Daybreak I think is one of the most fantastic times to be out running. The world is just a quieter place and of course it is usually lots cooler in the summertime! Getting to the moment of running at daybreak takes more preparation some days than others. Saturday was one of those days.
Yesterday I did a long self supported training run. Self support means that there isn't someone manning an aid station to hand me food or drink or cheer me on. The preparation for this started the night before. I went to the grocery store and got a selection of snacks (not all healthy ones either), prepared and packed them. The goal was to have something at these two impromptu aid stations that I was interested in eating. I'm sure it is hard to imagine not wanting to eat something in front of you but it does happen if you are dehydrated or hot or just feeling bleh at the time you hit the spot where the food and drink is!
So the food selection turned out to be: strawberries, bananas, orange wedges, chilled boiled potatoes with dipping salt, pb&j sandwiches cut up in quarters, nutella and jelly sandwich cut up in quarters, goldfish, cheetos, fritos, twizlers, swedish fish, gummy bears, oreos, stinger waffles and chews. Most of these snacks are commonly served at all the trail races i've ever done, and I wanted the long training day to be as much like a race as I could possibly manage.
What did I end up eating? Not ALL of this silly! I did have two other folks running with me so I wanted to make sure they had treats they like to eat too and I have a lot of leftovers. What appealed to me most this time was pb&j, potatoes, fritos and cheetos. I did have one quarter of the nutella sandwich and decided that is not really what I like so it won't make a visit back on my menu unless my run friends want one.
I ended up having water and a variety of flavors of gatorade at the stops too. One thing that often surprises me about the aid stations at races is that they usually pick one flavor of whatever drink and that is what you have on course for however long you are out there. I know I get tired of one flavor after one or two fill ups at any race and by the time I finished the last course at 14 hours I really didn't want one more sip of heed!
Prep completed i had an early dinner and bed time since I'd be up at 4AM to be ready to go at 5AM. I know it just seems wrong to be up so early on a weekend. But when you have a friend willing to meet you early, you have to go for it! My eternal thanks to Mike!!!
I got up at 4AM, got dressed, skipped coffee (boo!), ate two pieces of toast with butter, drank a glass of water and loaded up the car with the aid station stuff. I'm lucky to have friends that live at one end of my route so I could place my aid station at their house. Thanks Randy and Tamara! The other aid station was my car.
With the aid stations all set up, I headed off for the run with Mike. When we started it was dark out so we had our lights going. At that time of the morning there was only 1 or 2 others on trail. It was peaceful and enjoyable to be out and about chatting with friend in the early morning hours. It was also great to get in the practice of running in the dark and sunrise time for the 100 miler coming up.
The run itself went as smoothly as it could. I think I had more company for this training run that I do for most races Mike and Chris (aka hubby) each ran 13 miles with me at the beginning and end respectively. In between times when I was running solo I really wasn't alone. I ran into others, some who i know, on the trail. The temperature was pleasant all day and even when it got a little warm there was enough of a breeze to keep reasonably cool. There was no falling or getting lost either.
Yesterday was one of those wonderful days when I know why I run and enjoy it. It is just awesome to be able to be out in the woods, running with friends and enjoying the moment!