|Totally gorgeous Princess finisher's medal|
In addition to my awesome swag and gorgeous medal, I also gained something more valuable than any material item: experience. Through this experience, I have learned many valuable lessons for my future half marathons (btw I am signed up for one on March 23.... eeep!). So, now I will bestow upon you my pearls of wisdom based on my first 13.1-mile experience. Note: I am speaking from personal experience. Things on my list may not apply to you. If something doesn't apply to you.... well, sucks for you. Just kidding! Kind of... Anyway, feel free to email or comment any other pearls of wisdom you'd like to share with me. Seriously, I need all the advice I can get. Moving on... heeeere we go!
- Lesson #1: BYOB! That is, bring your own banana. I made the mistake of buying a banana from the food court where we stayed, and it was terrible. I always eat at least one banana before running, and so I was devastated that the banana I bought (and paid like 2 or 3 dollars for!) was sub-par. I learned the hard way to never trust strange bananas. Especially on the morning of a race.
- Lesson #2: Never try anything new on race day. I have heard this before, but I figured it was for foods, clothes, and shoes mostly. My parents bought me this totally cool GPS watch to replace my basic running watch for my birthday. I was so excited to wear it at my race! I was wearing it, checking my pace constantly, and everything was hunky-dory. Until it died before I even reached the 10K split. The watch was perfect until it died, though. I think I just didn't charge it right. I’m not very tech-savvy.
|Clif Shot Energy Gel (no, I'm not|
like, advertising, they were just
- Lesson #3: Always have options and backups… of everything. I planned everything clothing-related for this race. I had so many pairs of socks, shorts, undies, shirts, bras…. All just in case I changed my mind or something happened. Despite my desire to always be over-prepared in the wardrobe department, I forgot all about my sustenance for during the race. I did not have anything to eat during the race. It’s not even like I just didn’t have any options. I straight up did not have anything except my water bottle. They did have one energy goo stop during the race, but by that point, I was already becoming dizzy and weak. Lesson learned for next time, though. I will be purchasing Clif Shot Energy Gels for my next race, as well (but I will include other options and backups, just in case). The Clif Energy Gel was the on-course “food” stop, and it was actually really good. But I was still about to fall over due to not being properly fueled either way. See BYOB. Also see the following lesson…
- Lesson #4: Fuel up right—no excuses! I can make a billion trillion excuses regarding my performance in my half-marathon. I do, however, accept responsibility for why many of these things happened. One of those excuses is that I was not properly fueled and prepared. The day before my race, I was walking all around Disney World getting hot, dehydrated, and exhausted, all while eating fatty greasy fried nasty food (that was the only option… you’ve seen theme park food!). Totally my fault. But that means that this is also preventable for my next race. It should be a no-brainer, right? Well, not for me. I was too excited about DISNEY WORLD. Sorry.
|Chili Cheese Dog... Yum?|
(this is someone else's picture,
but I ate one that was just like this)
- Lesson #5: If your hair is not long enough for a hairstyle or if you don’t usually run with your hair in a certain hairstyle, don’t push it on race day. This may seem silly, but it is true. Runner chicks—you feel me, right? When I had really long hair, I used to wear it in a braid when I ran and that worked for me. Well since I cut it off, I have just been wearing it in a basic ponytail. On Saturday night, I tried to braid my hair for fun and noticed that I could do it! So for my race I decided to braid my hair. It was all good until mile 2 when it started falling out and driving me crazy. I had to stop and fix my hair. Like, completely stop. Diva much? Sorry again.
- Lesson #6: This one is the most important. Don’t set your expectations too high. Especially if you really genuinely don’t know what to expect. I’m gonna be real with y’all. I was hoping for a time between 2:30 and 2:45. My final time was 3:10. I’m not super duper happy about it, but I had never run 13.1 miles before. I had only been up to 10 miles, which took me 2:26. So I really should have expected the time that I got. I kept making excuses saying that my 10 mile run was in a hilly area and I would run faster in Florida because it’s flat. Nope. I set my expectations too high regardless. No matter my time, it was really a PR for me since it was my first half-marathon.... silver lining? I think so!!
|Us with Aladdin and Jasmine! Sorry I'm awkward...|
So there you have it. Six important lessons that will help guide me to better half-marathoning in the future. Some of these lessons might seem really obvious, or even a little silly, but this is just what I took away from my experience at the Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. Also, like I mentioned, I am not trying to make excuses for myself. I really took note and will do better next time! It’ll be easier since I won’t be spending the whole day before running around like a 5-year-old on crack (probably?). I will be much better prepared for March 23: The Martinsville Half Marathon!