Hello all! Doesn’t it feel like it’s 3 o’clock rather than 1:30? I must say that extra hour of sleep last night helped me be extra alert to run the City of Oaks Half Marathon this morning! It took me 1:52:53 to run the 13.1 miles and I felt unstoppable! I’ve run this race every year since I was a freshman and have stayed in the same finishing time-frame. Why? I don’t run to compete, I run simply because I enjoy it :). It’s kind of my tradition to finish the race season with the Raleigh half marathon and the Richmond half marathon next weekend with my best friend Sarah! 2 half marathons in 6 days sounds like a pretty legit way to go out with a bang!
Back to why I’ve completed the race in the same time frame for 4 years..because I only run when I want to run. I don’t follow a running plan, I don’t wear a water belt, I don’t carbo-load and I don’t try to reach PR’s. Running for me is therapeutic; it’s a stress reliever, a form of cardio exercise, a way to see new scenery, a social gathering and a good excuse to persuade my parents to buy me new shoesies :-P. I always approach races in the same way; find someone who’s
I thinkfaster than me and watch them (not in a creeper-sorta-way). If I pass them, I find someone else; it’s more of a game to me than a competition. That’s how I keep my pace consistent throughout the miles.
I also play If I were President, I’d (fill in the blank here). My newest “law” would be to (sorry guys!) mandate men to wear longer shorts during races; some of these shorts were teeny-tiny and
not leave much to the imaginationrevealed too much. Short shorts are FINE as long as there are compression shorts underneath please.
Another perk to running races is the community involvement and support. The half marathon took us around downtown Raleigh, through some residential areas, to the RBC Center/Carter-Finley Stadium and back. While running through the residential areas, lots of people who lived back there came out with signs and yelled at anyone who passed! It’s so awesome and motivating to hear your name, followed by “You Can Do It!” from a very nice stranger :). It also helps to have Natalie, one of the BEST BOSSES in the world, ride her bike and find you amidst hundreds of people with the infamous “thumbs up” sign! After playing many games of Where’s
WaldoNatalie, the race was already over.
Another very successful race in the books!
Anticipating our trail race, my friend Jessica had some very good questions about what to wear, eat, and basically do prior to, during, and after the race.
Here are a list of questions and answers that I feel a rookie runner will appreciate!
- What should I eat the night before the race? You’ve probably heard of pasta parties the race organization holds the night before-right? Right Katie..”carbo loading” the night before properly will store the needed glycogen (the body’s most accessible energy source) in your muscles and liver, preventing you from “hitting the wall” during the race.
- Okay..then what do I eat before the race? First, never try something new on race-day..this could cause GI distress and the lines are always waaay long for The John… Eat a meal that can be quickly absorbed and digested; peanut butter toast with fruit is a perfect breakfast for an early morning race!
- Where’s the best place to put my bib number? Place your bib number on the front side and only attach it to your top layer of clothing. This is important for 2 reasons;1) if your chip timer is on the bottom of your bib, the person ripping it off at the finish line can do so easily, and 2) if you get hot easily
and glisten a lot, you can take off your top layer without disturbing your bib.
- We’re only on mile 2-it feels like we’ve been running forever! What do you think about? Don’t think of the total miles as a whole; take each mile as an accomplishment towards your goal! For instance, instead of saying “only 7 more miles”, think “3 miles down-bring on the 4th!” Think of different ways to take your mind off of running-play I-spy, sing songs,
make fun of other runnersnotice how other runners are acting-it’s amazing how time will fly :).
- How do I grab the water without it spilling down my arm?
Based on personal experienceTry this technique: hold the arm that you’re grabbing the cup with. Grab it. Let your arm holding the cup lag behind you slightly (instead of bringing it straight to your mouth=soaked arm and water up your nostril(s)). Bend your elbow and bring it to your mouth. Success! Or you could just slow down..
- I see the finish line! How should I stop? As your approaching the finish line, look past where you’ll actually stop and slowly come to a walk. This will prevent blood pooling. HUH? As your running, your heart is pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to large muscle groups (lower body). Once the oxygen and nutrients are used up, the contracting muscles return the blood back to the heart to replenish. However, when you suddenly stop running, so does the force that returns the blood to the heart. Waste products like lactic acid then stay in the muscles, causing swelling and pain. Ease your pace to a slower jog, then to a walk.
- How will I know what place I came in? And can I really take all this free food? Based on your chip time and when you crossed both the start and finish lines, the race organization will post the results after all runners have finished a couple of days preceding the race. And yes..you really can take as much food as you want! The sponsors of the race encourage you to try all of the bars, drinks and goos in hopes that you’ll like it and actually buy it. Be greedy
All runners have their own preferences prior to, during, and preceding the race. Practice makes perfect-the more you participate in races, the more you’ll find what best works for you. Ultimately, all runners have the same goal- to finish and to finish strong!
Today was a very productive day! My friend Jessica told me a while back that she wanted to train for a half-marathon in the Spring, so I recommended she get some practice and sign-up for some races now (to get the feel for how these things go). When she told me she registered for the Tobacco Trail 10 Mile race, I was nervous that a trail race might be too much for a new runner, but I promised her that I’d be right there with her!
Turns out, the Tobacco trail was a flat, out and back course that was a great first race for any runner! I guess when Jessica said “trail”, I was thinking more of like an obstacle-type race.
We finished (together!) in 1:35 minutes! Jessica pushed herself through the entire 10 miles and didn’t even walk once; it was a great experience for both of us; Jess’s first race accomplishment and me being her motivator and running beside her
talking her ear off..
Sign up with a friend for a race instead of going at it alone! It’s less intimidating when you know someone who’s going through the same experience as you are. Partner training/racing can be motivating, supporting, and a much-deserved social hour at Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte following the race