13.1 Tips for a Successful 13.1

It’s fall racing season! I have a half marathon coming up this weekend, and another in about a month.  Lots of my friends have been running half marathons and full marathons and doing so awesome!  The KC Half Marathon this weekend will be my 11th half.  I am not an expert by any means, but I have learned a fair deal about running half marathons, and these reminders are as much for me as for someone tackling their first half marathon!

1.  Nothing new on race day! No new clothes, no new foods, no new pre-race rituals… nothing new! Practice what you’ve been using during training runs.  And practice different things during training to see what works and what doesn’t.

2.  Arrive to the race plenty early.  Limit your race-day stress.  Get to the race and parked with plenty of time to make your way to the start line, use the restroom, check your bag, and warm up.

3.  Have extra safety pins, extra fuel, extra clothes.  I will bring my closet with me to a race, I’ll have extra clothes for after the race, including sandals, but I’ll also have body glide, safety pins, extra gloves, extra gu, etc. Just. In. Case.

4.  Have multiple goals.  I always have a goal of trying to PR, of course.  But some days, it just isn’t in the cards.  It could be too hot, too cold, too windy, or my legs may feel extra heavy, or I may not have trained well enough.  So I always have multiple goals.  Goal 1: PR. Goal 2: secondary time goal, or other goal, such as running it all, etc. Goal 3: FINISH.

5.  Start SLOW! It is so easy to get caught up in the race-start-excitement.  Start slow, slower than you think, because you can’t bank time! Running slower conserves energy, then you can push it when you need to.  On the contrary, if you start out too quickly, you risk burn out, and the second half of your race could be very painful.

6.  Hydrate often.  I take water/gatorade at every water stop.  I might not drink it all, but I take it, even just for a sip.  It’s important to not fall behind and be feeling super thirsty, because that can signal dehydration, plus you’ll be more apt to drink too much and then feel sick.

7.  Run your race, run your pace.  Just because someone else is running faster, slower, easier, etc, does not mean you need to stick with them or try to pass them.  Run your own race.  Everyone is out there for themselves, so don’t concern yourself with trying to “win,” because for almost everyone out there, it’s about completing the race and competing against yourself.

8.  Stick to your fueling plan.  Same as hydration, stick to your plan.  You’ve (hopefully) been working with fuel on your long runs, so you should know how much fuel you need, and when.

9.  Enjoy the run; run in the mile you’re in. If you’re having the race of your life, enjoy each mile and enjoy the run! If you’re having a rough race, stick to each mile, and focus on that mile only, to get you through.

10.  Keep a steady effort up hills and down hills.  Don’t worry about pace on the uphills, but keep your effort steady.  That way, when you reach the top, you won’t be dead, and then you can coast on the downhill and make up some of the time.  Keep your effort steady, and the pace will even itself out.

11.  When you start to fatigue, think about why you started running, why you signed up for this race.  When you want to walk, when you want to quit, think about why you started running, why you signed up for the race, and who you are running for.  Use the support of others to push yourself through.

12.  Smile when you see race photographers, cute kids, funny signs.  Smile at everyone! The spectators, volunteers, and police are all out there for everyone running, so thank them, smile, and enjoy it all.  Racing is something special, so definitely smile at everyone!

13.  Run happy, this race is a celebration of all your hard work and training. Enjoy every step!

and 13.1  Sign up for your next race!

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Do you have any tips and tricks for racing? Good luck to everyone racing this fall!!

Dear Fall Running…

Dear Fall Running,

I love you.  I love the cool, crisp air, after a hot and steamy summer.  I love the leaves falling as I run, and crunching underfoot.  I love the smells of fall.  I love the feel of fall.  My lungs love running and being able to breathe.  My skin loves the cool breeze.  I love the colors of the leaves changing.  I love seeing the squirrels gathering nuts for the winter.

I simply love every single thing about fall running.  I have had such a great week of running, and it’s only half done!  I had a great long run last weekend, absolutely gorgeous run in the fall rain, followed by 5 miles each on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  Each of those runs felt so amazing, like I could have kept going for twice as long.  I didn’t want the runs to end.  Compared to how difficult some of my runs felt in the heat of the summer, the runs this week were heaven.

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Running in the fall is the dessert of running.  I’m feeling rejuvenated and refreshed and ready for my two fall half marathons.  I’m ready to enjoy the best season for running.  The KC Half is 2 and a half weeks away, and I feel more ready and confident for this half marathon than I have for my previous 10 halves.  Then, 4 weeks later is the Longview Half.  I’m excited for these races, to treat them like the desserts of running, to thoroughly enjoy every mile of them, just as I’ve enjoyed every mile of these first fall runs.

I’m excited for fall running; I’m excited it’s finally here!  What is your favorite season for running?

Monday Mentionings: September 19

Hello friends! It’s been a couple week since a proper update.  Last weekend I was in Wisconsin watching and cheering Kristen as she became an Ironman! But before I went to Wisconsin, I had a great little groupie run with Amy, Jenn, and Chris. (That’s about the only picture I took that week before I left!!)

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Mom, Dad, and I flew (very very early) to Milwaukee, and then we all headed to Madison to get Kristen’s things finalized for her race.

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Sunday was filled with Ironman! Kristen did so fantastic; I can’t even describe how amazing it was to watch her and all the Ironmen on Sunday.

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Congratulations, Kristen!!!!!! I am so beyond proud of you and everything you’ve accomplished. I can’t wait to see what else you are going to do – you’re going places, sisser!

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Monday, we drove back to Milwaukee, and had to take Dad to the airport to get back home for work.  Thayne also went to work for the afternoon, so Mom and Kristen and I went to lunch on the riverfront, which was delicious and pretty!!

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Tuesday, after a short run (Kristen biked!), we ventured up to Cedarburg and wandered around, shopped a little, and had a little wine tasting, too.

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Wednesday, before flying home, we had a short run around by the lake, had some great pizza, and visited one of the beaches.

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I kind of illegally took this snapchat about 5 minutes before we landed in KC, I wish I would have done it and screenshotted it going 500+ mph, but almost 300 mph is still pretty cool!

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Jasper was pretty excited I got home.  He’s been extra cuddly since I’ve been back.  I spotted him chilling with my stuffed animals.  “One of these is not like the others.”

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Sunday, I ran 8 and a half great miles with Chris at KC Running Co.  It was such a pretty morning, and a great little course.  Half marathon #11 is less than a month away! and it’ll be Chris’ first half marathon! YAY RUNNING!

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Fall comes this week! I can’t wait for the fall temperatures, and for fall running! What’s your favorite season?

Have a great week friends!