It cannot possibly be the last Friday of the summer. Considering my calendar says September starts on Monday, I guess it must be true. I am heading back to school on Tuesday after a pretty incredible 4-month summer “vacation.” We had somewhat amazing weather here in Alberta this summer and I tried to take advantage of it as much as I could! I hit the gym nice and early this morning for some more elliptical recovery and I was thinking about some of the things that got me through the summer. I know that this is exactly the time you are curious about summer essentials… right at the END of summer. Oops.
1. First of all, after a crazy disastrous Calgary marathon attempt, I had an awesome season of training this summer for the Edmonton Marathon. I learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn’t. I invested in my first FuelBelt and though I felt so silly wearing it, it is helpful to have water with me on the run so I don’t die of dehydration and it definitely came in handy holding my energy chews instead of stuffing every pocket in my shorts. I also discovered my perfect pre-run or pre-race food… a Clif bar and a banana. I haven’t have ANY stomach issues or cramps or anything after making the switch to this FUEL choice.
2. Over the course of this 4 month break from school I have run just under 700 miles (~1115 kilometres) and I have gone through a few pairs of SHOES. I like to wear different shoes depending on the distance and the type of workout I am doing, so I have kept a steady rotation over the summer. My favourites were the Brooks PureCadence 2s and my least favourites were the Asics 2000-2s.
3. COFFEE. I think my bloodstream is 94% coffee. I am one of those weird people that doesn’t drink coffee for the caffeine boost, but just for the taste. Most times I drink my coffee decaf because the caffeine lasts over 12 hours in my body and keeps me up at night if I drink it too late in the day! I NEVER drink coffee before a run, but it is always a nice, warm treat after a solid run. Oh, and it’s best black… why ruin such a wonderful thing.
4. I attribute some of the great running I did this summer to the PLACES I RAN. I ran on trails, roads, and paths, and in some pretty awesome places. I loved heading out on the country back roads behind my house, and I really loved running in Banff and in the mountains. I ran in the really low altitude streets of Manitoba, and I raced the streets of Calgary. I had the chance to run with my mom a lot this summer which was super fun!
5. I enjoyed a bit of CROSS TRAINING this summer to compliment my running schedule. I had the chance to cycle in the Tour de L’Alberta at the end of July and it was such a great experience! The more I hopped on my road bike, the more I fell in love with it. I also took a spin class for most of the summer every week and it just continued to fuel my addiction to spin. I want to do a LOT more cycling into the fall months and then I plan on setting up the wind trainer in the middle of our living room for some winter cross training!
6. Just being OUTDOORS. I was stuck in air conditioned buildings working a lot this summer but I tried to use any time I wasn’t working to be outdoors. We had the most amazing weather this summer with very few thunderstorms and hardly any rain during the day. It felt like a crime to be indoors at any time so I tried to make sure I got my share of daily Vitamin D! I travelled to Banff a lot this summer and being outside there is just beyond words. I also tried outdoor gyms for the first time this summer which are a pretty neat little fitness trend.
7. Fresh FRUITS and VEGETABLES. My summer was fuelled with a lot of Honey Stinger energy chews, but even more fresh fruits and vegetables. I LOVE the summer for everything that is in season – the berries, the nectarines, the corn on the cob, the beans, the tomatoes, the zucchini. I went to the farmer’s market a few times throughout the summer, my dad planted tomatoes in our backyard, and my aunt became quite the little gardener bringing us zucchini, tomatoes, and strawberries every time she came to our house. There was no shortage of local and fresh produce in our house this summer and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
8. MIO LEMONADE. I drink SO much water, even more in the summer because it is so hot, and I added Mio Lemonade to 78% of that water. I don’t care what anyone says about the fake sugar and artificial sweeteners, this stuff is insanely good. I kept it in my purse all summer so that I could add it to water anywhere I went.
There you have it; my personal selection of running fuel, my Brooks shoes, coffee, the places I ran, cross training, the amazing outdoors, in-season produce, and Mio lemonade were the things that helped me get through the summer. I am
secretly a nerd, so I love September and the feeling of routine, but I had such a great summer that I really don’t want it to be over!
Tell me three of YOUR summer essentials!