Monday: 4 miles easy, and then a trip up to the Big City to complete Operation Poke-Poke (pardon my my irreverence, I am very grateful for the vaccine and owe a debt that I cannot repay to the many, many people who got the vaccine from a theory into my arm).
After the shot, I did isometric arm curls and isometric chest presses. Right afterwards, I visited my office where I kept up the isometrics and added in some one-armed wall pushups. Two hours later I was back home and I did a strength workout. Obviously this is not science and individual results will surely vary, but in my opinion I think the activity helped with the arm soreness.
Tuesday: I can't say whether the side effects to shot #2 were the same or slightly better, but running was off the table. I didn't sleep very well on Monday night, and I had a bit of chills and some warm spells (no fever) plus what I can only describe as a hangover.
I was 100% certain that I would be 100% on Wednesday, so I asked my coach if I should catch up on Tuesday's planned easy 5 miles or stick with the planned rest day. Her verdict: skip it!
Wednesday: I felt like a million dollars, and enjoyed "following coach's orders".
Thursday: I was so ready to run! 2 mile warm up, 3 miles at pace, one mile cool down. Strength in the evening.
Friday: an easy 3.
Saturday: long run day! I had 9 miles and was able to meet up with friends for the middle section. They chose a park with a 2 mile trail that I had never been to before. I hesitated since I like a good out n' back rather than a loop-de-loop, but the park turned out to be Long Run Gold. It's a paved path with a ton of variety in elevation and scenery. The only downside is that there isn't much shade, so I wouldn't do a long run there on a super sunny day, but it was my area's stereotypical overcast day so it was perfect.
The run got a bit tough after the group dropped off in miles 7 & 8, but it wasn't that bad and I kept the ol' left-foot-right-foot act up. For mile 9 I used a technique that I picked up from Laura Norris (truly, I don't just read running blogs, I take notes), which was to count down by tenths of a mile. Once I was in the last 0.2, I was able to pick up the pace and really gun it.
All About My Hydration Vest
The big, big notable of Saturday's long run is that it was my first run ever with a hydration vest!!! Not only was it good, it was so good that I do not think I will ever be able to run without one.
I hesitated so long in getting a hydration pack because they're expensive and I imagined that they would be awkward to wear. It just didn't seem natural to wear a backpack when running. There are a million hydration packs on the market with a billion reviews (seriously, every vest on the market has a bunch of "this thing is the greatest thing ever" reviews followed by a bunch of "this thing ruined my life" reviews). But after I ran out of water on last week's long run I made myself fight through my analysis paralysis and picked something that looked like it would do the job with the criteria:
- Less than $100.
- 2 liter bladder and room for another water bottle in the front pocket.
- Female specific "one size fits most". I saw so many negative reviews on sized vests. Examples: "I'm 5'1" and 100 pounds soaking wet but the extra large was way too small" paired up with "I'm 5'9" and 200 pounds and the medium is OK but I wish I'd gotten the small". Knowing that small, medium, and large are all correct tee shirt sizes for me, I didn't want "size drama" from my hydration pack. Pro tip: the vest arrived with all of the straps in the tightest position, so there was an OMG moment when I attempted to try it on for the first time. I quickly figured out how to loosen things up, and for sure this vest would fit a smaller person and a much larger person. The front strap slides up and down so you can position it anywhere that your chest needs the strap to be.
At first I wasn't sure if it was worth bringing the backpack on the run since yesterday was a fairly cool day so I knew that my normal 10 oz water bottle should be enough, and I was looping past my car every few miles so I could have refilled if needed. But I'm running a race next weekend, so I didn't want that to be the first time that I used the pack (or not use the pack and let it sit around for more than 2 weeks without trying it) so I decided to break it out for its trial run.
The only negative thing that I have to say about the pack is that my back felt pretty warm toward the end of the run, but weather wise it was an "uncanny valley" kind of a day where it was neither warm nor cold. I think all runners know what I mean when I say that I spent 9 miles trying to decide if I should take my outer long sleeved shirt off - it was too warm to keep it on but too cold to take it off.
Now let's talk positives:
Hydration on demand!!!! There are two kinds of people in this world, and what both kinds have in common is that they cannot conceive of the idea of drinking 8 glasses of water a day. One side thinks that's too much, and my side would feel dehydrated if we ever drank that little. Guys, I drink water like a fish. I carry an 18 oz water bottle with me at all times and I refill it constantly throughout the day. The only reason that I drink as little as I do when I run is because I'm distracted. Even for my 3 & 4 milers I usually take my 10 oz FlipBelt bottle so that I have something to drink during my cool down walk afterwards. For long runs, it takes a bit of coordination to pull the bottle out of my belt, uncap it, and then drink. I *can* do this while running, but usually I take a quickie walk break or pause to drink. 10 oz of water isn't very much, so I'm very stingy.
BUT when the water is in a tube, there's no coordination or slowdown required. All I have to do is put the tube in my mouth, bite the valve, and drink. And when there's a 2 liter supply, there's nothing to ration (at least not for the distances that I currently run). So that's the huge game changer that's making me say after just one run that the backpack will be coming with me on all long runs from here on out, and probably a good deal of my shorter runs this summer.
More storage options!!! I've joked before that my flip belt is so big that I can fit my house in there but there are some exceptions. There's no good way to carry my airpods case, so I have to commit to headphones or no headphones at the start of the run. I also can't put sunglasses in the belt. Oh hey it's really nice to have pockets on the front of my backpack for both of these items.
For purposes of carrying my phone, the FlipBelt is #1 so it's not going anywhere, but the back pack will be the place for all of my other carry-on items from now on.
Comfort!!! It feels good, and once I started running, I honestly forgot that I was wearing it. I'll update you once I wear it with a tank top.
FWIW Another reason why I hesitated to get a hydration vest is because it looked like kinda a pain to clean the bladder AND let's be honest, I'm kinda lazy. One tip that I've seen is that a lot of people (gasp) don't clean their bladders! No, they're not dirty birds, they are high efficient human beings who just toss the whole kit n'caboodle in the freezer between uses. So that's what I'm doing.
So the moral of the story is: based on one use I am sorry that I waited so long to try a hydration vest. I have been wrong about many things in my life, and this is one of many examples of where it's good to be wrong. I am very happy with the vest that I got for the reasons that I listed, but I can't say "OMG this is the ONLY vest in the world and you should drop everything and get one RIGHT NOW!!!". I think it would be really interesting to try other vests, but oh snap, I think this one is going to last for a long time so I don't anticipate moving on anytime soon.