I may or may not have done something incredibly ridiculous. I signed up for an ultra-marathon. Yes, it is as scary as it sounds. No, I was not in my right mind. For those of you that don’t know what an ultra-marathon is, it is a can of pain. Sore joints and blisters. Tears and lots of chafing. And for me, something I was confident about… before I took a 2 month hiatus from running.
Somewhere at the end of January I ran a half-marathon. I didn’t train hard for it, and it kicked my ass. BUT, not as much as I thought it would. Really, thinking about it now, it seems like it was just a giddy prance from downtown Charleston to North Charleston. I was feeling marvelous at mile eight… mile ten rudely smacked me right in the face… and mile twelve was a gasping delirium but by the time I was finished I completely forgot about all of that. And the next logical thing to do was immediately sign up for my first 50K. That’s right. A 30 mile race in the woods of good ‘ole Tennessee. Up mountains. Down mountains. Around mountains. Death. In any case, I guzzled beer, gained confidence and signed up for the Rock Creek Stump Jump 50K. I am currently guzzling beer thinking about it.
Now, 3 months and several weeks of sitting on the couch later, it’s (past) time to train. This week is the beginning (and very well may be the end) of running in circles around Charleston. Time to strap on the headphones and listen to the same songs over and over and over. The picture below is some gear I like to run in, and prefer. I bet you guys were just itching to know. You lucky blog skimmers, you.
If you are a runner like me (Type A, of course) you know that there is something sacred about your running routine. You do the same thing to get ready. You wear only a select amount of clothing that fits you JUST SO. And if something is off about the gear you are using, your whole run is ruined. Well maybe that’s just me.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Fits Socks
Drop what you are doing, go to Half-Moon Outfitters and buy these socks. (Preferably lots of them.) I work at said outdoor shop, and am admittedly spoiled when it comes to nice socks. But I will never go back. Out of all the socks I’ve tried, Fits are my go-to. I usually wear the wool material socks that Fits offers, in ANY style. However I had the opportunity to try these synthetic Light Runner No-Shows and I think I will buy a pair for each day of the week. Super soft, they fit perfectly to my feet (it’s that deep heel cup, and extra thick toe-box and heel) and never give me any troubles. Added bonus: they come to the perfect height above my shoe so that they won’t slip down but still give me that woah-who’s-that-cool-chick vibe. (Right.) The wool version is just as comfortable. When I tell people at the shop to “try a pair”, they usually come back and buy more pairs. Just sayin’.
Pearl iZumi EM Road N2’s
These shoes are great. I SHOULD have sized up a half-size though. They are neutral, which is good for me because I supinate. Enough cushion for the amount of heel striking I do. It’s a bad habit, (right, Vibram?????!!!) and have held up pretty nicely. I even did a snowy and extremely wet 12K in these puppies and they did great. I think for the 50K I will probably get the trail version of these, however. Just to be on the safe side.
I’m a depressing runner. Nothing gets me going more than a slow, emotional build-up to a crashing crescendo. Reference “Blood and Guts” by Middle Brother. Or maybe I feel like shedding a few tears on my run. Reference “Same Love” by Macklemore. But the best of all is a dark and dreary tune that makes me hate life and punish myself via my run. (Is that healthy?) Reference “Bad Ritual” by Timber Timbre. I can be a dreadful human. Few more favorites that seem to make it on my play list: “Mountain” by Those Lavender Whales. “Dimes” by Can’t Kids. Those last two bands are local humans from Columbia, SC. Their music is my favorite stuff to run to. “Bag of Hammers” by Thao Nguyen & The Get Down, Stay Down. “Hang Me Up To Dry” by Cold War Kids. “Killing for Love” by Jose Gonzalez. Anywho. They get my feet a movin’ and the tears a flowin’. I’m weird.
I think that these shorts are SOME version of the Trail Chaser short… I’m not sure that’s what they were called when I orginally purchased them. But they have all the same features. Namely, they have reflective material running down the sides as well a a reflective Patagonia logo. Also, a nifty pocket at the elastic band above your bum. (A GU fits in there perfectly, as well as my iPod Nano.) Right now my growing rump makes them a little tight around the rump area, (sometimes I find Patagonia must think ladies are twigs) but give me two weeks of running. And if that falls through, I’ll just buy mediums. I LOVE THIS SHIRT. Technical? Nah, just your average cotton tee. But the graphic is awesome and when it shrank too small for my 6’5” fella (all the shirts he owns do, it’s endemic), I got crafty and salvaged it. Now, it’s the best thing to run in. And everyone loves it. If you want one for yourself, check out the Drunk As Lords website. More awesome local dudes doing cool things.
Lastly, the GU. “GU: It will make you poo.” Well, if you eat too many of them. Which we did, when a bunch of Half-Moon Outfitters employees all took a van to run the Palmetto 200 Relay Race. But those things work. I remember parking the van on the Isle of Palms Connector to give one of our runner guys a GU, right before he headed up the super steep Connector. It was 5 in the morning and we had been shuttling and running for almost 24 hours now. He said that thing kicked in mid-incline and he felt like he was flyin’. Then got in the van after his relay-leg and promptly passed out. But if you have more than one, make sure there is a proper restroom around.
This is my wardrobe for the next 4 months. Wish me luck if you see me around town guys, huffing my way through a run. Or bring me a tissue, ’cause you know this girl be cryin’ to my songs.