Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

Halfway there


Saturday morning I voluntarily got out of bed at 5 AM to go for a run. “Go for a run.” HA! Ha ha. That sounds so innocent. So sweet! If it had a nose I’d pinch it and then rub it on its head while gushing WHO’S THE CUTEST LITTLE GUY WHO?

My training regimen said I had to run 13 miles. Pretty much a half marathon. And since that would take over two hours (THE HELL?) to complete I had to get a head start so that I didn’t get caught in the heat. So I strapped on all my gear, so much of it that I might as well have been headed to the moon, and slipped out of the house into the pitch black of the morning. How fucking poetic is that?

Finding a path in this town that doesn’t involve giant hills is pretty much impossible, and Saturday morning was no different. I hit a steep patch at mile seven, so I slowed to a walk and took advantage of that moment to eat a goo. Do you know what those are? Goos? They are pretty much what comes out of Satan’s ass when he empties his bowels.

No, no. You’re a runner who has found a goo that’s really tasty and you want me to know about it. No. The chocolate one, right? I tried that one. Satan poop.

I downed that awful goo at mile seven, took a giant swig of water, and turned around. All I had to do was make it back to the house. All I had to do. SO CUTE!

At mile nine I turned my body off. I didn’t want to listen to it anymore because I had to hear every second of the four miles ahead of me. And then at mile ten I realized my fatal error: in order to get back to the house I’d have to run three miles straight uphill. DAMMIT, UTAH. You and your gorgeous scenery.

There was no way I was going to make it if I had to do those miles on such an incline, so I decided I’d end the run a few blocks away from my house and then walk home. I kept zig-zagging up a block, down a block, through an alley, up another block, down through a park, the mileage rolling over in slow motion: 12.5 miles, 12.6 miles, 12.7 miles, 12.7 miles, 12.7 miles… OH COME ON.

After several more blocks the GPS told me I’d gone 13.18 miles. Half marathon complete. But when I stopped running my legs almost collapsed. My body switched on, and oh, the pain. Lightning and glass shooting up though my ankles into my butt. When I looked around to see where I was I realized I had to walk a half a mile home. Uphill. And that was the longest, most excruciating half mile I have ever walked. I know, the Mormon Pioneers are not impressed.

You runners are total nutballs.

  • Robyn L

    I did a half marathon in May and thought I was going to DIE. The last half mile is by far the most difficult, and the GOO does not make it any easier!

    That said, good for you!! It’s a huge accomplishment!! xox

  • Janice

    Awesome, totally awesome!!

  • kristanhoffman

    Haha. Not gonna lie, I thought this story would end with, “And then I called Jon to come get me.” You should be proud of yourself that it didn’t!

  • Schnauzie_Mom

    Just wait until you are running your race and you hit mile 12 or so. All of those half-marathon runners are turning off for the home stretch while you’re just getting into the underbelly of your run:) And you’ll be thinking, “God, those were some smart fuckers right there.”
    Also, Goos totally taste like ass. I prefer the Clif Shot Blocks or the Jelly Belly Endurance beans. More of a fruit snack consistency. Strawberry and fruit punch are delish:)

  • ChickWhitt

    I totally would have called a cab

  • erinL

    Goo is gross. Try the Clif shot blocks. They have a margarita flavor – pretty good!

  • Daddy Scratches

    “I hit a steep patch at mile seven…”

    Steep patches at mile seven never bother me. You know, because I never run seven miles. Problem solved.

  • Mrs Squirrel Assassin

    This is why I switched from running to cycling… You can coast sometimes and the food is better.

    Most energy gels do taste like ass. If your stomach can handle it, Honey Stingers are actually just honey and Carb Boom in the Apple Cinnamon flavor tastes like apple pie filling to me so I liked those OK.

  • Tragic Sandwich

    Congratulations! Oh, and don’t worry too much about what the Mormon pioneers think of that last half mile. I’m not an expert in that field of history, but I’ve never come across anything that tells me that they ran to Utah.

  • megant8

    I feel your pain (literally). Somehow I got roped into running the Army Ten Miler…keep in mind I never run. Ever. Oh and it’s in less than two weeks. That’s going to be fun.

  • butterballsssss

    Hills are good for NYCM. The bridges are not pretty (*ahem* Queensboro) and 5th Avenue’s small bumps and the small inclines in CP feel like mountains by the time you get to mile 22 and on. So keep running them proudly.

  • jules99

    I have a friend who skips the Goos and brings plain old honey. She rigs it in little mini sandwich bags then bites off the corner and shoots it. She swears it is 100 times better than Goos, and way cheaper, and does the same basic thing.

  • HodgePodge

    seriously, goos? nasty. I do Clif shots in a non-coat-your-mouth-with-ass-taste flavor. strawberry isn’t bad. stay away from mocha, unless you don’t want to die. also, GU chomps kind of rock. it’s like eating gummy bears. assuming you don’t have an aversion to gummy bears. i get orange.

  • uvula_envy

    I keep misreading Clif shots as Clif snots.

  • Lauren3

    “So I strapped on all my gear, so much of it that I might as well have been headed to the moon…”

    I immediately pictured this:

  • civic483

    Clif Shot Bloks. Especially cherry/strawberry flavor. You’ll never go back to Gu again!

  • Mama M.

    Laughing. Out loud. Which is far more profound than “lol’ing”.

    As someone who has been trying to convince herself how much fun running is…your last sentence summed up my thoughts completely.

    Buncha nutballs, those runners are.

    Oh, and @Daddy Scratches…THAT cracked me up! I like to say, “Hell, I don’t even like to DRIVE 7 miles, much less run it!” (Feel free to insert any number of miles for ‘7’. Or, let’s be honest, city blocks, even.) 😉

  • Daisy

    gels are awful. I eat Larabars in bitesize pieces instead and use NUUN for electroyle replacement.

  • danielletheory

    so i have been training for my first half marathon ever, and i lurve when you write about running.
    nobody had ever told me about the runner lows before you, so thanks for that.
    now i am wondering why i want to run 13.2 miles anyways.
    anything after 6 miles just makes me feel so crappy, and i have headaches and get really irritable. 3-6 miles and i feel like i could conquer the world. 7-9 (the farthest i have gone) and i hate everything about everyone, all the time.

    so should i just give up and appreciate the fact that i can run for an hour and love it? (i am not running a half marathon for an awesome cause like you. just to say i did it).

    or do i do it and hate every second of it and then feel sort of proud?
    please advise.

  • Steph Bachman

    GU comes in a wide variety of flavors (people seem to prefer either chocolate/vanilla-type flavors or fruity-flavors, but not both) and I don’t think any of them taste like um, what you said. Personally, however, I prefer “Just Plain,” which tastes like Dulce de Leche to me.

    AND, this is a little known fact, when you are running low on fuel, everything tastes AWESOMMMME. And the beer after tastes even better.

    And wait, there is more! GU is running a good contest on FB this week to win a care package and some of this year’s winter flavor – peppermint stick!

  • mommica

    No, I don’t know what a Goo is. And I think I’ll pass on finding out, thankyouverymuch.

  • ohjennymae

    i hate gu. i stick with the chomps or gu blocks.

    nice work on getting halfway. only 13 to go.

  • do2na

    I survived 4 marathons (2 running and 2 rowing) and 1 half ironman triathlon – training with nothing but Gu and Gatorade. God bless those little metal packets of snotty goodness.

    The best part of training for endurance races? The chocolate milk directly after a hard workout (for your recovery) and the guilt-free burger and beer later (for your sanity)!

  • grablejen

    I’m really curious about your pace. How fast are you running you running your training runs, and what is your goal for the full marathon?

  • Canadienne29

    Gu is pretty gross. I like the Espresso one but I mostly just like the caffeine in it.

    The best? Jelly Belly sport beans. Yum!

    But yeah, runners are wackadoo.

  • rosetheearth

    if you hate goo, try honey stingers. they are like the best gummies you’ve ever had. i love them for running.

  • LeahC

    I have run three marathons and while training for all of them when I got to the end and had 4 miles to go in any training I would say, “Ok you only have 4 miles to go. Anyone can run 4 miles” When I got to mile 22 of the marathon I swear I got a boost because I knew exactly how far I had to go because I had focused on it for so long.

    Also agree with the jelly belly sport beans, OR there is one that is like gummy things that are amazing. The are the Gu Chomps. I would give those a try.

  • kiwib

    I agree – Gu/Goo is awful stuff. Makes me nauseous. Definitely look into Clif ShotBloks – they’re the gummies form of Gu and are delicious and much more palatable! I’m sure there are other brand names for other gummies, too.

  • tokenblogger


    You’d better keep at the hills. Running, then walking when you can’t run anymore.

    It’s the hills that build up your endurance. Endurance is what you really need to work on since you’ve started training so late.

    Oh, and there are hills on the NYC marathon route. HILLS. There used to be a big one right in the middle.

    Just sayin’


  • suesheeme

    I hope by now you’ve had a nice cold shower to heal up your legs. Also, try Jelly Bellies.
    and, do you watch The Big C (amazing!)? Thou shalt not attempt feats of massive running proportions until thou hast adequately trained.

  • Anu

    Must warn you that goo can give you a energy crash soon after. I found out the hard way while hiking Kilimanjaro. I did summit it but have never touched goo since for any of my other hikes. My husband who runs two to three marathons a year also recommends staying away from it for the same reason.

  • OldMuthaHen

    OK, you’ve OFFICIALLY finally lost it. Natural birth, weird diet, and running longer distances than most of us drive.

    I need to go eat a large pizza and mull this over.

  • scoops

    I actually told someone I was “only” running 18 miles this past weekend. This is my low mileage week with a half marathon as my long run.

    I know it sounds crazy but work those hills in. You’ll appreciate the hill work when you run over the Queensboro Bridge. In fact, one of my long runs before I taper is three out and backs over that bridge. Yes, I am crazy.

    I do like the Gu better than the other gels. Vanilla Bean and Triberry are my favorites.

  • watercat

    I agree with someone above who suggested Apple Cinnamon Goo. All the goos are gross and make me feel slightly sick, but the apple cinnamon one is the least bad. Another thing you can do to make them easier is to mix them half-and-half with water. Then you get a kinda sugary water which isn’t quite as nasty.

    My husband is a marathoner, and says that during training and running for a marathon, there comes a point in the run when it hurts less to keep running than to stop. I think you found that point!

  • jda127

    I moved to SLC in the fall of 1999. I had been running for several years, most recently in FLAT, SEA-LEVEL Berlin, Germany. I went to the SLC Running Company and told the nice (young, superfit, gazillion-mile-a-week) sales clerk that I wanted to know where someone who had just spent a year running flat terrain at sea level could start out running in SLC. He sent me to the TRAIL ACROSS FROM THE ENTRANCE TO THE ZOO. I ran about 400 yards and then died, right there on the trail. This is actually my ghost writing this. Stupid SLC hills. Boy did I get fit living there.

  • cascadepeaks

    When Gu first hit the market, I worked at a bike shop in Oregon. During a long mountain bike ride one of my friends broke out a Gu “just plain” flavored packet. He tore off the corner , squeezed it down into his mouth, grimaced slightly, kind of gagged/gulped, and then quietly said ” I am never asking my girlfriend to swallow again”…And that is my Gu story. My wife and I use it on most all our outdoor adventures and find it has magic powers….

  • ncavillones

    When you run up a hill, say “ticky tacky” over and over. Try it, it really works!

  • crikkett

    I’ve tried all the different nutritional supplements and I have to say the Gu still does the trick. I only eat the lemon-lime or berry flavor. I know a lot of people who love the chews or the beans, but honestly, at mile 20, I cannot use any extra energy to chew. It messes with my breathing pattern too.

    I’ve done 2 fulls and a whole slew of halfs (I did 3 in 3 months this summer) I really, honestly believe that running that far is 10% physical and 90% mental. My body CAN do it… it’s my mind that doesn’t want to play along sometimes.

    Not to get too sappy, but I cannot put into words how amazing it feels to cross the finish line of a full marathon. To see thousands of people cheering for YOU… it just feels amazing; it makes it all worth it (full disclosure: I’ve not run NYC, but I did do Chicago). As someone who was never an athlete, it was the closest I’ve ever come to feeling that ‘moment’ of winning the big game. Keep training… it’s going to be painful, but your legs and joints and heart and lungs WILL get stronger, and you can do it!

  • ewmanahan

    Check out I have heard Jeff speak at a a number of races and I have drunk the kool-aid. He is a former Olympic marathoner. He has this whole theory about run-walk-run and I have begun to do it in training. I feel so much better after my runs, even really long runs when I run-walk-run. It makes it so you do not hit the wall at the end and you do not want to kill yourself at the end of a long run. Again, check out his website. His running theories are awesome!

  • TeacherinRye

    11-13 is my favorite distance. Now, I am on eights, and happy with that.

  • txdad

    You inspire me! I’m going to enter Sunday’s IBM Uptown Classic 10K here in Austin Sunday 10/2. I’m returning to running too so this will be my slowest 10K ever, not that it matters. My mantra – feel free to try it – is “My race, my pace”. It has saved my bacon many times in the past…

    My take on goos – drink a lot if you use these. Clif shots are good but a little hard to chew for me if I am breathing hard. Sport Beans are a great option I use for cycling.

    Don’t listen too much to the naysayers, and rock on. I am pulling for you!

  • LynnB

    Have you done the ice bath afterwards? 13 is a good time to start. It really does help. And it only makes you feel crazier as you’re standing there naked and emptying ice bags into a tub.

    The Gu texture is horrible. I know it seems like the same thing, but the Power Bar version in Strawberry Banana saw me through my training. I find the gummy block things are sticky and hard to manage unless you are wearing a small pack to carry them in.

    You can do it! It’s all mental!

  • TeresaFV

    As noted by others, there are many options instead of Gu. I stick with whatever electrolyte drink is being served by the marathon. Some of those are better than others and it is best to practice ahead.

    There are hills in the New York marathon, but you will not even notice them if you’ve run the hills in Utah. They are pretty minor.

    The longer runs do get easier and less painful, but that only happens with practice. Don’t get too excited at the start of the marathon, walk when you need to, and you will do fine.

  • katliz

    Holy hell. I’m reading all of these comments from you fitness fiends and feel like even more of a lazy ass.

    In order to get my full 2 mile WALK in with the dog last night, I had my husband drive us 2 miles away from the house and drop us off. Can’t turn around and wuss out that way.

  • greenplanner

    Are there really places on this earth that it’s safe to go running alone in the dark? Maybe I’ve just been watching too many episodes of ‘I Survived…’ on Biography, but I would be scared out there all alone.

  • OwlMoonKLH

    Dunno…I think it’s fun when your brain turns off somewhere along mile 9. Until a car nearly clips you and you’re suddenly pulled back to reality.

    I’m proud of you Heather! 13.18 miles is HUGE!

    Oh…in lieu of GOO have you tried Sports Beans (by Jelly Belly) or Clif Bar Shot Bloks? I don’t like the gels, but the Shot Bloks are easier to nibble on and come in a lot of flavors. AND some of the flavors are caffeinated to give you that extra kick in the arse to get up that damn hill. 😉

  • Katintherat

    You might want to create a mantra for yourself, especially when it’s hard because you mentally don’t want to do it but physically can.

    Something like, “I didn’t train this hard to walk” or “Valedictorians don’t quit”. Repeat it to yourself ad nauseum until you get over your hurdle (or hill).

    Remember – you’re not only training your body to be able to physically handle 26.2 but your mind as well, and sometimes the games the mind plays are worse than the aches and pains you feel from your body.

  • luv and kiwi

    I’m a HUGE fan of the bloks. Goo is booty bad, but bloks were awesome during my marathon. Every hour on the hour we ate candy and loved life.

  • Mini Purl

    Every year I start to think I should probably start running. Then I try and I hate it with the burning passion of a thousand suns with snot running down my nose. Thank you for reminding my why I do not run so I don’t need to go through that ordeal again.

  • sheepdog

    Ice baths will make it a smidge less awful. The apple/cinnamon gels taste a little less like Satan’s ass and a little more like a hostess apple pie. 🙂

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

read more