Pregnancy does a number on a woman's body. I say that, now 11 weeks postpartum, only minutes after trying to find professional clothes to wear to a formal event. It, obviously, changes the abdomen. Even though everyone swore I was "all tummy," my legs and arms feel deflated.
Posts tagged ‘5K’
I'm going to count myself in the minority of new parents who get MORE sleep after welcoming a baby. I've been an insomniac since my first year of grad school. I rarely, if ever, sleep through the night. Instead I usually wake up four or five times, barely get back to sleep and then wake up again.
I must admit, I’ve been doing a great deal of staring at this little face for the past three weeks. It’s about all I’ve been doing because I’m not allowed to do much of anything else as I recover from my C-section.
My “all clear” date is likely going to be May 23 if I take everything easily.
That gives me one day less than a month to get ready for my first 5K in a very long time. And I’m so glad that it’s going to be the See Jane Run Bay Area race on June 22.
I’m ready to lace back up.
I really, really miss my running shoes (which now fit me since my swelling has gone down significantly since my daughter’s birth). I’m hoping my base is sustained a least a little. It shouldn’t be hard to hard for me to get back to 3.1 miles. I’m not aiming at a PR race now. I’m just hoping to finish after having major surgery only about eight weeks before.
That said, I’m hoping one of my readers CAN make this into either a personal best 5K or 13.1 with a little help from me.
I’m giving away a race entry (either 5K or half marathon) for the See Jane Run Bay Area race on June 22. The event includes the two events, plus champagne and chocolate at the finish.
You’ll be running with a group of amazing women, many of whom will be running their first 5K or half marathon, as the See Jane Run race is a popular destination for first timers.
All you have to do to enter is leave a required comment telling me WHY you started running and what inspired you and like See Jane Run’s race series on Facebook. There are other options, via RaffleCopter, to earn more entries as well.
The contest runs through May 17.
***CONTEST HAS ENDED***
You know you want to. It’s a fun run and there’s champagne and chocolate at the end. Plus, there’s 1980s-theme aerobics before the race and a ton of “girl power.”
I’m still working on my birth story for Cecilia’s arrival. Her original expected due date was yesterday and it was a very emotional day for me, especially since she’ll be three weeks old tomorrow instead. I didn’t realize my heart would be so torn about all that happened. I’m happy and excited that she’s here and she’s perfect, but her labor and delivery – and the subsequent time in the hospital – were incredibly hard for me.
I’m finally starting to feel like “me” again. I’m incredibly excited to get back to running and fitness by the end of the month too.
This was last year, after my course best at See Jane Run in Alameda. It was a ridiculously hot day to race, but one that was made much better by champagne and a nice medal, with shoe laces attached, at the end.
I’m looking at a completely different, incredibly exciting reality now. Looking down at, I should say. This photo is from my prenatal massage, thanks to a gift card from my mom, earlier this week. At nearly 31 weeks, I’m waking up multiple times during the night and feeling rather uncomfortable in everything I do.
I’m not going to talk about weight gain, outside of saying that I’m carrying baby girl mostly in the front. My shirts would fit if I didn’t have a big baby bump in the way. My thighs are a little thicker, but I’m still wearing maternity jeans from the second trimester. Only now am I moving into larger shirts, just because the bump is growing more and more each week.
But overall, I’m not feeling a great urge to lose weight, yet. Maybe in the next nine weeks that will change.
I do, however, have a great want to get back to fitness. And running. And being able to actually do asanas at yoga without having to move my legs out to avoid my belly.
That’s why I’m incredibly grateful to have been chosen, for a second year, as an ambassador for See Jane Run. The Oakland-based running store hosts its San Francisco Bay Area run in Alameda on June 22 this year.
Baby girl should be about two months old by then. Last year I ran 13.1 miles.
This year, I’m planning on doing the 5K. My first run “back” and my first 5K in a very long time. I’m considering it a “baby” step for myself. I know the route, I know the parking situation. I know nearly everything about the location. It will be comfortable and fun, even if I am uncomfortable doing it (who knows what shape I’ll be in then).
I’d like to think I’ll be running more than a 5K by then.
Part of my plan is to be able to run twice that far to be on track to run the 2nd Half Marathon of the San Francisco Marathon on July 29.
Two races signed up for already.
Today, though, I got an email about the bigger picture for 2014. Let me make it clear: Baby girl’s arrival is going to be the biggest event of my year. My husband would agree.
But I want something else too: Another chance to earn a PR at California International Marathon in December.
Sign ups begin March 1. I’ll likely deliberate it for awhile before actually signing up, but I really, really want to run 26.2 again this year. I don’t know if that is even a feasible goal, but I’m hoping that it can and will happen.
I’d like to be back in Sacramento with my husband and baby girl taking on this year’s challenge.
To get there? Those baby steps I mentioned before. All starting with See Jane Run in June. It’s perfect that I’ll be surrounded by so many inspirational women my first race post birth. I can’t think of a better way to introduce baby girl to racing than at an event like See Jane Run.
The good news is that I have a 10-percent off coupon code for See Jane Run Alameda’s 5K and Half Marathon for my blog readers so that you can join the party to. Interested in signing? Use SJRAMB243 to secure the discount. Even better, the code is ALSO good for online or in-store purchases from See Jane Run and its website.
Plus, some of the Bay Area See Jane Run stores will be hosting kick off events on March 1 to celebrate the official start of race season and promotion of the awesome events.
The kickoff events begin at 8 a.m. at See Jane Run’s San Francisco, Oakland and Danville stores. Representatives from Moving Comfort, Altra Running and 2XU will be on site at each store (for more details about which presentation will happen at which store, click here). Each kickoff starts with a run, also walker friendly, and includes a clinic about half marathon and 5K training.
It’s time to get serious about training, or in my case start planning for the next step of training in my post-baby come back to running.
Today my morning run was a lot more colorful than it typically is — and that’s saying a lot because I love wearing neon running clothes.
I ran my first color-type run today in San Jose with the Color Me Rad 5K. After walking around at a local festival for about three hours last night, I was thanking the race gods for a 9:40 a.m. wave start. It meant my husband and I could get on the road from our home, 60 miles away, later than a normal race. It also meant I got to sleep in some.
After an uneventful ride from Tracy to San Jose, the first major obstacle hit us: parking.
I had read reviews, and heeded the advice of the Color Me Rad website, to arrive early, especially since I was unable to attend an early packet pick up.
The problem wasn’t the organizers, though, in this case. Instead, it was the venue’s parking attendants. My husband was concerned I wouldn’t be able to get my packet, so he literally forced me out of the car as quickly as he could before driving off to pay $8 for parking.
But he literally sat in a traffic jam, only about a quarter-mile long, for 40 minutes. Why? Apparently one of the attendants kept having conversations with every driver coming in. Seriously.
My husband texted me that is was “awful” with an expletive in front of it. Yikes.
Thankfully, inside the Santa Clara County Fairgounds, everything was moving much more smoothly for me. When I got at the venue at around 8:45 a.m., there were very few lines leading up to race-day packet pick up.
I walked right up, picked up my bib, then got my sunglasses and race T-shirt (see above). The race T-shirt is one of the best ones I’ve received from a race and, hands down, the best from a 5K. It’s a cotton-blend shirt, but it’s also a fitted tee. And it runs true to size. When I took of my color-covered shirt today, I wore it home and then changed back into it after my shower.
After packet pick up, I had a lot of time to kill. Unfortunately I also had a lot of swag and wasn’t too sure my husband was going to make it into the venue before I started. He was still battling parking.
Two or three phone calls later and I was heading back out to where I entered the venue and waiting for him. After I handed over all my swag, I decided to go line up.
I didn’t know what time it was, but when I got over to the start, it was WAY before my expected wave start. No one checked my bib, and I was a single runner, so I figured I’d just start with the next wave.
That scene is about 10 minutes before the wave I started with. I figured there were still more people coming in the gates, so some people were probably late. I also heard a woman outside the corral area say she was just going to start at the 10 a.m. wave because she wanted the course to be less impacted.
It all worked out.
After some fanfare that included the emcee’s microphone cutting out, we were off.
Except there was a snag nearly immediately.
No one was along the route to direct the massive group of runners out. Instead, everyone just kept following the wave before the others. The problem was, it significantly cut the 5K down. It wasn’t until other runners mentioned the error that people started turning around.
It was then a woman asked me if I was going back. I wasn’t using my Garmin or anything, but I would have missed the first color station if I had kept going. So the woman and I turned around and started running back.
Her name was Darlene. She was from San Jose. And we started running together.
For awhile, we were the ONLY ones along certain parts of the course. Then we were behind all the walkers. Toward the end we made our way up to the runners again. With the detour and the backtracking, we probably logged about four-miles today instead of the 3.1.
The color stations were split between cornstarch color being thrown at some and color being sprayed at others. The color spray didn’t get nearly as much of the runner’s clothes, but covered brighter. The course, in this specific location, kind of zigged-zagged through the fairgrounds. We crossed over ourselves numerous times before coming to the finish line.
And the finish line was confusing for me. As someone who had NEVER done a color-themed run, I threw up the “color bombs” as soon as they handed them to me near the end. Actually Darlene and I each snagged two, so I threw them both up.
Apparently I was supposed to wait until the end. Oops. Rookie mistake.
I haven’t run a 5K in so long I forget how quickly they go by. As soon as we started, and just when my legs were really starting to come alive, we were heading in toward the finish line.
Darlene and I had kept a conversational pace throughout the run. As someone who came to run without any “crew,” it was nice to stumble upon someone who wanted to run the complete course and was willing to backtrack. I enjoyed the conversation.
Darlene said she is running the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half in a couple weeks, so I’m hoping I can catch up with here there too. It will be her first half marathon.
That’s Darlene and I, post race. Excuse my bed-head. I didn’t exactly get myself all dressed up for the run. And thanks to the LaraBar crew for being kind enough to take our photo post-race.
Despite missteps in parking, course routes and knowing what to do with a color bomb, Color Me Rad was actually a really good time. I enjoyed seeing new runners and families spending time together on the course. The great thing about themed runs is that the events attract a diverse range of runners, but usually newer runners gravitate toward them.
The runs are good ways to get runners hooked. I’m all for more people getting in shape and living healthier lives.
It’s a bonus that the events are also a hell of a lot of fun.
Too bad I don’t look as “colorful” as I actually was. Hours later I’m still trying to get the color off my skin. I haven’t even washed the running clothes yet. I’m soaking them in some stain remover beforehand. I purchased the white shirt for $5 at a discount store when I was scheduled to do a different color run with friends this summer that I ended up not going to.
I’d definitely recommend this run, particularly with Color Me Rad.
Not only is the swag superior to other 5Ks (shirt, sunglasses, temporary tattoos), free Larabar samples were offered, bottles of water were handed out at the midway point and, overall, the organization was good. Color Me Rad runs are also very reasonably priced, starting in some cases at $35. There are also frequent discounts codes given.
If I was on a timed course, I would have been more upset about the course mishap. But I rolled with the punches today and was glad I did.
Not only did I have a good time, I had a great conversation and run with a complete stranger who just made the experience that much better.
Disclaimer: I was provided a free race entry as a Color Me Rad Ambassador as part of my affiliation with Fit Approach’s Sweat Pink group, but the thoughts, opinions and newbie mistakes are my own.
More often than not lately I feel like running and I are just having a “time out.”
After a really successful spring racing season that gave me a 12-minute PR in the marathon and a 2:16 finish in the half, I shouldn’t be surprised.
I’ll be switching down to the half marathon at Half Moon Bay in a couple weeks. I have a lot of reasons to do so. One of them, though, is that I’m just not ready to run 26.2. (There are health reasons too, yes.)
After yoga on Tuesday, I felt like I had been hit by a bus for no other reason than it just didn’t go well for me.
I feel like a fitness mess right now. But I also have A LOT to look forward to in the next couple months.
COLOR ME RAD 5K
The first is that I’m FINALLY going to be participating in a color run this weekend. I’ll be heading to San Jose on Saturday, husband in tow, to run in the Color Me Rad 5K. After not making it to the start line this summer for the one I previously registered for, I’m excited to get to do one. I didn’t get to early packet pickup with my students in production for their first newspaper of the semester this week, so I’m anticipating long lines comes Saturday.
My wave starts at 9:20 a.m. I’m hoping to get there at about 8:15 a.m. or so.
The best part of this run is that it’s a 5K! That means that, in comparison to the other runs my husband has had to wait for me at, this one won’t be nearly as long. I’m excited to run something shorter too.
But I won’t be running for speed. Instead I’m going to focus on taking it all in and having fun.
HONEY BADGER HALF MARATHON
I’m planning on taking this one slow and steady too. I’ve never run a trail half marathon. I don’t really feel like I have anything to “prove” on the course either. I’m just going to get it done.
I went into my first trail 10K thinking the same thing. I was slow. The next year I ran it much, much faster. I just want to enjoy myself.
Plus, my husband will likely pack the kayak for this one, so I can take a little longer if need be as well.
I’ll admit, though, I’m a little bit more excited about the fact that this half is named for the Internet Honey Badger meme. And the medal is pretty awesome as well.
LET’S GO 510 10K
I’m REALLY excited to announce that I’ve been chosen as an ambassador for the Let’s Go 510 10K on Oct. 19 in Berkeley.
I love the East Bay. When I was a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley I lived in Oakland for two years. I loved the life and culture of the area. I lived in North Oakland, where there were a bunch of cute shops and restaurants.
I’m already signed up for the Berkeley Half Marathon in November. So when I saw this race, I knew I had to get involved. I sent an email inquiring about the company’s ambassador program. And I was accepted!
I’ll be running the 10K.
This race is partially put on by Brazen Racing, which is one of my favorite racing companies.
The race will take runners through the Berkeley Marina area. It will be nice and cool come October. Even better is the 10 a.m. start of the race. I actually get to sleep in a little before running.
CHANGING IT UP
The reason I’m so excited about these races is that they are all a little bit different than the norm for me. A color run. A trail half marathon. A 10K. Two I’ve never done. One I haven’t done in awhile.
I’m hoping by the time the Let’s Go 510 10K comes around, I’ll have rebounded from this funk. That said, I still have two other half marathons to run in that time. But the good news is that I’m excited about running again.
Now if I could only clam down the nagging pain in my hip and the nasty pains in my stomach…
This is as far as my tutu and running gear got on Saturday. It’s where it all continues to sit today. Needless to say, if my tutu, race belt and water bottle didn’t make it out the door, neither did I.
Instead, I went back to sleep after realizing, nearly at the last minute when my friend was on the way to pick me up, that I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go run on Saturday. I didn’t want to. The thought of doing so paralyzed me with fear.
Thanks anxiety. I appreciate it.
Or not. I actually hate your face. If you had a face, I mean. Than I’d hate it.
I won’t get started on “how it all went down” rather I’ll say this: It’s been about three months since my last panic attack. This one was minor in severity to the first one (otherwise known as the “big one” or “the incident”) last October. It wasn’t as quick as the one three months ago either.
Suffice it to say, my morning wasn’t fun. I woke up with a huge knot in my stomach that just wouldn’t go away. And it didn’t until I fell back asleep after my husband handed me some tissue and sent out the obligatory “Tara isn’t coming” text message.
Life. Sucks. Sometimes.
The good news is that people tell me it gets better. The better news is that this is the first time in three months I’ve even had something like this happen. That’s a win. Even if I didn’t feel that way yesterday, it truly is.
Saturday marked the first day anxiety has broken into my running in such a way. My last race was the San Francisco Marathon. And while I had moments of “why am I doing this?” and “I cannot do this today” I made it to the start line. To the midway point. And to the finish.
It was easy to diagnose the “trigger” for Saturday, which had nothing to do with running at all. I know it had nothing to go with running because I was able to hop on the treadmill later in the evening and run eight miles, no problem.
But I was smart to know my limit, to not push myself when uncomfortable. My husband kept trying to persuade me, to push me out the door with my friends, to tell me everything would be OK. I think deep down, though, he knew it was a lost battle from the moment I started to breathe heavy. He did what he could.
And I did what I knew had to be done: I laid myself back down. I bowed out before the run.
I knew the damaged I would do if I kept going. I knew what would happen if I got out the door and on the road, or even to the race. I knew it would be all bad. I knew once I lost my composure, I wouldn’t be able to get it back.
Part of learning to live with anxiety, and specifically without anxiety medication, is that I have to be the one to pull back for myself. I have to set my limits. I did that on Saturday, which meant there was no 5K. I want to be disappointed about missing what looked like a good time, but I’ve run too many races lately (and many since October) to know that I never felt this way before one.
Something was different. Something was wrong.
I listened to that gut instinct which I didn’t listen to last October, which led to that “more damage” down the road. Because my hope is that if it’s been three months since my last panic attack this time, it will be six months in between the next … or maybe they’ll stop all together.
I can cross my fingers and hope. But I can also recognize the signs early enough to stop it from happening all together, lean back, relax, breathe deep and remove myself from a situation, temporarily, before it gets too bad. Even if it means giving up a fun run.
More than a year ago, I swore off the 5K distance. It’s not that I don’t have a love for 3.1 miles. I ran a lot of 5Ks in my training to run my first 10K in 2010. I nursed those 5Ks to that 10K finish, believe me. But I realized midday through 2012 there was no way I could run a fast 5K if all my training planes literally had my legs coming alive at mile five.
That’s part of the reason I have a love/hate relationship with the 10K. It’s actually more of a hate/hate relationship. I only run trail 10Ks now. Those are the only ones I feel “worth my time and effort.”
I sound like a pretentious runner. I’m really not. I just kind of gave up on the 5K and 10K being “my distance.”
And we all have a distance we claim as our own. For me, it’s the half marathon. Two years ago I never thought I’d say that. But in the past seven months, I’ve learned to master the 13.1 and make it my own.
So when my running buddies asked me to do a “color run” with them, I initially said no. Color runs are the new mud runs, you know. Everybody is doing them. But not me. No thanks.
I think my resistance lasted for about four weeks before my friend Sam sent me a Groupon deal for the July 6 “Run or Dye” event in San Francisco. It was at a really low price, one that might make me budge. Finally, I did. I actually opted to do a 5K color run over a six-hour endurance run. At least I’ll be done quickly, I told myself.
I’m not even sure what I’m getting myself into.
I’ve heard a mix of good and bad going into these runs. This one is untimed. I’m not even taking my Garmin. I am, however, taking an accessory that doesn’t usually make it into my running ensemble.
Yes. A tutu has been made.
It’s fitting that my June issue of Runner’s World magazine has a runner on the front getting splashed with corn starch-colors on all sides. It lists color-themed runs with zombie runs, foam runs and neon-light runs as a way to “have fun” for a 5K.
After months of serious racing (two marathons in a three-month period and a bunch of other distance races), I’m kind of looking forward to finding my fun again in a less serious run.
So I’ll be heading out Saturday morning with my running buddies and their children to San Francisco.
I had to buy a white shirt. Because I apparently don’t own any I can thrash. Though I’m told that the colors all wash off.
I kind of find it ironic that it says “live love color” and “lasting color” on the shirt when I intend to make it very, very colorful. I also found a pair of hot pink tights to wear, though on second thought I’m not sure if I really will.
I may not be digging the brightness on race morning.
I’ll also grab an older pair of my running shoes. I don’t plan on “running” this race at all. Instead, I plan on kind of slogging (slow+jogging=slogging) through it for fun.
Since this sort of race doesn’t put focus on the time, it will be easy to relax and slow down a little. The last time I didn’t focus on a race time was during a mud run a couple years ago. In that case, I couldn’t. I was stuck behind a line of people in a mud pit for about 20 minutes. My time for the 5K was somewhere around 54 minutes when I finished.
Less serious? Yes. Still difficult? Yes.
This run doesn’t include obstacles, which I’m actually rather thankful for. My core still hasn’t recovered since my January gallbladder removal. (It should be by now, but I’ve been really unmotivated to push myself in that area. I have even less motivation to bring my once-broken arm back to the form it was in, strength wise, when it broke.)
In any case, I’ll get to fulfill my only-recently discovered dream of wearing a tutu while I run. It’s not really a dream. I’ve just never figured it would be practical to do so. I mean, it will likely itch.
Doesn’t it look so much prettier finished? Maybe not. I think it kind of looks like a 1980s wedding favor. Long live Tulle.
I’m actually kind of nervous about how this is all going to go. I think once you’ve towed the line at a couple marathons, running takes on a different feel. As in: Can I approach a race without that competitive need to beat myself?
Or can I run a race with friends and not feel naked without my Garmin? Will I feel as if I still have a long way to go after I hit the three-mile mark?
I guess I’m going to find out.
Horrible reproduction, right? Pixelated photos are so 2008. I normally wouldn’t post a photo this grainy on my blog, but it’s one of only about three I have from my first 5K. I wasn’t “into” running then. I hop on the treadmill from time to time, usually only when I was feeling really heavy or unsatisfied with myself.
Running didn’t become part of my life for good until 2010.
But that first 5K was a monumental stepping stone for me. It was the first time I’d run that distance. I trained hard for that race, but not nearly as hard as I should have. I hurt afterwards. I felt miserable at parts during the run itself. But I also felt victorious when I finished it.
I felt on top of the world.
As spring winds down, there are races nearly every weekend now in my area. A lot of people are out running their first 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathons right now.
There are training plans all over the Internet to get runners to that next pivotal step in their running journey. But many of them don’t cover what to do to prepare for the day you walk up to the start line and get ready to go on that first run.
Here are some tips to make it through a race, whether it’s 3.1 miles or 26.2.
HYDRATE PROPERLY THE DAYS BEFORE
That happy face? By the end of my first 5K I was panting and my legs were cramping up with a pain I had never experienced before. I didn’t know why until another runner mentioned to me, when I was complaining to my husband about how bad I felt (“…like I was hit by a truck…”), that I likely needed to be more hydrated.
I’m always worried about multiple trips to the portable toilet before a race. So in the beginning my strategy was to not drink anything so I could avoid those trips.
Don’t do that. Ever.
In fact, as a runner you should regularly be hydrating. I carry around a 25-ounce bottle of water and usually refill it once or twice a day. This is especially true now that it’s warmer outside. Keep drinking water.
Now that hydration is a regular part of my life, I don’t worry so much about those morning of bathroom trips. I’m not drinking a ridiculous amount of water in the morning to catch up now.
Hydration helps you avoid injury and cramps. It will also help you get through a new distance feeling better at the end. Take it from someone who learned the hard way.
SET REALISTIC GOALS
That typically means being less concerned about time and more concerned about finishing.
I hate to tell people to “aim low.” But in reality, the first time you run a new distance, you should really train yourself to focus on making it through. I’m one of those people who went out way too fast in my first half marathon. Then, by the end, I looked like the above photo. I was exhausted.
I just wanted to be done.
Then at mile 10, I hit “the wall” and I’ll never forget it. My chest felt tight. My body felt like it was shutting down.
But I went into that race with one goal: finish it.
My second goal was to finish in under three hours. I figured I’d factor in some extra time as padding.
When I finished in 2:35:36 I accomplished both those goals.
I know people who make grand plans for finishing races, saying they want to have an instant PR or qualify for Boston during their first marathon. Some people do. More mortal types like me don’t. And that’s not a reason to throw in the towel.
DON’T THROW IN THE TOWEL WHEN IT GOES BAD
I’ve seen it happen. In fact, at a recent race, I recognized the symptoms of a Did Not Finish (DNF) happening right next to me as I hit mile 8 in the Oakland Half Marathon.
A woman next to me was making pretty good time. But that was my perception of it. Not hers.
She was running at a conversational pace with a friend. And she starting talking about dropping out of the race.
“I’m not going to make my 2:10 goal,” she said. “I wanted my first half to be a decent one.”
OK. A 2:10 would be a PR for me. If I could get myself to a 2:10 half marathon, I’d be over the moon happy.
Not her. She wasn’t. I ran ahead, setting my own personal PR. I waited around at the finish to see if that woman and her friend came through the chute. I saw her friend only a couple minutes after me. I never saw the women. That’s not to say she didn’t finish, but it kind of stuck with me.
I know a person who had two DNF in half marathons before she could finish one. She gave up halfway through the first two times because, in her words, she “couldn’t complete the distance.” She had run the 10-milers. She’d trained for 14 weeks. But she couldn’t do it come race morning.
The moment you start to doubt is the moment it can all go bad. Don’t let a couple bad miles ruin a race, especially if it’s the first time you’ve run the distance. I promise, you’ll feel better when you finish. And you’ll likely want to sign up for another one.
NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY
Gear is important. You will likely carry something with you during a run, even if it’s just your car keys. I carry more stuff the longer the distance. But the key is knowing what works for you and just how little or how much you need to get through your run. Here’s a breakdown of what I carry with me over the four distances:
5K — Phone, usually in the pocket of my capris.
10K — iFitness belt, phone, two packs of Vanilla Bean Gu, small 12-ounce water bottle
Half marathon — iFitness belt, phone, five packs of Gu, 20-ounce water bottle
Marathon — iFitness belt, phone, $5 (never know when you’ll need money), 9 packs of Gu, 20-ounce water bottle
I also plan out what I am going to wear and test it at least twice on a longer run. For my half marathon, I wore a nice Dri-Fit shirt that I had worn on numerous eight and 10-mile runs during training. I also wore a pair of capris that I had run quite a few times too.
There’s a reason a lot of people don’t wear the race shirt on race day. It’s not because it’s “lame” as some people think. It’s actually because untested race wear is definitely not recommended. You could chafe. You could also be incredibly uncomfortable the entire race.
Just avoid the new things. And make sure you have tested and prepared to use the gear you are bringing.
PREP YOUR RACE GEAR THE NIGHT BEFORE
I post photos of my race gear all the time. I also have a really bad anxiety problem. So if I don’t have everything perfectly ready the night before, I usually freak out a little in the morning.
I lay all of my gear out the night before just to make sure everything is there. It honestly saves time in the morning when I’m not rushing to find things, like my Garmin or my Body Glide.
I’ve done it so often that I just kind of go through the motions now. I also back my “after” bag with everything I need for after the race.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
I can’t stress this enough. But this is also one of the hardest things to do.
Why? Race day nerves often keep you up longer than you’d like to be. I know. I’ve been there. I’d like to say it gets better after you do a couple races of your “new” distance, but the reality is I’m still nervous before every race I run. I’ve just learned to cope better with the nerves (sometimes).
I prepare the day before a race by not sleeping in too late, which could keep me up at night, and generally staying off my feet as much as possible. I also try to settle down and watch television for an hour or so before I’m supposed to go to bed. It helps me relax and take my mind off of everything. I almost always in bed by 11 p.m.
JUST HAVE FUN
Another hard one when it’s your first time. You train hard. You put a ton of pressure on yourself to make it happen. Just go out and have a good time on race day. Don’t second guess your training (because by then you can’t do anything about it), just go out and run. You’ll be relieved once you shake the nerves out. But you’ll also be incredibly excited when it’s over.
Have a good time. Enjoy your day, because you never forget your first.