Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Running On Tips

I’ve been a part of quite a few races and events and they are pretty much the same. Expos, free t-shirts, run through the town or city, a medal and the usual bagels, banana and water at the finish line. I’ve always thought that a scavenger hunt type race, either individual or with teams, would be fun. You could even have puzzles or riddles with clues to increase the difficulty. It would be a great way to highlight the town or city and see the sights and what that town or city has to offer. It would attract attention to local businesses and causes by having runners run around town and go to sponsored places. There are very few medals that are unique. One medal that comes to mind is the medal I recently got at the Not So Normal Run. It is a medal and a coaster! I think a unique medal designed for the specific event would get people talking. It would be great publicity for a smaller town or it could highlight the sights of a big city. Local restaurants could even donate their food for the finish line and get their name out there. The possibilities really are endless! If you are thinking of planning your own event check out Eventbrite. Eventbrite's platform allows you to create, plan, and host your own local event!

Since I have had to stop running I have been thinking a lot about my past running experiences both good and bad. My best and worst moment at a race come from the same one, the NYC Marathon. The worst moment was when I got to mile twenty one, and I realized that my foot was really hurt. I was mad because during all my training, my foot never hurt. It got so bad that I had to stop for awhile and I knew that I would have to at least limp to the finish line, if not drop out.

The best moment came shortly after that mile when I saw my husband. I immediately started to tell him about my foot and how nervous I was about being able to finish. He gave me a hug and walked with me a bit. I told him I’d be ok and that I’d see him at the finish line.

Around mile twenty three I was really starting to lose it physically and mentally. I could not imagine walking another three miles, just the thought of it brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to stop. I saw my husband again and immediately broke down. I was angry, I was crying, and I was so over doing the race. He hooked his arm in mine and he encouraged me. He walked with me, made me laugh, and gave me a pep talk. He didn’t leave my side until I was about a half a mile to the finish line. I would have NEVER gotten through that race without my husband. I can’t thank him enough and he is a large part of why I’m a marathoner today.

I’ve learned a lot training for ten half marathons and one marathon. Listen, training for a race is hard work. It takes time, dedication and determination.  All of this may not happen to you, but my best tip is to try and be prepared.  It really is trial and error.

You will hurt, you will get frustrated and you will chafe. You will alsol feel satisfaction, strength, and pride. You will spend a ridiculous amount of money on sneakers, sports bras, socks, running watches etc. You might even spend hundreds of dollars on ONE race alone (Hello, NYC!). You will have amazing runs and you will have “I’m never, ever freaking doing this again!” runs. You will wonder why you are doing this god awful thing called running and then you will get upset when you can’t figure out when you will get your run in. You might develop runner's knee, shin splints, plantar fasciitis or all three at once. You will forget to start your running watch and won’t realize it until you are done with your run. You will convince yourself that you can eat that whole large pizza today because you ran tons of miles. You will feel absolutely no guilt eating your favorite meal and favorite dessert after a tough long run or race. You’ll map out your run and still get totally lost. You’ll map out your run for ten miles and realize that it’s only seven and a half. You will come across wildlife and possibly get chased by wildlife (geese are the WORST! They are mean!). You will probably have to pee or poop somewhere you aren’t even 50% comfortable with. You’ll talk excessively about running and races and google things like, “How do I not pee myself during runs?” and “How to prevent nipple chafe?”. You’ll buy Runner’s World and read it religiously. You’ll be BFF’s on social media (well, in your mind anyway) with Bart Yasso, Shalane Flanagan, Meb, Nick Symmonds, and Kara Goucher. You’ll geek out when one of them likes your tweet or even REPLIES to your tweet about them. You’ll wait in line forever to get your picture taken with any professional runner that inspires you. You’ll have a favorite place to run (Lake Benson) and a god awful place to run (the NC Art Museum trail). You’ll set your alarm for before the sun goes up and fall asleep at 7pm watching Simpsons reruns. You’ll have a crapload more laundry to do that smells so bad you gag. You might start a running blog or join a running group. You’ll love the wind in your face and how you feel running downhill after running what feels like a million uphills. You’ll read about how strength training and yoga are fantastic for runners, but never seem to get around to it. You’ll be buying things called “foam rollers” and “the stick”. You’ll read every book you can get your hands on about inspiring runners (The Long Run by Matt Long is my favorite). You’ll dream about qualifying for the Boston Marathon even if you are a thirty-seven year old overweight women with a severe candy and pizza addiction. You’ll be looking at your pee and feeling proud that is light yellow in color which means you are properly hydrated. You’ll carefully select songs for your running playlists to get you through runs and races. You’ll learn to stand in line a long time for a porta potty at races. You’ll learn how NOT to waterboard yourself trying to drink water at the water stations. Your friends and your husband will make fun of you for all the reflective gear and headlamp you wear in public. You will throw a tantrum when your puppy eats your $150 pair of Brooks sneakers and then happily accept a free replacement pair. You’ll scream in pain when you jump in the shower and realize how badly you are chafed in areas you never knew you had. You’ll get stronger and faster or you might not. You’ll just love to run because of the way it makes you feel, and isn’t that the best thing about it after all?

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