1. It's amazing what a good workout can do for your attitude about running. Obviously this is not rocket science, but it is something I had forgotten during the last few months as I slogged through workouts not knowing that anemia was to blame for my total lack of energy. I've now been taking iron supplements for five weeks and last Friday I returned to my first CAR workout since the Frederick Half at the beginning of May. During the first mile of the tempo I felt sluggish and dropped off the back of my normal pack. I felt just like I'd felt in March/April/May. But then I started the second mile and something just clicked. My legs felt great and I was just cruising along. I ended up passing a few people and felt great finishing out the 5k. I was so happy about how the last part of the tempo felt and it was an added bonus that it ended up being my fastest 5k tempo ever! I haven't done that many 5ks on the track so it's not quite as impressive as it sounds, but it's still a great sign that the iron is starting to kick in and I'm on the way to turning things around. I then spent the rest of Friday and the weekend thinking happy thoughts about running and looking forward to, instead of dreading, my next trip to the track.
2. On Monday night I went to talk on marathon nutrition. I left thinking that I probably need to spend the summer and fall experimenting with my fueling routine. The nutritionist who spoke was a big proponent of sports drinks serving as the key component of a fueling plan. She talked about then adding in gels or chews to get to the hourly requirements for carbs and sodium. Unfortunately, I've always had a problem combining sports drinks and gels/chews. I seem to end up with a sugar overload and my stomach revolts. I feel like I've had relative success drinking water and taking an electrolyte pill to make up for what I'm not getting by skipping a sports drink. I've been using Hammer Endurolytes, but she mentioned that these only have 40mg of sodium and you need 400mg of sodium every hour after the first one. Since most gels have 40-60mg of sodium, these means that I would need to eat a ridiculous number of pills and gels each hour to get enough sodium. I can only imagine what kind of stomach problems I'd have with that combo! I may test out using something like Gu Brew or Nuun while running, but that then commits me to carrying my own water bottle for the entirety of a marathon. I like starting out with a water bottle, but one that I can toss by about halfway through the race. I did a little online research of other electrolyte pill options and discovered that SaltStick caps have 215 mg of sodium. Just one of these will get me halfway to the hourly goal and sounds a lot more appealing that downing five gels. I've ordered a bottle so that I can start testing them out on runs soon.
3. On Saturday I'm running the Lawyers Have Heart 10k. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this race. I love it because my office has a team and there's a special category for law librarians (last year I got third) and I hate it because it's always ridiculously hot and humid and the course has almost no shade. Last year it was downgraded to a 5k on race morning because of the heat. I'm hopeful that this year it will stay as a 10k since I haven't run one since February 2011. My goal for this race is to PR (under 52:44). I think this is a realistic expectation since the average pace of my current 10k PR is the same as the average pace I ran at the Frederick Half a month ago. My A+ goal is to finish with a time that starts with a 4. I think I SHOULD be able to shatter this goal, but a lack of recent speedwork and the heat and humidity mean that Saturday is probably not the day for that. That last thing I want is a major blowup at 5k. I always say that I plan to start conservatively, but I know that I actually need to do it in this race when heat will certainly be a factor.