I’m running my tenth marathon on Sunday. More on the whole experience later. But it got me thinking about running (which I am ALWAYS thinking about). When I am not swamped. Which I have been. But more on that later as well.
Here are some running faves of mine — all things I own — none of which I was given or paid to promote, and all of which I am frantically shoving in my suitcase as we speak, or rituals I have performed this week:
I picked up a Nathan Sprint at the Publix Georgia Marathon last year in Atlanta, when I couldn’t handle running with a fuel belt. On a good day, I am the Captain of the Good Ship of Body Issues, but during the week before and the week after a marathon, I don’t want to wear clothes. Do other runners get that? The feel of anything on my skin is like torture.
In other words, the fuel belt simply wasn’t happening in Georgia, and hydration was a must. This little gem was a lifesaver. I have a bunch of them now, and I use them on long runs, especially in places where I’m not sure there will be water fountains or hydration stations. One of my Sprints permanently resides in the suitcase that goes back and forth to London with me.
This is nothing new. I think every runner has one of these. They expand to multiple times their size to hold pretty much everything — and comfortably. I once compared mine to the human stomach, but that wasn’t really that funny. The human stomach sits at rest in folds and expands exponentially! It was apt, but again, not that funny.
While running I use Gu Roctane; typically fruit flavours. (Currently on deck: Vanilla Orange) Gu doesn’t upset my stomach, and I’ve mastered eating it so that it doesn’t wind up all over my hands and face.
Pre-long race, I eat a white bagel with peanut butter, and half a Creamy Citrus PowerBar shortly before the start. That combination sounds unfathomably gross to me unless it is a race morning, and then it’s all I want in the world.
I take a number of dehydrating medications so balancing my electrolytes is important. PowerBars really help — in fact, I credit those suckers with helping me make a completely cramp/pain free Mt Whitney summit. I could’ve run a half-marathon the next day and been fine.
Speaking of hydration, because I become dehydrated so easily, I take salt tabs. As to salt, I could obviously pound down a fast-food salt packet, which I’ve done before and did for a long time. But that upsets my stomach. And given the choice, I would prefer not to puke or suffer. I use Hammer Endurolytes now.
Also, potato chips. Shhh. Don’t tell.
Some good old fashioned yellow gatorade will also do. Just not too much. Again with the stomach. Runners have sensitive stomachs. Well, not necessarily — it’s just…there are some images of runners that everyone has seen that I think we all wish we could unsee. You know what I’m talking about. We runners like to keep our stomachs happy.
Sensing a theme? No one wants to be the poopy runner.
5) CW-X Tights
I am mad about these. I’ve run 9 marathons in these. I’m actually featured in the promotional video that they shot at the 2010 NYC Marathon Expo. The tights compress; they act like tape; they’re just fabulous. They really work for me.
A part of running is massage. It’s not a luxury — it’s health. I stand by that belief. I use Eastside Massage Therapy on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It’s not a spa — it’s a very soothing place, but very clinical. If you’re in NYC, give them a shot. I used to use Relax in Chelsea when I lived in Tribeca, but they’re hard to get to from where I live now.
7) Heating Pad:
Fact: I sleep with a heating pad when I am at the peak of training. This is probably terrible for me.
I once read about a woman who “accidentally” ran and nearly won the LA Marathon. She was supposed to run the half, and then she wound up running the whole thing in an amazing time. But her advice was that you need to take care of your feet. This was a long time ago, before I was a runner. I didn’t get it.
I’ve only lost 2 toenails ever. After my first marathon, I lost both of my big toenails and was very upset. I’m still not sure why I took losing my toenails so hard. (It was painful, and I was going to the Caribbean for Christmas that year, so that might’ve factored.) I vowed never to experience it again.
I am now obsessive about footcare.
9) STRAND’S BANANA BREAD (aka: stranana bread):
This stuff is amazing. Greatest fuel ever. Easy on the stomach; perfect power. She’s made it for me before my last few races.
Why am I running? What am I running for? (What is the meaning of life? What is this all about?) Seriously. What’s the point of the race if I don’t know the purpose? I spend a lot of time writing in my head while I run. (Nerd alert: sometimes I dictate voicememos into my iPhone. I’m that crazytown marathoner talking to herself at mile 18!)
Each race has a different mantra. A different purpose. Generally that purpose is something along the lines of: finish the race, keep my toenails, and don’t shit my pants.