Today's post features one of my favorite blogger friends, Gina from Noshing on Asphalt. Her blog is truthful, but witty and sarcastic - all things I like. Go check her out! Gina ran her first full marathon at MCM in October in honor of her brother who was killed in Iraq. She's also already in the works of training for her second full at RnR Nola in February! Freaking rockstar! I asked her to write up a post on lessons learned and tips for marathoning, especially for us first-timers. Being that mine is now only five and a half weeks away (!), I'm slowly starting lists and things of blogs I want to read, re-read and consider before I hit the home stretch! We'll start here!
Hi! I’m Gina (Twitter) and I blog over at Noshing on Asphalt. I’m so excited that Megan has allowed me to share a guest post with y’all (yes, I’m from the South) while she’s out gallivanting around. :)
This past October I got to cross a major ‘to-do’ off of bucket list....I ran my first marathon! Am I still basking in marathon glory? Yeah, maybe a little. It’ll wear off soon though...I think! I was fortunate enough to secure a spot in the 37th Marine Corps Marathon. Running the MCM as my first marathon was particularly important since I was running in memory of my brother, Ln Cpl Roger Deeds, who was killed in Iraq.
I had such a phenomenal experience and I learned lots of things that hopefully will make your 1st, 2nd or 15th marathon great.
1.) Make a list, check it twice!! This is especially true if you’re running an out of town race. At least two weeks prior to your race go ahead and do a mental inventory of what you will need for your marathon and then write it down. You will have WAY too much on your mind to try to rely on your memory for things.
2.) Lay out all of your race gear the night before. You’re going to sleep like crap no matter what the night before your race but at least this will be one less thing to add to your worries.
3.) Hydrate immediately. As soon as you wake up, start hydrating yourself. This way your body can absorb what it needs and you still have enough time to pee out the excess. TMI? Sorry. I’m going to leave fueling alone. Everyone has different ways of eating. Just be sure not to do anything different on race day in the food dept.
4.) Hit the Port-o-Potties. Use as many as you can before the start. If you have to use the john during the race, it’s ok. Just try to stop early in the race as opposed to later. The lines are shorter, they’re cleaner, and you stand a chance at still having toilet paper.
5.) Know your course. Study the course map and learn where the water/gatorade stops are, where the food stops are and where the first aid stops are. This is valuable information! Oh, and don't break the Golden Rule of trying something new during the race. Just because they offer donuts at mile 24 doesn't mean you should eat them. (I learned this lesson personally.)
6.) If running with someone: Keep a visual on them at all times!! I can’t stress how important this is. I was running the MCM with a dear friend and we got separated (at a water stop) for almost 12 miles. I was incredibly upset and worried about finishing without her and I missed a great deal of the race scenery because I was trying to find her.
7.) Smile!! Seriously, smile at every darn photographer you see. Even if you’re not sure they are an official race photographer, SMILE. You want at least one good picture to remember your first marathon.
8.) Pick a meeting spot. If you have family and friends who are going to be spectating, make sure to know what mile they are going to be at during the race. Seeing their faces will give you such a boost! Also, make sure they have a huge sign. This is fun for them to hold, but also makes spotting them so much easier. Make sure to have a designated meeting spot after the race and give them a rough ETA on what time they should expect you to finish.
9.) Know why you’re running. During the last few miles is where the race really starts and it’s great to have a reason why you’re running. A friend, family member, to prove to yourself that you can - whatever the reason, remind yourself of it when it gets difficult. Pick a mantra to remind yourself of and don’t be afraid to chant it aloud. Mine was RFR, “Run for Roger” since I was running in memory of my brother.
10.) Relax. You’ve put in the blood, sweat and tears during training; the race is just the icing on the cake. Yes, it’s going to get hard towards the end; you’ll question your sanity for ever having contemplated a marathon - you may even cuss yourself out- but as soon as you cross the finish line, you’ll know it was all worth it!
Any other tips and lessons you'd add for first time marathoners?
Thanks so much Gina! Can't wait to rock my first one in February, and am definitely taking into account all the things you mentioned!