Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Hero.

Today was a good day.  My Nutella came.  I ordered a 96 ct package of single serve Nutella from Amazon the other day.  Actually, it's somewhat less than a "serving" as it is only 0.6 oz, which seems to be about 1 Tbsp or 100 calories.  I already ate two of them, just with a spoon.  SO EFFING GOOD.  Way better than the JIF Chocolate Silk To-Go that I bought for lunches a while ago.  The JIF stuff tastes way more like peanut-butter, and is more similar to peanut butter in texture.  (It is JIF brand...I shouldn't have been surprised!).  I haven't had Nutella in a while, so I forgot exactly how much better it is.  It tastes and feels exactly like melted milk chocolate to me.  I'm in heaven.

But no, the title of today's post is not about Nutella being my hero.  It's about my Nathan Thermal QuickShot water bottle, beefed up a bit, for the first time today, with my Buff.  Let's start with just the water bottle.

I LOVE THIS THING.  I used to hate carrying water when I run, especially in my hands.  I own two water belts, but hate those too, and only use them when I have to (long runs, not with the 501 group, no water fountains on my route).  I am not one of those people that can get by without much water though, especially in the summer.  I sweat more than just about anybody I  know, and I overheat fast.  Summer running slows me down by a good minute per mile most of the time. I chose this water bottle at Running Fit because it was small and light, insulated, and very comfortable to hold.  It only holds 10 oz of fluid, which isn't enough for any significant distance in the summer, but it is enough for about 3-5 miles, and I can usually work in a water fountain at least that often to refill.  Nathan also has 22 oz handhelds, but they are just way too heavy for me.  The insulated case of this water bottle has a perfect hand strap with a thumb hole, so you don't even have to "hold" it.  It just stays on your hand with no effort whatsoever, and is very comfortable.  The hand strap is adjustable to you can loosen or tighten it to your preference and hand size.  It has a built-in pull-out ID tag (which I admit that I haven't filled out yet, but I promise I will soon).  The cap is like a one-way squeeze valve that gives you a quick shot of fluid when you squeeze the bottle, and doesn't leak at all.  I have carried this water bottle for I think EVERY single run I have gone on since I bought it this summer.  Even the group runs where there is water every 2-3 miles, because in this heat, I almost always need more.  I go through the full 10 oz bottle just about every 3 miles.  I like to take a little shot of water frequently, and use it to squirt on my head and neck.  (vs. trying to do all my drinking in large volumes less frequently).  I did have to buy special ice cube trays because standard ones were just a touch too big to fit through the mouth.  (I bought both small "cubes" and the "stick" variety).  I could have just filled the bottle partway with water and frozen the whole thing, but that takes too much forethought :).  Anyway, I think this is like my favorite running purchase ever.  Second only to maybe my Garmin.

Recently, most of my runs, except Saturday morning long runs, have been between 11am and 6pm (read: the hottest part of the day).  The water bottle has made these tolerable, possibly even enjoyable, except for one thing.  SWEAT.  Even with my trusty Halo headbands, my eyes have been BURNING from the sweat pouring into them, even on shorter runs.  I have been toying with carrying a towel, but that just seems awkward.  So today, in a stroke of PURE GENIUS, I invented the "Sweaty Summer Buff Bottle".  (You may also recall my winter Buff invention, the "Snot Mitten").  At first, I was going to just wrap the Buff around my wrist, but even that small amount of fabric felt too hot in this weather (99 degrees when I ran at 5pm today.)  So instead, I looped the Buff through the velcro hand strap on the water bottle.  Perfect!  But too floppy to actually run like that.

So then, I pulled the other end of the Buff circle up over the top of the bottle.  The only place it covered was my thumb!  No heat issues there.  (In the pic below, it is covering my knuckles of my other fingers, but I actually ran with my fingers on the outside of it.  It also looks way bulkier than it actually was.) 

 I had several options for sweat wiping now!  At first I just used back of my thumb (the surface in the picture on the right) to wipe the sweat.  Then, I transitioned to inserting my four fingers into the fabric and using that side for more precision wiping (such as the narrow area between my Halo headband and my sunglasses).  Either way, it require to unwrapping or adjusting at all.  Seamless.  When an area got too wet, I could pull the fabric to rotate it through the velcro hand strap and get a fresh area.  It was awesome. Ice cold water, sweat rag, and comfort.  Who would have thought this was possible in a 99 degree run that ended with 2 miles uphill with no shade??
Pace and Elevation.
I did kind of fizzle out there at the very end, but I had pushed really hard up the hardest uphill part to keep up with husband (yay! we hardly ever run together, and when we do, I usually get mad, so today was a huge win).  
I ended up having a pretty great run.  Until afterward at least, when I found myself with my head between my knees on the kitchen floor after my vision started going black and I was getting lightheaded.  But that was after planks and pushups and stuff, not immediately after the run.  Maybe next time I should use Gatorade or salt tabs or something.

And now for random thoughts and photos that I need to get out before I wrap this post up:
This is from after that amazing run I had at Kensington on Saturday with 501.  I didn't have the photo until now.  (Taken by coach Gina).  I love this pic!! And I love my running groups! 

This is me doing a poor excuse for a reverse plank.  I like that it works the weak area where my ham-ass issue is.  It actually works a little better when I don't wear shoes I think.  I thought this was a good view of my NEW FAVORITE running skirt too.  

This is me at Home Depot after our run, shopping around for the bathroom remodel we are planning.  Apparently this bathtub is for old and/or handicapped people, but I like it.  I could see myself in there with my Kindle.  It would need a pillow though.  Now, lets see if I can justify spending $3500 on a bathtub.  (We can't get a "normal" fancy tub because we only have 48 inches of length to work with.  Bummer. ) 

I am writing this at 4 am because I go to night shift for two weeks starting tomorrow night.  I'm staying up as long as I can to make the transition easier!  I'm actually looking forward to it.  I've only done 3 night shifts since I started my new job, and none since I've been off orientation.  I love the quiet;  both at work and on my nights off at home (I stay on the "night shift" schedule).  I just asked my supervisor for 8 hr shifts, so that should be happening in about 6-10 weeks.  I'm so excited!  I hate these 12 hr shifts with a passion.  I have to miss a lot of group runs, and I'm DEAD at the end of them.  And it's difficult when Jeff is traveling because I can't leave the dogs without a bathroom break that long (it's usually about 14 hrs between when I leave and come home).  And you've already heard about my food issues with the 12s.  If my two weeks of 12 hr night shifts goes better than the day shifts have been, I'll probably sign up for all 12 hr night shifts until my 8 hr shifts take effect in 6-10 weeks.  Then I'll go back to day/night rotating and reevaluate to see if days still blows.  If it does, I may end up back on straight 8 hr nights, just like before.  Fine by me.  I was much happier then.  Hopefully I don't still hate my new job after I'm back to good ol' 8 hr nights.  Then what?  I'll either have to stick it out for a year until I can move to another unit, or just jump ship and try to get in at another hospital in town.  It's been so bad recently, I've been contemplating going back into engineering or IT again.  Eeek.  Or going back to school do something else.  Again.  What do you think I should be next??  I was thinking either accounting or some kind of data/statistics/computing field (informatics, database management, that kind of thing.)  Or maybe I could come up with full-time income by tutoring physics, math, and engineering classes to all the frat brats and sorostitutes (umm...no offense?) around this town.  That would require some brushing-up first though!  Wow that was a really long rant that was NOT related to running.  Sorry about that.  Maybe I'll just have 8 kids and be a stay-at-home mom.  How's that sound to you Jeff??  Did you read this far??  :P

Oooh, I'm hungry again.  Nutella time??

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