August Runfessions

Meditations in Motion

Step into the runfessional, brothers and sisters. The time has come once again to confess our running sins. This month I have a big runfession to get off my chest, so let’s get started.

Four miles is a good long run for marathon training, right?

Meditations in MotionI runfess, I am not putting the miles in that I should before the Marine Corps Marathon, which Bill and I have on our schedule in October.

I used to do several 22 or 23-mile training runs before a marathon. No more! We are not running this marathon for a speedy time; we are running it with our 78-year-old friend Dennis who has run the MCM 30 previous times and would like to do it just once more.

Dennis’ most recent races have involved a fair amount of speed walking. He is nervous about getting in under the seven-hour time limit. I thought training would be low-stress, but we still have to cover the 26.2-mile distance.

I just looked at my training log. Before the half marathon we did last weekend, our longest run in the four weeks prior to the half was 4.26 miles. I am beginning to worry.

It’s not going to get any better.

Meditations in Motion

Bill and I are planning a two-week trip to Spain in September. For part of the time we are there, we plan to hike el Camino de Santiago.  Not all of it, just the last 120 km or so.

Many people walk el Camino as a pilgrimage. It is supposedly the path St. James followed to Santiago de Compostela, where his crypt is located.

Since neither Bill nor I are campers, we have hired a tour company to transport our luggage from town to town, where we will stay in hotels each night and sample the local food and wine.

After our hike, we will travel to Barcelona for a few days of relaxation, more excellent Spanish food and wine and, of course, all the culture.

Since we will be hiking an average of 13 miles each day, I runfess we are not planning to run while we are in Spain. So…two more weeks of little-to-no training one month before the marathon. You don’t often find that scenario in too many marathon training plans.

I am done putting all non-food items in my mouth and calling them “nutrition”.

Meditations in Motion

There are a lot of gels, gu, energy bars, electrolyte drinks, protein supplements, sport jelly beans, and blocks out there being marketed to runners. If one (or more) of them work for you, that’s great.

I must runfess, however, I am no longer going to purchase or consume any item I can not immediately recognize as real food.

I have tried everything. Everything except the Cricket protein bars recommended to me by a (slightly crazy) former running partner. The source of the protein: ground-up crickets. Cricket wasn’t only the name of the bars; it was the main ingredient. I drew the line there.

Everything else I have sampled.

For my last half marathon, my only source of nutrition was some salty almonds and dried apricots consumed before the race (after my breakfast bagel). Worked great; tasted great. The sugar from the apricots was released more slowly than the jolt you get from sucking down a gel. It kept me satisfied for the entire 13.1 miles.

My 15-mile training run was a real elmore.

Meditations in Motion

I have saved the best (worst?) runfession for last. Unfamiliar with the term “elmore“? I was too. Urban Dictionary defines it as: ” complete screw-up caused by hubris, incompetence or greed“.

Except for the greed part, “elmore” perfectly describes my last long run.

Bill and I planned to do a 15-mile training run on Thursday. We laid out our clothes. packed a gym bag, and made a route plan the night before.

We like to run several short loops from our local rec center so that we don’t have to carry food or drinks. We can stop at the rec after each loop, grab some food and drink and use the restroom facilities if needed.

Sound like a good plan? It wasn’t. Here is a partial list of things that went wrong:

  • I only got about three hours of sleep the night before. I should have moved the run to Friday in the hope I could get a decent night’s sleep, but I didn’t. I was tired and cranky at the very beginning of the run.
  • I didn’t eat enough before the long run. 15 miles on a piece of toast, a handful of almonds, and three dried apricots? I don’t think so.
  • I didn’t drink enough during the run. Thursday was a warm, sunny day. Our loops were approximately four miles each. Four miles is too long to go without water and I got dehydrated.
  • We started out at a pace that was too fast. We should be trying to match Dennis’ pace. That is the speed we need to practice. Instead, we began at our typical half marathon pace. I got burned out in a hurry.

The run was a disaster. In addition to the physical problems, I was miserable the whole time, snapping at Bill for ridiculous things. Twice on our last lap, I had to actually stop, bend over, and put my hands on my knees. I was even too tired to walk. As we climbed the final hill, 1/4 mile from the rec center, I almost started sobbing, I was so exhausted and dismal. Bill, bless him, gave pathetic me a hug and encouraged me to finish, which I did. The run was mercifully over. We had done 15.6 miles.

Next week, we plan to do 17.5 miles. I will make the needed adjustments. All of these mistakes are easily avoidable. No more elmores!

Thank you for joining me again for Runfessions. The last one was especially cathartic. I feel better already. See you again next month, when I am sure I will have accumulated more running sins.

I am joining Marcia’s Healthy Slice for Runfessions and Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 5.









  1. You’ll do fine in the marathon. Those thirteen mile hikes count as training, and you have enough muscle memory to fake it… bet you’re sore afterwards though. Real food: I never go long without a couple of Payday’s in my pack.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope your trip to Spain is fun dear, all that walking everyday should help some thow it’s not the same as running.
    If you stop and think about it crickets are food 🤔 it’s just what are you willing to eat as food 😜.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds tough all the way around. But I do like, “I must runfess, however, I am no longer going to purchase or consume any item I can not immediately recognize as real food.” It’s a good motto for life.

    And poor Bill! Does he know that, here in the South, “Bless your heart,” said in a loving, condescending way, with your head tilted understandingly to the side, really means, “Well aren’t you one Yankee SOB?”

    All in all, a good story about why I run 5ks. Though I AM m impressed with your soon-to-be-eighty running partner making a go at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read some Michael Pollan books, “In Defense of Food” among them, that have changed the way I eat. He says “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly vegetables”. sounds like a good plan to me!

      I did not know that about “Bless your heart” in the South. Here in PA Dutch country it really means “What a great guy”! 🙂


  4. I have a student whose family hiked that trail in Spain this summer. In fact, the mother and father originally met while hiking that trail years before. From what the student tells me, the father is still there to complete the entire trail! It must be amazing. Cant wait to hear about your adventure in the fall!
    Also, how awesome to do the Marine Corp marathoner with your friend, even if it’s not “running” it the way you normally would.
    Thanks for linking up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t wait to hear about your hike on part of el Camino de Santiago! I have no doubt you’ll be just fine at MCM, especially since you’re just running for fun. I’ll bet you’ll get more out of hiking an average of 13 miles a day than you realize. Sure, it’s not running, but it’s still pretty intense exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. For this marathon training cycle I am logging less miles than a “traditional” training plan. I’ll do one (maybe two) 20 milers but all my other long runs will be shorter than that. I do a lot of strength training so that helps to balance out the lack of miles.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow props to your friend for continuing to tackle MCM at age 78. Very inspiring! Your Spain trip sounds fabulous. Of course you can count all that hiking as training! It’s the “elmore” outings that remind us just how hard running can be. Glad you got through it. I used to fuel my long runs with dried apricots but I’d gotten away from it. Thanks for the reminder and thanks for linking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I admire Dennis. His last MCM was in 2007, but before that, he ran 30 consecutive years. I hope you’re right about counting hiking as training. I do think we will be doing a lot of walking at MCM. Thanks for giving us the chance to share!


  8. I think all your hiking in Spain will keep you in good shape. I use Nuun in my water and like the HoneyStingers waffles for a snack on the bike. They look like a cookie. 😉 There was lots of real food for fuel at the Fondo. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Had I known you’d be identifying what an “elmore” was, I could have saved myself Googling it first. 🙂 Up until reading your post, I defined that word with a initial cap “E” as to my neighbors named “The Elmores” who lived across the street for many decades. You’ll do fine in the walking event in Spain and in the running portion of the USMC and get your second wind too – take a few more apricots along Laurie.

    Liked by 1 person

      • You know I never thought of Elmore Leonard and he lived here in Michigan and here he went by “Dutch” Leonard. I have never read any of his books. I think you’ll have fun on the marathon Laurie – good thing you don’t have to carry your luggage on your back – what if it was hot – you’d be sweltering. Lots of apricots will get you through this walk. Are you going to give us status reports along the way or are you traveling very light since you’re not managing your own luggage so sans the laptop?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I started to read one of his books once, but I don’t think I finished it. I guess he was just not my type of writer. I am not going to take my laptop to Spain, Linda. I don’t want to carry it every day while we hike and I don’t trust the luggage transporters to treat it gently. I am going to take a blogging break from mid-September to early October.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I kind of thought you might do that Laurie and it sure makes sense. You don’t want to worry about baggage handling with electronics. I’ll be looking forward to hearing how the walking trip goes – it sounds very exciting to me!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I think it will make it easier to recreate the stops when you write the posts Laurie. When I traveled and used my 35 mm camera, I always had a small spiral notebook in my camera bag. I didn’t have a blog way back then, but what I did was label all the pictures in the photo album with a label (using a Dynamo Label Marker) and a short description. It worked well as I would not have remembered all the historical places. You take photos with your phone – do you see the image number on your phone to match up with your notes? I don’t have a smart phone, just a flip phone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a good idea, Linda. I am going to try to be better about taking photos than I have in the past. I don’t see the image number, but there is a location and date stamp.

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      • I would have forgotten otherwise and I was alot younger then. I saw something on the Grommet for taking selfies recently – the smart phone is put into this gizmo and it is similar to a gooseneck lamp, flexible to wrap around a pole, or a tree and take a selfie. This would be fun to take pics along the route. I forgot that you have the automatic location/date stamp … I was thinking this is a really rustic trek.
        I love The Grommet – I never buy anything but I like looking at all the gadgets:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hmmm… I will have to check it out. I have to watch my luggage. I can only pack a very light bag because of weight restrictions. I am trying to figure out how to get clothes for 2 weeks into a very small duffle bag!

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      • I thought it would be fun to pass along, but yes, you have to pack light, but will you have small back pack for each of you for water, snacks, first aid supplies – hopefully no blisters each day that you set out?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes. We will have a small backpack for water, snacks, and maybe a rain jacket. We are going to Spain for 2 weeks with only a backpack and my gym bag!!! What an adventure. I have to make every item I put in my bag count.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We have been weather-stalking. The weather should be good. I am going to pack a raincoat with a hood in case any of our hiking days are rainy, but taking a taxi to the next town is always an option.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like that term “weather-stalking” Laurie. I am a big-time weather worrier and stalk the weather forecasts on multiple social media platforms and on the radio daily. That’s great news and thankfully you are doing this in cooler weather, especially if Spain was affected by this record heat wave that most of Europe suffered through. Our weather is just crazy. This weekend I was in long sleeves and pants and this morning I could have used a light jacket as well! Below-average temps, but no worries, tomorrow and the rest of the week, we are 20 degrees above normal.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. You are an experienced runner, so I am sure that you’ll do fine in the marathons.
    I think that your trip to Spain will be a wonderful experience: I went there many times for work. Never done the Camino but I know Barcelona very well and there the time flies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If we like it, I think we would go back and hike more of the Camino – maybe the whole thing. I hope the hiking keeps us in shape!

      I am going to put the bad run behind me. Bill and I have 2 (!!!) races on the calendar for next weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Elmore. I just had one but only for 9 but felt like 26.

    Your Spain trip sounds awesome. Can’t wait to hear about it.

    I don’t plan to overdo the miles for my full. Just want to finish.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can’t wait to read your Spain posts, I’m going to Barcelona in the spring. I’d be absolutely with you on having company bring my bags if I ever did el Camino. Long time bucket list, but it’s slid down.
    Sorry about your elmore – here’s to better runs
    I go back and forth on the race fuel. The chews are conveniently packaged and sized and work for me — but I found myself craving an uncrustable during my 16m run last week. That would be heaven

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Laurie, first off I would like to extend my utmost respect to Dennis – 78 and still going strong! And to you and Bill for doing this with him… We have to have bad runs to be able to enjoy the good ones. And just the act of keeping going when it’s the last thing we want to do is training in itself… I’ve never tried those energy gels, I never fancied them, but when we’ve done the Athens marathon I have taken honey in sachets and ate banana pieces from the feeding stations which worked for me without upsetting the tum… Good luck on next weeks training run, it has to be better!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Dennis is an amazing guy. He has so many varied interests – in addition to running, he grows dozens of orchids, is an artist, collects fossils…I certainly hope you are right – next week’s run has to be better than this week’s!


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