Thursday, April 17, 2014

What I learned....

I wasn't sure what title to use on this post because I wanted to say, "What I learned while running a half marathon" but it seems like some of the lessons I learned were while I trained for the marathon too. So I will just leave it at "what I learned"

1.) I learned that running is completely a mental game. Okay, not 100%.  It seemed like once I ran 6 miles at once, the rest of the long distance runs weren't that bad as long as my head was in the game. Also, there are times when you want to stop, not because your legs are tired, or your breathing hard, but because you just WANT to stop.  That is where the mental part comes in, at that point you have to say, Do I NEED to stop? If the answer is no, then you need to keep pushing through it. 

2.) You will have bad days. Not every run is going to be your BEST run.  You are going to HATE it on some days and that is where the mental part comes in too.  Just because you don't feel like running or your heart isn't in it, doesn't mean you get to stop or not run. But don't let those bad days steer you away from running because more than likely the next run will be AMAZING!

3.) ANYONE CAN RUN A HALF MARATHON!! If I can run a half marathon, then anyone can run a half marathon. Yep you read that right, I honestly believe with training that anyone can run a half marathon.  The key is that you train.  Most people can't just show up the day of a race and run 13.1 miles (although I bet there are some who can do that, those people SUCK). If you give yourself 12 weeks or more, then anyone can run a half a marathon. A little determination (okay some days it take A LOT of determination) and some running shoes and you will be running a half marathon too! I promise!

4.) Don't just run on a dirt and gravel roads when the race is mostly on pavement. I thought running on the dirt roads would help me build muscle in my legs that I wouldn't get if I ran on cement/side walks.  But on race day, what I learned is that it was pretty hard on my legs, they weren't use to pavement. AHHHH. Yeah I should have ran on booth pavement and dirt roads.

5.) Don't eat a greasy hamburger before the race. I wish I would have eaten something lighter or more protein/carb base.  I don't think spaghetti or some pasta dish is what I needed (they say you should actually start carb loading a few days before the race, the night before is too late!). Not sure what I would eat instead, but I'm telling you that I won't eat a greasy hamburger and French fries again before the race. The WHOLE time before the race I kept thinking I NEEDED to go to the bathroom, and I'm not talking about number 1!! Maybe it was my nerves, but I think that greasy hamburger had something to do with it.

6.) Test out your playlist BEFORE the race.  There were some songs that I wish I would have heard, but they never made it. And then other ones that were on there and they just annoyed me. So the next time I will have them in a particular order.

7.) Get the right gear well before the race. I told you I bought my running pack and gel shots, but I wish I would have bought them earlier. Because I bought the pack because I wanted it to hold my gel shots, but I wish I would have played around with those BEFORE the race.  I wasn't really sure when to take those shots.  Also, if I had used the pack before the race then I would have realized that it would not solve my headphone wire problem like I thought it would. UGH. Those wires just pissed me off. So next time I will either have a set of Bluetooth headphones or I will take my wires to my shirt so they don't move around on me. (sorry I know that is a small complaint, but seriously that wire just drove me crazy almost the WHOLE way.)
I probably looked like this every time I had to adjust my headphone wires. People were probably scared of me.
8.) Along with the gear, I should have bought new shoes before the race.  Those are the shoes I ran my 5K in last year and I have used them A LOT.  The last long run before the race I noticed the bottoms of my feet hurt, but I didn't want to run the race in new shoes. Well after my race the bottoms of my feet really hurt. I wish I would have bought new shoes a couple of weeks before the race.  Believe me, I got the money out of my old ones and I'm pretty darn sure I will out of my next ones. I just need to remind myself of that when it comes time to buy them. (I'm horrible about saying I'm going to buy something and then I don't. Then I end up writing a post about things I regret or learned.)

9.) I wish I would have run 13.1 miles before the race.  A LOT of the training programs you see will say that you only need to run 10 miles and that adrenaline (or something) will push you those next 3 miles come race day.  Well I think that is crap.  By the time my next race in here, I will have ran 13.1 miles beforehand. I know that running only 10 miles for some people works, but not this girl.  Those last 3 miles were BRUTAL. I was tired; my hips started to hurt; I was mentally exhausted; and the idea of running 3 more miles seemed impossible.  I think it was more mental because I had NEVER ran 13.1 miles and at that moment it felt like it was too far away. I stopped to walk more on those last 3 miles than I did at any other part of the race.

10.) Train HARD! You don't want to look back and say "I wish I would have trained harder." And that is exactly what I thought during the race and afterwards. At the beginning I was running during the week and then I stopped. I hated running on the treadmill, but I really didn't have time to run outside either or the weather wouldn't cooperate. But this next time, I will run on that horrible treadmill during the week if I have to. But I will also keep up the weight lifting aka Crossfit. Basically I will push it harder during the week workouts and not just rely on my long distance runs during the weekend.
I have used this one before, but I think it still applies.
All in all, it was an alright race.  I will do it again, mark my words.  I am already looking at some this fall. I set a goal and I achieved that goal. I CROSSED THAT FINISH LINE.  Before I got married I ran to loose weight and I thought I wanted to run a half marathon, that was over 8 years ago.  That was the beginning of the dream. Now the dream is to keep going and to keep getting stronger and better.
These are the official race result. I ran 13.1 mile in 2 hours 29 minutes and 37 second. And I came in 98th place.
See.  I made it under 2:30!!! BARELY, but I made it. And I didn't come in LAST!
I want to run another Half Marathon under 2:15 and I think that is doable. Let's just hope it doesn't take another 8 years!! :)

Here is an extra ecard, I just thought it was funny.

What are you plans for this spring/summer?? Are you running any races??

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