Friday, May 30, 2014

Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS Watch Review

Now that I've used my Garmin Forerunner 220 for two races, a 25K and a 39 mile race, I want to tell you about it. Just a week before I ran my 25K race, my Garmin Forerunner 610 died so I went to Luke's Locker, a local running store, and bought a Forerunner 220.

I used my new watch three times before race day. Fortunately, that was enough time to become familiar with how it worked so that I wasn't anxious about using it during the race.

Here's what I like best about my Garmin Forerunner 220:

  • The 220 doesn't go into "power save mode" for 30 minutes. With my 610, I'd get to the race start and then have to remember to not let it go into "power save mode" before the race started. If it did, it would have do a new satellite search and might not be ready when the gun went off. 
  • The 220 battery power lasts at least 9 hours. Towards the end of the 39 mile race, my 220 gave me a warning that it was getting low on battery power. I was relieved when it lasted longer than it took me to cross the finish line.
  • Compared to my old 610, the 220 is lightweight. It hardly feels like anything is on my arm when I wear it.

Here are some more Garmin Forerunner 220 reviews.

An advantage to buying another Garmin watch is that I can continue to use the Garmin Connect training calendar where I upload my workouts. They've recently made some improvements and have added some race training plans I might use.

I've used my 220 for over a month. I've only had one problem with it and that was with the auto-pause feature, but that was fixed during a recent update. There are so many watches to choose from, but the 220 works for me. Plus, I like the color! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

My 39 Mile Run Recovery

Fun Race Recovery

After running 39 miles (an extra long 50K race) on May 10, I've rested with active recovery: easy runs, rides and walks.

Last Saturday, my husband and I spent the day going on adventures. We walked through Mercer Arboretum and I took more pictures like the ones above. We ate sandwiches and homemade cookies beside a lake. After our picnic, we rode our bikes. That's my kind of active recovery!

Longest Run

Yesterday I ran my longest run since the race - 10 miles. Before the run, I ate a hard-boiled egg and a corn bread muffin. Then I started my run. After three easy miles, I set out on the trails with some easy hill running. After a dried apricot/water break, I sped up for miles 8 and 9. Then I finished off with a nice, easy mile with my Weimaraner. (I usually run close to home and I can pick her up to run with me.) It was a great run and those apricots saved the day.

Blisters, Chafing and Toe Nails

After my 50K, there was no chafing or blisters, but I did have 3 purple toe nails. They don't hurt. New ones will grow in their places and they give my husband something to tease me about... Although he never really needs new material.


Thank you for all of the encouraging comments about my 50k (here and here)! I wish all of you had been there to run with me to fill in the long sections between the times when the two aid station volunteers ran with me.


(Week of 5/17-23)
Run Miles: 27
Ride Miles: 16
Wild Animals: one dead snake that my husband spotted that required a stop to identify it. (Wait, must we?!) Did you know that rounded eyes means it's probably not venomous. Just one problem - I'm not stopping long enough to check!


Libby Jones Interview - Libby Jones started racing at age 40 and she's 77 now. She's fast and she isn't slowing down!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

First and Last in a 50K Race

When I ran the 50K race last week, I learned:

  • What it would be like to finish first female in a 50K race - sort of.
  • What it's like to finish last female in a 50K race - really.

  • On May 10, I set out to finish my first 50K, the Hog's Hunt 50K in Huntsville State Park (Texas). Unfortunately, I took a wrong turn and added 8 miles to my 31 mile race. (My recap.) After mistakenly back-tracking on the course, I ran through the midway point/finish line, and I was told I was the first female. People cheered. If only it had been true! 

    I said that I wasn't first and that I had only run 24 miles. I explained to the race director how I had gotten lost. Someone encouragingly told me that I could still finish the race. I believed that I could finish, but I needed to hurry because of the 8 hour cut-off. The race director made sure I had plenty of fuel and then I was running again. 

    For the last 15 miles or so, it was very quiet on the trails. I was surprised to see three more aid stations. Two of the volunteers even ran with me. I thought I was the last runner on the course until almost the very end when I saw another runner. We encouraged each other and soon I was alone again.

    Lake at Huntsville State Park

    Fortunately, my phone with my music on it and my Garmin 220 never died even though they both gave me signs of upcoming death. I called my husband twice. I walked the hills. I didn't have any pain. I had plenty of fuel. 

    When I passed 30 miles, I felt like I had accomplished something big already - that was much longer than running a marathon like I've done before. Running 35 miles felt great, too. I wondered if I'd hit 40 that day. I hoped that my phone and my watch would make it to the end, just a little while longer. Maybe I had a mile or two or three left. I wasn't sure.

    After a while, I realized that I wouldn't get a medal. I thought that the finish chute would be gone when I finished and I figured all of the people would probably be gone, too. Finally, after 8 hours and 44 minutes, I ran through the finish chute and there were two people cheering! I was the last female finisher. Even though I didn't receive a medal, I did receive an unexpected finisher's plaque. It felt great to finish that 50K!

    Now I should probably sign up to run this race next year - I'm pretty sure that I'd PR!

    Saturday, May 10, 2014

    How I Turned a 50K Race Into a 39 Mile Run

    You know how a lot of people are afraid they'll get lost in a trail race? Today I wasn't paying attention and I made a wrong turn in my 50K race. After feeling disappointed in myself, I realized that if I finished the 50K course, I would run a lot farther than my longest distance ever, which is a marathon. I was kind of happy about the idea of running nearly 40 miles. Could I do it? I ended up adding 8.1 miles to my 31 mile race and I ran 39.1 miles today! So there was bad, but there was good.

    Race page: Hog's Hunt 50K Trail Race, Huntsville State Park, Texas (north of Houston)

    Date: 5/10/14

    Results: 8 hours 44 minutes to run 39.1 miles

    Course: dirt park roads, mostly shaded, some single track and sand, lots of tree roots, hills, 8 aid stations, flushing toilets at the start, at least one porta-potty on the course

    Weather: humid at first, warm to hot, 70-86F

    After I told the race director about my wrong turn, he called ahead to the aid stations to let them know some crazy runner (my description, hopefully, not his!) who needs help with directions would be coming through. I'd get up to an aid station and they'd cheer for me and make sure I had extra directions about where to turn, or not turn, once I left their station. It was great!

    I really didn't think they'd be out on the course the whole time because I was so late, but the aid station volunteers and volunteers at an important turning point waited for the very last finishers. Two volunteers ran with me on the course when I was in the later miles and nearly alone on the course. That was a real pick-me-up. They hustled to get me through the stop quickly and they made food/drink suggestions. I read that aid station volunteers should treat runners like preschoolers. A tired runner appreciates everything spelled out.

    Post-race: The Trail

    Fuel Pre-run: pancakes, syrup, banana

    Fuel During Race: 

    6 servings Tailwind Nutrition sports drink powder carried in my 40 ounce Nathan fuel belt. Using less caffeine (2 servings) than usual and/or more water per serving (10 ounces) worked better than usual for the first part of the race. I started with 3 full bottles of Tailwind mixed with water. Rather than mess with powder on the course, I put 3 servings of Tailwind with a little water in one bottle on my 4 bottle belt. When I had 2 empty bottles, I squirted 1/3 of the Tailwind mix into two bottles (leaving 1/3 of the mix in the first bottle) and filled all three of those bottles with water. A volunteer helped me with this and it worked well.

    Because the race lasted much longer than planned I ran out of Tailwind so I used the course provided drink, vanilla Heed (50-80 ounces maybe). It's less sweet than Tailwind and I liked it.

    Post-marathon Food: Chocolate milk (from home), banana, M & M's. According to the desired carbs: protein 4:1 or 3:1 ratio, that's too many carbs or too little protein, though. The provided food was at an aid table at the finish.


    I didn't see a snake, an alligator or a wild hog like I thought I might. Although I stubbed my toe on roots, I never fell. Because of roots and a hurt ankle, I didn't finish this race in 2012.

    The Finish:

    Next time, I'll write a separate post about finishing and what it's like when people think you are the first female finisher when you turn out to be the last. 

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    Tina's 1st 50K Race Training Plan

    Training for the May 10th 50K Hog's Hunt trail race has been a lot of fun. I was able to get in all of the long runs that I had planned and I even ran a 25K race last week. 
    I'm calling this my first 50K training plan even though I've toed the line before. In 2012, I made it halfway through this race - a pesky root did me in. Hopefully, I've done enough long runs to teach my body that running 31 miles is possible.

    Long Run Distances (with Next Day Medium Run Miles) Leading up to my 50K Race with Total Weekly Mileage in ( )
    8 weeks out:16/10 (This represents a 16 mile run followed by a 10 mile run the next day.) (45)
    7 weeks out:18/10 (50)
    6 weeks out: 20 (55)
    5 weeks out: 22/10 (55)
    4 weeks out: 18/15 (60)
    3 weeks out: 24/10 (60)
    2 weeks out: 25K race in 2:36 (38)
    1 week out: 12/7 (33)

    Since it's taper time, I had a little extra time so: 
    • I picked blackberries at the park after running 12 miles there. It's early, so I'm looking forward to finding more the next time I go picking. See how, in the picture, there's only one ripe one?!
    • I made yogurt using Trina Holden's Easiest Yogurt Recipe Ever and topped it with my blackberries.
    • I added more race reports to my iRaced web page. The Boston Marathon reports make me want to BQ and the Big Sur Marathon reports remind me of running one of my favorite marathons.

    I've run 15 marathons and I've never finished a marathon feeling like I wanted to run another 5 miles or so, but since the race is so close to home (north of Houston) and running my longest race ever sounded like a fun challenge, I signed up. There may be alligators, wild hogs and snakes on the course, but I'm most worried about the roots!

    Have you ever run or considered running a 50K or even a longer race?

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