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!!

Monday Mentionings: July 25

Monday Monday!  Last Monday, I forgot my gym bag at home, so instead of going straight to the gym after work, I went home and ran the mile to the gym, cycled for a half an hour, then ran the mile back home.  H.O.T.  I had quite the puddle under my spin bike.

Photo Jul 18, 6 28 59 PM

Wednesday, I used the gym at work, to run during lunch.  The gym at work is nice, but it is rough to get in a few miles at lunch time with as hot as it is outside.

Photo Jul 20, 12 35 16 PM

Thursday evening, Michelle went to the KCRC Groupies run with me! When she was rooming with me, she went to a group run, and it happened to be a Hoka test run.  Thursday night, Hoka was back for another run!

Photo Jul 21, 5 38 11 PM

We actually did a “popsicle run” – run a mile, eat a popsicle. Run another mile, eat another popsicle.  Thanks for a really fun run, Hoka and KC Running Co!

Photo Jul 24, 7 45 30 PM

And of course, I had to take a runfie. 😛

Photo Jul 21, 6 08 20 PM

L to R: Me, Mark, Jenn R, Jenn M, Michelle.

After our run, Michelle and I had dinner, then went to Sprouts.  I’d never been before, and it certainly wasn’t a trip to forget.  Between facetiming my parents to show them quail meat, getting awesome (semi-cheating) deals on milk, and dropping an entire box of blueberries on the ground, it was quite the trip. I definitely love my Belle adventures.

Photo Jul 21, 8 23 09 PM

Saturday, Chris and I had brunch and hung out before the race in the evening.  I introduced him to the world of snapchat, so his life will forever be changed.

Photo Jul 23, 2 27 31 PM

I wrote a race recap for Rock the Crossroads, and there’s lots of pictures on that post for you to check out.  Then on Sunday, I ran 5 miles on the treadmill because HOT, Chris came over and was able to meet Kristen, as she was in town for a couple hours after having a family reunion, before I had to take her to the airport.

Photo Jul 23, 7 12 13 PM

This week, I’m looking forward to going to the Royals game on Wednesday, and hopefully getting in a few runs without dying of HOT.  Have a fantastic week, friends!

The Road to Progress

I’ve had several people ask me about my knee, and my progress with it lately.  I guess that means it’s time for a little update post!

My [left] knee (and my right glute, for that matter) have been doing so much better since January.  To recap very quickly, I went to the orthopedic doctor the first week of January, and was instructed to take 2 weeks off running, I received a cortisone shot in my knee, and was sent home with a diagnosis of a torn meniscus.  When I ran again, 2 weeks later, the pain was back.  At the beginning of February, and an MRI later, it was determined my knee was structurally sound, no tears in my meniscus, or elsewhere.  I was given 2 more cortisone shots in different parts of my knee.  I was frustrated and upset, and after several more visits to my chiropractor, he gave me a series of stretches that have diminished the pain so much that it is all but gone.

I don’t know how much the pain diminished due to the shots, and how much the chiropractic stretches and needlings and adjustments have attributed to it.  I also stopped wearing my Hokas (they were about worn out anyway) and switched to my Altra Lone Peaks.  The change in shoes, chiropractic stretches, and cortisone shots all happened within about 2 weeks, during which, my knee felt 60-80% better.

Photo Mar 23, 8 43 16 PM

I continue to do my knee stretches every other day or so, and I’d venture a guess that the pain is 85% gone.  I get twinges behind my knee on the lateral side every now and then, and I can tell if I’m not doing my stretches for a couple days, because it gets worse and I get back to stretching.  My glute is also doing so much better, due to stretches loosening up my lower back, taking the pressure off a disc or two that are unhappy.

Overall, I’m very happy, but also kind of waiting for the pain to come back.  I’m so hopeful that the stretches are doing the trick, and it’s not the shots that made the pain go away, because once the shots wear off, I don’t want the pain to come back!

I’ve been running 20-25 miles per week now for 4-5 weeks, mostly pain free, or at least a heck of a lot less pain than before.  I’m also cycling about 30-40 miles per week, either on the cycle bikes at the gym in class or on my own beautiful little bike around home.  I know cycling is helping strengthen my legs, which definitely helps my knee, and is also helping me run stronger.

Photo Mar 23, 8 42 44 PM

I feel like I’ve stumbled onto some kind of magic formula… I don’t want to change my shoes.  I don’t want to stop running or cycling.  I don’t want to stop my stretches.  I feel like I’m balancing and hanging on and don’t want to chance anything!  I’ve re-evaluated my goals, and for now, I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing, and hopefully I will continue to be pain free, or at least mostly pain free while I’m at it!

I’m happy, and I’m working on getting healthy, and having my knee on board sure helps!  The real test will be the three half marathons I have coming up, one each in April, May, and June.  I’m confident that I’ll get through them, one step at a time, my knee, hopefully, on board with me!