Five Words Of Wisdom For My Marathoning Friends – Those who know me well, know that I really, really miss running marathons. They also know that there’s nothing I love more than lending the occasional bit of unsolicited advice and encouragement. My wish is that everyone who chooses to run a marathon has a fantastic experience. Running 26.2 miles is no easy task, and if it were, the marathon wouldn’t hold the mystique it’s enjoyed for years.

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As an experienced marathon runner, I’ve seen and done many things leading up to, and on, race day. As marathon season approaches, I’ve got five words of wisdom for my marathoning friends – make that five paragraphs of wisdom. My goal is to have you avoid my mistakes; and hopefully, give you something to laugh about as you toe the starting line…

 

1. Sleep Well…

Try to sleep well, not only the night before the race, but also the night before that. Chances are decent that you’ll be up later than expected the night before the race doing last minute prep; or you’ll be invited to a 50th birthday party. The night before the 2008 MCM, the Cruisers and I helped our friend and teammate, John, celebrate his 50th birthday. After consuming fantastic food and many glasses of wine, I topped off the night with a Baileys on the rocks and took my tired feet home for just a few hours sleep before rising for the race. Still exhausted from the party, my friends and I ran the race together, finishing with my third slowest marathon time.

2. Watch What You Eat The Day Before The Race And Poop Before You Leave Home…

For God’s sake, people, don’t eat spinach dip the day before your race; and please try to take care of business at home rather than almost in your pants at the fourteen-mile-mark as you’re running past row houses in Baltimore where there are no porta potties, no bushes, nor anything larger than a garbage can in an alley to squat behind. There’s nothing more humbling than being on PR pace, and having to slow down to a mile-long-butt-clinching walk until you find a place to go.

3. Don’t Stress… 

I arrived at the starting line of my very first marathon, long before wave starts were a thing at the Marine Corps Marathon, and slipped into an open spot near the very back of the pack of runners. My race goal was to BQ with a time of 3:45 or faster, and I quickly realized that I was hanging out with five-hour runners. Being a marathon novice, it didn’t dawn on me to step outside the pack and walk forward and get closer to the pace I wanted to run. 

Once the Howitzer fired, I spent the first eight miles or so scrambling to stay on pace despite the slower pace of the runners around me.  I quickly realized that I had made a huge mistake seeding myself where I did, and spent much of my time passing people by stepping up on the curb to get around slower runners and walkers. Somehow I managed to stay calm and not twist my ankle until I eventually moved forward to less congested traffic nearer to runners my pace. I reached my goal time that day in part because I stayed calm, didn’t stress, and methodically did the job I’d set out to do. 

4. Have Fun…

During the 2006 National Marathon, my Cruiser friend Bob and I decided to hang with our half-marathoner friends Jerome, Chuck, and Terri and stay with them until the races split off around the twelve mile mark. Less than a mile into the race we passed two porta-potties and since Terri had to go, we decided to stay together and stopped with her. We stopped as a group and waited and waited for the people inside to come out. Finally we were able to use it and and headed off – behind the juggler and ambulance, and barely in front of the street sweeper! We were so embarrassed to be dead last that Terri and Jerome shouted over and over to all of the spectators, “We had to pee!”

5. Eat Ice Cream…

If ever there was a day in which you can treat yourself to your favorite dessert, the evening after your marathon is it! So go ahead, have that mint chocolate chip ice cream (or whatever happens to be your favorite indulgence) ready for when you get home from the race. Eat it and enjoy it, because you earned it!

 

I tend to be pretty laid back about things and after I got my very first marathon behind me, I rarely experienced pre-race stress. With forty marathons under my belt, I have a lot of stories to draw from. For several of my middle years of marathoning, I quit racing and just enjoyed the journey. You might say I became complacent, but I prefer to think that I was just making wonderful memories, some of which I just shared with you!

 

  • Questions:
  • Do you stress out before races?
  • At what distance have you run the most races? ~ Marathon for me…
  • Are you racing this weekend?

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

 

Today I’m joining the DC Trifecta’s Friday Five Linkup with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!  Please stop by these DC area bloggers’ blogs to say hello; and while you’re there, be sure to check out other bloggers who are also participating in the linkup.

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Happy Running! ~ Deb