Half Marathon Revelations

Well, it didn't rain, the half marathon kicked my butt, I may wear my finisher's medal around the house for the next week, and I'm already looking forward to doing another one.

10 takeaways from my first stab at a distance race:
  1. Run at the pace at which you’ve trained right from starting line—don’t give in to your adrenaline or a desire to push yourself/reach a stretch goal time.  Starting too fast = death on the last four or so miles
  2. While running with friends can be fun, running alone is more enjoyable—running alone allows you to focus on how YOU and your body feel rather than feeling pressured to keep up (and push your body too hard) or slow down (and do less than your best) to accommodate other people, bathroom breaks, etc.
  3.  The Minneapolis Marathon was brilliant for putting runners’ names on their race bibs/numbers—nothing is cooler than hearing people cheer for you by name
  4. Out and backs aren’t nearly as much fun as loops
  5. Heart rate monitors can turn feelin’ good into a stressful experience—number shock (glancing down to see 190s when you should be in the 160s) makes you think too much about how to lower it, messes up your stride, and is a killjoy
  6. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.  The few extra seconds potentially gained from slogging up that final brutal hill won’t matter if your heart rate is pushing 206 and you’re starting to feel dizzy and nauseous.  If you have to walk, then walk.  You’ll be able to run again within a minute and feel a lot better than if you tried to push through it.  Additionally, remember that every day (and mile) are different.  What worked for you or felt good yesterday may not be the same today, and that’s NORMAL.
  7. Water stops will be your salvation.  Skip the powerade and never turn down water when it is offered
  8.  Running and drinking without sloshing all over oneself is a difficult thing to do.  Walk through the water stations, swallow a few sips, and you’ll be good to go without losing much time
  9. Energy gel provides about 2 miles of solid energy, so don’t take it until around mile 10
  10. Don’t let your expectations for the race take the fun out of it.  Not many people can say that they’ve run a half marathon (or longer), so just finishing is an accomplishment.  Remember why you’re running it, take in the scenery, and enjoy the course :)