Wednesday, January 19, 2011

If I Could Be There I Would....

I am incredibly proud of my amazing, wonderful, beautiful sister-in-law for her motivation to run her first half-marathon this weekend.

If I could be there, I would...

I would run it with you or cheer you on.  I would love to be there.  But because I can not, I will cheer for you from miles away.  I'll share my lessons with you and some of the quotes that got me and my running partner through our 16 weeks of full training!

I can vividly remember running my first half-marathon. I learned so much from it and I've learned  much more since that day, two years ago December.   I had only trained up til 12 miles, and raced up to 8 miles.  I went in to the race having no real clue if I could actually run 13.1 miles.  I was nervous.  All of my Running-OCDisms were in full effect.  Is my iPod Charged?  Do I like the music?  Is it in the right order?  What flavor Gu did I pack?  Did I pack Gu?  Falling asleep that night was a challenge.

But when my alarm clock sounded I bolted out of bed with an energy that has since proven to be addictive. I rode to the race with a few of my running buddies, and we all were just electrified!  I love the anxiety rush of Race Day Morning!  This was my gluten eating days so I munched on a banana and a plain bagel in the car ride to the race.  I swallowed two advil at the start line.

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
-John Bingham, running speaker and writer

Standing at the corral waiting for the gun to go off...I can't begin to explain the electricity.  If it's at all chilly in the morning, consider bringing a trash sack or a Goodwill Bathrobe that you can toss after the gun shoots.  The nerves makes you even colder. 

I started too fast, as I typically do during a race.  Use caution.  Your nervous energy can carry you for almost two miles at a pace that's up to 2 minutes/mile faster than your typical pace.  You won't feel it til much later.

Sip water at each stop.  Make sure you take in Gatorade at around mile 6.  I wasn't aware of the electrolyte/salt/potassium issue during my first half.  And I was too nervous to really pay attention.  At mile 10 I saw a crew of Marines.  Because this was either right before or during my brother's time in Bahrain, I got emotional.  Extremely. Enter Asthma Attack.

"The body does not want you to do this.  As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong.  You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet.  It is the will to succeed."
          - Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ

Warning:  something along the course will set off your emotions.  It may be a sign cheering someone on, a shirt being worn by one of the fellow racers (Team in Training Runners notoriously have emotional shirts).  I've finally learned that to accept the fact that I'll be in an emotional state during a full or a half.  To cope I always have an outside "focus" that I can pull from during these instances.  For the last 13 months that's been Isla ;-)  Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and use your focus.

"Once you're beat mentally, you might was well not even go to the starting line."
          -Todd Williams

You're going to hit the wall at some point.  I will guarantee you of that feeling.  It may be at mile 10, like it was for me at my first half marathon.  This last time it was at mile 12 for me.  I had that moment of "Fuck this shit, I just had a baby, my legs kill, I'm thirsty, screw it."  This, again, is where you focus point comes in. 

"Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day.  It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"
          - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian and sub-2:12 marathoner

You can climb that wall, or knock it down if you prefer.  Walk if you need to.  Just don't stop.  Keep going.  Because he finish line is always closer than you think.  And once you cross it, it's over...and you're a hero.

I am so proud of you for even starting this journey.  I know you can do it.  And I can't wait to hear YOUR first half story!

 "Run hard, be strong, think big!"
          - Percy Cerutty