Labor Day Weekend Run – 17 miles


The 3-day Labor Day weekend is here, which means one can use that extra day to catch upon anything he/she has been waiting to. And I know that some of my friends have gone out of town traveling and exploring in the wilderness. For me it is time to enjoy a long run, a long hike and a day of relaxing (although part of me keeps telling me that I should go do strength training) as well as prepping for an upcoming backpacking trip in 2 weeks.

Frankly, since I started training for the Long Beach Marathon, it feels like I crammed all of it in those two days every weekend. As much as I love running and as hard as I train for the marathon, I need a weekly dose of the great outdoors as well. And I did, and my body was quite tired from the back-to-back days of physical activity – a 17-mile run and an 19.21 miles of hike with an over 6,600 feet elevation gain. So, today is the day for my body to recover.

Screenshot 2014-09-01 10.51.26

Overall, it was not the result that I was aiming for. However, it was also awakening. And here are a few pointers that I am taking away from this run for the future runs in the next 6 weeks.

  • I have to run faster to qualify for the Boston Marathon
  • I really hate holding something in my hands while running
  • I better hydrate myself more
  • I am not 100% sure about Pocket Fuel energy gel

Screenshot 2014-09-01 10.51.40

Somehow I missed a turn and then kept running on Culver Blvd, so I decided to improvise the route as I ran. All in all, it was a 17 mile run.

Screenshot 2014-09-01 11.05.50

Although it appears that I tried to run fast from the start, I actually didn’t. My main goal on this run was to keep the average pace at 7:30. The MapMyRun app has an audible feature that tells me what average pace I am currently running at. I hear it at the end of each mile and as soon as I realize that I am lagging, I pick up the pace and try to keep it up till I run at the desired pace. Of course, on this run, the longer I ran, the harder it became, and after the 11 mile mark, I was completely out of reach, which brings me back to the first pointer – I have to run faster to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

I will have to work on more strength training and use Pocket Fuel more efficiently, which also covers the last pointer listed above – I am not 100% sure about Pocket Fuel energy gel. Since this is the first time using the gel, I shouldn’t say that it doesn’t work, because I really don’t know whether or not it did during my run. But, here are the things that I experienced, in relation to the Pocket Fuel that I carried with me.

  • Since it is nut butter based, it is very thick, which meant I had to drink more Gatorade to swallow down with, which in consequence, I needed more liquids toward the end of the run, which unfortunately I didn’t. (Of course, on the race day, it won’t matter.)
  • Another factor which I am suspecting influenced the overall outcome is the starting time. I began my run at 6:05 pm. The sun was still up, which made me sweat a whole lot more since it didn’t cool down yet. Subsequently, I was getting dehydrated and out of sodium rather faster than previous times (my previous runs mostly began after 7:30 pm). It really forced me to stop by Jack in the Box on Venice Blvd, where I coincidentally completed my run, and asked for water. I drank probably 1L of water right there then. Thanks to them (and I did it once in the past, so I knew it would be a good place to stop) and I was able to walk back home hydrated with another cup of iced water in my hand. So, I am considering running early in the morning, simulating the actual run, which starts at 6 am on October 12.
  • I put on a belt with 4 plastic flasks of Gatorade that I had for quite some time (since my last half marathon 5 years ago), and in spite of the fact that it was way more than what I carried last time, apparently it was not enough. But, once again, I drank a whole lot more due to two reasons mentioned above.
  • Like some reviewers pointed out on the gel, it is hard to get the whole content out of the packaging. The spout is a hard plastic, so it is nearly impossible for the thick, nut buttery remaining to be poured out. It is one of the least things to worry about while running, so I will have to figure out how to fix that issue.

I believe that I have a good result assessment to work with, which means there’s still room for improvement. I like challenges, and it is definitely something that I can take a close look and find out how I can produce better results. Since I am not, literally, running against time (I am training for a 2016 Boston Marathon qualification), so I don’t feel pressured. However, it is very important to see where I stand and to do my best to achieve my goal every time I can.

Screenshot 2014-09-01 10.52.36

Funny that I got an email notification about my running shoes. Of course, it tracks how many miles I pile on them. Apparently the life span of my shoes is 300 miles. I thought it was quite amusing in that my shoes look still pretty good, except for the the heels, which are naturally worn off a bit. And I put them on only when I go for a run, which means the pair is dedicated to running, as it is supposed to, which in return minimizes any possible wear and tear. And to me, it looks like I can run in them for another couple of hundred miles. The race is approaching fast, so we will see if I end up racking up more miles than I should on them and replacing them with a new pair. If I ever have to, although I like my shoes, I would consider Salomon SpeedCross 3 Trail Running Shoes. I’ve been hearing that it is not only good for day hikes but also quite suitable for long distance running, such as marathon.

Are you taking advantage of the long Labor Day weekend? How is your training coming along? What areas do you have to improve? What shoes are you running in? Have you run or trained in Salomon SpeedCross 3 before? How do you like them? If not, what don’t you like about them?

Thanks for reading.


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About H Peter Ji Photography

I am a photographer. My photos have been sold on EyeEm, Adobe Stock and ShutterStock and also featured on ViewBug and G+ Landscape Photography Community, and via Death Valley National Park Instagram and Facebook. My work is the natural byproduct of my love for outdoors - backpacking, hiking and camping in nature.

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