Thursday, April 25, 2013

First Half Marathon Questions & Fears

This morning I'm linking up with Mel at 4Kottez and my girl Kate at the Widgeon Nest to talk about pre-first marathon fears. Kate had the wonderful idea to compile first marathon recaps for those running their first half marathon in the future! Personally, I could not get my hands on enough information pre half marathon and all during training. I think Kate's idea is incredible! Here's the link to the collection of half recaps thus far.

Given the opportunity to elaborate on the incredible first half marathon experience was something I wanted to JUMP on. I honestly, LOVE to run. It gives me a feeling, a high, a pep in my step that carries into all aspects of my life that I have never found in any other activity.  Running gives me clarity  Running gives me peace. Running challenges me. Running has changed me. Running has transformed my life.

Heyyy Crazay Laday!
I haven't always loved pounding the pavement. Oh no no. Even this time last year, I wouldn't believe I had written the above paragraph. My love affair has evolved and grown stronger over time. Each mile making me better, faster, stronger. I really began to appreciate running while training for my first 10k last fall. After the 10k race experience, I was hooked. I drank the kool-aid. Addicted to training, the endorphin release, the feeling that comes along with accomplishing what your body couldn't have accomplished three weeks prior- it's on another level. 

Post 10k Training, I immediately lept into the half training experience. My experience with training has been different from most. I'm part of a running group through my gym (Personally Fit's Sole Sistas), and this group of women is a truly special bunch. Everyone is supportive and helpful of one another, and we've all become fast friends. I began looking forward to the group runs because I'd get to spend time with my favorite people! Surrounding myself with friends who have similar passions has been critical in my success. A few of the Sole Sistas had previous half marathon experience  some marathon experience, but a lot were just like me this year. Brand stinkin new runners. Naturally, headed into our first half marathon, and first large race, we all had a lot of questions/fears/anxiety.

For me personally, if I have a question, I'm going to ask it. I'm not shy about looking stupid. I'd rather get answers.I asked lots of questions, to basically anyone I knew who had had this experience previously. My biggest concerns heading into the half marathon:

1. Will my body be at peak performance on race day? My last long run pre-half marathon was a 12 miler. I was terrible. With a capital T. I was so physically exhausted after this run, I felt drunk. Literally. Not in that fun ohhh I love tequila kind of way in that oh snap I had to much and I'm going to embarrass myself kind of way. It was not a fun feeling. Mr. Noel picked me up, as it was a destination run, and I literally collapsed into the car. "How was your run?!"- Mr. Noel "ugggghhhhhh" - Me "Nice use of descriptives there Leigh Ann"- Mr. Noel  insert mean muggin' female stare- me

From mile 8 on wards during that run, I thought I wasn't going to make it. It was painful. It took me 2 hours and 2 minutes to run 12 miles, at that pace, I wasn't going to accomplish my sub 2:10:00 first half pace goal.(Which I did do on Race day) From reading my blog, it should come as no surprise that pace is a huge focus for me. It' s the real challenge for me. Where I get my big kicks. During training, I relied heavily on anti-inflammatory medication , which I have stopped taking, and it's all gravy now baybay. Training racks up a lot of mileage on the body, especially when it's so very new- hello first timers! However, it was necessary for me to get stronger. The key to peak performance on race day was rest. REST before your race! Do not ignore those rest days, they are essential!

2. How early do I need to be down in my corral at the start? My Race kicked off at 7am. My husband and I stayed in a hotel literally on the start the line. The plan was to meet the Sole Sistas in the lobby at 6am. I think I actually made it down to the lobby about 6:15am. I had to dance around my hotel room pumping my fists and singing the Eye of the Tiger first. Priorities  I'm not kidding. That's what Mr. Noel and I did. It's kind of our tradition now. I can be ridiculously enthusiastic. When I'm around someone else with similar energy, BAM it can get CraYzaY! RAWR!

Eye of the Tiger!
After getting down to the lobby, squealing like wild baboons, spraying one another with glitter, stretching, warming up, preventing a few nervous break downs, taking TONS of pictures, Sabrina and I made it to our corral about 15 minutes before the race. We hopped a barricade to get in place. There were no staff or volunteers directing traffic, we just figured that ish out. We had plenty of time. Know your city, know your commute time to the start. I like to wait in the start chute for 15 minutes prior to start time.

3. How much money do I need for the Expo? Hello, shop-ping! This was a legitimate concern for me! The running expo was as much a part of my first half marathon as the race itself. I had burning questions women need to know. Will they accept debit card? (YES) Do I need cash? (That's your bidness) What all are they going to be selling there? I knew I wanted some official Rock N Roll gear. I left with a Brooks pull over that was pricey but worth the money to me. I also picked up my coveted 13.1 bumper sticker and a cell phone cover. Running expos are rife with gear. Some new stuff, some old stuff, lots of over priced stuff. All in all I spent about 100 bucks there. I sure hope Mr. Noel never reads this post.

4. What should I eat before the race? My group carb loaded the night before. Heavy dinner. I had a grilled shrimp pasta with whole wheat penne. If you're staying in a big city- make dinner reservations. 20,000 runners out to carb load makes it difficult to get a table. Hangry Gina may just come out. Prevent dat.

Most important aspect on Race Day- Do not change a thing. Don't wear new shorts, new shoes, new socks, new bra, new belt etc. Run in the same gear you trained in, and of course my best advice- bring a rock star attitude, enjoy the experience, it's life changing!

Be sure to head over to Kate's blog and read some of these first half marathon experiences!

Tomorrow I'll post Jillian Michael's 6 Week Six Pack Results! Get Excited! (You know I am (Inside Jokes))

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Daily Motivator


  1. Oh my gosh miss thang! You get me so pumped up for this half I am getting ready to start trainging for! Such good information!

  2. Well, that settles it. I'm going to have to bite the bullet and sign up for the Philly Rock N' Roll half this fall. You're very motivational! I love your Positive Patty attitude, and you've just become a rock star at this whole running thing. Every time I don't want to move I remember "Elle Noel says running murders fat"! Thanks for putting the pep in my step! :)

  3. I love this so much! You answer every question I would be afraid to ask! You are so inspiring I can only hope to get on your level one day!

    p.s. whos excited for tomorrows results!?!? This girl is pumped! :)

  4. This is amazing! I am running my first half in October and I am nervous!!!!

    Thaks girl!

  5. This is just what I needed to read today. I'm running my first half on Saturday and my nerves are already killing me!

  6. You're making me want to run a half...stop that! :) I just recently got up to running 3 miles at a time!

    1. ^ Exactly! But it's too late for me. I did it. I signed up for a flippin' half marathon on Sept. 22. I guess I'm going to need to learn how to run more than 3.5 miles! Crapppp.

  7. You crack me up! Great post. My first half marathon was AWFUL. I was training for a full and was too injured to do the whole 26.2. I was, in fact, too injured to do 13.1 -- but was also too stubborn NOT to. That resulted in a hot mess of a race. But I've since gone back for lots more! We runners are a special breed, I think! :)

  8. I LOVE IT!! Thanks so much for posting this, if I wasn't already way too pumped, I am now!!

  9. Wow--there's such amazing information here! You should totally add THIS post to the link collection, too!!

    And I can't wait to read all about your JM 6wk 6pack results! SO excited!!

  10. It's really refreshing to know that you didn't LOVE running from the very get go. I want to love it and I want to WANT to run, but I'm having trouble. So I just keep signing up for 5k's in the hopes that I will get to that same place and LOVE to run. I haven't quit yet, but I'm just getting started, so time will tell. Thanks for the great advice!!

  11. Oh my goodness, now Im going to go puke - so nervous, who am I kidding, I am no runner - insert rolling eyes :) But seriously, Im freaking out now - all I can do is train baby train and I will - September 28th...insert puke face :)

  12. This is my first time commenting but I had to let you know that after reading your half recap in Feb, you convinced me to sign up for one!
    I am currently on week 7 of Hal Higdon's novice training. I am from Philadelphia and am running the 10 mile Broad Street Run next Sun & my half is June 9.
    Thank you for inspiring me!

  13. Hey- I love the pic of you above of the "yay!" pose... This post was great! I'm doing my first half on Saturday the 27th. It's the race that leads up to derby here in Ky... I'm super excited/ anxious/happy/scared... IDK all of those things... I love your blog I read daily... Your a inspiration

  14. Awesome recap and great tips... I am linking up tomorrow.

  15. I love the Q&A to #1. Perfect.

  16. Ha! Love it girl!!! Eye if the tiger!! Although I'm a nervous pee'er (tmi-maybe) so I seriously have to go like 10 min before start crazy maybe but the last time I didn't I had to go at mile one no joke. Lol. Great tips girl!

  17. love the tips... you look gorgeous as always today ma'am!

    also love the "eye of the tiger" prep... the band near the finish of the CCC was playing that as I ran by... it gave me the pep in my step I needed to finish!!! :)