Race aid stations - What are they serving this time?

Runners, repeat after me: I will not eat or drink anything on-course that I have not already tested in training.

We get it. We know it. But we do it anyway.

And we are often very sorry we took the risk.

I’ve done it. I’ve grabbed goos and gels halfway through half marathons and regretted it. I’ve gulped electrolyte drinks without trying them ahead of time. And I’ve repented, while panting and clutching my gut in the final miles. 

Not gonna fall for it this time.

An upcoming half marathon race has announced that their on-course aid stations will be offering a new hydration drink, which is billed as carb-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly, sugar-free, and vegan. It's probably ideal for lots of runners. 

But I’m not buying it (or even grabbing a free cup mid-race). I looked up the ingredients, and the extremely popular sugar substitute this product contains does unpleasant things to me, even when I’m not running my heart out.

So you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be sporting a bottle of my own favorite electrolyte beverage for that event. And I’ll be reaching out to the water stop volunteers who are handing out actual water.

Better safe than sorry? Got that right!

Like other big races, I’m guessing this event will feature beverage give-aways in the finish chute. If a race volunteer hands me a bottle of this stuff, I’ll smile and thank him or her. Then I’ll find someone to give it to afterwards – someone who can drink it without fear of later mishaps and regrets.

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Activity trackers -- You're never fully dressed without a dial

“Hey, running pals. Wait for me! I’ve gotta charge my tracker again.”

Are you with me? How many times have you mustered the wherewithal to step out for a run (especially a longer run), only to glimpse at your Fitbit, Garmin, Apple Watch, or other activity tracker (or even smart phone app) and groan? Then, of course, you have to stop and plug the thing in, so it won’t quit along the way.

After all, do miles really count, if they aren’t counted?

Sure, they do. But somehow the trip seems different to us, if it’s not recorded electronically.

Runners find it rewarding to reach our daily distance goals. We love the startling buzz (or pulse or beep), when an activity tracker alerts us that today’s step count has been met.

We’ve all known the disappointment of having a device run out of juice during a record run or a big race. So we sit in parking lots with our car engines running, willing our gadgets to charge faster. We duck back indoors and plug our wristbands in to top off their batteries. We close out inactive apps to keep our phones from running down too fast while we run.

And there’s that dreaded day when a runner discovers mid-run that he or she has slipped out without strapping on that wristband. It’s a scary naked feeling, to be sure.

Remember the scene from Annie, when the kids sang “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile”? Take a look and a listen:

Runners have a slightly different version. We feel less-than-completely-clothed when we skip our trackers.

We're never fully dressed without a dial.

Last week, I joined my chorus onstage for a performance. The costuming required me to leave my Garmin behind until we returned to the backstage area. It was almost creepy. All I had on my left wrist was a slight tan-line.

I’m not falling for that trap today. I just have to rev the thing up before I slip it on again.

“I’ll be along in a few minutes. I’m up to 60% already. C’mon, tracker. Charge up!”

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Cross-Training – Ever tried suspension training?

Sometimes trying a new fitness class is worth the risk. This week, I was sort of at the end of my rope, having missed a favorite group exercise class. My calendar competed with me and won, so it had to be so.

Hoping to regain my workout momentum, I sampled a suspension training class. This session employed the TRX system, with which I was quite unfamiliar. It didn’t look all that trying, so I decided to give it a whirl.

TRX photo by Pixabay / permission granted

Color me impressed. One hour on that fitness framework, and I was hooked.

What is suspension training?

This mode of exercising uses ropes or straps attached overhead to make participants work against their own body weight to build strength, balance, flexibility, joint stability, and endurance. 

Hey, I need more of all of those things, I thought.

The TRX system at our gym employs a rigging of webbing (with handles) that are affixed to a sturdy rack (looking something like a traditional playground swing-set).

Group class photo by with permission
I plunged into the program tentatively at first, but soon found myself stretching my own limits with each exercise we performed.

Guess it’s time for me to suspend disbelief in suspension training – at least, if my sore muscles have any say in the matter. And I’ll be back for more.

Feel free to follow on Twitter. Please visit my Amazon author page as well. And I am happy to share my RUNDERDOG ambassador code for 10% off on Bondi Band Athletic Headbands, Accessories, and Fashions. (Simply enter the code at online checkout.).
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