I recently started training for the Portland Marathon and it has been ROUGH. Mentally and physically, my first few weeks (I’m now beginning week four) were ROUGH.
A few months ago, I impulsively signed up to run the Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I was excited when I signed up, but the excitement subsided a week before the run, when I was struggling to get through my mid-week runs and I realized what a logistical pain in the butt the run would be. I was not excited to wake up at 4:45 a.m. on a Saturday, and I just wanted it to be over. So, much to my surprise, the run was actually pretty dang awesome! The weather was perfect (high 50s, low 60s) and I set a new PR (1:57:59). Maybe I did better because I had no expectations or attachments to how I did, but here are the five rules I followed to set my new PR:
1. Stay up way too late the night before – Christina and I went to one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Machiavelli, but the only downside is that you can’t make a reservation and there is always a wait on the weekends. It is one of the few places that I’m willing to wait an hour+ to be seated, because the food is absolutely delicious and amazingly cheap! We didn’t finish eating until 10 p.m., which is way past the time you should carb load.
2. Go to Vegas the weekend before and indulge in serious amounts of sodium packed food and overpriced sugary cocktails. We went to Vegas the weekend before the run, which was a ton of fun, but negatively impacted my first week of training. I was exhausted from lack of sleep and eating too much unhealthy food. My poor body – I felt swollen my first few days home from Vegas, as I had retained about three pounds in water weight.
3. Drink wine the night before – How can you eat Italian food without a glass of wine? I was good and only had one glass of wine, but still, I didn’t exactly follow the rules.
4. Have a ridiculously bad attitude – This was probably my first run that I wasn’t excited or nervous. I complained about the logistics, the fact that the shirts were unisex (the XS shirt is HUGE on me), and the fact the run was on a Saturday. I will say that some of my complaints weren’t without reason – it was the most expensive run I’ve ever done and the food at the finish line, shirts, and the amount of bands along the route left a lot to be desired.
5. Pacing Shmacing – Pacing is for silly folk! Within my first mile, I realized that I was feeling pretty good, so I just decided to go for it. I gave it my all starting around mile 2/3 and I knew that hitting the wall was a very real possibility. I knew I wasn’t racing very intelligently, but I didn’t really care. I ate an extra GU at mile 11, which helped ward off the wall and I somehow managed to avoid totally conking out.