Thanks for stopping by, before we get into the details, let me tell you something, If you have not exercised or ran in the last 1 year or so, everything I am going to say would not be applicable to you, because the disclaimers they warn you about are very real. So, Think about this “There is always another race”.
Now, If you are still reading this then let me tell you my story, and all the things I did wrong.
I always wanted to be Fit and healthy, but In the last 2 years was not able to focus on my running. The Longest I have run in the last 2 yrs was about 5 Miles, so at work wanted to participate and organize the Global run our company does, so I volunteered to do that, thinking that would force me to get into training and be in the place I want to be. Actually that plan worked pretty well, in the beginning.
We had a running coach come to our work place and we would go on a training run during Lunch hour twice a week, gradually as work was taking most of our time, I started skipping those sessions, but somehow on the company run event, I participated and finished my 10K.
Now Fast forward 3Plus months, not much running totally engrossed with Family, life and work as most of us are. Suddenly one day late in the evening around 10.30PM 3 weeks before Thanks Giving, had a realization I am not as fit as I wanted to be, so browsed online and decided to do a Half Marathon, so signed up for the UC Davis Turkey trot during Thanks Giving. Week 1 Passed – no running, Week 2 – 3 Miles total, Week 3 – 2.5 Miles and suddenly all you know, its RACE Day!!! Previous night read about all running tips, especially on things to avoid the worst case scenario, watched motivation videos on youtube and felt like I got this!!!
Ready to go to the race Location, Oh Oh couldn’t find my heart monitor, frantically searched everywhere, finally found it in my Gym Bag, 15 Minutes late than my planned time. Now, searching for Parking at the Race Location, Finally managed to Park in a empty ally near an apartment.
Ran to the Start Location, checked with the organizers about the Half Marathon and it just started, so joined the cool runners who were in all kinds of fancy costumes, saw a Human Chicken with the race bib on, phew finally there was a sense of peace, I made to the race, now thinking Ill stick to my pace and I can do this.
My Heart was pounding, crossed Mile 3, drank the Gatorade at the aid station, 4,5,6,7 miles in..now I start to feel some dis-comfort in my left calf, Ignored it, thinking the body is always capable of going beyond that first sign of discomfort. So, pushed through mile 8, now felt cramps on the right calf as well, stopped and did some stretching and Jumping to relax the muscles, moved about 200 ft, sudden sharp pain, couldn’t move, I held on to a tree and stopped and looked at my calf and I can see the calf muscles move in and out, contracting, its a very unique feeling, painful. Waited for a few minutes, didn’t move, the tension released a bit so drank the water I was carrying, did some breathing I had learnt from several teachers before, and mentally said to myself Im going to finish this No matter what, even if I have to walk. So, after some 10 minutes, start to run, the cramps came back, so slowly and steadily started walking, crossed Mile 9, Mile 10, started Running and Walking, Mile 11, the moment I tried running the muscles tensed up in the quads and the calves, and have to stop running, so walking now, I can see the finish line I see people cheering so decided to run to the finish, but the legs wouldn’t co-operate so walked across that coveted finish line, the “Half-Marathon” , Felt on top of the world., My First Half Marathon, I Finished it!!! Its a Great Feeling !!! I survived!!!
My First Half Marathon!!!
Great Moment!!!All the Pain is worth it:-)!!!
My Second Half Marathon!!!
After that experience, came back home and was thinking about all the craziness that happened, though it was grueling at that time, I felt like I want to do it again, this time in a smarter way and finish strong. So, on Dec 20th 2015 ran the Zombie Half Marathon Trail run in Fremont, CA. Finished strong with a time 25 minutes better than the first, Of-course this time, got some help from wonderful coaches Angie and Trevor of http://marathontrainingacademy.com/ and a great training plan.
Now, What can you Learn from my Mistakes? Here are some sincere advice to fellow runners:-
If you have signed for a 5K/10/Half M and feel that you were not able to train as much as you would like, If you are a week or 2 away from the race, here are my quick tips and learnings:-
- Stay Hydrated.
- For your First race, don’t worry about your timing. Your Goal should be to Finish the race without any Injuries.
- Every 45mts-1hour, Fuel yourself, find something that you have used before and stick with it, about 200~300 calories.
- Checkout Jeff Galloway’s Run Walk method Checkout Jeff Galloway Method here, very powerful I learnt it after the first race, its basically a system of Running with regular walk Intervals so you conserve your energy till the finish line. The Internal varies for each individual according to your fitness level. I used this method in my recent Half Marathon, to my surprise near the Finish line, when most of the people are exhausted, I still had fuel in my tank and I was exhilarated to pass at-least 4 people near the Finish Line.
- Biggest Lesson, after talking and learning from veteran Marathoners, Long distance running is very different than a Sprint and Half the race is Mental as much as Physical, so stay positive and always have a Learning, Inquisitive Mind. Every day will be a great experience!!!
Good Luck My Friends and Please Share if was useful to you and more than anything Share your Race experience!!!