Bugs Will Bite Your Ears & Other Important Running Things

Happy Training for Tuesday! Thank you for allowing me the pass I really needed last month. I missed coming here and sharing some deep, meaningful, profound knowledge (in case your sarcasm detector is broken, let me help you: I'm being sarcastic, because all I talk about is nonsense and not profound in the slightest) with you wonderful readers and link-uppers. It was a weird transitional time, and I'm still in a transitional phase now (that's another post for another day), but I'm trying to get back on track.

Speaking of on track, I don't know if you know this, but I'm training for my first full marathon. I know, news to everyone, right? In that time I've learned some really valuable, important lessons I thought I should share with you all today. Because you know what they say: If you had to sign a confidentiality agreement before running a marathon, nobody would do it.*
*For the record, I don't agree with this and I think people who say it are needlessly snarking on runners for no good reason at all.

Welp, now that I've started us off on a sufficiently awkward note:
1. Friday night long runs make the most sense for me. The order of my runs is pretty arbitrary in comparison to what my spreadsheet says, but I've worked out a schedule mentally that seems to be working well around summer weather and all the events, trips, and other scheduled events I've had to work around. Friday night long runs feel really good, and the shuffling I've done to make those possible makes sense for my schedule.

With the exception of race days, I'm really not a morning run person—I'm not programmed to get up before the sun, just like I'm not programmed to fall asleep before 90% of the hemisphere is in REM. I know a lot of people are big fans of the early Saturday long run, but this order just works for me, at least for now.

2. Starting the week on a "speed workout" (i.e. me just trying to run kinda fast-ish for a short distance) is the way to start strong. Lately most days I've felt somewhat (or very) sluggish, which really is owed to the level of humidity, with a slight assist from stress and insomnia. If I can manage it, making myself uncomfortable on a Monday or whatever day my first short run of the week falls on is fun and definitely sets me up with a more positive attitude toward the week.

3. I love steep, short hills. I always thought I kinda liked them, but no. I love them. For a few reasons: (a) What goes up must come down, (b) It's a great glute and calf workout that I can always benefit from, (c) Nothing feels as good as the first ten feet of de-elevation after a steep climb, (d) The mental fist-pumping and chest-pounding that gets me up that hill is a serious celebration in the noggin.

4. Peanut butter before a run = death. I know, I never thought this would be the case. I run for peanut butter. I mean, sure, cardio health, to help me quit smoking, to feel the best I've ever felt in my body, yadda yadda yadda...all that stuff too. But it's mostly about the Skippy Extra Chunk. Except that apparently if I eat PB before I run, I'm guaranteed a right side stitch that just won't quit and a miserable time on the road.

5. GU is good. Huma is bad. GU was a hurdle for me at first, but I learned that it goes down a lot easier when I gulp it down with water before my mouth can even register that it's full of, literally, flavored goo. (Plus, it really does give me an energy boost that the fruit snacks I usually take on long runs just doesn't do.) Huma, on the other hand, is the exact same reason I cannot drink smoothies made from fruit with tiny seeds (like strawberries or raspberries): unwelcome texture in what should be a completely smooth experience. I tried a Huma gel on the run, had an awful flashback to being a kid and accidentally eating a yogurt with fruit lumps in it, and chucked it in the trash. Bye, Felicia.

6. I can break my own records any damn time I please. It doesn't have to be during a race. It doesn't have to be in the perfect weather. It doesn't have to be with other racers or a running buddy nearby giving me a motivation boost. I can break my distance PR on a regular old Friday night if that's what I want to do.

7. It's impossible to accurately determine what is a "hilly road" until you run it. I never thought much about it, but I just sort of took it for granted that Cape Cod—at least, the part of it my grandparents live in/my family vacations in—was flat. I'm here to tell you, friends, that no...no it's not. Not when you're running it, it's not.

8. Legs up the wall is the best way to end the day. Any day. Before a long run. After a short run. A day after a long run when you're still in recovery. Just throw 'em on up there.

9. The best time to go to the beach is the day after a long run. I've been so lucky twice this summer to ever-so-conveniently nurse post-run aches by swimming in wavy water, and I'm convinced that both times it meant quicker recovery. Not sure how I'll handle this in November....

10. On a muggy July evening, if I don't put bug spray on literally every single inch of exposed skin, I will come home from a run with as many bug bites as nature can manage. On the backs of my ears.
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alyssagoesbang
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Comments

  1. The other day I was out running and got something in my eye...I ignored it and within a few minutes it felt fine. I got home and showered and rubbed my eye and a FLY CAME OUT. AHHHHHh. Bugs are the worst! They make me miserable.

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  2. I think I want to try my legs up on the wall like right now. Apparently it's supposed to be really good for alleviating headaches/migraines too -- and since I have chronically had those since high school, I think it's worth a try!

    I'm also convinced that bug bites are the devils work.

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  3. Can I just do the legs up the wall trick after a hard workout?! I can imagine how nice it feels to be at the beach after you've completed a long run!!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  4. Just found your blog and SO excited to link up!

    Linds @ Not A Mom

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  5. I won't say I love hills, but I agree with all your reasons in number 3. I'm so glad to hear that you've learned so much! And you are a beast for training for a marathon during summer.

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  6. so, i love smoothies and the seeds don't bother me. however, thank you so much for making me realise i'm not the only person in the world who can't stand yoghurt with bits in it. EW. ew ew ew. even when they say 'no bits' THERE ARE BITS WHY IS THERE FRUIT IN MY YOGHURT NO.
    ps that's how we spell yoghurt, i'm not crazy throwing h's in wherever i please.
    i'm glad you've figured out what works for you girl! that's the key to it all, i think.

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  7. I like running first thing when I get up because my stomach is still empty and nothing's going to slosh around, but my boyfriend is the opposite. He has to fuel first. You don't outrun the bugs?! I always thought running meant you were safe because they couldn't keep up. This is an unwelcome wake up call.

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  8. The short and quick steep hills are so wonderful for the mind, spirit and booty. Poor you having to save the Skippy Extra Chunk for post-runs, that sounds like torture. I'm so proud of you for finding the golden hour(s) in your Friday evenings. It doesn't matter when you run as long as you love it and you do it.

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  9. Can I respond to all of these?! Of course I can, I (partly) make the rules ;)
    1. I am so jealous of your night running. Having to eat dinner with another person every night puts a real damper on my evening running plans. Not that he really cares but sometimes I feel bad making his eating schedule revolve around my workouts and my digestive problems.
    2. I miss speed work! I might try that today.
    3. Short and steep is a million times better and long and gradual. I was so scared of coming back to hills but when I ran on them I realized that most of them are actually of the short and steep variety and I was like oh duh this actually isn't that bad.
    4. I too have fallen into the pre-run peanut butter trap and learned my lesson the hard way. It also extends to peanuts, in case you were wondering.
    5. I've tried Gu once and was like ewwww too gooey please get this out of my mouth but I never thought to try it with water. Genius! I've been using salt tablets for about a month now and while they don't give me a boost of energy, I do think they help me maintain my energy level, if that makes sense.
    6. Even more envious of your night runs! Sometimes it is fun to run at odd times because like...who does that?! Badasses, that's who.
    7. Related: I learned this summer that Virginia Beach is not flat. There was actually a slight incline from my apartment all the way to the oceanfront (~1.5 miles) that I never realized existed. I've run parallel to the oceanfront a zillion times but never perpendicular to it so I guess I never noticed. It's not hilly by any means, obviously, but still...not super totally flat either!
    8. We'll have to find you a wall after City of Oaks. Seriously one of my favorite photos from my marathon is me lying on the floor of the hallway of the high school by the finish line (we were allowed to use the locker rooms to change afterward and stuff) with my legs up the wall. I got changed and then made a beeline for the closest wall because priorities.
    9. One of the worst runs I had all summer was in the Outer Banks (an hour and a half with no shade anywhere, I'll just leave it at that), but it was juxtaposed with one of the best things that happened to me all summer which was immediately jumping in the ocean afterward. Also I have no evidence for this but I do believe swimming helps with recovery! Sometimes when I'm achy after a run I seriously start craving the swim I have the next day because I know it will feel so good on my legs.
    10. I ran out of things to say. I don't get bitten by bugs!

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  10. I loved this link up so I had to join in! Congrats on the marathon! I am so envious of people who run as I struggle with it more than normal people, haha. On the other hand, I cannot workout in the mornings either! Always the afternoon & evenings.. And food before always makes it worse too! My fiancé is a runner & uses Gu before he runs. Idk if I could get over the texture, hah. Try some vanilla spray for the mosquitoes!

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  11. Hahaha you are so right that you don't know how hilly something is until you walk/run it!!! I have been misguided many times by my eyes vs my legs. You have some great lessons here!

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  12. haha yeah I learned about what's flat and whats not when I was on my bike. roads can be so deceiving if you've only ever driven down them. congrats on your PR btw! I used to swim and the fastest 500 free time I ever did was in practice. it doesn't count officially but to me it does! congrats again!

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  13. Keep up the great work, lady! I 100% agree with you about legs up on the wall, such an amazing feeling after being on your feet all day. I used to do that at soccer tournaments back in the day.

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  14. 4-8, I totally agree with! PB doesn't give me a stitch in my side, it just wants to come back up.. wayyyy gross.
    Some of my long runs have been on Fri/Sat nights and my friends were giving me shit for it because I have no life. Obviously they aren't runners.

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  15. Oh man I am definitely joining in on this link up from now on! Marathon training definitely made me ignore my poor blog for a bit. Any kind of gel during my run makes me want to toss my cookies. I LOVE Clif's shot bloks and Nuun to hydrate. Most of my runs are definitely at night too after work, not in the mornings. :D

    XO
    Em

    gymandtonic-em.com

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