Running Your First Half Marathon

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My stomach was  churning around like a dishwasher.

It was just past 11 o’clock and I found myself sitting on park bench in a small park in San Francisco. On what you could describe in this modern day, as a “Tinder Date”

Age 13, I set a promise to myself. After hugging a toilet for 3 straight weeks – of never eating shell fish again.

I found myself halfway through a bowl of the infamous San Francisco “clam chowder soup”. Pretending to enjoy it, as I just wanted to “go with the flow.”

Skip forward a couple of hours….

I am find myself int the same position I once remembered. Hugging a toilet like it was my favorite childhood toy. It was long away from the night I had imagined before my first half marathon.

The natural introvert I am,  I will not be “going with the flow again.”

I looked down at my phone. It was 3 hours until I had to be at the start line.

“Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.”

It was going to be a long day.

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Despite very little sleep,  I hit the time I set out to get and finished top 10% in the event. You can find my first half marathon race time – HERE.

I do not consider myself as a runner or an athlete. I was always one who would do anything he could to miss the mandatory cross country Fridays growing up. I am not going into detail into the training. I may come to that at a later date. But here a are a few things you may not have read or thought about when it comes to running your first half marathon.

1. Ego race

At some stage during the race, you may find yourself running an ego race.

You may just want to just get past the athlete in front of you, or not let someone overtake you. This is not smart and not the game you want to play. You are running against yourself and the course. Not yourself against the field.

The only real way to do this, is to get two things. I would recommend a Garmin Watch to calculate your min/ mile pace. Or if you are serious buy a heart rate monitor.

I would not use a phone with a running app on it. Like “Map My Run” for example. For many reasons such as: They can be super distracting when training. Stopping to take pictures,  email, Facebook, text messages or take a call. If you want to step into the running/ tri game seriously as well, athletes are not aloud to compete with music. So it is good to set the tone from the beginning. Listening to your breathing being another essential part to performance.

2. Running while Drinking

This was one of those things you experience and learn from. During any race there will be water stops. Volunteers will hand you water or some sort of sponsored energy drink.

Trying to drink something while running is a mission. I found myself in a combination of just pouring it all my face and trying to catch as much as I could. After choking on my first water stop.

Maybe worth a few minutes practicing a method of how you are going to consume fluid while on the go.

3. Floyd Mayweather Ready

Famous for always inviting guests into his changing room before the fight.

Guests usual response “Are you sure you want me to be here.”

Floyd: “If I am not read now, it’s too late.”

I was fortunate enough to hit almost the exact time i was looking for. The clam chowder and little sleep was not the idle preparation, but all the hard work was done months before. My body and mind was ready. I just had to show up.

On the day, you should have nothing to worry about.  Just let your preparation perform and take over on the  day. You shouldn’t have to force anything.

4. Gear

Here are some of the following gear I would recommend.

Shins splints:  Massage balls.

Compression shorts: Orca Compression Shorts. 

Runners Shoe lace: Game changer – watch this.

Sports Gels & salts: Gu Energy 

5. The Runners Mindset.

I was nearly there. I could smell the freshly baked croissants and the roasted coffee.

My legs felt strong, and it was all down hill to the little town of Sausalito. A beautiful little tourist trap that over looked  San Francisco. We were already 8 miles into our run, but I wanted to get there. Yet, a conversation I had earlier that day. Changed my mindset and how I was going to approach running forever.

A great runner was sharing me his advice earlier that morning.  JZ had done two Iron Men and dozens of races around America. “Stop when you are enjoying it.”

Hemingway was famous for stopping mid sentence when he was writing some of his best work. The same philosophy applies to running.

You want to enjoy every time you go out there. You want to build on your performance gradually.  You want to be dreaming of coming back out the next day, because you know you can.

When you stop when you are really enjoying it, what you thought was once a chore – now becomes play.

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Just before I crossed the finish line, I saw a little girl holding a sign. “Smile, you paid to be here.”

Just being able to run is a something so special.

Being able to compete in an environment where thousands of people put in months of hard work. Turn up on the same day to grind out the distance set at hand. It should be a blast. The months of training leading up to the event, should be an amazing experience.

Play the long game.

Get lost the environment you are in.  Get lost with friends. Get lost with yourself.

Enjoy

Kia Kaha,

Chris