Our final installment of Marathon Mommy takes you to the starting line of your first half marathon!
Vivian Manning-Schaffel: You've bought your gear and trained your ass off. And now, in our final installment of Marathon Mommy, RunnerMom, a.k.a. Vickie Leff, gives us some takeaway tips on how to prepare for the shot of the starting gun.
Leff likens running your first marathon to being in labor for the first time. "Midway through, there will come a point where you say, 'What the *&^% was I thinking?!' But you are going to get through it."
To prepare for race day:
A few days before:
Drink a lot of water to fully hydrate your body. "This is no pansy race! Thirteen-point-one miles is a long haul, so you want to spend a few days to get your body ready," says Leff.
The day before:
Drive the route to get a feel for what it's going to be like. The fewer surprises, the better.
The night before:
Take care of the details. Lay out your outfit, pinning your number onto the front of your shirt and the tracking chip onto your shoelaces. Leff recommends packing a throwaway shirt to bring with you in case it's chilly. And if the weather calls for rain, buy a $1 poncho or bring a garbage bag to punch a hole in for your head -- it can serve as seating during lengthy wait times before the race begins. It's no time for $100 jackets or fancy-schmancy bells and whistles!
The day of:
Don't wear anything new. "Part of the training is figuring out your gear ahead of time," says Leff. "All your equipment should be comfy, tried and true."
Also, get thee to the expo! "Load up on gear from the race! The jacket and mug are your hard-earned bragging rights," says Leff. Most importantly, take a pee break 20 minutes before the start of the race, so you can travel light. "The lines for the porta-potties are usually really long. If the potty doesn't cut it, go into the woods and pretend you have a bathing suit on," says Leff.
At the starting line:
Start in the mid-back of the pack and aim toward the side for safety reasons. Most half marathons hold several thousand people, and an inexperienced marathon runner can easily get overtaken and hurt. Besides, this places you in a prime position to take advantage of the water stations. Slow to a walk when sipping. Leff says, "It only takes about 20 seconds, and running while drinking can bring on a stitch."
Finally, Leff says, when you hit the starting line, take a moment to look around and congratulate yourself. Soak it all in. Because after the race, you'll be too damn tired.
Thanks to RunnerMom, you're off!
For a training log, tips like this, and more, order Vickie's book, RunnerMom: Your Practical Guide to Women's Walking and Running, on Leff's website. And be sure to write in with your marathon tales!
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|