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!!

It’s My Run

It’s my run, not your run.

It’s my race, not your race.

I might run slower than you; I might run faster than you.

I might run farther than you; I might run shorter than you.

I might run less per week than you, but I may run more miles per week than you.

I might run for different reasons than you.

I might run different than you, and that’s ok. Because it’s my run, not yours.

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Last October, I ran the KC Half Marathon for the second time, and decided to sign up for the full marathon for 2016.  Since then, I’ve ran 4 more half marathons, and decided I really don’t want to run a full marathon yet.  Someday, yes.  But not this year.  I lost my WHY, and signed up for a marathon, more because everyone else was, not necessarily because I truly and honestly wanted to do it.  I do want to attempt a full marathon, but this is not the right year for me to run a marathon.

In the end, I run for me; it’s my run.  I took that first step out that door four and a half years ago, and started running.  I get out of bed and run early in the morning, because it’s my run.  I run in the heat, after a hard day’s work, because it’s my run.  I run in the cold winter weather, bundled up so much you don’t know it’s me, because it’s my run.

I’ve run with many many people over the years, family, friends, strangers who are now friends, and even people who were once friends and are now strangers… But in the end, I run for me.

It’s my run.

The May Run Down

Happy June, Friends!

May is over, and I ran 102 miles last month.  I didn’t cycle too much, but got in 43.5 miles in the saddle.  For the year, I’m at 411 running miles and 422.5 biking miles.  My running is feeling pretty good at the moment.  My knee is better than it was, but still bothers me during and after running.  May started off with 8 hard and humid miles with Amy. I had two 8 mile runs in May, my longest two training runs for the month.

Photo May 08, 11 38 17 AM

I had one race in May, the Running with the Cows Half Marathon.  It was a really neat race, in the countryside south of Kansas City.  I didn’t have the greatest race, after starting out too quickly I burnt out with 4-5 miles to go.  Kristen had flown in, and Mom and Dad drove down for the race.  It was a really fun weekend.  Running with the Cows was my only race in May.  I ended up walking a decent part of it at the end, and finished with my third fastest half marathon time.

Photo May 14, 10 32 28 AM

The Sunday after the race, Mom, Dad, Kristen and I went to Shawnee Mission Park to run, bike, and explore.  It was a nice way to shake out the legs and see some really pretty scenery.  Plus, Kristen had to run 8 miles, so it was nice to bike around while she ran.

Photo May 15, 12 56 49 PM

I ran with the KC Running Co. groupies 4 times in May.  I need to get to more Groupie runs! After Hospital Hill (this coming weekend), Amy and I are going to try to get to more Tuesday night speed nights with the groupies.

Photo May 22, 5 40 14 PM

I also had my birthday in May! I turned 30, and started off my birthday by running 3 miles on the treadmills with Amy. It had been raining and storming and very windy overnight, so we opted for an indoor run instead of risking getting caught in a thunderstorm.  In all the runs Amy and I have had together, it was our very first treadmill run together!

Photo May 25, 6 05 32 AM

I went home for Memorial Day, and was able to get in 3 runs with Mom!  Shay puppy has an injured leg, so she couldn’t run with us, but we went on a couple short walks after Mom and I ran.

Photo May 28, 10 54 06 AM

For our Memorial Day Run, Mom and I ran a beautiful 4 mile loop which included seeing some horses, running on the bypass, and seeing a lovely little family of geese.  Mom also massaged around my knee a bit while I was home, and it felt really good.  My goal for June is to spend 10+ minutes every day stretching.

Photo May 30, 10 53 13 AM

Looking forward to June, I am running the Hospital Hill Half Marathon on June 4.  I’m flying up to Milwaukee to visit Kristen and Thayne, and will run my first quarter marathon (6.55 miles) while I’m there.  I am also looking forward to having a bit of a break from the half marathons, after having one each in April, May, and June.

May Run-Down:
Running: 21 runs, totaling 102 miles.
Cycling: 3 cycling classes, 3 hours, and a couple bike rides, totaling 43.5 miles.
Longest Run: 8 miles, May 1 and May 22
Races: Running with the Cows Half Marathon