i haven’t really had time to put into words my half marathon race report yet. it has been one busy day after another since saturday, but here are a few thoughts i wanted to put down as advice for others (and for myself if i EVER decide to do another one of these races!):
Things I Learned From Running a Half Marathon
1. Do your business at the hotel if AT ALL possible, or you’ll end up in a port-a-pottie for 20 minutes and almost miss your race start. – *lol* just reread this and meant, you’ll be in the LINE at the port-a-pottie for 20 minutes! hahaha!
2. Warming up first is a good idea. So is not getting to the race with only 30 minutes to spare. I thought that’d be plenty of time, but it really isn’t.
3. Eating a good breakfast is also a good idea. Don’t wait until you get to the race. You’ll have too much else to worry about. IF all else fails, down a gel before the race begins. Something is better than nothing.
4. Don’t start out too fast. Don’t start out too fast. Don’t start out too fast! – I read this over and over on RR’s, I knew I’d do it b/c I do it in 5K’s, I put slow music on my Ipod mix early to keep me running slow, I was telling myself over the first few yards to keep it slow, and I still did it! And I paid for it later. Honestly, I barely heard my music for the first mile. The slow music was a great strategy in training but not really for race day. I was running about a 9 to 9:30 minute mile for the first 3 miles, but I couldn’t maintain that pace. So here I am telling you the same thing. Slow down and pace yourself through these long races.
5. You’ll need more water than you do on training runs. I almost puked around mile 6. I think I’d already drank too much water. It was getting hot, I was getting tired, and I just wanted some comfort at that point. Thankfully, there were tons of water stops, but running out of water definitely slowed me way down and screwed up my finishing time.
6. Take more gels than you need. I did, and it helped.
7. Encourage at least one other person. Even just a thumbs up helps when your motivation is flagging and you’re wracking your brain trying to figure out what possessed you to want to run a half marathon in the first place.
8. If you’re hurting somewhere on training runs, that same place is REALLY going to hurt during the race. Just keep this in mind. I put moleskin on my toes that tend to blister, but they still began to blister by about mile 4. It was not pleasant. Also, I’ve been having pain in the tendons around my left ankle, and it hurt from mile 2 on. I have been barely able to walk on it since the race and think I may have sprained it, perhaps partially from rolling it because of the blisters I developed on that foot. My right calf has also been tight during runs. It was VERY tight during the race, and I feared at any moment that it was going to cramp up and stop me in my tracks.
9. It is very easy to get discouraged out there, even though you rarely get discouraged on your long runs. Figure out a way to motivate yourself when it gets really bad. In hindsight, I wished I’d written some motivation on my palms. I also wish I hadn’t handed my phone to my mom. I really needed to hear her encouragement late in the race and wished I’d brought my phone with me.
10. Put pace info on your arm. You will get so befuddled and confused by 8-10 miles in that you won’t know if you’re on target or not. I was running a consistent 11 minute mile later in my race, but because I got confused about how many miles I’d already completed, I thought I was behind, which just discouraged me and caused me to walk some, therefore causing me to end up coming in slower due to my confusion.