The evolution to morning runs, ENDURrun, and Nathan LED armband review
So, in keeping with my commitment to blog more, I decided to do both my first run review, and product review in the same entry. What prompted the product review is my desire to give back to the running community other than just blathering on about my running trials and tribulations. Additionally, I ordered a Vega Sport starter pack which I am totally stoked to receive, and subsequently review!!! I have eaten protein bars and gels, but have never taken a foray into the world of protein powders for recovery! I have seen positive reviews of this product from a couple of blogs and twitter accounts that I follow, so I though I would give it a try!
But first up, let’s talk morning runs.
So for a long time I was one of those “night time” runners. You know the ones who could run at 11pm and still fall asleep afterwards. In fact running almost became a cue for me to fall asleep, as I found myself naturally wanting to snooze afterwards. In large part this was due to shift work I was doing, but I naturally found runs more enjoyable in the evenings. On the odd occasion where I was forced to run in the morning, I was completely miserable (that is if I even had the ability to get out of bed). My bestest dude however, has always been a morning runner, and he’s one of those “roll out of bed and throw your running shorts on and hit the road” kinda morning runners. BLECH!!!! So why was I up this morning at 4:30am, and on the road by 5:00am and get this…..ENJOYING IT, ACTUALLY PREFERRING IT! GASP! So I was asking myself this very same question today on my 21km run, and tried to figure out when it changed. I realized it was through training for my marathon. It is remarkable how many marathon changing reflections I have had over the past week. I was essentially forced to wake up by 6am in order to get my long runs in before I melted to death in the heat. I realized that I enjoyed the peace and the serenity that was associated with the early morning run. I think this shifted when I learned to be patient with my long runs. I think I have talked previously about how I used to “focus on the finish” instead of “enjoying the ride”. You really can’t do this with a marathon, or you will be miserable the whole run! It allows for a certain rhythm that I have learned to embrace. There’s this quote that dares you to run a marathon and not have it change your life, and I am clearly evidence of that.
Next up ENDURrun..
If you have never participated in this event or googled ENDURrun, I strong encourage you too. you can check it out here:
This is an 8 day, 7 stage, 160km running event that takes place annually in Waterloo, Ontario. I aspire to one day complete the entire event, but right now I have settled for being a guest runner in the first stage which is the half marathon. Race lengths can range from a 10km time trial, to a 25km alpine run, to the final stage which is a full marathon. I believe it takes insurmountable courage and determination to complete this race, and truly look up to all the runners who have finished it. Bestest dude and I have run it for the past three years during stage 1. We like it because it is small and intimate, and it is a challenging course. I have stated before that #RunWaterloo and the series that they put on over the year, is one of the best around. They are very professional, organized, have great post-run food, and are just overall ridiculously nice people. This event is no exception. The race director hosts a swim at his house following one of the stages (where else do you get that?!?!). Stage 1 is a challenging half marathon that takes place through the rolling hills of Conestogo. I had a a PB on this course last year which I was pretty proud of, simply because of the hills alone. Unfortunately I wasn’t in the best shape for this one (as mentioned in my previous blog posting). The weather was ideal by August standards, and there was an anticipated 26 degrees and sunny. The course is two loops, the first one being 13k, and the second one being 8k. Both loops end with a gradual incline up Northfield towards Conestogo. My first loop actually felt pretty good…a little too good. When I looked at my splits on my garmin post-race I realized I had made the same mistake as the marathon, I went out a little too fast. In the first 13k loop you run through the country, and then through Grey Silo Golf course. I love this course for the sheer picturesque views (minus the cow farms lol). There is a hill at the end of the golf course that I usually have to mentally grind out, and even this seemed easier this year. Then I hit the slow incline after this hill and I could feel my body starting to fade. I used 2 GU energy gels throughout the course, both at 8k intervals. By the time I came through the first loop and onto the next 8k, I seriously wondered if I would be able to finish. The problem wasn’t my legs, but my head. Mentally I had checked out. I have been hitting this mental wall at 13k, and this race was no different. I pushed through, but for the first time I actually walked during a half. Slightly after the 13k mark is a large hill in the country, I just couldn’t mentally push through, I ended up finishing the hill with a walk. For me walking just breaks something in me. I was really disappointed in myself but knew I had no one to blame for my poor training. The rest of the course was me grinding it out, and I had really slow splits. I finished the race in 1:54:15, and this was only because I went out quite quickly. Overall, I was disappointed with my result but glad that I finished. This is one of my favourite races of the year, and it did not disappoint despite my time. Here’s a shot of me near the finish, I think I am grimacing…I will absolutely do this race again, and eventually hope to add more of the stages to my itinerary.
And finally the Nathan LED Armband – Nightbender. http://www.nathansports.com/visibility/led-lights/lightbender
So I have actually had this product since last November, as some of my bestest girls bought it for me on my birthday. I decided to review this product because I brought it back out this morning on my run. I figure with the days getting shorter, and darkness prevailing, anything that increases visibility is a plus! This is what it looks like:
As you can see it’s meant to be slid onto your arm while running in the dark via a velcro strap. I have other LED lights but they are small, and have generally gotten attached to my dog instead. You can switch between two settings, one that emits just a solid light, or one that flashed. I prefer the flashing setting as I think it alerts drivers better (but maybe that’s just a mental thing). I have now worn it in both the winter, and summer. I definitely prefer this in the winter. Most winter runs I completely forgot that it was on my arm due to the coat and/or layers I was wearing. Today it sat right against my skin, and I found it decreasing the blood flow to my arm (loosening it didn’t do much). After about 10km the sun came up so I took it off my arm and ran with it in my hand for the next 11km. This wasn’t much fun. What I do like is that it is very bright, and adds to the reflective clothing I may be wearing. I like that it is higher up on the body because it is on your arm. This means that it is in direct vision line for cars. I will definitely continue to wear it for dark runs in the fall and winter, and will probably try to pick a different solution for the summer. Whether you decide to grab one or not, please make sure you are wearing something to increase your visibility!
So that’s it for me on this fine Tuesday! Hope you like the reviews, and stay tuned for my review on the Vega sport once I receive it!!! 🙂