Gels & Long Runs

Tomorrow is long run day. Oh joy! I expect it will take me about 3.5 hours to complete the 29 kilometres I get to run. Yes, I “get” to run this distance! It’s just another little mind game I play with myself, putting a positive spin on something that feels so onerous. “I get to” sounds better than “I have to”. Am I right? I know, I know…it won’t feel like a privilege by the time I am midway through and in the throes of pain.

I have been waffling back and forth all day over when I really wanted to run tomorrow. First thing in the morning is my preference, especially on hot summer days, but recent long runs have required me to be out the door much earlier than I would normally choose. I am really not a morning person, although I can pull it off for work and special occasions. The endless early mornings and recent less-than-stellar nights of sleep are taking a toll on me. Even though I slept reasonably well last night, I woke up feeling bleary-eyed, and that feeling has endured through the entire day. Quite simply, I am exhausted.

So, I presented myself with three options for tomorrow’s long run:

  1. Suck it up. Wake up at 4:00 and start running at 5:00. Finish around 8:30 (hopefully) and quickly shower and scarf down food, so we can get to church by 9:30. As much as I want to be able to make it to church, this option makes me want to cry. It was still quite dark when I left for work at 5:30 this morning. I don’t want to run in the dark. I don’t want to run in the damp, chilly morning. I just don’t want to get up that early.
  2. Skip out on church and head out for my run anywhere between 7:00 and 8:00, depending on when I wake up. While I’d love to sleep until 7, I know that my body will likely wake up before then. I’m not thrilled about missing out on church, but this option would allow me to run in daylight, before the day gets too hot, and would still leave me all afternoon to recover and do household stuff.
  3. Sleep in, go to church, and run in the afternoon. This option is quite tempting despite the potential to be running in the heat of the day; however, the potential heat is rather a deal-breaker when I know I will be running for more than 3 hours. Besides, most of my day would be gone.

I weighed my options and played with them in my head before deciding that I need the extra sleep but cannot sacrifice my time in the afternoon, so I’m going to skip out on church and run a bit later in the morning. It’s not ideal, but it is what it is. Regardless of when I run, I know that it is going to be physically and mentally demanding.

Tomorrow I am going to test out some gels during my run. I’ve never used them before, and I’ve never really had the need; however, now that I am running for multiple hours at a time, I am realizing that I am going to need to do something to keep my energy up. I had a good chat with the saleslady at the Running Room store, and I walked out with a headlamp (for when I do run in the dark) and several types/flavours of gel. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about ingesting a gel-like substance. Some of the flavours sound more appealing than others, but I’m not sure about the texture. If my body notices a difference though, then I guess I can learn to deal with it until I finish the marathon.





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