Getting out the fuel belt

west side

I ran 14 kilometres on Sunday, my longest distance so far in 2013.

It’s a good feeling to know I could break the 12-k threshold once again. My pace was slow but I was OK with it. Thanks so the awesome maps and data I can analyze with my Garmin watch, I know that the route was pretty hilly, and I slowed down quite a bit along a particularly hilly stretch. Also, the there was a bit of a north wind (19 km/h) and it brought a wind chill of -5 C. Nippy for late March.

After our fun run last weekend, Mark and I immediately signed up for the Fredericton Marathon on May 12, Mother’s Day. So it’s really happening! Half-marathon is definitely a go (5K for Mark).

For any run beyond 10 or 12 km, a snack is needed. Water is also important. I have learned this the hard way.

I picked up this Nike fuel belt last summer at Mountain Equipment Co-op.

Modelling my fuel belt in street clothes.
Modelling my fuel belt in street clothes.

It kind of feels ridiculous wearing it, but you get used to the extra weight. The only way I can get the belt to stay in place, especially with full water bottles, is to wear it very snug and high on the waist. Since it was a relatively short run I only filled my bottles about 3/4 full.

Last year, I tried eating chews and gels during long runs. But I have been reading about more natural, real-food options. I decided to try medjool dates, a favourite new snack of mine.

Not only are they tasty, but they are good for runners, too. Dates are rich in glucose, which is quickly converted to energy.

When I got past the 10K mark, it was like a switch went off, and I felt hungry. I stopped to walk for a few seconds and reached for one of the dates I had wrapped in plastic and put in my handy pouch. Since it was cold, it felt like biting into a jujube. Yum! I had no stomach troubles, but made sure I ate just a bite here and there, followed by sips of water. I like the idea of eating natural sugars rather than processed during a run, so if I can make it work, I’m all for it.

Another dried fruit I just discovered is apricots. They are so yummy and apparently have more potassium per serving than a banana. Potassium is an electrolyte, which you lose a lot of during a long run. Hmmm – another long run possibility?

After the run, I downed a whole-grain wrap filled with peanut butter, banana, my leftover date chunks, blueberries and honey.Β  So delish.

It was the end of a long, six day stretch of exercise (including yoga!), but I was pretty proud of myself. If I’m going to improve my half-marathon time over last year, I know I will have to earn it.

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April C

Writer, editor and mom in Saint John, NB.

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