When I finally I “cleared up” enough from my cold I decided that I was actually going to be able to run my first official half marathon in Madison! I was surprised at how many hills there were and how that really tried my stamina, but I ended up finishing at 2:28:05!
A few things I learned:
- I recommend having a few different outfits planned and with you for your race. It may seem silly but the weather may change unexpectedly the day before. For me, I had been keeping eye on the weather all week long. Two days prior I decided that was close enough so I packed what I would need, and we headed to Madison. However, when I checked the weather the night before it changed to be about 15 degrees colder than I expected! So instead of running in the 40s I would be running in the 20s. Typically you plan to dress as if it was 10 degrees warmer since your body warms up from running so that’s a difference of the 50s versus the 30s! I had brought clothes for the 50s! SO as you can imagine I ended up getting a jacket, and lucky for me there was a perfect one at the runners expo that I could use!
- Another big thing I learned, even if you think you’ll get a good night sleep as in you ate early enough, you prepped everything, you take melatonin (a doctor has recommended this to me for sleep), but then you just lie in bed. I seriously just tossed and turned all night. I probably lightly fell asleep around 2 or 3 AM with a 5AM wake up! Since the race started at 7:10 for me, and I wanted to be there 30 minutes early, and I had to walk there from the hotel (about a 15 min walk), eat a light breakfast with coffee and water, change, stretch, warm up, etc . You can imagine 5AM wasn’t early enough! Ha! But hey it worked for me! So make sure you get enough rest a few days prior just in case pre-race jitters sink in!
- Something else I learned that it’s important to pay attention to the elevation guide. I had taken a quick peak at it before, but obvious not close enough. Sure I noticed there was a big hill or two, but Madison’s half marathon had a lot of hills one in particular being a whopper! If you happened to run Madison’s Half Marathon in November you can probably easily guess which one it was! At least when you got to the top you had a spectacular view of the lake and capital building!
- If you can, have someone meet you at a certain mile. It will help you run to that point and also you can do a drop off or pick up if need be. David did this for me at mile 6 and that was a lifesaver! It did cut a minute or so off my time, but it was necessary at the time. 🙂
- Pay attention to spectator signs. They are hilarious!
- Don’t walk too far from the porta-potties after the race if this is your first half! 😉
- Last but not least, enjoy it! Half marathons despite the distance flies by and the memory because one of enjoyment and strength!
Happy Running! XO