I’ve had a couple of days to recover from, and reflect on, my half marathon experience and I thought it would be an appropriate time to share some tips and some warnings.
First of all, TRAIN! Train your hearts out! There are plenty of sites full of resources to help you plan out your training, as well as a handful of dedicated bloggers talking about their training(a number of them can be found in the left-hand column of the Gazette). Built in supports will help you succeed. I must admit that I did not train and, while I finished, I wasn’t proud of the fact that I hadn’t done any real work for it. Additionally, my body has told me repeatedly (as in with every step I have taken) how much it didn’t like the experience since I finished as well.
Secondly, if you can, carry a cell phone with you. I didn’t feel comfortable checking my phone with baggage claim, so I decided to carry it with me. I never talked on it until after the race was over and I was trying to find the rest of my party, but I was able to receive uplifting text messages from friends and family that kept me putting one foot in front of the other.
Give your run a purpose and a motto. You don’t have to run for a cause or for anyone, it can be as simple as you are running for yourself, but putting something out there adds to your determination to finish. In the past few years I have lost some family members who meant a lot to me, I was running for them, and will continue to run for them, because the opportunity to live life isn’t something that they have any longer and I do. To go along with that, my very good friend Greg sent me a few words to remember before I ran, and it fit what I was doing and why I was doing it perfectly. The motto he gave me I will use for many years, “Keep moving forward.”
I would also like to take a moment to thank each one of you who came out to cheer for all of the runners out there. It didn’t seem to matter who you were, there were thousands of people cheering us on all along the course. Some of you, like the children offering high fives on Main Street, will stay with me always. Talking to a few people who did not run, but who cheered other runners on, they said that all of us were an inspiration to them, but, truth be told, all of you who volunteered, handed out snacks and drinks, screamed at the top of your lungs, held up signs, and applauded for all of those hour, it is you who inspired us. All we did was run, you gave us the will to run, and that means so much.
I am already drawing up my plans to run again next year, and I will start running, just as soon as I figure out how to walk again. Some of who know I used to be a die-hard runner and that I have missed it but not found the will to run again, I have my running legs back under me and a three year plan. For the dedicated readers out there, here is the first look exclusive at my thoughts on the future of my running. Next year, I will run the 2010 Half-Marathon fully conditioned. In 2011, I am going to run my first ever full Marathon. Then, in 2012 just a month after I have turned 30, I will complete Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge.
Again, I cannot stress enough that training is absolutely necessary if you plan on completing this run, unless you want to be exiled to a bed for a few days. Also, I cannot ever repay those of you who cheer us on, I can only tell you that if you’ll keep cheering, we’ll keep running. The next stop for Team Gazette, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K (hopefully…)!