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Training: Week 9

Me and my new friend Sally the CamelBak
I'm going to sound so annoyingly perky with this post. But seriously, this week was probably the best so far in my half marathon training, and there's just so much to write about.
Let's start with my obsession with water. I think I've finally found my ideal solution for hydration on long runs. After trying out two different hydration belts, I wasn't quite satisfied. The bouncing still bothered me, and I felt like I had to constantly adjust the belt to stay in place on my hips. Plus, I kind of felt like the 20 oz. limitation was going to be tough as my runs got longer.

My teammates seemed extremely satisfied with their CamelBaks on our long runs, so I started researching their products. Kyle also thought he could use a hydration option for runs and long bike rides, so together we selected and ordered the CamelBak Dart online. With a sale and free shipping, I was super pumped to try it out just two days later.

And? I think this is finally the solution I've been looking for. I named my pack Sally, as in Sally the Camel, and she's proven to be a great investment. The pack is barely noticeable as I run, with less bounce than the belts for sure. I LOVE the extra pockets on this model, with plenty of space to hold my iPhone (with case), and the new Gu packs I am trying out (more on these in a sec). I could even fit my keys or a small poncho inside if needed.

Sally also makes it easy to take in water WHILE I'm running, instead of being forced to walk when I'm thirsty. And, the valve doesn't let me gulp down too much water at once. I did that a lot with the water bottles on the belts, and my stomach paid for it.

The other new product I tried out was the Gu Energy Gel packs that I bought last week at a running store.

Hey look! Running is about more than the accessories!
You know ... I should probably make a disclaimer I am not a paid reviewer for any of the products I write about. None of the companies have contacted me in any way. I just want to share my trials with you all to document what I experience as a rookie runner. Hopefully, it can help someone else who's interested in the same things.

Anyway, right after I bought my Gu to slurp, one of my favorite blogs, Another Mother Runner, had a really informative post about how to use the packs. It was great timing, and I used their advice and tried them out on my 5 mile runs and my 8 miler Saturday. I have to say, I think I'm hooked. My favorite flavor so far is Espresso Love, which was perfect on my early morning run Thursday. Its extra jolt of caffeine was just what I needed.

The price and local availability of Gu is the only downside. (My Gatorade chews are cheaper and sold locally). But if I can find a good deal online, I'll probably buy more Gu packs for the future.

Providence Dam, near the start of the Towpath Trail
So besides spending lots of money last week, I swear I really did run, too! I had the best run of my life so far on Tuesday with Kenlee. It was so inspiring that I wrote an entire column about it for Monday's Bryan Times. It resulted in a PR for 5 miles, despite the extra weight of the stroller, and I pushed myself to ANOTHER PR on Thursday's run.

Saturday morning, I wasn't feeling the best thanks to some poor/fun decisions Friday night. Thankfully, we had a Team Shenanigans run at Providence Metropark in Grand Rapids, Ohio, so Jan and Danielle once again pushed me through the miles. My new best friend Sally helped keep my headache away with plenty of water, and I didn't start swearing off Michelob Ultra until mile 7 or so.

We all agreed, the Towpath Trail was amazing, and we hope to schedule another training run there again. We loved the shade, the scenery and the change in running surface. Kyle also enjoyed the trail Saturday, pedaling 20 miles on his bike while we ran. I am so impressed and proud of him!


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