Saturday, December 02, 2006

Getting Carried Away

First cold run of the season!

Feeling lazy, I got up later than I really should have and it took forever to get ready to head out the door. All that winter gear! And having to tape up, too! There are only two reasons why cold-weather running is not completely evil: less sweat and more pockets. I love my fleece vests for their pockets!

My plan for today was to do about 13 miles to Rice University, around Hermann park and home. I skimped on nutrition, since I really don’t need much for runs up to about 15 miles. I know it’s heresy to admit it, but I’ve trained my body over these past seven years to not need a constant calorie intake. I experiment with what kinds of food and drink work for longer distances, but I’ve found that almost anything is fine. I think my stomach is made of cast iron. It tolerates damn near anything. And I’m so used to running on low fuel that when I do fuel up, I can really go!

But I digress.

So I set out this morning, late, with only two little packets of Amino Vital, thinking I was going to run 13 miles. And then like a fool, I ran about 18.

See, when I got to Hermann Park, I decided to take a little jaunt on that bridle trail along the bayou I discovered a few weeks ago. I had cut my previous exploration short and now I wanted to see just how far that particular trail went. But to my disappointment, the trail was blocked at just the spot where I had stopped the previous time. So I crossed the bridge and started running back toward the park. I stopped at a water fountain along the way and noticed another little trail. I followed it, but it wasn’t very interesting. It led me to a sidewalk along a busy street and around the corner, back toward the park. It was longer than if I had stuck to the trail along the bayou, but was leading me nowhere new.

This could not be allowed.

So when I got back to where I could see the Shell station at MacGregor and Highway 288, I decided to see if the trails I thought ran along MacGregor were where I remembered. And they were! I had walked them once, many years ago, in a March of Dimes walk, but I hadn’t been entirely certain where to pick them up, it was so long ago. And I tend to be very cautious about running off toward parts unknown when I’m by myself. But this was too good to pass up, right?

So I ran along the MacGregor trails, having a great time. There are a lot of stately old homes along this street, mysteriously fallen into disrepair with peeling paint on the columns and weeds in the yards. But the bayou and trail are well-maintained, and I watched a chocolate lab chase egrets on the bank, near the water. And I saw an unfamiliar water bird. It was big and gray with a long pale beak. It was on the other side of the bayou, so I couldn’t get close enough to see it clearly. I wonder what kind of bird it was?

I ran what felt like about two miles, but as near as I can tell on Gmaps, it was more like a mile and a half, because I stopped just short of Scott street. By now I had the sense it was late. (I don’t run with a watch when I’m injured because it only tempts me to push too hard.) So even though I wanted to see if I could run all the way to University of Houston, today was definitely not the day. And there were no water fountains. In spite of the cool weather, I was getting thirsty. And I needed a restroom, too.

So I headed back to Hermann Park and availed myself of the clean restrooms and water fountains, which greatly improved my quality of life.

By now I was more than ready to be finished with my run. Once you have the sense that it’s late and you should’ve been home by now, it’s over. Getting your brain to shut up and let you enjoy your run is next to impossible. So I ran the four miles home from Hermann Park with a steady pep talk running through my head, wishing Dan would show up looking for me and take me home. I’ve never wished that before, but I was undernourished for a run of this distance and was tired, too. I had only slept three hours the night before.

So I was really glad to get home, and even happier to have no hip pain. Kinesio tape rocks! I may look like The Mummy, but I can run, so who cares! It was after 11:00, but I was able to ice down, shower, do my foam roller/stretching/leg massage thing, and get dolled up for lunch by just after noon. Not bad!

And then I spent most of the rest of the day sleeping. I needed it!

Today’s Workout
Long Run: ~18 miles


Spider63 said...

Wow, 18 miles!! That's like a marathon!! You do that just for fun??? Have you ever competed in a Triathlon?

Bolder said...

what a great run! on no calories!!

do you run on no cals because you want to run a cal deficit? i've been thinkin' about that lately. i know it's not a great way to improve because you just bonk out. but, i've also been thinkin' a lot about my teeth, i don't like the idea of coating them with sugar for another season. so, i'm thinkin' a lot about my cal strategy for long runs!!

bunnygirl said...

Spider: I did a 21-miler back in early November, but yeah, 18 was more than I meant to do today. It's about where I need to be in my marathon preparations though, so as long as I'm not hurting, it's all good. As for triathlon, I've been dangerously remiss in that. The last one I did was a half-iron distance, just before I started this blog. Between my hatred of swimming and my tendency to get injured, I haven't ramped up to a tri in awhile, but I still want to do an Ironman. I just need a good injury-free season to give me confidence to make the investment, because it's expensive and time-consuming, and you have to sign up a year in adavance.

Bold: I started the no/low cal thing out of vanity, to run a deficit. But then I noticed that when I race, I get a huge boost from taking in nutrition, so I've continued in what is probably a big no-no of a training strategy.

My current long run "drug" of choice is Amino Vital. It's low on carbs, but I recover faster than on other sports drinks, so I think the proteins keep me from burning protein for fuel. Then again, I've been running low-cal for so long that I'm pretty sure my body knows better than to eat my muscles.

But for runs 15 miles and longer I use 3 or more individual-size Amino Vital packets (if I'm not using my fuel belt) and I take one gel for every 3 miles over 18. I'm partial to Hammer Gel because it's not as sweet as some others, like Gu.

Given how fast you are, Bold, I don't know if you should mess with your nutrition strategy. But if you try it, start slow. (Duh.)

LauraHinNJ said...

I'm tired just reading about your run!

Glad you took the opportunity to do a bit of exploring - hope your nap was nice.

Spider63 said...

Amino Vital? I will check that out! Good luck in your training!

pacatrue said...

I did a bit of reading about the Ironman once, but my impression was that you have to qualify for it by first competing in one of a small handful of other triathlon races. Does that sound right to you?

bunnygirl said...

Paca - Yes, the Hawaii Ironman is picky. It's considered the world championship event and you have to qualify by doing another Ironman and being one of the top finishers in your age group.

But there is also a lottery system for ordinary morals who want to do Kona.

In addition to Hawaii, there are Ironman races and "iron distance" races (not branded by the Ironman Corporation) that have no qualifications for registration other than cash and insanity. Ironman sells out a year in advance, so for an Injury Diva like me, it's something I'm reluctant to get out my credit card for. If I ever do an iron distance event, it will probably be RedMan in OK. It's cheap, close, and I could register a couple months in advance, when I'm sure of how my training is going.

Do you live near Kona, btw? In triathlon circles we have our own lingo for some of the places around there.

Subcultures fascinate me.

pacatrue said...

Relative to Houston, yes. But, really, no. I'm in Waikiki in Honolulu on the lovely isle of Oahu. Kona of course is Big Isle. But there are inter-island airfare wars going on right now so you can go from Oahu to Kona for $80 roundtrip.

I looked into triathloning once when I wanted a new exercise goal. In the end, I decided it was too expensive for me to get into. Mainly the bike. I have a bike that I commute on, but it's a $150 straight handle thing with a child seat on the back. I'm just not ready to fork over a thousand for a decent road bike.

Besides, running a marathon was hard enough. Who wants to do it looking really silly in a pair of speedos?

PuddyRat said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful run. I know what you mean, though, about feeling the need to get back. Hope your hip stays healthy!

Leslie said...

18 miles on 3 hours' worth of sleep? You truly are an amazing athlete.

(I love the imagery of the lab chasing the egrets)