9 miles

This is what I looked like after the nine miles…see, still smiling!

Warning: this is an extremely long and self-indulgent post…more for myself and my future running than anything else. It’s not particularly funny, so if you aren’t actually interested in running, you may just want to skip the read. (See, I try to be considerate.)

According to my training schedule, today my long run should have been five miles. Yes, should have been. However, because I will be in Las Vegas next weekend, I decided that, after the wonderful experiences I had running in Arizona, nine miles (what I should have done next Saturday) did not sound like a good time. So, I flip-flopped my two long runs and did the nine miler today. And I’m still alive to tell about it.

Preparations began yesterday, when I went to Runner’s Corner to purchase the hydration belt I’ve been eying, along with some BodyGlide and some GU Energy Gel. They were out of the first two and I decided that I didn’t really want GU. I have never tried it, but I couldn’t manage to imagine GU being anything but disgusting. I mean, it’s called GU. While I was disappointed about the belt and the Body Glide, the one high point was the discovery of these fabulous little gummy things called Shot Block Energy Chews. Apparently, three blocks give you the same energy/fuel/whatever as one thing of GU. I still wasn’t sure I would like them, but gummy beats gooey any day of the week in my book, so I purchased two little packs of those.

I got home last night at about 10:30 pm. I needed to get to bed, but I also needed to put a new playlist on my iPod for my run. I have this thing about long runs and new playlists. So, I sat down and started to prepare the list. I put on enough songs to cover the length of the run, plus a few extra at the end, just in case. The songs at the end were not songs I necessarily like while running, however, I thought that would be motivation for not getting to them, i.e. running faster.

And now, to this morning. First of all, after running with Dianne and shuttling cars, I have decided that one-way runs are the only way to go. But Dianne was not available for running this weekend, so I had to find another alternative. Thankfully, I have a great dad who was happy to drive me up the canyon at 6:30 am. I drove my car to the mouth of the canyon and parked it (my dad was shocked to see just how full the little parking lot was at 6:30 am on a Saturday – he thinks we’re all crazy). And then Nev (aka “my dad”) drove me up the canyon, clocking nine miles on his odometer, all the while chatting about how runners never look happy. Thanks, Nev. Just what I need to hear before setting out to run nine miles.

I watched my dad drive away, holding my iPod, water bottle and little ziplock bag containing six energy chews, feeling a little nervous about the run ahead of me and wondering, once again, what the hell I was thinking when I signed up for the St. George Marathon. I stretched a little and then set out on my run.

The running was FANTASTIC! Yes, I know I put that in all caps and ended with an exclamation point, but it’s true. And I attribute the sheer joy of my run (okay, it wasn’t all joy, but it was really, really good), to the planning I did ahead of time and a couple of little changes I made in my routine.


First, I did not put my goal into my iPod like I usually do, thereby eliminating the little voice that normally tells me when I’ve completed one mile, then two miles, etc. which also made it so I had absolutely no idea how fast (or slow, as it were) I was running. Running is definitely as much a mental thing as it is a physical one and I thought that perhaps by not waiting and longing to hear that voice every mile and not worrying about how not fast I run, the run might not feel so tedious. I was right.

The next thing; I incorporated walk breaks. When doing long runs, especially for the novice runner like myself, there are several different schools of thought, but one tip that seems to be pretty common is to take walk breaks every so many minutes. Well, I didn’t want to look at my iPod (my only source of time) at all for all of the previously mentioned reasons, so I decided, rather than timing my breaks, I would just walk every fifth song (four minutes walking for every 16 running).

And, while we’re on the music subject, I also made sure to mix the playlist up a bit, both the songs and the order, without paying much attention to where I was putting different songs. This way I didn’t know which songs were coming when or where the songs fell (which would also give me an indication of how far I’d gone). This kept things interesting, especially since, as you will see in the list below, I put some pretty random stuff on there.

Energy chews were a new thing for me. I have run farther than nine miles three other times in my life, never using any type of energy booster. Once again, reading came in handy here. The advice that seemed most logical to me was a little bit of fuel regularly throughout my run, rather than a lot in the middle (which is how some people do it). Not wanting time to be involved in any aspect of my run, as stated previously, I decided that every time I took a walking break, I would consume one block. I estimated that I would take about five walking breaks, so I would have one extra block. That block I ate just before starting my run, at which point I was happy to discover that I am a fan of that particular flavor (Cran Razz) and the texture didn’t make me gag at all.

The last thing I decided to do was a little more spontaneous. After my dad’s comments about runners being angry, I decided to make a conscious effort to smile and say “Good Morning” to every person I saw along the way, whether walking, running or biking. I was not going to be one of those runners who was angry she had to run nine miles. I have to admit that, even with all of the “power of positive thinking” stuff I’ve read over the last ten years of my life, I was surprised at how much this seemingly small and insignificant act affected my attitude.

All of those little things combined made for a very enjoyable run! So enjoyable, in fact, that I ran 9.4 miles before checking my iPod for stats. I was still half a mile away from my car. It turns out nine miles on the road is almost ten on the trail. And, upon completing, Lance Armstrong informed that I had set a new PR for my one mile time. How great is that! And I wasn’t even trying.

Here’s the playlist. Copying Anne’s idea, I’m going to put some little notes by the songs so that I can refer to them later.

1. Freedom 90 / George Michael 6:30 – good as a starter song because of the length and tempo.
2. i wanna have your babies / Natasha Bedingfield 3:34 – as this song always makes me laugh, i love running to it. It may have been better a little later in the run.
3. Dance Dance / Fall Out Boy 5:02 – great song, good tempo.
4. Forever / Vertical Horizon 4:27 – I associate happy running memories with this song, so it worked well.
5. the doorbell encore / White stripes vs. jay-z vs. queen 4:16 – this was a perfect walk break song…a little on the slower side.
6. Here (In Your Arms) – remix / Hellogoodbye 3:54 – I like the remix much better than the original.
7. SexyBack / Justin Timberlake 4:02 – this was a great place for the first of the SexyBack installments. I was settling into, what felt like, a slower pace and this helped me pick it up.
8. Simply Being Loved / BT 4:21 – would have been a good walk break song…a little mellow for running.
9. Porcelain / Moby 3:58 – I just love this song. That’s all there is to it.
10. Too Much Heaven / Eiffel 65 5:19 – not a good walking song at all, so I didn’t walk to it. This was right just before I got to Vivian Park.
11. Open Your Heart / Madonna 4:13 – I really wanted to run to this song, so I only took a partial walk break. I should always have at least one old school Madonna song in the mix.
12. Hot ‘n’ Cold Pussycat / Basement Jaxx vs. The Pussycat Dolls 4:11 – Such a great song! Slow, but the words were totally inspirational. Ha ha ha!
13. Makes Me Wonder / Maroon 5 3:31 – I didn’t enjoy this song on the long run nearly as much as I liked it on my short runs earlier in the week, but it’s still good.
14. Twilight Back / Justin Timberlake vs. 2 Unlimited 4:00 – 2 unlimited and JT…fantastic and totally distracting, in a good way.
15. Can I Kick It Like That? / Pharrell vs. A Tribe Called Quest 4:08 – would have been a great walking song, but I wasn’t on schedule anymore, so I ran to it. A little slow, but definitely happy. 16. Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand … 5:39 – another personal favorite and while slower, I prefer running to this one.
17. My Console / Eiffel 65 4:17 – Great song. It played somewhere between Bridal Veil and Nunns.
18. Living in a Bubble / Eiffel 65 5:05 – while I love me some Eiffel 65 (a mission discovery as Blue played in every Metro station regularly), two in a row of any artist is not my favorite thing. Also, I think I’m sick of this song.
19. No Apagues la Luz / Enrique Iglesias 3:49 – guilty pleasure. Enrique should always be in the mix, as well. And the Spanish version of this song was definitely the way to go.
20. Rush (New York City Club Version) / Big Audio Dynamite II 3:55 – Oldie but goody! Happy memories that definitely got me through a little lack of energy.
21. The Call / Backstreet Boys 3:26 – another guilty pleasure…absolutely fabulous!
22. Escape / Enrique Iglesias 3:30 – Should have been a little farther away from the other Enrique. Good walk length at the end. Had it been longer, it might have been too much. “You can run, you can hide…but you can’t escape my love.”
23. When You Were a Starlight / Team9 vs. The Killers vs. Muse 4:11 – Totally got my energy back up after walking and the mash-up was fantastic.
24. When You Cry / Vertical Horizon 3:30 – I like the song, but not towards the end of a run.
25. SexyBack / Justin Timberlake 4:02 – perfect timing for a second play. Right at the end, when I needed a little more.
26. The Sweet Escape (Konvict Remix) / Gwen Stefani featuring Akon 4:01 – I was still about half a mile from my car and I didn’t know where this song feel, but I finally decided to look at my iPod in the middle of it. 9.41 miles! Done.

13 thoughts on “9 miles

  1. GU is good. Well..maybe not good, but it works really well. I use it when I go mountain biking. The consistency is a bit wierd at first, but like most energy gels/drinks/etc…you get used to it.I saw the link to your blog over at the Mission Suisse de Geneve page. Good bloggsge!

  2. Zachariah – Thanks for the amphipod info. I’m not counting on it to be all of my water, so I should be okay. Do you like it otherwise? I just like how it appears that the bottles are a little easier to get in and out. Decisions, decisions. Do I remember reading that you are doing the Freedom Run?

  3. Hey there!I run with an amphipod. My only problem with it is that it holds 32 oz (4 – 8 oz bottles) and this last Saturday that wasn’t enough… had to refill at the grocery store at mile 8-9 of my 13-miler. I’m training for St. George too! Hoping to finish in about 5 hours!

  4. Thanks Maren! I actually don’t have a belt yet, but I was looking at the Amphipod ones. With yours, is it pretty easy to get your bottles in and out?

  5. also, you said you didn’t like your running belt? i have a great one that i love, love, love. it’s called a “fuel belt”. it has places for 4 little bottles – 2 in front and 2 in back, so the weight is evened out. it also has a little pouch for gummies or chapstick or ID, etc. you can also get an attachement for an ipod or something as well. i love it.

  6. k – you don’t have to buy Nike’s, but I would recommend the pouch that I have. I found it at a store here called “Simply Mac”. If you decide to get the Nike+ and can’t find a pouch (it’s the black thing on my left shoe in the picture – you velcro it around your laces) let me know and I can help you out.Maren – way to go on the seven…doesn’t if just feel good?

  7. so great! i ran 7 for the past two saturdays and my 9 miler is this saturday…good tips. the 7 miles went much better than expected, so i’m actually looking forward to it!

  8. glad your run went well! i had a similary good experience on an 11-miler this morning. i love shot bloks too! The black cherry are also good.so i thought the nike+ thing was only in nike shoes, but you obviously don’t have nikes, so what is the deal? can i just but the chip and the nano attachment and then i am good to go??

  9. Anne – you are hilarious! I know the “finger” feeling, though. I’m sure that feeling will be there marathon day.Jenny – you may not run, but I know you are doing that 5k and I am super excited for you!Kristi – My iPod does the same thing as your garmin, the only thing it doesn’t do (which I know some garmins do) is map my course and give me elevations, which would be helpful. The iPod thing is actually called Nike+. There’s a little chip that attaches to my shoe (if you look at the picture of my “running stuff” you can see a little black pouch attached to my laces) and then another thing that plugs in to my nano (it only works with nano’s). You can set goals on it of distance, calories or time or just leave it on “basic” which just keeps track. When you set a goal, it talks to you (periodically…you can still listen to your music), when you don’t, it doesn’t. But, whether it’s talking or not, you can always look at the screen to see how far you’ve gone, your current pace and the time you’ve been running. At the end of your run, it also gives you how many calories you’ve burned. You actually input your weight, so I believe it’s pretty accurate. Oh, and if you set a personal record (PR), Lance Armstrong’s voice comes on at the end and tells you about it, like your farthest run or your fastest mile, 5k, 10k, etc.Then, the other reason I love it, is you can log on to Nike+ and download all of your runs and track them. You can “see” your run too, so you know where you slowed down/sped up, etc.Cristin – if you have any musical suggestions (seeing as our guilty pleasures are the same), please send them my way!

  10. how fun to find your blog.i loved all your tips and thanks to Anne (my motivator) she has taught me so many of the tidbits you shared, but i still learned so much more.i am very interested in the part of having your ipod tell you when you are done, how does that work.have you ever thought of getting a garmin – i love it and am an adict to tell me how fast and how many miles i am going.2 months a go i could not run for 1 minute and yester was my 8 mile run.i also am a big fan of saying hello to anyone that walks by me. i take my headphone out of my right ear then say hello and give a little wave with my left hand (unless i am pushing my 50 pound red stroller then i don’t wave)i can’t wait to keep up on your blog and learn more from you.my running mix is so crazy because i have to have all the same songs every day. i like to turn each corner hearing the same song, i also do the same route every day – i am such a creature of habit!ok i look foward to your running postand any friend of anne’s… well is one lucky girl!

  11. I do not run, but I have a LOT of friends who are, and I know that somedays can be hard… so glad you had a great day! keep up the good work!

  12. Hello gorgeous, you look great for just completing a 9 mile run! I know you wrote this post primarily for yourself, but I loved hearing about your experience and seeing what different techniques work for you. It gives me some good tips for my own runs. I bought some gels, some shot blocks and some energy beans to do a little taste test but i haven’t gotten up the guts to try any of them yet (well except the beans, they’re interesting). It’s good to know the cran razz shot blocks are good, I’ll have to buy some. I think it’s great that you made an effort to say hi to everyone you pass. I’m getting a lot better at that, for a long time it was all I could do not to return a wave with the finger. :)Great playlist! Since I have a lot of the same songs on my ipod it’s so interesting to read your notes, especially seeing where our opinions differ. I find it so interesting that different songs work well for some people and not others.Congrats on the successful run!

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