Ten years ago, on March 18, I stepped up to the start line of a race for the first time ever. Running a race had never even crossed my mind, even though I’d been running regularly since Jones was born (about 5 years). But one of my friends convinced me to do it and promised to help me with everything. Little did she know she was creating a monster. A monster who has now run 6 marathons, 62 half marathons, and countless races of other lengths. A monster who recently couldn’t resist grabbing a last minute bib to the 17.75 to get the opportunity to earn the Golden Ticket for MCM again.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about myself and about racing. Here are my top 10 lessons learned…
- Zippers are a girl’s best friend. I don’t like to be freezing (in fact, I prefer to overdress to underdress), but I usually warm up eventually. With a zipper, I can regulate my temperature during the race. This comes in really handy when you are running in the wind.
- Check out the elevation before you register. Or don’t. Just check if I’ve registered – I apparently only choose hilly races LOL.
- Not every race will be a good run, but there’s good in every race.
- Not every race can be a PR. Even if your training goes perfectly, you never know what’s going to happen when you step up to that line. Sometimes a race just doesn’t go your way. On the flip side, sometimes you have a surprise absolutely amazing race.
- You’re only competing with yourself. Until I can see the finish line. Then I’m competing with everyone and I will sprint past you at the last second and feel good about it. SorryNotSorry.
- Wear what makes you happy and do what works for you. I like to run in skirts. Yes, I think they are cute and I love the patterns, but really I run in them because they work for me. I don’t chafe, I have pockets for my stuff, and my rear end is covered. I also tend to run colder than a lot of runners, so I need to remember not to underdress.
- It’s better to be undertrained than overtrained. Now I’m not recommending that you run a marathon after running all 5ks and 10ks, but if you’ve got a solid base of running, you can go a lot farther than you think you can (just as long as you slow down.) *Cough* MCM 2016 *Cough*
- Giving back is nearly as much fun as running a race. I LOVE racing. LOVE it. But I also love volunteering and cheering.
- Have a race morning routine. I always eat the same thing and try to get up with at least the same amount of time to get ready. Any lack of planning ahead and following the routine results in forgetting important things and upset tummies. Learn from my mistakes.
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before the night before a race. I will ALWAYS have insomnia before a race, no matter how long the race is or where I’m running. Now I just plan for it.