up, but Mel surprised me by turning around to cut some of the distance. Amanda was feeling good at that time and continued on her way. We would see her a few more times during the race, but did not have it in us to catch up.

The first Gu station was shortly after my pit stop, and I grabbed a handful. I'm a Gu junkie and they rarely supply this brand at races at home, so this was exciting for me. We giggled away as I spent the better part of a mile trying to stuff my bounty into pockets and elastic gel holders.

Miles 10 and 11 took us over the Lake Washington Bridge for an out-and-back. It was windy but offered some amazing views. Mel kept saying that she had missed most of this last year since she was so focused, so I made sure to take it all in.

After the bridge, we made our way toward the downtown area. We knew we were approaching the finish line, though we still had a long way to go. This was tough, especially since Mel and I were both feeling pretty mentally tired already. We both knew we could physically run a marathon, but neither of us felt mentally prepared as we had been for our goal marathons in May. Thankfully, we were in it together and we knew we would get there, having a blast no matter how tired we were.

Half Marathon Split: 2:06:42

Spotting Mel's friends just past the half way mark was exactly what we needed. We paused for hugs and a photo. We allowed a minute or two to tick by without a care in the world... until one of Mel's friends jokingly shooed us away and suggested that maybe we should start running again. Okay, off we went!

We made our way onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct for a lengthy out-and-back from miles 16 to 21. Both Mel and I decided to make a quick stop in the honey buckets for some instant relief before starting the 1.5 mile climb. This was one loooong hill and just when I thought we should be nearing the top, we turned slightly and it kept on going. We had anticipated walking if needed, but surprised ourselves when we were able to keep on trucking and barely slowed down. We enjoyed a short downhill before finally reaching the turn-around.

Suddenly that "short downhill" seemed much longer as we climbed back up on the way back. Fortunately we knew we were approaching the glorious 1.5 mile long descent toward mile 20. At the bottom, I had to stop for the honey buckets again. This was getting ridiculous. I felt like I had to go so badly, but I finally got in there and.... nothing. I don't know what was up with my bladder that day, but the same thing had happened at Disney in January. It must have something to do with being more relaxed and less focused, because I never have to pee! Anyway, after this episode, I told myself 'That's it! You're not stopping again until the finish!' Mel was such a good sport and joked that I was the Official Honey Bucket Inspector.

We hit the second and final Gu station, so I grabbed a couple more (I couldn't help myself!) and stuffed them wherever I could find room.

We continued on our way back toward the finish line, but knew we had to run straight past for one final out-and-back. We suddenly had a burst of energy (it was mostly Mel but she rubbed off on me) and we got EXCITED, whooping and hollering at spectators and other runners, laughing and waving our arms around. It was fun to get pumped up so close to the finish. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. Miles 24 and 25 seemed to go on forever as we ran along the Viaduct and still had to face some hills.

Suddenly Steph came out of nowhere with a big smile and her handy camera. She had just PR'd and BQ'd (again!) with a 3:34 and was out on the course to give us some support and run a few extra miles. She snapped this pic before sending us on our way.

We kept on smiling even though we were hurting.

The Mile 25 sign was a welcome sight and we started to pick it up. Along the way I spotted Tall Guy Surfing + Jenny up ahead so we introduced ourselves and chatted briefly.

We finally made the last turn toward Qwest Stadium and found ourselves sprinting down the ramp, around the bend and into the finish. We grabbed hands, raised our arms in the air and cheered our way all the way through that finish line.

Final Chip Time: 4:15:49


It was amazing to run this entire race with my buddy and I am so grateful to Mel for sticking with me every step of the way. It's crazy to think we had just met for the first time two days before. We hit it off immediately and made great running partners (no surprise to either of us). It's amazing how well you can get to know someone over 26.2 miles.

After collecting our medals we found Amanda who had finished just before us (with a new PR despite being sick!) and had our official finishers photos taken.

We slowly made our way to the reunion area after collecting some food and drink.

So happy to be done!

It was time to slip on our pink compression socks and sit down.

Family reunion area "B" quickly filled up with bloggers and we snapped a few post-race pics.

Miscellaneous Race Observations

  • There were bands at least every mile and they were fantastic! I really enjoyed the variety of music and most of them did a great job on engaging the runners.

  • There were also several cheer squads out and we loved cheering along with them, most likely looking like idiots but totally loving it.

  • Spectators were plentiful throughout most sections of the course and made sure to thank them for their cheering and signs. We were often called "Team Pretty in Pink", which we obviously enjoyed!

  • I carried my handheld and refilled countless times during the race, also taking a cup of Cytomax frequently. Both Mel and I found that we were extremely thirsty no matter how much we drank. I wanted to stop several times and just chug an entire bottle of water, but I knew it would slosh around in my stomach.

  • I took Salt Stick caps before the start and around half way.

  • I felt surprisingly good immediately after the race. My legs were hardly bothering me at all and my stomach felt great. Usually I have a hard time eating immediately after a marathon, but this time I was stuffing my face with everything in sight (special thanks to Mel's friends who brought food for us too!). I expected to wake up sore the next day, but I could hardly tell that I had run a marathon. On Monday I headed out for an easy 5K, which felt great after taking only one day off.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Seattle Recap

What a whirlwind of a weekend! Thursday was off to a rocky start when my plane had to turn around and fly back to Toronto due to cabin pressure issues. After sitting on the plane for an hour, then waiting around the airport for two and a half, we finally boarded another plane... only to wait another hour and a half to depart for the 5+ hour flight. I finally arrived in Seattle 5 hours later than planned after about 12 hours of travelling. Unfortunately this derailed some of our plans for the day, but Tall Mom was a wonderful host, picking me up from the airport (during rush hour!), getting me fed and taking me home to crash.

So many thanks to the Tall Mom family for welcoming me into their home and taking such good care of me all weekend. I could not have asked for better hosts.

On Friday we did a little shopping in the morning before lunch, then hit the race expo for some serious shopping and freebies!

(I was extremely excited about $1 Gu!)

After making our way through the crowds, we met up with Amanda and her hubby to Ride the Ducks, which allowed us to see some of the city off our feet. Our duck got stuck in some major traffic congestion, but the driver was a hoot and we had an awesome time.

We had a bit of time to kill before our big bloggy dinner, so we wandered along the water front and paused for a photo op.

Dinner was an enormous success and it was amazing to meet Kerrie, Zoe, Stacie, Sarah, Kasey, Lorian, Steph, Jill and many others! The hours passed quickly as we chatted and laughed while stuffing our faces and chugging water. Thank you so much to our local Seattle organizers, especially Mel for making it happen and Kerrie for the personalized name tags.

We eventually made it back to the Tall Mom residence to hit the sack. Mel and I both went to bed asking one another, 'Are we really running a marathon in the morning?'

To be continued......

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Finished and famous!


Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon (# 5): 4:15:49

Trip report and race report to follow!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chaos + City Chase Pro Pics

I won't soon forget the sound of my keyboard rattling on my desk and the feeling of the floor shaking beneath me during yesterday's earthquake, the first I have ever experienced. Soon after we were flooded with severe storm warnings and a reported tornado touch-down not far from here. It has been a crazy 24 hours!

Given the heightened security surrounding the G20 Summit in Toronto, it has been a chaotic morning. Go figure, I'm travelling on perhaps the busiest day the Toronto Airport will see all year.

We allowed plenty of extra time and I am currently waiting in the Maple Leaf Lounge (enjoying free breakfast and internet - score!) for my flight.

As I prepare to depart for Seattle, I'll leave you with these pics from last weekend:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seattle bound!

First, some sad news. I found out from a friend of mine out east last night that one of her training partners was killed on Sunday evening when she was hit by a motorcycle while out for a run. My heart goes out to the victim and her friends and family. Police were only able to identify her by her name written on her water bottle - please remember to carry I.D.!

On a more positive note, I fly out tomorrow morning for Seattle! Hubs has generously offered me one of his corporate passes to the Maple Leaf Lounge at the Toronto Airport so I will be waiting for my flight in luxury while enjoying a free breakfast.

We have an exciting few days planned with Tall Mom and company, most importantly the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on Saturday - my 5th marathon!

I can't wait to meet some of you at our Bloggy Carbo Load Dinner tomorrow night! Check in with Tall Mom for details!

A few of you have asked about my goals for the race. The truth is, I don't have any except to (hopefully) run with Mel, Amanda and (maybe?) Steph for as long as possible, to remain injury-free and HAVE FUN! Can't wait to see what race day brings!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I neglected to mention that we had an incredibly hot and humid day for the City Chase on Saturday, one of the warmest we've had all year. We were sweating buckets from the get-go, but fortunately we were too busy running like crazy all over the city to let it get to us.

The hot, humid and sunny conditions continued for Sunday's long run (20K) and yesterday's lunch run. I can tell that I've adjusted quite a bit, because it doesn't get to me nearly as much as it did just a few short weeks ago. That being said, bring on Seattle with its cool and damp weather! Speaking of which, I need to get packing! I can hardly believe that I'm flying out in just a couple days and running a marathon this Saturday!

Tall Mom has been tirelessly working on our itinerary and I can't wait to see this beautiful city and of course all of my bloggy buddies! 2 more sleeps!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday catch-up

After Tuesday's intervals, I headed to rub run club on Wednesday for an 11K run with the group, and added on a few extra before for a total of 14K (~8.5mi). This summer I'm hoping to incorporate medium-long runs of 10-11 miles on Wednesdays, so I will be slowly building up - after Seattle, of course!

Yesterday was our first night the the summer session marathon clinic. We have a nice big group of 40+ with many returning members and some new ones. We did the introductions and have quite a group with several having run 15+ marathons, a handful of sub-3:30 marathoners and even a few ultra-runners (our co-instructor is training for a 100-miler this year!). Hopefully the newbies don't feel intimidated - it's a blessing to be surrounded by such talented and experienced runners. It's going to be a great summer.

We headed out for an 8K (5mi) steady run and the group quickly dispersed as we settled into our own comfortable paces. There will definitely be 3-4 pace groups again this season and I'm personally looking forward to 'graduating' officially to a faster group.

This morning I managed to wake up with the sun and headed out for a quick (progressive) 5K before work. It's so peaceful out at that hour and it was the perfect way to start my day. I arrived to a very hectic office, but somehow everything is easier to deal with after a run.

Tonight is girls' night/slumber party with 4 friends (including my 3 cheetah-cheerleaders) and tomorrow we take on the Toronto City Chase!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CEP Compression

The folks at CEP Compression were kind enough to send me a couple of their products recently.

CEP offers medical grade compression - Legal Performance Enhancement for the Athlete!

How it works:

info from CEP

Arteries are blood vessels that transport oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the organs and muscles. The musculature of the arterial wall reacts to changes in pressure. The patented compression of CEP socks increases the ambient pressure.

Increased pressure -> relaxes musculature in the arterial wall -> increases arterial diameter -> improves blood flow through the arteries.

Improved blood flow = Improved performance!

  • A faster run;
(CEP research demonstrates improved running times of approximately 5%)

  • An easier run;
(CEP research demonstrates a reduction in exertion by about 6% - muscles working less.)

  • Quicker regeneration;
(Improved recovery.)

CEP sent me their Running O2 Compression Socks.

Give yourself an edge with CEP Running O2 Compression Socks featuring 18-25mmHg compression. Used by professional triathletes around the world, CEP running socks are the first scientifically proven compression running socks to maximize power, boost energy, and speed recovery time. See what all the buzz is about and try CEP Running O2 socks today. With a 30-day money back guarantee, you have nothing to lose. Available for men and women in white, black or pink. Sold per pair.

CEP Running O2 Sportsocks maximize muscle oxygenation and boost energy with CEP's unparalleled scientifically optimized ultimate compression technology for all-day benefits. You’ll run with less effort, increased speed, decreased recovery time, reduced fatigue and optimized performance.

Advantages & Features:

  • Pre-exercise - muscle activation and reduction of injury risk

  • During Exercise - optimized performance and stabilization, reduced muscle strain

  • Post-Exercise - quicker and shorter recovery phase

  • Achilles heel support - additional support of the Achilles tendon protects and prevents irritable tendons.

  • Ventilation channels – create a pleasant foot climate.

  • Padded sole - special support of the foot sole prevents blisters.

  • Anatomically-shaped inline seams – CEP socks come with a left and right model and, as a result, adjust to the anatomy of the foot for a perfect fit thanks to medi’s three-dimensional manufacturing process.

  • CellTex ® Fiber finishing - a new refinement of thread (without chemical additives) facilitates the biological activation of skin cells and provides a comfortable, skin sympathetic and climate-regulating wear.

  • iPS® Integrated power system - a defined compression with scientifically patented pressure profile improves blood circulation and enhances performance.

  • Shin protection

  • Material - 85% Polyamid, 15% Elasthan

I also received a pair of All Sports Compression Sleeves

CEP compression sleeves are the first truly functional compression sport sleeve with a patented pressure flow technology that provide a scientifically proven increase in blood circulation and a consequent increase in performance. CEP sleeves provide more oxygen, more energy, an improved metabolization of lactic acid, and faster recovery so you can return to training quicker than ever.

I was excited to try out my compression socks in hot pink and compression calf sleeves in white.

I love that both the socks and sleeves have custom sizing based on calf circumference. They feel very snug to pull on, but this means that they fit properly! The fabric feels very light once it's on - super stretchy and comfy!

I spent a lot of time wearing the recovery socks after runs (including post-marathon pictured above) before giving them a try during a run. It felt pretty unusual at first, but I quickly got comfortable and found that my legs felt great! I had a little extra bounce in my step and it was nice to know that my muscles were so well supported. I also got a ton of compliments and questions, which made for some good on-the-run discussions.

Next I tried the calf sleeves. They felt similar around my calves to the recovery socks, but offered the option of wearing my usual running socks - a big plus for anoybody who is very particular/sensitive to what is on their feet. Once again they felt fantastic and also solicited a ton of comments.

With products like these, it's difficult to give a definitive answer as to whether or not they have improved running and recovery since these things can vary from day to day based on a number of factors. That being said, they felt great and will definitely be circulating in my wardrobe regularly.

Thanks again CEP!

Have you tried any compression products? Any comments or suggestions?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Three Out of Five

Tonight my legs were not feeling the 5 x 1000 that I had planned. As I set out for a 3K warm-up with hubs, I just felt tired. Even after a rest day yesterday, I must still be feeling the effects of Sunday's run. In hindsight, I should have just slowed things down a little in order to complete all 5. Instead, I pushed as hard as I could for 3.

I'm pleased with the effort for 3 x 1000, but next week I really need to nail 5!

4:35 - Ugh, this shouldn't feel so hard.
4:30 - And I thought I could run 5 at this pace tonight?
4:24 - Just push through this and you can quit.

I'm definitely a little disappointed that I wasn't able to work through it, but sometimes it's just not going to happen. I stll got a decent workout in and I'll be ready for 5 x 1000 redemption next week!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Taper Time

On Saturday I had one of those toss and turn nights. I could not fall asleep! I laid in bed wide awake for hours before finally migrating to the couch, where I eventually dozed off for a bit and then made my way back to bed. With the 4:45AM wake-up call looming, I knew it was going to be a rough morning. I got maybe three hours of sleep.

I never have problems sleeping! I'm one of those out-like-a-light-when-my-head-hits-the-pillow types, so this was highly unusual and frustrating.

Sunday morning might have been a good time to take up coffee drinking, but I settled for squeezing every last drop of caffeine out of my tea bag as I slowly got myself slowly into motion. *yawn*

I expected a pretty tough run but great friends kept me thoroughly distracted and the miles were ticking by in no time. The group was running 21K, but three of us got together earlier to run an extra 9K loop. It was nice having a quick pit-stop for a washroom break and water refills when we picked up the rest of the group. Suddenly there were 20 of us pounding the pavement together. Have I mentioned how much I love running with a group?

It was a cool-ish morning, but extremely muggy. My clothes were already drenched form the first loop (should have brought a change) and the air was thick with humidity as we carried on. Fortunately we were soon greeted with a very fine mist/rain. It felt wonderful and refreshing and thankfully lasted until about the last hour of the run. When the sun started coming out and we started feeling that thick air again, it became a bit of a mental struggle to push on. The group had broken up so I was only running with a few others at this point, but we were able to keep each other going as we counted down the miles.

It was a very hilly route and the hills started to take their toll. There had been a nice long descent at the beginning of the run, so we knew we'd be climbing our way back to the imaginary finish line. We managed to hold onto the pace and somehow picked it up ... eventually, we made it.

30.0 KM - 18.6 mi
5:50/KM - 9:24/mi

Our friends who hosted the group run had a beautiful backyard swimming pool, and I was in that water within minutes! Afterwards we were treated to a tremendous breakfast spread - what a spoiled bunch we are!

Having not run any long distances (+20K) since Mississauga, I'm very pleased with how it went.

Bring on Seattle! It's time to taper... again.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Rub Club"

I just realized, two days later, that there was a rather interesting typo in Thursday's post. I mentioned running 11K with "Rub Club" instead of, of course, Run Club. On that note, has anyone ever been involved with a "Rub Club"? Hmmmm, I wonder what types activities that would involve? :/ (I've already made the correction, so don't go looking for it now.)

In non-rub news, I ran a quick 10K over lunch on Thursday since I knew I would be busy with our end-of-clinic activities that evening. Speaking of which, it was great! It's always fun to see everyone in non-running attire and we had a fantastic time catching up, sharing stories and discussing plans for the next season.

Yesterday after work, I went out for a little 5K before to start the weekend. It was a hot one.

Next up - 30K + pool party tomorrow! I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far.

Don't miss these giveaways:

Power of 10 @
Running Off At The Mouth
Choose You @
Tall Mom on the Run
Nathan Handheld @
Tall Mom on the Run
Ultimate Runner @
Tall Mom on the Run
Scape Sunscreen @
Tall Mom on the Run
Whooha Gear @
Racing With Babes
Skim MD @
Happy Runner
Mix 1 @
Run To The Finish
Scape Sunscreen @
Miss Zippy
Sugar-Free Goodies @
Vegging Out

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end ...

Tonight is our end-of-clinic party for the winter/spring session. It doesn't get much better than a bunch of marathoners sharing memories over some good food. It's been a great few months with some memorable training runs and many PR's and BQ's along the way. There are several regulars, like myself, who join back-to-back(-to-back) clinics, but there are always some new faces as well. Even having just met a few short months ago, it feels like we've known each other much longer after sharing so many miles together.

We get to start the fun all over again next week when we kick off the summer session on Thursday.

We ran a really enjoyable 11K at run club last night, and I wore my CEP Compression calf sleeves for the first time. Full review next week!

Many of us are also getting together this Sunday for a long run followed by pool party. The group is running about 20K so I'll be adding on some extra before hand to squeeze in one final long run before Seattle. It's supposed to be a hot and humid day, so I'm sure I'll be thinking about jumping into that pool for the duration of the run!

Happy Thursday (almost Friday!)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Finding my speed

After Saturday's trail run, I headed out with the group on Sunday for 11K in cold and windy pouring rain. My legs felt fantastic after gliding through the woods the day before, and I was really able to pick it up on the home stretch. It feels good to be getting a bit of speed back.

It's been a while since I've done any kind of official speed work - May 6th to be exact! I have a 5K coming up in about a month and even though I still have a marathon to run before, I know I need to start testing out these legs with some short & fast running. Tuesday intervals are back!

This evening I ran from home to our local park paths for a warm-up and got started on 1000m intervals once I got there. (Hubs joined me for the second half of the workout.)

The results:

4 x 1000m
4:34 this feels pretty good, it's fun to go fast!
4:33 okay, I remember this feeling.
4:20 (!!!) keeping up with hubs, OMG I am going to die.
4:28 *gasp* *choke* *wheeze*

I'd like to be under 4:30/1000 for 5 repeats and I know I'll get there... just have to get back in the groove!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Trail Love

This morning I met up with three friends from my training group and headed to a local conservation area where we picked up part of the Bruce Trail for my first official trail run! I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew I was in good hands with at least one seasoned trail-runner in the bunch and I was excited to experience something new.

I absolutely loved it!

We set out with a plan of running an out-and-back for about 2-2.5 hours, following the blue markers. The trails weren't too technical, but we definitely had to keep our eyes on the ground. They were primarily single-track with roots, rocks and various other obstacles along the way. We climbed up and down as we weaved our way through the woods, all the while keeping an eye on our footing and watching out for those blue markers. (We only made one wrong turn and thankfully noticed right away.)

It was so quiet and peaceful, with only the sounds of the birds, our breath, footsteps on the soft earth and our legs rustling through the bush. (Except for the one time I heard a loud rustling nearby and thought we were being attacked by a bear forest critter and shrieked in panic.) It was so beautiful in the woods and I was constantly in awe of my surroundings.

We covered about 19K/12 miles in 2:16. You definitely have to slow down a lot out there and it was refreshing not to pay any attention to pace whatsoever.

We snapped a quick self-timer pic and chowed down on my power bars back at the car, as us newbies proclaimed our new-found love for the trails. I definitely plan to spend some more time out there this summer.

Cathy, Martin, Kevin, Marlene

My shoes and socks have seen better days!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Three (NEW!) Things Thursday

For my recent marathon on May 16th, I put three brand new (to me) products to the test... pretty much breaking the rule of 'nothing new on race day.' Oops! Fortunately, they all worked out just fine!

1. SaltStick Salt Capsules

I'm not a big fan of sports drinks and would much prefer to stick with plain old water. I find it more refreshing and it also helps keeps things simple. For electrolyte replacement, I have used E-load Zone Caps in the past, but they only contain 51mg of sodium per capsule. I found that I had to take one approximately every half an hour, which made them inconvenient to carry and I also lost track or forgot often.

Enter: SaltStick!

Each capsule contains: 215 mg sodium, 63 mg potassium, 22 mg calcium, 11 mg magnesium, 100 IU Vitamin D (to aid in calcium absorption).

I planned to take one before the start and one half way, and I also ended up taking a third in the later miles as a precaution when I noticed so many runners going down with cramps. (It was a warm and unusually dry day, which meant we were sweating and losing salt more than we were used to.)

I didn't have any cramping issues (at least not until I stopped moving) and the three capsules were a cinch to carry and swallow.

SaltStick also says:

Buffered salt composition that helps digestion and absorption;

Contains only WHAT YOU NEED. No herbal, trace, questionable components added. Gluten free. No sweeteners of any kind. Vegetable-based.

2. Fuel Belt Waistpack

I've been using iFitness and SPIbelt but I've been finding that they just aren't holding enough stuff for my really long runs. I decided to order the iFitness Ultimate Race Belt with elastic slots to hold my gels, but unfortunately it did not arrive in time (in fact, it just arrived yesterday, a month after ordering - FAIL!).

Fortunately I found something at my local store -the Fuel Belt Waistpack.

It has a nice big pocket (4.5x7" - a larger version is also available) with two compartments which easily held 5+ gels, a packet of Chomps, my iPod Shuffle and salt caps with room to spare. The adjustable waist band fit comfortably and the pouch settled nicely on my lower back without moving around.

My store only had plain black, but it is also available in Tangerine, Hibiscus Pink, Kiwi Green and Surf Blue.

3. Nathan Quickdraw Plus Handheld

I've been using the thermal version for several months now and adjusted to carrying the 22-oz bottle very quickly. I much prefer it to fuel belts, which add uncomfortable bulk and weight to my mid-section - the last place I want or need it! I absolutely love carrying the handheld and don't find it cumbersome at all. I decided to go for the Quickdraw Plus so I could lose the extra fabric and bulk around the bottle (the "thermal" qualities are hardly worth it). This was an excellent choice! It feels a bit lighter and served me well on May 16th (and has been ever since)!

Products in Motion:

Have you tried anything new lately?