I have never met a Gu I truly liked, and certainly there has never been one that I would even consider eating outside of running and racing. Heck, I often look for ways to fuel during runs and races that don’t involve the sticky, overpowering and thick, fake taste that is Gu Gels. I have tried other brands with much the same result.
But! Recently I had the opportunity to try Huma Chia Energy Gels, and I absolutely love the taste. So far my favorite flavor is cinnamon apple. And I am happy to report that these gels contain the same carb content and electrolyte profile to Gu and similar gels. Here are some pictures to compare as well as the company site for Huma.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece on how to set a workout on your Garmin Forerunner watch; today I will introduce you to another feature that many Garmin users are unaware of: the lap button, which is located in the lower right side of most Garmin watches. It’s that little loopy arrow down there.
When your watch is in GPS mode and you are running, the auto lap alert will go off every time you hit the distance that the alert is set for. If you have never changed it, the auto lap alert will go off every mile that you run, basically it’s just the beep you hear every time you hit a mile. You can change this setting inside the activity menu and make the alert go off every half mile or every two miles.
But! You can also change the lap alert as you are running. Every time you hit the lap button, the watch will give you a time since the last time you hit the button. It will then go off one mile from the moment you last hit the button. So what does this mean?
Let’s say I wanted to do a workout that was 2 miles warm up, 4 miles tempo, 2 miles cool down. I got to mile 2 and realized I wanted to add another half mile of warm up. I could hit the lap button at the 2.5 mile mark and the watch would reset the mile lap alert and I could go into my 4 tempo miles knowing my exact pace and distance for the tempo. The lap alert would then be at 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, and so on.
You can use the lap button for fartleks and strides; begin the interval by hitting the lap button and press it again once the interval is done or when it’s time to rest or recovery. You will be able to see the pace and time you ran in that interval on your Garmin Connect read out:
You can use the lap button to get your time and pace for track workouts. If you program an 8×800 (400 rest) workout into your watch and go run that workout on a track, your intervals will be slightly off, GPS is just like that when you are running around and around in an oval. But, if you are on a track, you can use the measurements on the track itself and simply hit the lap button to begin each 800 and press it once more when you cross the 800 finish line, giving you a more exact time and distance.
I feel like there is just no beating the Triangle area when it comes to running routes, and the following photo tour is my absolute favorite in this area. It has a little of everything: road, trail, bridle path, greenway, lakes, creeks, hills, and plenty of water and bathrooms stops along the way. A runner cannot ask for a better route!
Lucky for you, I don’t have any pictures of the blister that I battled for nearly 3 weeks, but, as you can gather from the 3 month-aftermath photo, this was a blister for the ages, and I learned a lot about blister protection and healing while dealing with it.
This particular blister, like most of the ones runners get on their feet, was caused by friction between the back of my heel, sock and heel back of my shoe. I simply didn’t have my shoe tied well enough while doing a long run on a pretty hot and humid day. The result was, after that first run, just a small, single pocketed blister directly on the back of my heel.
Common wisdom is to leave the blister intact and let it heal; the liquid inside the blister is protective and will be absorbed once there is new skin. However, as I discovered, a blister on the heel will be extremely painful if left alone because of the pressure from the sock and shoe. If you plan on continuing to run, leaving the blister intact may be impossible.
The weather really fluctuates during final months of fall season training into winter and then emerging out into spring again. Living in North Carolina, you often need to have clothes for runs that drop into the low 20s and below and then, the very next week, find yourself searching for gear that will be suitable for 35-50 degrees.
Here are my top picks for these unpredictable running seasons!
My last marathon ended in DNF. When I signed up for the City of Oaks Marathon, I wanted one thing: redemption. I could have picked a flat course or course with more aid stations and less greenway running or maybe even one with huge crowds throughout the 26.2 miles. But I chose the City of Oaks Marathon with all of its 1275ft of elevation gain, 10 miles of greenway running, and some lonely stretches.
And the challenge made the redemption all the sweeter.
The White Oak Creek Greenway runs 6 miles, with a section of sidewalk connector included, from Bond Park in Cary, NC all the way to Green Level Church Road, where it will eventually connect with the 22 mile American Tobacco Trail. This greenway has multiple bathroom, water and rest stops as well as connections to playgrounds, area parks, and schools.
The Black Creek Greenway is my current favorite greenway to run on in the Wake County, NC area (otherwise known as the Triangle because of the three cities here: Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill). This greenway stretches about 8 miles and includes multiple public parkings areas, various connections to other trails and parks, access to water, and even a Starbucks in case you need a little shot of caffeine to make it home.
This greenway begins at Bond Park in Cary, North Carolina and ends at Umstead Park just beyond Crabtree Lake at the Old Reedy Creek trailhead.
On July 26th, I ran in and won overall female at the Rockin’ Summer 5k, a race that is part of the Stubborn Warrior Resolution Series. I only wish I had known about this series of races earlier. I had a great time on this challenging course which is held at the Dorthea Dix Campus of the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.
I appreciated their responsive customer service, ease of registration and packet pick up, dedicated volunteers, generous goodie bag, and fantastic prizes.
On June 26th 2014, I ran in and won the 10k in the Esprit De She 10k in Cary, NC. I had not originally planned to run any summer races until closer to the end of July (who in their right mind runs a 10k in 90 degree weather?), but I had heard so many positive reviews of this race, which had its inaugural run last year. It’s an 1600 participant, all-woman race held on a Thursday night at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre and billed as a “happy hour run,” ending with live music, free wine and dinner. Free Wine?! After Party? I was in, especially after learning some of my friends were running, too.
Before I go any further detailing that fiasco that was this race, I will say that the free wine and food has kept my mood mostly positive on this one. Sure, we were shirtless, (at times) waterless, crowded, pictureless and (in my case) without a working time chip, but there WAS free wine at the end. Promise delivered.