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The weather here is ridiculous. The start of this half marathon training saw me doing my runs on the treadmill because the road was covered in ice and was too dangerous to run on. The last two weeks (6.2 miler and 7.5 miler) I’ve finally been able to run outside, but have been in lots of layers. I was at work this past Friday, and realized that it was going to be 49 degrees and sunny when I left work, so I decided to move my long run up a day. In the span of 3 weeks I went from having to run on a treadmill, to running outside in layers, to running outside in a tanktop and my running skirt- what crazy weather!

I was wondering how my long run would go, as I do my runs in the morning or early afternoon usually, and specifically fuel for that. I was hungry when I got home from work, but as I was about to run, I didn’t want to eat much. I ended up eating a handful of Swedish fish, which certainly isn’t excellent fuel, but it did the trick. I took a salt packet, warmed up, and left.

My first mile I went far too fast, I think because I was just so excited to be out in the sunshine. Last week I paced myself well, but this week I felt all over the place. I would be running way too fast, just enjoying the birds chirping and sun on my face, and I’d have to pull back and force myself to slow down.

Right before mile 4 I stopped by my car for some water and took this gel packet. I got it at a half marathon I did last year, and I was interested to try it out. I actually really enjoyed it!

photoRazz flavored clif shot gel and a salt packet

Right around mile 8 I started to feel these little flickers in my left calf muscle. I know these flickers well, as they tend to lead to full blown, bad muscle cramps. I’m so frustrated with these cramps, and I’m not sure what to do about it. It seems like even taking salt while running isn’t helping. I’m going to try to focus on stretching these muscles out even more, but this brought up some fears for race day. If this was race day, I would’ve had a few miles of bad cramps to get through. I’m frustrated.

Despite these little flickers, this run was really good. It was a full minute per mile faster paced than my 8.5 miler for my fall half marathon training, and I felt strong the entire run. Something that has been totally different this training cycle compared to my last few is that I’m not having IT band pain this cycle. I’m not exactly sure why. I started faithfully doing PT exercises and Pilates in January of 2013, so maybe I’ve just finally built up enough muscle that my IT bands are supported enough? No matter what the reason, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and hope it works.

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Here’s an interesting look at paces from my last 8 miler training runs:

  • March 2014: 11:36- garmin says 11:33 (8.6 miles)
  • Oct 2013: 12:36 (8.5 miles)
  • April 2013: 12:09 (8.5 miles)
  • Oct 2012: 11:28 (8.5 miles)

It’s sort of interesting to look at the breakdown of that. This run was almost on par with my Oct 2012 run (the training cycle that led to my half marathon PR), so I’ll take that as a good sign.

When my grandpa died a few weeks ago, our family decided that money should get donated to the wounded warrior project. In that vain, I decided to run these 8.6 miles for my grandpa, using the charity miles app to donate money to the wounded warrior project.

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I followed the run up with some stretching, 3:15 of planks, ice bath, shower, and some delicious dark chocolate with sea salt. Yum!

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Overall I’m really happy with the run that I’ve had, but I’m getting a little worried about the muscle cramps issue, as I would really prefer to not deal with them during my half marathon.

Now it’s your turn to share! Any thoughts on my muscle cramp issue? What do you think about on long runs?

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