I was really ready to run today. Like for realsies. I knew it would get hot up in the day, but the morning air was crisp and cool with a breeze. It was perfect weather for a long run. I caught up on last night's episode of Haven while I ate some oatmeal. I watched Masterchef Junior while my food digested. As soon as it was light out I got dressed and headed out with no hesitation. Alert my mom and the media because I have clearly been bodysnatched.
I bought a hydration backpack to use on long runs a few weeks ago because I kept running out of water and feeling dehydrated when I carried a 20 ounce handheld bottle during half marathon training. I was already thinking about signing up for a marathon then and I knew that my long runs during marathon training would be even longer than the ones I had already been doing. By the time it arrived it was too late for me to test it out before the half marathon and I didn't want to run with something new during the race in case I didn't like it. I did last week's long run on the treadmill and didn't need it, so today is the first time I have gotten to try it out.
I have heard good things about the Camelbak hydration packs, but they were too expensive for me. I checked prices on Amazon and ordered the Ledge Sports Gooseberry Hydration System. Most of the reviews were positive and the $27 price tag was a lot less painful than the Camelbaks I looked at.
The picture above is the backpack without the water bladder in it. The water bladder is basically a plastic bag with a long straw attached. You fill it up with water, gatorade, Nuun, or whatever tickles your fancy then you put the bladder inside the backpack and feed the straw through a whole in the top of the backpack. There are little loops of fabric along the straps that you can feed the straw through to help hold it in place while you run. Today I filled it up with water and ice, but next time I will probably add a few Nuun tablets for the electrolytes. It comes with a 1.5L (50 oz.) bladder, but it will apparently fit a 2L (67 oz) bladder if you want to buy one. The replacement bladders seem relatively inexpensive (I saw a 2L one on amazon for $10) so I might buy a bigger one as my runs get longer.
Anyway, my first impression of the backpack is that it's serviceable, but not stellar. It could really use some pockets on the straps. It has a pocket on the back of the bag (see picture above) where you can put your phone/mp3 player and there is a place to feed your headphone cord through the top of the bag. The pocket would fit a phone, a bunch of the applesauce tubes I plan to use as long run fuel, a key, pepper spray, and your firstborn, but to get to any of it you would have to take the backpack off which is annoying.
To be fair, the backpack did its primary job. It held my water. With the ice, it stayed cold for my whole run. The straw was easy enough to use (you basically just bite down on the end of it and suck to make the water come out). It did not bounce around like crazy or make my back anymore sore than it normally is after a long run. The backpack is good, but the gripe-y consumer in me thinks that if the company had really wanted to, they could easily have made it great.
The actual running part of the morning was pretty both stellar and great, though. The cooler weather made it easier to do the running intervals faster than during the half marathon. I also felt inexplicably energetic, even towards the end of the run when I was mostly going uphill. I was definitely sore by mile 7, when I was leaving the greenway, but I was still going faster than during the half. Those speedy treadmill miles are doing their job and helping my speed I guess.
I'm also not sure what my garmin's problem was at mile 5. I stopped at the park center to use the bathroom and when I restarted my garmin the old girl must have been confused because instead of ending the lap at the end of a mile like she was supposed to, she finished a lap at 3/4 of a mile and messed up my lap chart. Hiss and boo, garmin. Hiss and boo.
When I saw how many calories I burned I decided to get myself a long run treat from Great Harvest Bread Company.
I had planned to get a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie, but they were out so I got a cinnamon roll the size of my head instead. I was a little nervous about getting the cinnamon roll since I had only looked up the calorie info on the cookie and was not sure if the cinnamon roll would be more calories than I burned. Turns out, it was 900 calories. Perfect, since I burned 964 calories during my run. It was delicious and the best part was knowing that I had earned every single bite.