But should I bring my fanny pack?

The fanny pack has seen an incredible resurgence the past few years.  From a fashion accessory of the clueless tourist in the 80’s to a fitness accessory that people spend big bucks on, the fanny pack makeover is complete.  Adding water bottles to the fanny pack suddenly makes it a “hydration belt”, code for expensive fanny pack.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my fan.. er “hydration belt”.  I wear it on basically all my runs over 10 miles at this point.  It holds two 10 ounce bottles of water (with space for more) my cell phone and I attach my supplement dispenser to it (one run in with hyponatremia is all you need).  It also has 4 loops for gu on the cell phone pocket.  It’s kind of like the belt/holsters from the Westerns you watched as a kid.  Two water bottles replace the six shooters, Gu packets replace the extra ammo (look out Deer I am packing Gu – all 6 returning readers may have gotten that joke) and my running shoes replace the cowboy boots.  You sold on this yet?  You can be a sweatier, less leather wearing cowboy on the trail, fastest draw in the west (at least fastest in Southwest Bloomington for me).  If you have a fanny, sorry “hydration belt” take a break and go put it on, give those water bottles a couple draws in front of the mirror for practice, we will wait for you……………………………………

Good times huh?

Ready to keep going?  Ok!

Back to my question.  I know my fann.. I mean “hydration belt” is awesome, but should I wear it for the Marathon?  I spent my 5k run this morning debating this.  So far this is what I got:

Pros:  I am used to wearing it – I can keep my same pacing of Gu and supplement caps that I have been using in long runs – extra water when you want it can’t be a bad thing – most spectators love a good fanny pack and will cheer extra loud for those wearing them –  I really have no other good option for carrying the supplement dispenser I use – “I’m Batman” while wearing it (thanks allseasonrunner for this addition)

Cons:  You don’t need it, they already have water every couple of miles- one extra thing to keep track of on race morning – I look amazing in this thing I don’t want others to be jealous – it always feels great to take that thing off after a run, why not just feel free of it the whole time?

Anybody have any thoughts/experience on running in an organized race with the fanny pack?  If you want to brag about how awesome your pack is I am all for that as well.

Random tangent:  I got my friend Mike in trouble today.  I had a craving for white rice (not the best carb choice I know) so I convinced him to hit Leann Chin (local Asian restaurant).  Apparently he has turned down going to Leann Chin twice recently with his wife and this did not go over well…  Oops, my craving for white rice is having a negative impact all throughout the Twin Cities area.

Only 4 runs to go until the Twin Cities Marathon!

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Addition, why have you forsaken me?

Elise was waiting outside for me when I got home from my run this morning.  I got a high-five, a “Wow, that’s far Daddy!” but no hug.  I don’t blame her, I probably looked pretty nasty.  It was my last long run before the Twin Cities Marathon (21 days!) and I was stoked to be heading for an ice bath, some compression socks and 3 weeks of tapering.  If only the whole morning went this well.

I got up at about 4:45 am to beat the sun and the heat, I absolutely melt in the sun, and was out the door by 5:15 am.  If I had my way it would be overcast during all my runs, on the shorter ones I would be fine with rain (I need to move back to Seattle to really reach my full running potential is what I tell my wife).  The next best option is to run in the dark under the stars.  And it was a starry, peaceful and chilly way to start off my 22 mile trek through south Bloomington, MN.  I ran a 3 mile loop through my neighborhood without seeing a soul before heading off for the trails system in the Highland lake park reserve.

By 7:00 am the sun was up and I had come across more deer then people (2 groups of 3 deer = 6 vs 5 people).  Deer always freak me out because I never see them until I am right on top of them, plus there are videos like these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNGGbozilko where deer haul some serious ass.  Since I can’t outrun a deer I think my best defense would be to try to squirt one of my Gu packets in its eye (they have huge eyes I can certainly hit one of them)……  You don’t think that would work?  How about fighting it off with a water bottle?  No?  As I was saying, deer freak me out and they were out in force this morning.

Fortunately, I saw an increased number of people (and only 2 more deer) after 7:00 am and I was feeling good.  It is easy to tell how I am feeling during a run by how I interact with others out on the trail.  Feeling good means I say good morning and give a little wave to everyone.  Not feeling good and I tend not to notice anybody, and will mumble something like “Hiyyaa” in response to a greeting.  Up until mile 18ish everybody got a greeting and a wave.  Then my water ran out and my ability to add large numbers (like 3 + 10 + 6 + 5.5) escaped me.

The water was not a big deal, I was close to a drinking fountain and a refill.  The math was a problem.  I have a number of loops and out and backs that I run. I know the distances of these so I can string them together and mix up my runs.  Unfortunately, the group I was stringing together was going to be 24.5 miles, this is easy to see now (and I bet you added the numbers above with no problem).  Years ago Mattel got in trouble for having a Barbie that said “Math is Hard” they should have just re-marketed her as “Marathon runner Barbie” and we would have all been fine.  I was not ready to go 24.5 miles.  Mentally I was prepared for, and was pacing to a 22 mile run.  Things were going to get ugly.

As I was refilling my water bottles I really started to notice the sun, when there wasn’t shade it was getting hot (reality check, it was in the 60’s.  It felt hot I swear!).  I started out again and checked my mileage to gauge how far it was until my last Gu packet (I know, I was going to be defenseless against the deer.  This crossed my mind).  That was when it hit me.  I was at just over 18 miles and I was running a mile further out to get on a route that was 5.5 miles back home.  Panic and Plan B!  Reverse course and run up a nasty hill, this is the shortest route back!  As I got going again I realized that this was closer, but still 5 more miles home.  Good thing I did not bring the fun size snickers and cheese-it’z because at that point I was thinking about calling my wife to come get me and I could have just sat there and enjoyed them while I waited.  I thought about my options and decided to keep going.

I was hot (come on dude it’s in the 60’s and there is a breeze), I was upset I couldn’t do math on the run and I was 5 miles from my ice bath.  So I started running slower, and I stopped saying “good morning” and nobody got a wave.  By the top of the monster hill, I felt like my head was on fire.  I had dumped water on myself to try to help but it had a marginal effect.  So I turned to the last resort of the pale, skinny runner. I (gasp) took off my shirt and tucked it into the back of my running belt.  The poor folks headed out to church or breakfast were treated to a splotchy man, running down hill, bandages on his nipples, looking nasty enough that 2 miles later his own daughter would not give him a hug.  Sorry everybody, it really was a desperation move and I hope not to use it again this year.

Believe it or not, I started feeling good.  I got my groove going, I started singing along to my Ipod and saying hi to the last couple folks that stared in horror at my splotchy paleness (ok that is maybe an exaggeration).  The last two miles were my fastest of the day and well under my goal pace for race day!  I finished up the run to “Free” by Graffiti 6.  Great song to run to and to sing along with.  I was doing both as I pulled up at the end of the block and saw Elise in the driveway waiting for me.

“But I can’t live, oh, without you, without you.  And it’s hard to breathe when you’re not near. But I can’t lie here beside you, beside you cause you steal my soul when you leave…..

Set me free babe, Mmmm, Set me free..”