Guys. I’m a little insane. Totally recognize it. It all started with RAGNAR. First I did the Wasatch Back. Then it was Vegas. Then it was a 10 mile run, followed by a half marathon, and then another half marathon. By this point, people were calling me a “runner.” HUH? Everyone kept asking me, “When are you going to run a full?” and reassuring me, “You could totally do it.”
I’m not gonna lie, running a marathon wasn’t even on my radar. Yes, it was on my bucket list, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d tackle the half marathon and marathon (AND SPARTAN! but that’s a different story) within one year. Like I said, I’m crazy.
But in some ways, it just MADE SENSE. I’d trained to do the half marathon. I was in the best physical running shape of my life. Why the heck NOT take on the full right now? Skip the training later and just get it over with! That sounds awful, like I’m just crossing it off the list. But it was much much more than that.
I have really come to love running, like I never thought I would. In high school, I’d always look at the cross country team and WISH I had it in me to run. I never believed people when they said they “LOVED” running. Still, there were people that GREW to love running. I always wanted to be one of those people. Little did I know, I was on my way.
I was surprised with how well I actually did – running 26.2 miles? My body had never done that. The most I’d ever run was 24 miles…. bless my heart. Luckily for me, I made a friend who kept me on a decent pace, reminded me to eat and hydrate, and encouraged power walking (instead of running) into a nasty canyon headwind. This kilted male was my marathon saving grace.
I’d planned on a finishing time of 4:45-5:00. With the canyon winds, I was not at my best and ended at 5:30, but heck! It was still a Personal Record! My first marathon. My best time. My longest time running. PR baby!
As you can tell, I had some pretty fabulous support crew as soon as I left the canyon – including little T. They were good sports as I drank my weight in chocolate milk and wandered around in complete shock…”Wait, did that just happen?”
Ok ok – now on to some of my tips, tricks, etc for running a ridiculous amount of miles. Again, I’m no expert, but this is what worked for me, and if it helps you then that’s FANTASTIC!
1. A good pair of shoes. I know, I know – it stinks. They’re expensive and they’re not always the most beautiful. But if you’re wearing a good shoe, you’re less prone to injury. Funny story: when I first tried on these Altras I almost gagged. They were HIDEOUS – I looked like I was wearing skater shoes! At that moment, I opted for the more beautiful shoes and ended up hating my life. When I switched to these zero drop shoes my feet were so happy. I never wanted to take these shoes off and I didn’t even care that they were ugly!
2. Food. Of some sort. The BEST advice I was given was to NOT eat anything on race day that you hadn’t tried and trained with. I tried TONS of these shots, GUs, blocks, bars, etc. and found the ones that were most tolerable, tasted best, and didn’t have a weird overly chewy texture. I was tempted SEVERAL times to try things that I hadn’t trained – no no NO!! Bad idea!
3. Bottleband. Enough said. I’m not one to wear a belt and feel the heaviness and sloshiness of water on my body. NO THANK YOU. This is a perfect solution for me – and they’re OH-SO-affordable!
4. Agnes and Dora leggings – they save my life every race. Several reasons: 1. They’re stretchy and soft….meaning easy pull-off and pull-on for MULTIPLE bathroom stops (none of that spandex that refuses to come back on your sweaty bod. 2. They’re covering all your goods …. meaning NO chaffing. The last thing you want to worry about while you’re running is your burning chaffing areas! Plus, they have some of the loudest and most awesomely obnoxious prints – it makes me smile and people watching can easily recognize me!
5. Good socks. Right up there with a decent pair of shoes, is a good pair of socks. I know, it’s a boring purchase – like underwear – but it’s necessary. Trust me.
6. Headphones. Or a good friend. Either will do great. All through my training I listened to the “Divergent” series audio book. I had full intentions of doing the same on race day, but instead – I made a new friend. Win win!
7. Bani Bands. Because they’re sparkly, cute, and you don’t have to worry about them. DONE!
8. Flip belt. This is AMAZING. I’d tried all kinds of different pockets in all different areas of my body – THIS is the one I’m sticking with. It holds a TON and it’s freaking comfortable. That has me sold.
Mostly, whatever makes you feel comfortable. My rule of thumb is to NOT worry about anything except running (one foot in front of the other). There are better things to worry about than chewing some nasty food you’ve never tried, chaffing, and pulling tight spandex on and off a gajillion times.
Best part about running a marathon? The food. I’d always wanted to try to eat a full dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. I’m sure I COULD have, but that’s a TON of calories to down and not a lot of justification. So after my race, (and Orem Summerfest), I headed to Krispy Kreme….alone. How many do you think I ate?