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I Wish I Would Have Known…
Friday! It’s here!
I’d love to say I’m looking forward to a low key, relaxing weekend, but that’s hardly the case.
I’m running the Brooklyn Half Marathon tomorrow! I’ve never done this race before and I’m excited to run in another borough for the first time. I’m also looking forward to running my butt out to Coney Island. I’ve never been there and I can’t wait to run along the boardwalk to finish up the 13.1 mile adventure.
I don’t necessarily feel super confident going into this race, mostly because my stomach has really been upsetting me this week. I’m hoping it’s just stress-induced and it’ll pass by the end of this sure-to-be-hectic workday, but we’ll see.
I’m not looking to PR tomorrow. I’m still pretty satisfied with my National Half Marathon numbers and — for the first time in my racing “career” — I don’t feel compelled to beat my previous time. I want to enjoy the course, I want to meet people at the start and finish, and I want to smile a lot. Those are my goals.
I picked up all my race goodies last night, which mostly just includes a shiny new (orange!) technical T-shirt, which I love, and my race number.
Pickup took roughly 4 seconds. I commend the New York Road Runners for being wonderfully organized, as always.
And I love the shirt!
To stay in half marathon-mode, my next task last night was creating my official Brooklyn Half Marathon Playlist.
It’s got some current stuff I’m obsessed with (“The Edge of Glory” and “Best Love Song”), some old favorites (“Womanizer”), some angry music (“Shipping Up To Boston”) and some Broadway tunes (“So Much Better” and “96,000”).
Without further ado:
This playlist is roughly 4 hours long. I don’t plan to be running for that long. But I do have song ADD and I rarely listen to a song the entire way through. I’ll also set the playlist to shuffle so I can be surprised by each song that comes through the rotation.
OK, so you may be wondering, what’s “I Wish I Would Have Known?”
I’m glad you asked.
If you didn’t ask, but are still reading anyway, I’m glad you’re here. Thanks for stopping by.
When I was an Orientation Leader in college (overachiever/nerd alert), the senior OLs always put together a video for the freshmen about things they wish they had known before starting college.
Years later, when I was a mentor with Team Challenge leading up to the Las Vegas Half Marathon, I put together something similar for the new runners. All the mentors came up with our best pre-race advice.
I’ve learned a lot more since then, but here are some things we wish we would have known before running our first half marathons:
- Hydrate all weekend. Not just race morning. In fact, barely hydrate on race morning or else you will have to pee at the first port-a-potty, and trust me, that line is long.
- Wait until longer into the course to pee. The lines for the port-a-potties won’t be as long then.
- Make a wake-up call chain. 4 am is early, and you must be ready to go at 5 am. It’s not worth scrambling to get ready, so team up with some people and help each other WAKE UP!
- If you’re traveling for the race, have race day clothes and back-up race day clothes. You may think you want to run in tights, but maybe you get to wherever your race is and wish you had your __________. Anticipate that wish and pack your ____________ so you can be ready for anything.
- Bring flip flops so you can give your post-race sneaker feet a break!
- Bring Ben-Gay for your muscles. And Advil. Bring that, too.
- NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS ON THE COURSE, be proud of where you are and what you have accomplished.
- It’s better to be too warm at the starting line than not warm enough. Bring an old sweatshirt to throw off once the race begins.
- Stretch. You’ll probably be really excited after you finish and you’ll want to find your friends and family and show them your medal or something. But stretch when you finish. Stretch an hour later. Stretch when you’re drunk on Saturday night (OK, let’s be honest, you’ll be drunk Saturday morning within an hour of finishing the race). Stretch before you go to bed. Stretch in the morning.
- Over hydrating is not a good idea. You will be up all night peeing and you will fight the urge to pee your pants during the run. (Or you WILL pee your pants during the run. Totally acceptable. Not that I’d know, just saying.)
- Make yourself visible when you’re crossing the finish line. Don’t necessarily slow your pace, but distance yourself from the runners around you, throw your arms up and get that quality photo. You’ll want to remember the moment.
- You don’t have to carbo-load with pasta. Yeah, a lot of people swear by it. But a lot of people also don’t swear by it. That’s fine.
- Get plenty of sleep leading up to race day. You may think that because the flight to Vegas is early you can pull an all-nighter the night before and sleep on the plane. But no, that means you are stupid. Get sleep.
- It’s OK to make friends in your corral. You might be waiting in there for a while depending on how big the race is. If you’re nervous, chatting with a fellow runner will temporarily distract you and may help calm your nerves. Runners are pretty cool people. Get to know one or two.
- Turn off your headphones at the start and finish. If you run with music that’s obviously fine. But there’s usually a rush of emotion and excitement when you cross these two lines. Don’t zone out — tune in. Listen to the crowd cheering and let it fuel you for the rest of the race.
- Dress the part. I wish I’d had on a really cute outfit as the photos of me from the race look like I was a homeless person. (This one came from one of our male mentors and it makes me laugh.)
- Smile. In the photos taken of me during the race, I look like I was a) having a heart attack or b) crapping my pants. (Same guy.)
- Make Body Glide your best friend. It may seem “icky” and “gross” and “weird” but it’s a lifesaver so you don’t chafe all over.
- Trust your training. Seriously, it’s done at this point. You’re ready. And if you’re not ready, just enjoy the experience and try not to die.
- Go easy on your body the day before the race. You may want to do a very short run to keep your legs feeling loose, but stay on your butt. Make a dent in your couch. Relax. Wear an “I [Heart] Guacamole” T-shirt. Whatever.
ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD? What do you wish you had known before running your first race? I love hearing peoples’ race advice, so please share yours!