Running is one of the simplest sports gear-wise, but a few items are apparently “must-haves” for the marathoner-in-training. Since I suddenly find myself in that slightly off-kilter subcategory of humanity, invest in them I am. And so this weekend I made a pilgrimage to Wellesley Mass. to visit the good people at Marathon Sports (located at mile 14.7 of the Boston Marathon course) and let them sell me my very own Fuel Belt.
What is a Fuel Belt, you non-marathoners-in-training might ask? It’s a shockingly pricey 30’’x 3’’ strip of industrial-strength Velcro that suctions snuggly around one’s midsection in a fashion reminiscent of the Belly Belt my midwife made me wear when I was way-too-pregnant with my second kid. (For those of you who haven’t heard, or could use a little reminding, she weighed in at a whopping 10 pounds, 9½ ounces at birth. That rounds up to 11 pounds of pure baby—and yes she was born naturally and without any pain medication to boot, thankyouveddymuch).
While the Fuel Belt and Belly Belt may look and feel similar, their purposes are very different. The Belly Belt’s job was to prevent a supersized fetus from reducing my spinal column to dust in the final weeks of gestation; the Fuel Belt’s function is to transform my groin into a personal hydration station during long training runs. Yes, the Fuel Belt enables me to affix up to four (that’s right, I said four) 8-oz water bottles to my hips. I don’t know about you, but I really had no idea this thing existed. Well, I take that back: a few weeks ago I was walking my dog on the Assabet River Rail Trail, killing time while my daughter’s cheer squad warmed up pre-game at the nearby Kelleher Field, when this rather miserable-looking runner trudged by wearing what I now know to be a Fuel Belt. In addition to looking miserable, he looked downright goofy, shuffling at speeds not much faster than Sam and I were sauntering with this Gatorade-laden heavy artillery belt sloshing around his midsection. Rambo had retired to Marlborough and was refusing to accept that his glory days were over.
Now Retired Rambo and I have something in common. Hmmmm.
[An aside: As a marketing professional, I am considering contacting the good people at Fuel Belt Inc. to inform them that they are missing out on a niche revenue-generating opportunity; they could easily cross-market the Fuel Belt as a modern-day Chastity Belt. Sexy this thing is not.]
Apparently this is just the first of many odd things I will do over the course of the 160 days (only 160 days!) between today and Marathon Monday. [OK, family, I can hear you snicker that purchasing the Fuel Belt was not the first odd thing I’ve done but simply yet another oddity in a multi-year string of oddities. Duly noted.] What else are we in for? Apparently I may start “doubling up” (runner’s-speak for running twice a day in an effort to boost one’s weekly mileage) and seeking the Holy Grail of long-distance running, the “negative split” (instead of fading, like Rambo, as the miles pass, one speeds up so the second half of the run is superhumanly much faster than the first).
And, last but certainly not least, I will apparently one day voluntarily come home after a long run and beeline first to the refrigerator not for an icy Guinness but for ice cubes—lots of them, like bags and bags and bags of them–as in the bags you buy before a killer party. I will then proceed to the bathroom and dump said ice cubes into the bathtub. And then I will jump right in. Yes, if I do this marathoning correctly, I will apparently on a regular basis reenact the Polar Bear Swim right in my very own home—all in the name of faster muscular recovery so I can run again the very next day. Me. The heat-seeking missile who unapologetically wears her big-ass Eskimo-style snowsuit around the neighborhood from well before Winter Solstice to long after Spring Equinox (for even the quickest of dog walks) is going to spend a solid 15 minutes in a bathtub full of frozen water after every long run. This oughtta be interesting.
This is all rather sobering (not to mention a wee bit disturbing) news. On a much, much more pleasant note, I got word late last week that a truly supersized contribution to my Children’s Hospital fundraising effort—a $1,000 check (whoo hoo!)— is in the mail. More on that check once it actually shows up—but suffice it to say that once it is deposited in my Boston Marathon fundraising account I will be 22 percent of the way towards reaching my fundraising goal of $5,000 for Children’s Hospital. 🙂 Speaking of which, if you feel so inclined, you can make a donation and sponsor my run right now via credit card on the Children’s Hospital site (and leave your favorite crazy runner a fun message to boot) or mail a check via the instructions found here on my Sponsor My Run page.
Here’s hoping your runs are Fuel-Belt-free…and your baths are ice-cube-free!