This one's for you. (And by you, I mean ME)

Music my ass
No thanks to my spare phone, the Motorla Q9m, I did my long run today. (No thanks because, despite being called the QMUSIC, this phone doesn't take a standard headphone and I had to spend $30 and search endlessly for a headphone with BOTH a mic AND a jack to convert to 2.5mm.)  BUT there's no way I was running that long without music.  I may be minimalist when it comes to my running clothes, but I really need my tunes and my heart rate monitor.

There is a lot going on in the Land of MAJ. 18 miles and 4 hours of running solo gives you lots of shit to think about.  I did spend most of this time visualizing a giant PR and the successful finish of the
IRONMAJ.  But there was a lot of other stuff, too.

So, to be kind to those of you who are kind enough to read my babbling, I'm going to break this down into 3 parts.

Part 1: Things I've Learned From My Best (and Worst) Long Runs
Part 2: This One's For You (and by you, I mean ME)
Part 3: Um, I kind of forgot what part 3 was.  Get back to me on that. 

Part 1
Things I've Learned From My Best (and Worst) Long Runs

The very most important of all: you have to make your training work for you.  For years, I was a marathoner that never got up super early.  My lifestyle wasn't conducive to 5am wakeup calls when I was very ill, so I never got up that early to train.  Now it does, and I can train with others, so I do.
Lube up

Hydrate early.  Better to do this than to find yourself dying of thirst 3 hours in.

Pacing is important.  26.2 miles is a long way.  If you don't respect the distance, learn your pace and learn through training what your body will do over distance, you will either a)implode, b)hurt yourself, c)DNF, or D)hate life so bad you'll never do a marathon again.  Or all of the above. 

Actually, that leads me to: 26.2 miles hurts.  Pretty much anything over 15 miles hurts.  The trick is to distinguish between good pain and bad pain.  Bad pain is injury and overuse; good pain is speed and endurance.
#3: Lube up

Chafing sucks.  Lube up.  When in doubt, add more lube.  Some of my girlfriends wear compression shorts like underwear even under skorts with compression shorts to prevent The Dreaded Chafe.  Oh, and never underestimate heat; you can sweat and chafe even going 5-6 miles.

I've seen people with belts looking like this for half marathons
When it comes to nutrition, less is more.  I  have seen runners who have so much to carry that they don't know what to do with it all on 10- to 13-mile race courses.  When I started doing marathons, I first went totally bare and basically carried nothing; then I went the other way and overpacked.  I'm learning that, if you are eating/drinking the right things, you don't have to have much of it.

I ran Philly at 28 degrees
and near-freezing rain
in a runningskirt, a long-sleeved
tee and a light vest.
Don't be this guy
(sorry if you are)
When it comes to clothing, less is more.  Running heats you up fast, and there's nothing more miserable than being hot and wet all race long.  I've never been a big fan of wearing a lot at races, but I've learned that you only really need knee pants or tights for the very, very coldest of races.

Part 2:
This One's For You (and by you, I mean ME)
When I ran the New Orleans Rock'n'Roll Marathon, I did it for the American Cancer Society.  It was my first charity marathon.   I also did my century this year for charity, although this wasn't my first charity cycling event.
Charity races are usually associated with total beginners who decide to take on their first race for a cause. I went the opposite way. . . did my own races for years and didn't dabble in charity until recently.  I can tell you, if you are a Speed Snob (and you know who you are) and you have never done a race for charity, you still ought to do one.  It is the best feeling in the world to do something good for others WHILE you do something good for YOU.
That being said . . . .
This year, I will confess that my marathon and that second medal I hope to wear are completely, 100%, for ME.  Not for anyone else.  It sounds extremely selfish, but I am just going out there to do what I can do for myself.

Racing is, after all, highly personal.  No matter how good you get, you're really only ever competing against yourself, unless you're lucky and good enough to be someone like Macca or Crowie or Chrissie or  Rinnie.

    Part 3
     I remember this one after all.
     Even After 6 Years I am Still Kind of a Noob
There is still so much to learn about my sports.  I am still slower than most people.  I am still newer than most people, too - mostly because I trained completely alone for so much of my training and you learn so much from your partners. 

I just NOW moved from the old-school Polar Speed/Distance Heart Rate Monitor, which tracked my distance like a pedometer (and was always wrong), to the Garmin Forerunner 305, and that was only because one of my extremely generous and helpful tri mentors was kind enough to lend me her old one.  (Most of my training partners, including my Garmin Donor, have long been onto the 301XT.)

So there is always something new to learn, whether it's how to run with GPS, or how to not be a cycling leech, or how to dress for a marathon, or my next challenge, how to train for a crit, and that kinda makes me feel like I will always be a newbie.

And I don't know if that's a bad thing.

Anyway, I'm starved.  Burning somewhere between 1500 and 1800 calories will do that to ya.

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