running in the fall

Review: Gatorade Endurance

by lachicaruns on

[Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance formula, energy gels, energy chews and a squeeze bottle plus a free race entry to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!]

While I certainly trained for months for the Run Woodstock 50K in September, my goal race for 2018 has been the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon. It’s such an iconic race that I’ve been wanting to run for years, and my friends have suggested it several times. Plus, I get to say that I ran to another country. (Read the race reviews on BibRave.com and use code 2018 DETROCKS for 10 percent off race registration).

All of the items on the Gatorade Endurance trial pack.

Training for the Detroit Free Press Marathon has gone really well, even though I had to take a break after having my fourth shoulder surgery about six months ago. I’ve certainly taken things slowly and have been working on both my cross training and on my core.

I’ve also been taking better care of myself overall, even getting seven-to-eight hours of sleep most nights, eating better during the week (weekends are for donuts and pizza!) and making sure I’m properly hydrated.

Enter the opportunity to try out the Gatorade Endurance products because I’m a BibRave Pro (ambassador). I’ve certainly been using all of the items in my trial pack because they will all be available during the Detroit Free Press Marathon:

  • Endurance Formula
  • Energy Gels
  • Energy Chews
  • Carb Energy Drink
  • squeeze bottle

Watermelon? It’s actually pretty good.

I’ve been adding the powder to my water for most of my runs and even some of my longer bike rides at home. I really didn’t expect to like the watermelon flavor, but it’s mild enough (and sweet enough!) that it’s been working great for me. I do want to see if I can find it in a sugar free version, eventually.

I got to try the vanilla Gatorade Endurance gel.

The gels are super handy and easy to open. The consistency is much more liquid than what I’m used to with my other gels.

I used the Gatorade Endurance chews during my recent 50K.

As for the chews, they’re by far my favorite product in the trial pack. I had used these before and find them easier on my stomach than just about any energy product I’ve tried before. I found the packaging super easy to open, even on the run, and the chews are small enough that they don’t take a lot of work to consume. I can even chew and run, even though I often just wait until a walk break to pull them out of my luggage.

I’m getting a ton of use out of the water bottle.

While I don’t expect to carry the bottle on race day, I have definitely gotten a ton of use while I’ve become reacquainted with our Peloton stationary bike and, often, while I run on the treadmill at home. It’s been helping me make sure I’m really drinking enough, even when I don’t really want to.

I’ll continue to train for the Detroit Free Press Marathon using the Gatorade Endurance products, since they’ll be available on the course. So far, they’re working out great and it’s been a great relief to know that I won’t have to carry a bunch of fuel and fluids on race day — especially since the race discourages big hydration packs because of the international crossing into Canada.

Hope to see you at the starting line!

What are your fall race plans? Is Detroit on your list? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

The weather.com app calls for 45 degrees and 70 percent chance of rain. I don’t like it. Let’s look online.

It says 45 degrees with a 35 percent chance of rain. A little better, but what does the newspaper weatherman say?

He’s calling for 46 degrees and 46 percent chance of rain.

Who’s right? At this point, what really matters is that it’s probably going to be raining, but since it won’t be too cold, I’d be willing to head out as long as I dress appropriately (read: wear a hat or visor to keep the rain off my face and a rain-resistant jacket).

Weather checking and fretting. That’s what the night before a run looks like in the fall and winter, leaving me on the fence on whether to suggest to my friends that we meet up for a run. I’m often the instigator, suggesting that we get together for three or four miles at 5 in the morning during the week or at 8 on weekends.

There have been a handful of times when I didn’t check and we all paid dearly. Rain, snow or even sleet. Frankly, I’m surprised any of them agree to run with me between November and March.

Runner friends who freeze together stay together.

Now I never text without checking the weather, sometimes over the course of a couple of hours and after checking several sites.

My extreme-weather tolerance is on the high side, but only when at least one friend agrees to join. That said, I’ve learned some lessons and have set some general rules:

  • Absolutely no running in single digits. Too miserable.
  • Check multiple sources before making a decision. Once in a while, one source is way off.
  • Always provide the forecast when suggesting a run during questionable weather. A few friends won’t run in the rain except for race day; others will want to meet earlier if it’s going to be warm.
  • Dress warm and remove items once I get warm. I am too miserable if I’m remotely cold.
  • Never run if it’s icy. I have heard one too many tales of serious injuries due to slipping on unseen ice, especially on bridges. That’s why man invented treadmills.

In the end, I may be what we jokingly call hardcore, but I also try to be thoughtful so that my friends will keep turning out. Because who wants to run in the rain by herself?

What are your rules when deciding when to run in questionable weather? Who makes the call if you run with others? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

I sit here, in pain, but content. This year’s Run Woodstock 50K was dryer and speedier that last year. Three of us PR’d and we all negative split (ran the second half faster than the first).

Better headlamps meant we started out with a clear course, even at 6 a.m., moving swiftly through the first hour through a hill, then a rails-to-trails path. My three friends and I set a slow, steady pace of four minutes running and one walking.

We’re decked out to start the Run Woodstock 50K.

We moved in the steady, relatively easy rhythm of people who’ve been training together for years. We told stories. Laughed with (and at) each other. And we enjoyed the beauty of our lush green surroundings.

The rain that plagued us last year — and that caused mud so deep and wet that we felt like we were skating more than running — was replaced by sunshine and temperatures in the 40s, later reaching into the 60s.

The course was tough, but not impossible. The hills were even steeper than I remembered, sometimes leaving us breathless and wiped out.

Our friends spent HOURS waiting around to cheer us on after our first loop and celebrate with us when we were done.

Like last year, the aid stations had plenty of yummy food every four miles. We made sure to grab sandwiches, Coke, M&Ms, pretzels, chips, cookies, gummy bears and other treats. Oh, and there was Gatorade, water and Guu.

Because this was our second time on the course, we had a much-better plan, helping our head game and letting us get through each aid station more quickly and efficiently. That said, we were plum tired and I suspect Vicki thought about stabbing me and leaving me on the side of the trail more than once.

Not all of us were smiling with about 7 miles left.

We had to dig deep several times to keep moving forward. We may be smiling in these pictures, but running a 50K is really, really hard. Getting all of the runs on the training plan each week takes hours and hours, and even then, race day comes down to mental toughness and the willingness to keep going when your body is telling you to just quit, sit and rest.

Having good friends with you helps a ton. Knowing that you have a crew waiting for you at the end can make the difference between giving up and continuing to move forward. I can’t stress enough the importance of a good support network for these longer races.

Thankfully, we had all of those things, so we were able to get past the life-sucking hills and tired bones.

And because we all got done so much earlier than last year, we headed back to the my motor home at the nearby Pinckney Recreation Area where we were staying for the weekend, had pizza and drinks by the fire, and reveled in our accomplishment.

Seeing the finish line gave us the boost we needed to finish strong.

Several people have already asked if we plan to run the course again next year. I suspect that we will.

Vicki, me, Corey, Melissa and Shannon all ran the Run Woodstock 50K.

There was some talk about tackling a 50 miler at some point. Much like with childbirth, I suspect we’ll all forget just how tough the 50K really was and that we may start thinking that it’s a really good idea. We’ll see.

What this race did give me was the assurance that there isn’t anyone else I enjoy making bad decisions with as much as these wonderful humans.

It also gave me a big blister. I’ll be the one hobbling around the rest of the week, but with a smile on my face.

Running’s not just pretty medals.

Have you done an ultramarathon? What’s your best advice for someone deciding whether to increase their race distance? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

While a chica really can’t have too much running gear, having two kids in college at the same time this year, choosing which items to add to my collection is going to be harder than ever as Skirt Sports (affiliate link) releases its new fall line.

I’m a Skirt Sports ambassador and get a generous discount on the gear, but I’m not being compensated for this post. I do, however, get to share a 20 percent discount code with you so you can shop with abandon: FWC20. The code can’t be combined with additional discounts, coupons or promotions.

So what’s so special about the new Skirt Sports fall line? New patterns and new items.

New patterns

The redesigned Pocketopia Capri in the new Love Triangle pattern.

There are items in at least three new patterns: Love Triangle (in shades of green that make this Spartan super happy), Flyaway (a Ruby red repeating pattern that happens to be a butterfly wing) and Romance (a repeating horizontal pattern that has all of the season’s new colors, including greens and the new solid color, Ruby).

One of my favorite Skirts, the Happy Girl, in the new Romance pattern.

 

The Hover Capri in the new Flyaway print.

New items

While Skirt Sports is slowly releasing the new fall line, you can already buy some new items that are sure to become favorites.

The one that I’m most intrigued about is the Reflective Bolero Jacket, made with a highly reflective fabric and designed to be folded tightly and stored in, what else?, your Skirt pocket. It’s also wind and water resistant. Isn’t it cool?

The new Reflective Safety Bolero is designed to fit in your Skirt pocket.

Skirt Sports used that same fabric for its new Reflective Safety Skirt, which can be worn over shorts, capris or leggings.

Here’s a closeup of the new Skirt Sports reflective fabric.

The company’s popular Gotta Go Skirt now comes in a capri. It features a built-in trap-door so you can, well, go while on the run. I haven’t tried this one and am not yet sure whether I’ll be taking the plunge.

The Gotta Go Capri Skirt features a trap door that allows you to go potty discreetly while on the run.

While I can’t provide any details, I can tell you to expect some wool items to arrive in the coming weeks. Between the new patterns and the new, warmer fabric, I’ll be spending all of my clothing allowance on running gear. Again. Unless, of course, y’all tell Santa I’ve been a very good girl this year.

Have you tried Skirt Sports gear? What’s your favorite item? What do you think of the new patterns? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

Tuesdays on the Run fall race scheduleBefore I became a runner, I bemoaned the end of summer as soon as the first leaf on the maple on our front lawn changed color. While I still am not happy about the upcoming drop in temperatures and shorter days, at least I have fall training and racing season as a consolation price.

The fall race calendar is the topic of this week’s Tuesdays on the Run link-up with runner bloggers MCM Mama Runs, My No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice.

But how does a runner chico or chica find said races? Here are my favorite sources to find the best races to fill up my schedule:

  1. Other runners. As I continuously mention, I have made some awesome friends since I became a runner. And said friends like to regale me with stories about their race exploits, especially during our weekend long runs. I have learned about my most-favorite races (Gazelle Girl Half Marathon comes to mind) through my friends. Bonus: You get intel on things like which races fill up immediately and which ones have the best swag. Plus, it usually doesn’t take a whole lot to convince your runner friends to sign up with you.
  2. Running groups. I still mostly run with Team Playmakers and Black Girls RUN! and they both host races or running events. They’re a great source for race ideas, whether to participate or volunteer. Bonus: If your running group is hosting an event, you are bound to get the best course support on the planet.
  3. Runner bloggers. Want to race in a different state? Search your favorite runner bloggers’ sites; they’ve probably done a race recap or review, giving you lots of advice, photos of the course (and bling), and enough details to plan for things like where to meet your family/friends when you’re done. I learned about my first trail half — the Two Hearted Trail Half Marathon — from Detroit Runner’s amazing race review. I immediately added the race to my schedule when I read his review and next year plan to book the Grand Island event I read about on his blogBonus: Bloggers like to get into lots of details and post lots of photos.
  4. Running store. Much like running groups, our favorite local running stores often sponsor races and race series. Ours even sponsors an amazing trail series, including one run at a local cider mill where they make and sell delicious hard cider. Bonus: The potential to participate in fun, local races and, well, hard cider or local beer.
  5. Interwebs. Don’t knock a good ‘ole Google search or information on local races and race series. I learned about several other races (including a couple in Puerto Rico) by searching for half marathons in the winter. Fair warning: Huge rabbit hole. You may spend two hours clicking on different links before you realize it. Bonus: Sky’s the limit on location and type of experience.

As for my fall race schedule, it’s pretty slim because I’ve been hyper-focused on my big-deal-whoopie race, the Run Woodstock 50K ultra. That said, I’m running across the Mackinac Bridge on Labor day as part of my Michigan Fitness Foundation duties, running the aforementioned ultra the following weekend and finishing up my season with the yearly Turkeyman Trot on Thanksgiving morning. It’s been a great year for running and I’m grateful to have been healthy to enjoy it.

How about you: Where do you learn about races? What’s on your fall race calendar? Feel free to share a link to your blog post below if you’ve written about this topic.