What’s better than Friday? A Friday post on a Monday.
In truth, I’d planned to post this on Friday, but I couldn’t make my way to a computer as I was miles away from home, right in the center of Savannah for my first Rock N Roll series half marathon. And now, my readers get a bonus of five extra tips from a newbie to a big race series.
ALSO…to my loyal readers…should I start a side blog? I was thinking of reserving “I prefer my runs intended” to talk about how to stay motivated, include running plans, diet plans…etc. What do you think?
Let’s be honest; big races are WELL WORTH THE EXTRA MONEY. It was an experience that I won’t soon forget. The adrenaline, the people, the volunteers, and the sheer fact that it was the most well-run (pun intended) race I’ve ever been a part of will definitely have me back again next year (provided that I’m not extra pregnant or whatever…but even then, I may go ahead and run it!) I had the most amazing time (in my race and with my cheerleaders :))
So…what was my time? 1:57.50 officially. That puts me right below 9 minute miles. I am pretty darn proud of this…especially because my first 10K, I was averaging 8:19 min/miles. So…if you do the math…that means I really…really hit a wall about mile 8 and hung on to meet my goal.
But…let’s rewind to Friday and Saturday before the race. If you’re planning your first BIG race and you’re not sure what to expect, here are 5 tips from one of my favorite marathoners…AMP (followed by 5 tips from lil old me)
(see, I really did write something on Friday!!)
This weekend is special as I prepare for my first half marathon after
having little baby B. Let me tell you, I am ready to get this show on
I have a hunch that this will be my best race yet…and not just
because of the time on the clock when I cross the finish line. I have
worked harder than I thought I was capable of to be ready for this
very moment. I am ready to prove to myself that I can do it.
My first half marathon was a small one: maybe 25 runners completed the
hilly paved trail course. I really enjoyed it, as I’ve admitted
before, I am a solitary runner.
This race will be much, much different. I am running a Rock N Roll
series half marathon, and there will be decidedly more than 25
I got a message from a reader and friend who is also running the same
race and asked these questions:
Advice needed- I’m doing my first half marathon on Sat… The rock n
roll half in savannah. Any advice? I’m worried about the start,
corrals, what to expect, etc… I have done two low key 5ks in my
life so I’m guessing sat am will probably be a bit overwhelming. Feel
free to fwd me a blog post if u have one, if not, feel free to use
this question as a post. I’d really appreciate the words of wisdom…
Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about how truly overwhelmed I would be
by the size of the race. And then, B and I walked into our first
expo. Oh. My. Gosh.
I felt like a kindergartener walking into school for the first time.
There were so many things for me to see and hear. I looked at all the
exhibits and the meticulously organized number pick-up…and I was
swept away by it all. So swept, in fact, I purchased a few goodies
too many (along with a onesie for baby B). There were so many vendors
and a dj and hundreds of volunteers.
My first race, I walked to the pavilion and got my number and lime
green tech tee (generic for the race series). No lines, no corrals,
and definitely NO DJs.
And so, I reached out to my marathon-pro friend, AMP, for some answers
to these relevant questions…partially for said reader and
predominantly for me. 🙂
So here are 5 tips for your first BIG race (regardless of distance):
1. “I’m worried about the start, corrals, etc…”
So at a Rock ‘N Roll race like Savannah it is going to be very
organized. They will have the corals all set up and you will be glad
that they were there!
2. Any tips for the start?
I would arrive to the start line 45 min to an hour early.
The number of people will be overwhelming at first but if you get
there with time it will only add to the excitement of the race.
3. What should I eat/do before the race?
I would eat a bagel with honey and drink coffee. Enough to keep you
nourished and awake for the start. Don’t forget to go to the bathroom
bring your nutrition and drink plenty of water the few days before the
4. Should I run before the race begins?
I like to do a little jogging right before the race so I feel a little
bit warm. Don’t over-exert, but a light jog before will help.
5. If I’m nervous, what can I do to get those nerves to go away.
Use your nervous energy to fuel your run.
And from me…
1. WHATEVER YOU DO…DO NOT TAKE YOUR BIG RACE OUT IN YOUR FASTEST 10K TIME YET! I wanted to negative split my race; and honestly, those first 8 miles felt GREAT. I was pretty sure I was going to break 1:50 because I felt so amazing. But, 13.1 is a long race (not as long as 26.2, but long enough to really hit fatigue somewhere around miles 9-13). I am shocked that I was able to hang on…next time, I’d like to have a little gas in the tank and really turn on the gas somewhere around those miles.
2. PASSING PEOPLE AT THE BEGINNING IS GREAT, BUT PASSING PEOPLE AT THE END IS MUCH BETTER. This goes along with #1, but a big part of distance running is mental; if you’re passing people in the end, you’ll get a boost. It took everything I had to continue on without losing my mind while others were passing me.
3. RUN YOUR RACE. Even if you do take it out too fast, know that you can do it. You’ve put the training in, and it’s ok to slow down and enjoy the run. That’s what it is all about anyway.
4. PUT A FEW EXTRA $ INTO YOUR BUDGET FOR THE EXPO. Instead of spending a ton of money before you get down to the race, do a little shopping at the expo. There are plenty of great vendors at these big series with good deals (and don’t just shop at the first big vendor…) You (probably) don’t have a gym membership, and whatever your time is at the finish, you should reward yourself with a little something to keep running.
5. BE SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED AT THE START, AND BE SURE TO HAVE A LOVED ONE AT THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF THE RACE (ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE A SOLO RUNNER LIKE ME). The ONLY thing motivating me the last few miles was my little boy, my best friend, and her daughter waiting for me at the end. It meant a lot to have them there.
Also, don’t forget your shoelace tracker in the car…at least I got my pre-race jog in!