25 weeks. That’s exactly the amount of time since my last race. And now, I’m staring down 4 days. That is, 4 days until I line up for my first race of the year, the Leona Divide 50K.
I can’t believe I’m only a few short days away from undertaking my first 100 mile race! What began as a 15 month journey, has whittled down to a matter of hours. Eek!!! When I signed up to do Javelina Jundred on the morning of January 1, 2016, after deciding to do it back in July 2015, I had no idea what to expect for the next several months. I knew long runs would be on my plate, as well as, back-to-backs, night running, heat, and mental training, but there were a few other things I didn’t know would happen as training got underway.
We’re a few days into October and this means it’s officially race month! In 6 days I have the Chicago Marathon and in 26 days, Javelina Jundred. Yes, the time has arrived where the fruits of my training for the past 10 months will be realized. I know I’ve trained all year for this month and I can’t believe it’s here! It was bound to happen, right???
I wish I had another 10 months. But I don’t.
This past weekend had me doing my longest back-to-back runs. Friday and Saturday had me diving into 25 milers on both days and I can safely say, I was pretty nervous about them.
Never in any of the marathons I’ve done, have I had to run in the dark. Although my times have been pretty slow, so I’m surprised it never came to that. However, there is no escaping running in the dark during Javelina Jundred so I better prepare for it.
It is officially fall season! Can you feel the cool crispness in the air? Yeah, me neither. It’s still quite warm and humid here in La La Land.
If there is something I feel prevailing during the past several months of training is I think I’ve come very close to injury without anything completely knocking me out and I’m going to keep saying my sweet nightly prayers to make sure it stays that way. A wonky knee, a rolled ankle, achy arches, and heel pain could have all potentially derailed my races, but maybe that’s a testament to me taking extra care whenever I feel any weirdness outside of normal soreness. Or maybe I’m invincible! Ha! Just kidding.
Just as the title suggests, my mileage went from 70 miles down to 10. Actually more like 9.8, but who’s really keeping track? Uh, ME! All in a matter of one week.
A friend of mine recently asked me, “You ever take a recovery week and knock your mileage in half?”
I sort of have during training. Definitely very close to it.
Now I can say, I took it down 85%. That’s if my math was right, which it normally isn’t.
If you read my previous post – Too Early to Hit the Panic Button – you’ll know why my mileage dropped down last week. And if you didn’t, well, you can go ahead and mosey on over to the other post if you’d like. I’ll wait patiently.
It took a few days for me to run again after the weekend – 3 days to be exact. I finished off last week with my highest mileage ever in my life! Yeah, somehow I managed to run/walk/hike/cry my way through 70 miles and it’s the most I’ve ever completed without the use of a car. And it scared me.
I’ve never reached that kind of mileage and the first thoughts I had were:
I’m going to get sick.
I wanted to write about my training adventure on the Backbone Trail while it was still very fresh in my mind, but I realized if I immediately wrote about it, there’d be a whole lot more “F Bombs” dropped in the post. Best to take a day, or four, to reflect about the experience.
It’s the day before my next 50K race and I’m on the cusp of freakout mode. You see, not only is the Bulldog 50K an important race for me in terms of a personal goal and part of my 100 mile training, but as I’m tackling those 31-ish miles, I’m also aware I’m exactly 9 weeks until I line up to the Javelina Jundred starting line! 9 weeks!!!
I am so proud of myself. One thing all this training has brought out in me, is my need to try new things, such as some new gels. I’ve always shied away from gels because frankly, I don’t care for them, but I know if I’m going to get through 100 miles in one day (and some change) I better get some nutrition down. If you caught my previous post on my first dip into trying the Hüma Chia Energy Gel, I was seriously happy with their Lemonade flavor, and I still am. However, I stumbled upon a few other flavors I couldn’t wait to taste: Apples & Cinnamon, Strawberries, and Raspberries.
Apples & Cinnamon
If there was one thing I heard about the Apples & Cinnamon flavor was it’s similarity to applesauce. I should have stopped right there because if there is anything which has prevented me from liking gels in the first place is the fact I tend to associate them with something else less desirable in my world. You see, I don’t like applesauce. But I was open to trying this flavor because who knows? Maybe I would really like this one.
First of all, before even tasting it, I needed to disassociate this flavor with applesauce. Not always easy but I reminded myself “this is not applesauce.”
My initial taste response was this is really sweet. Secondly, I associated it more with oatmeal. It was more like the flavor of the instant oatmeal apples and cinnamon packets – the instant oatmeal flavor I think is too sweet.
Some people may not consider it very sweet, but I found it to be a little too sweet for my palate.
While this wasn’t my favorite, because Lemonade still ranks pretty high, I would consume Apples & Cinnamon if this was the only gel option I had, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve had runs where I was completely out of gas and had a gel on me, which I could have consumed, but I could simply never get myself to. AND it was espresso flavor! I love coffee! But I simply couldn’t do it. I could do with Apples & Cinnamon.
I had no idea what to expect from the Strawberries variety. My only hope was it actually tasted like fresh strawberries because I don’t like anything artificial strawberry. Whenever I went out to breakfast and wanted strawberries on my waffles, I had to make sure they were indeed fresh strawberries. None of that strawberry compote or whatever that substance was. Strawberry shake? I’ll pass.
My initial reaction was I imagined myself consuming strawberry jam (or jelly). Not the best feeling. Of course I had to keep reminding myself, “this is not strawberry jam.”
It took me a little while to down this one because of the images I conjured up about sucking down strawberry jam. This is just me and how my mind works.
Flavor-wise, it wasn’t as sweet as the Apples & Cinnamon and while it didn’t take over the number 1 spot from Lemonade, I’d consume it if it was indeed the last gel I had with me. And again, that’s saying a lot. It wasn’t bad.
I’ll come right out and say it. Out of the these three flavors I tried, the Raspberries was my favorite. It really was. I love raspberries and there was no other imaginative association I could muster up which may have altered my reaction to it.
The flavor wasn’t too sweet and I could honestly taste the raspberries. Two thumbs up for me on this one!
So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised to how much I’ve enjoyed the Hüma Chia Energy Gels. There are a few other flavors out there, and maybe I’ll get around to trying them. I’d probably try all of them a whole lot sooner if they weren’t more on the pricier side. However, one flavor I could have tried, but didn’t, was Blueberries. Even though I love fresh whole blueberries, I don’t care for mushy blueberries and something tells me that’s exactly what the gel is. Also, I already know I have an aversion to chocolate and coffee flavored gels. Yes, even if I love both those things, so maybe I won’t try those either.
If I had to pick my favorites of all the varieties I’ve tried so far, I’d say Lemonade, Mangoes, and Raspberries. Definitely. Finally, if it wasn’t for my friend Melody who let me try the Lemonade flavor first, I don’t think I would even get this far, so thank you Melody!
Thanks for reading!