Saturday, March 6, 2010

Training Run No. 3

This morning was the Minneapolis Marathon training group's third run.

I decided to nix the oatmeal idea upon waking and stick to my regular English muffin/peanut butter/banana combo, and I also decided to bring some "real" fuel with me on my run. After that weird mid-run crash I had last weekend, I needed something a little more substantial in case my blood sugar plummeted again. I packed my Sports Beans in my side pocket, but I decided to follow the advice of one of my favorite running bloggers and pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my run.

I used whole wheat "sandwich thin" bread, because let's be honest -- who wants to eat crust? Especially on a run? There's also no high-fructose corn syrup in this bread (which, if you pay attention to ingredients like I do, you'd be surprised how often it shows up in bread! Why?!), and obviously there are no eggs or milk in this bread, making it vegan-friendly. It's also 100 calories for two slices, so it's a pretty light bread and I figured it wouldn't upset my stomach too much if I ended up eating it during my run. My favorite peanut butter in the whole history of the world is MaraNatha no stir creamy peanut butter. It's just so creamy and dreamy! I used maybe a tablespoon of peanut butter, and I put on a tablespoon of homemade strawberry jam because I'm weird and won't eat anything else besides this super-secret family recipe. It was a pretty light sandwich, but I figured it would work in a bind.
I cut the sandwich into quarters and tucked it into my Brooks Sherpa case where it sat by my side the entire time and offered me moral support. Amazingly, I didn't even end up needing it! I ate two squares during my run because I knew I'd eventually crash without some sort of fuel, but I ended up being okay without the whole thing or the Sports Beans today. It was a good blood sugar day. :) I thought the sandwich would make me thirsty, but because I made it last night, the bread had a good amount of time to get soggy and not make-you-thirsty dry.

Team Ortho introduced the Minneapolis Half Marathon runners to the training group this week, so they had mapped out 4, 7, and 9-mile routes for us to choose from. It didn't vary greatly from the first time we met as a group, and again, we covered the last few miles of the actual marathon course. The 4-mile route covered the original loop at the top of the map, the 7-mile route would turn around at the water station on the southern part of the map, and the 9-mile route would do the entire out and back.
I needed to run 12 miles today, so I planned on running the 9 and then doing the initial 4-mile loop again, but instead cutting across a bridge early, ending around 12 miles.

A friend of mine gave me an album early this week that I very quickly grew entirely too obsessed with. I can't recall the last time I fell so hard for something so quickly, but hey, I think music is a pretty safe thing to fall hard over at this point.

The album is Mumford & Sons' "Sigh No More." This uber-talented UK band put out a phenomenal -- debut!! -- album, showing their talents in being able to pull off some pretty heavy hints of bluegrass as well as plenty of heavy drum beats. Most of the songs sound uplifting (nevermind the lyrics), and if they don't make you want to tap your toes, you want to get lost in their melodic harmonies and subtle strings. (Rob, watch your mail Monday.)

My new obsession is so strong, I was very much looking forward to putting on my headphones and enjoying this album on repeat during all 12 miles of my morning run. That is, until 3 minutes into the run, some older gross guy started talking to me and didn't get the hint that I didn't want to talk to him.

We'll call him "Benny." He's run plenty of marathons. He seems to think he's one of those naturally gifted people who doesn't have to practice, but just can go out and do anything. OOOoooh, and I was sure to hear about all the races he just showed up for and did very well at.

I learned right away how annoying he was and I wanted to get away from him STAT. I told Benny I was just going to run the 4-mile loop to get him off my back. I figured if he were as great of a runner as he claimed, he'd move onto the 7 or 9-mile route and take off flying to leave me alone and get his run in. That's when he said he'd run the 4 with me and would decide from there if he wanted to continue.

My heart sunk. I'd at least have 4 miles with this fool. I wish I could remember what we talked about, but this truly was one of those instances where his words went into one ear and straight out the other. I kept my music on and was trying so desperately to listen to Mumford & Sons' amazing album, but Benny's bothersome blabbering kept drowning it out.

We finished the 4-mile loop and he asked me if I was going to keep going. I said yes, and suddenly he decided he was up for another 5, too. Awesome!

We made our way down the Mississippi Parkway, along the river where it wasn't too windy today. The parkway swoops down into the river valley and at points it gets very drafty -- but for whatever reason it had to be perfect today, and I had to enjoy that perfect morning with someone I didn't want to be near.

I don't know the river valley very well, but I did recognize a few hills and bridges from previous races I've run. Benny wasn't even from the city and he knew more about some of the landmarks than I did because, duh! He knew everything! Somewhat interestingly, we passed by the U of M "shoe tree" on the corner of the Washington Avenue bridge. Apparently this is a tradition; the recent graduates toss their shoes into tree to celebrate their accomplishment.
(This isn't my picture but this is how I saw it, looking from the road up.)
That was the one cool thing I did hear him say.

We made it back to the starting point after 9 miles, and I pulled out a sandwich square to start refueling for the remaining 3 miles. Benny, supernaturally sensing I was going to keep running, asked if he could join me for the last loop. I figured at this point I might as well not disagree -- if anything happened to me blood-sugar wise (and this is when it would be), it'd be good to have someone around.

So, he annoyingly guzzled a cup of water from the start tent like he were in a race day-fueling station, and ran with me for the last 3-mile loop. The ONLY good thing about this is that during the last half of a mile, when we crossed over the Stone Arch Bridge back into downtown Minneapolis, Benny -- who actually showed no signs of slowing down or even being tired -- told me he had to walk it in.

Yes, I felt relieved that I would be finishing my run alone, but was sad I would only have a few solid minutes with my new music. But then I remembered that I beat the Great and Wonderful Benny in terms of distance, when supposedly he is some natural marathoning prodigy who picked up the sport at the age of probably 45. Sure, there may not be a whole lot of glory in "beating" an older man on a 12.7-mile run, but there sure is a lot of glory in beating someone's cocky attitude.

12.7mi splits:
1: 9:11
2: 9:12
3: 9:21
4: 9:16
5: 9:15
6: 9:12
7: 9:18
8: 9:14
9: 9:05
10: 9:07
11: 9:12
12: 9:00
.7: 8:35
Air Temp: 36F


  1. Nice! Glad you mentioned that, too, because I was about to head to iTunes.

    Also, I'll tell my dad not to bother you again on your next run.

  2. Never fails - you want some peace and get some guy who thinks he's Bill Rodgers and yacks about it like a teenage girl. How fun...

    Tip on the PBJ - have you tried it with a tortilla or pita? The don't squash and get all mushy in your belt pack or pocket.

  3. Rob: I knew you'd download it, which is why I had to put on a disclaimer just for you. :) Also, there's no way this was your dad, as you are far too good looking to be related to that creeper.

    Kathleen: BRILLIANT! I want to give pita a shot ... it makes perfect sense. I remember reading about vegan Scott Jurek bringing pita and hummus on his long runs, which could also be a good option -- thank you for sparking my memory about that. I'll keep you posted. :)