My second half marathon is in the books!
After having such a great experience in Lincoln for my first half marathon I knew that I would be running more. Registering for races is the best way for me to stay motivated to run especially when it is hard to find time with 1.5 year old twins. At some point this summer I decided that the Omaha Half would be a good next race. I talked to Mike about wanting to run it and he wasn't very interested in the race since it was only a month after his full marathon. Since he didn't want to push it after the full, he decided that he would be willing to volunteer as a pacer for my goal pace, 2:10, so he could take it easy and I could have some pacing support for the race.
After he volunteered to be a pacer the pressure was on to cut 12 minutes off my half marathon time. There were a few times during training that I was afraid that I was setting myself up for failure. Mike also reminded me that he had to finish at 2:10 so if I had to slow down he would have to keep going. My response was always "Maybe I will finish ahead of you." Even though I had my doubts.
To make a long story short, I ran the entire race with the 2:10 pace group and had great conversations with a number of runners. I felt strong the entire way and pulled ahead of the group with less than a quarter mile to go. I finished at 2:10.06. Head of Mike by 30 seconds.
We also were able to meet one of my college friends from Kansas in Omaha for the race, which was fun. Even though we didn't run the race together it was still great to hang out with them.
Now that I have two half marathons under my belt I feel like I have a few pieces of advice for someone thinking about running their first half marathon. I am not an expert at all, but if you are new(er) to run this may be helpful.
- Register for the race in advance. Don't think you will train and then register later because the race may fill up or you may loose motivation to keep training or not have long enough to adequately train.
- Once you have registered make a plan for training. You can find a ton of plans on Pinterest or different online sources, but if you don't have a plan you may over or under train. The plans I followed had two shorter runs during the week with a longer run on the weekend. I picked it because it fit best in my schedule so Mike could watch the boys during my long runs on the weekend.
-Schedule a short race or two during training as a fun way to get your miles and a way to gauge your pace at a shorter distance.
- Be realistic with what your pace will be. For my first, I thought it would be cool to run it in 2 hours. Then I thought 2:10 was probably a better goal. After my 12 mile run I realized 2:25 was probably more realistic. Had I tried to run the pace I originally thought about it would have been a horrible experience, I would have had to walk and I would have never wanted to do a half marathon again.
- Run with a pace group! It is fun to get to know other runners. It is fun to encourage each other along the way (take your ear phones out and enjoy the race experience). And it is fun to congratulate each other once you finish.
- Don't go out to fast. This was the best advice I received from an experienced runner. Starting out to fast can wreck your entire race and it is so hard to run slow when everyone takes off at the beginning. Another reason to run with a pace group.
- Hydrate for at least 3 days before. Carry water with you where ever you go and drink, drink, drink. Don't drink as much the night before and morning of the race because you don't want to stop during the race to go to the bathroom.
- Properly carb load. Again check out Pinterest. This isn't just the pasta meal the night before, but the entire day or two before the race. Also use your longer runs (10+) as a practice to see what you need to fuel your body and how it will react to the food you are planning to eat before the race. After a horrible 12 mile run I learned a lot about what happens when you don't carb load and I'm glad I learned it before race day.
- Find people who will support you. I would not have been able to run either of these races without the help of Mike and my parents to watch the boys. I can take the boys on shorter runs and enjoy doing that so they get fresh air and I get a different kind of a workout. Pushing 50 lbs of kids is not easy, but a good workout nonetheless. I also had a number of people that provided moral support by asking about my training, giving me advice and encouraging me, which provided accountability. I still post pictures on Instagram @kelsey12184 and send them through snapchat (don't hate me for liking snapchat) to keep me accountable and encourage others.
- Have fun. It is easy to get caught up in the frustration of not running as fast as you were planning to or missing a run because your schedule is to busy, or the kids are a mess, or its raining, but those things will always happen, so don't be so hard on yourself and have fun. Everyone gets a medal ( or at least a t-shirt and cool race bib) at the end whether you are first or last.
Up next is the Cross Country Classic 8K on October 26 in Ashland Nebraska. You can run with me by registering at BRIN Running Series - Cross Country Classic.
If you want to go back, here are the links to some previous race I have run.
Lincoln Half Marathon
Minden Christmas 5K
Beer and Bagel Run