Tips for First Time Racers

Greetings from no-man’s land! It’s been hectic over here with it being the end of quarter at work. I didn’t get off of work until 7 last night and then went straight to Best Buy to purchase a new laptop!

My computer screen has been cracked out for a long time now (maybe 6 months?), so I had to connect it to the tv in order to use it, which is really inconvenient and annoying. I figured this week was a good a time as any for a new tech toy since I’ll be in L.A. for 5 days, and I wouldn’t be able to blog without a functioning computer.

Anyway, I only have time for a quick-ish post today, so let’s get to it.

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Tips for Your First Race

If you’ve been following my blog at all for the past couple of months, you’ll know I’ve been training to run my very first half marathon, which is also my very first race in general. Straight from couch to 13.1 is how I roll ;)

One of the commonalities I’ve noticed on running blogs is the frustration that experienced racers feel in the corrals and on the course, often times due to newb racers (like yours truly). Honestly, I haven’t been worrying much about the race itself because I know I’ll finish. What I have been worried about is race etiquette and what to do on the course. I don’t want to get spit on, step on GU, crash into someone (or someone crash into me), and the various other annoying things that could happen. I know I probably can’t avoid these 100%, but I wanted some tips for making the most of it all.

Enter Sarah aka Skinny Runner! I emailed her last week to ask for some tips for newbs because this girls runs races like they’re nothing…and fast. She’s known for her hilarious, self-deprecating humor and her crazy running skills. Funny stuff aside, she was kind enough to actually write me a long, detailed email with her most helpful hints even though she probably gets asked this all the time, so I thought I’d share a condensed version with you folks over here. Enjoy! [I'm hoping I have an ugly (and good) race photo to send her as a thank you. She posts up bad reader photos that people send her, and I don't take good candid photos that's for sure.]

Tips a la Skinny Runner (quoted when I copied n’ pasted from the email)

1) “Start in the right corral according to the time you are going to run, not your wishful thinking time.” 

 -She said you could move up to a slightly faster corral time if you’re feeling really strong and prepared that day, but to stick to what you trained for. If you start in a too-fast corral, “you get passed by a bunch of people which is demoralizing or you start off way too fast and then blow up at the finish”. Yeah, that doesn’t sound fun, so I’ll stick to my slow-mo corral spot.

2) “If at anytime you need to stop and walk, stretch, whatever, move over to the side of the course, preferably the right side.”

-”Dont ever just stop in the middle of the road, you could get hurt, someone could hit you from behind, etc”. Nuff said.

3) “When going through aid stations, you don’t have to grab the first cup.”

-Being that I’m running a really large race, she noted that there will often be around 30 people giving out water. Therefore, keep on chugging along until it gets less crowded. Also, ” it’s just less energy you’re having to expend and lessens the risk of colliding with someone.”

4) Look around you before you spit, throw your cup/GU, and other things of that nature.

-” Generally its best to toss it to the side of the road and not just drop it.  also if you have to hawk a loogie, spit just look behind you before you do.”

5) Did I mention starting in the right corral? No?

-She emphasized that this is by far the best way to go.

6) Run your race.

-My personal trainer gave me this tip as well. Basically, don’t pay attention to how people around you are running. Run at the pace that you trained at and do what you planned to do. If you’re like me, you’re obviously not going to win anything or even place, so I’m only competing against myself.

I hope that this information is useful to some of you out there training for your first (or second) race. I know I’ll be keeping these in mind as I line up at the start on Sunday (ohmygahhhh it’s in less than 5 days)!

Question of the Day: What tips helped you the most during your first race?

Long Run Sundays: Bad Runs = Good Luck?

Where has this weekend gone? I’m not going to lie, I probably slept a good portion of it away. It started with the sugar coma I got from eating cupcakes at work.

Being that it was National Chocolate Cake Day (or so I was told) and my work friends and I were dying to get out of the office, we found it fitting to stuff ourselves with cake. Mermaids Bakery is located downtown and is known for their fancy fondant work on cakes as well as being gluten-friendly. Since I don’t have gluten allergies or care about gluten-free products, I opted for their Cookies n Creme cake made with dark chocolate cake batter and topped with crushed cookie bits.

 

We picked some up for a few of the others as well. Overall, the cupcakes were good, but not great. My favorite place is still Happy Cakes (how can you not love a place with that name?), hands down. Also, if any of you Denverites plan on stopping by Mermaids, please take note that their large cupcakes are the size of normal ones even though they say they’re 3x bigger. They’re not. Yes, I wanted a ginormous ass cupcake and was highly disappointed.

Anywho, moving on. As mentioned, I was going to be heading to Thao’s birthday bowling party on Friday night. If you read my last post, I bet you’ll never guess what I did when I got home. I took a 3 hour nap. Three whole hours of afternoon bliss. Then I woke up starving because it was 8pm by then and I hadn’t eaten since I downed my not-so-giant cupcake from earlier in the afternoon. I honestly don’t know what I ate because I was still sleepy and trying to force myself awake.

Once I made it over to the bowling alley with Maly and Nate, we promptly greeted Thao and proceeded to buy her drinks and make her sip off of ours. It’s a good thing we got a picture with her before we made her hate her life.

BTW, I really suck at bowling. Therefore, I’m convinced that the balls must have been rigged because I won the first game on my lane with a score of 118! It was fun to bowl because I felt like I was in high school all over again. I used to go to these lock-ins with my best friend where you got to play unlimited games until your parents picked you up at 6am. Those were the days.

It’s a good thing I took a nap because I didn’t get home until almost 2:30am. Then I promptly passed out…again. I got in a painful 4 mile run the next morning afternoon before heading to Planet Laboratories in Cherry Creek for a haircut. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I let my fantastic stylist, Heather, do whatever she thought would look best. She ended up chopping off about 4 inches of narsty dead ends, re-cutting my bangs pseudo-Kim K style, and texturizing my hair to give it more oomph. She also had an opening after my appointment, so she decided to curl my hair for me after the blow-out. What do you think?

It feels so much lighter and healthier! If you live in the Denver area and need a great stylist, go to Planet Laboratories. You get to feel fancy for being in Cherry Creek, and their lower-level stylists are very affordable (I think they start around $30…if only mine were that much…).

Since I got my hair all did and purty, I ended up joining some friends out downtown for a couple of drinks before calling it a night. I took a nap before I went out, of course.

Do Bad Runs Make for Good Luck?

Hooray! Today was my last long run before my half marathon next week! I wasn’t really planning on tapering down my long run, so instead of running 12 miles full-on, I ran about 9 miles of it much slower than I normally do and did a combo of running and walking for the last 3. Sounds all fine and dandy, but it just sucked today.

My legs felt fine, my feet were a little sore but okay, my breathing was coming easy, but I was just plain exhausted and not mentally in the game. Boo. I was dragging along hoping I would see someone I know so that I could find a way to convince them to give me a ride home haha.

I’m hoping that this is good luck for me. How? Well, every time I have a super craptastic run one week, the next week seems to be one of my more amazing runs that makes me feel like a million bucks. I’m hoping that this is true because that would mean my half marathon is going to be even more awesome than I’m already envisioning. Guess I won’t know until then.

In the meantime, my primary goals for this week are to get a lot of sleep, drink enough water to become a fish, and focus on a few, short  speed runs. Ahhhh I can’t believe it’s exactly a week from today! I’ll probably be posting random running crap throughout the week and asking for advice, so be prepared. I’ll also share some tips for first time racers that I got from the Skinny Runner. I emailed her asking for tips for first-time racers wanting to not piss off more experienced racers and for having a good time, and she was awesome enough to reply back. Aww hell, I think she’s pretty awesome even without the email, but I’m starting to sound like a stalker, so I’m out for today!

Question of the Day: Are your bad runs or workouts usually followed by spectacular ones? How was your weekend?

What’s My Age Again?

Happy Friday! Is it sad that I’m still somewhat sore from my trainer and BodyPump two days ago? I’m rarely ever sore after BodyPump, but I can feel it when I move in certain ways. At least this kind of discomfort means my muscles are getting stronger! I took a rest day since I was at work until late and went to happy hour with some friends.

Yesterday was also a day of great not-super-healthy eats, but they all tasted delicious. My company brought in Chick-fil-A chicken biscuits for breakfast since it’s the end of quarter. I had mine with grape jelly + hot sauce and some fruit.

For lunch, I was going to stop by Three Sisters Cafe again because I wasn’t really craving anything, but my friend suggested going to Smashburger. She mentioned that they had pretty decent black bean burgers, so I was immediately sold. I had a Mediterranean black bean burger that included avocado, feta cheese, cucumbers, spinach, tomato, onion and Tzatziki sauce on a multi-grain bun.

Served with a side of their sweet potato fries.

The patty was huge and was 50% larger than the size of the bun although it looks somewhat normal sized from this view. It was seasoned really well, but a tad on the salty side if it wasn’t for the bun and veggies to mellow it down. Either way, it was a million times better than the frozen kind!

As mentioned yesterday, I was going to be at work late due to our company kick-off. I ended up leaving my work function a bit early because getting to the bar for my free drinks after the presentations was more difficult than trying to get a drink at the club on NYE. Seriously, and it’s a work function. Not.worth.it.

Instead, I let Leenae drag me out to the Tavern Uptown for some food and adult beverages (I was good and only had one). Surprisingly, I was still somewhat full from my giant black bean burger, so I ordered a single slider (not pictured) and a side salad.

I also had one of their delicious Moscow Mules.

My friend, Maly, actually got me hooked onto these. Basically, it’s ginger beer, ginger vodka, and lime juice served in a spiffy copper mug (it’s definitely not the same without a copper mug). I don’t really like ginger all that much, but this drink is very refreshing and has pleasant hints of ginger. Try it some time ;)

I Swear I’m Only 25

Lately, the old lady in me has been dominating my life, and I kind of like it. I’ve just been pretty tired really early in the night and am usually the first one wanting to go home. Sitting at home in lounge clothes, curled up with a book, sounds like my idea of a good night. I love napping on the weekends after a run and must nap before I go out if I want to somewhat resemble a youthful human being.

Leenae was teasing me about it last night because I went from being an uber party animal to being on par with the elderly with no transition period haha. Maybe the key to me finding date-worthy guys is getting my butt out of the house more often to actually meet people…what an anomaly. Not saying that you can’t find someone while being a homebody, but my romantic life was definitely more exciting when I wasn’t cooped up in my apartment living in pjs and workout clothes (online man shopping doesn’t count).

I’ve made a deal with myself: I can be an old lady most days of the week, but I will do my best to go out at least once during the week to meet up with my friends and meet new people. This will be a good start because somewhere over the course of a year, I’ve somehow forgotten how to talk to men in hey-I’m-interested mode and instead talk to them in the I-think-you’re-hot-but-I-don’t-know-how-to-talk-to-you-so-lets-just-be-friends zone.

So, to continue with my resolution, today is Thao’s birthday, so I’ll be heading out to celebrate with her late tonight. Happy Birthday, Thao! Hopefully I have enough energy to power out a 6 mile run after work because I’ll definitely be needing a nap before I head out tonight.

Question of the Day: What are your fun plans for the weekend?