Training … The hardest part
When I was selected to return as a Blogger for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in 2013 I was very excited. While I am a guest blogger and not a weekly contributor, I thought this would be perfect, I can concentrate on training – write one really kick butt blog and still be able to be a part of this awesome group of bloggers.
Well it’s my week, my training has been horrible, this is the third re-write of this blog due to computer crashes and other issues and groundhogs are the devil.
So I am going to give you some insight into why I train, what is going on for the #CLE in May, and some helpful tips for anyone that may not have run this awesome race in the past.
For my new followers, readers, passer-by-ers or those that landed on this due to an incorrect Google search, I train 4 Autism. This does not mean I train to be autistic, it means I train to provide advocacy and awareness for those on the spectrum and their families. We can be followed on FB here! We have a great network of individuals to provide support in Biking, Running, Swimming, Triathlon, Walking, Fundraising and much more. We have great relationships with the Autism Society, the Cleveland Clinic Lerner School, The Organization for Autism Research (National organization) and many, many more.
So now you know about me, let’s talk about getting through Cleveland and achieving the goal you have set for yourself. Is this your first race? Is this your 100th? Are you going out to set a PR (personal record) or just finish the race? No matter what it is the first thing you have to realize is that you’re not alone. 20,000 people are going to descend on Cleveland on May 19th to accomplish their own personal goal and the hardest part is actually getting to the starting line.
I know what you’re thinking, easy for you to say you have finished 3 Full Marathons, countless other races, and logged more miles than I can count. YOU ARE DEAD WRONG! Training and staying healthy is the hardest part of the actual race, in my own opinion. So if you have made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back. Seriously.. Stop reading… Extend your arm.. and pat yourself on the back… See it wasn’t that hard.
So I have battled Calf injuries all year, at least 3 separate times, had Bronchitis once and have gone groundhog hunting 6 times. Stupid groundhog lies! I hate running in the cold and I can’t focus long enough on a treadmill to get long runs in so the longest run I have in this year is 10 miles. Not so great to do a 26.2. I have other friends and Bloggers for the #CLE like @MojaMala2 that had bad injuries last year and she’s a rockstar runner – so it happens to everyone. The key to me making it through Cleveland this year is simple – Dig Deep (Yep stole that from the Insanity Dude) focus on why you train ( We all have our reasons – Mine is for Autism Awareness) and don’t over do it! I am finally pain-free and put a 25 mile week together last week so I will hope for 30 this week and really get at it in April.
So now you’re at the starting line – here’s how to get to the finish
Tip 1: Don’t start where you don’t belong. Does that seem harsh? It’s just a reality – know your pace and don’t lie to yourself. Line up in the front and you’re a walker all you do is make people annoyed as they are up there to set PR times. You also are not with a support group that can help push you to the end. So be true to yourself, know your goal pace and start accordingly.
Tip 2: Water Stops – First of all Use them, there is no rule that says only the cool kids can run that far without a short break. Second – the stops are not 1 little table… make sure you realize you do not all have to stop at the first table. It ends up looking like a route 480 accident during rush hour. My tip is to go to the middle and pass the first few tables then cut over… Trust me – you will thank me later.
Tip 3: Find a Buddy. Many of you don’t need a partner – those men/women know that – but if you are looking for a PR and don’t have a buddy use the pace groups. If you are looking to finish find someone at the start to hang around with (they can be that extra motivation when you need it most).
Tip 4: if you’re running the ½ Marathon – you will have the most support on the course. However people forget about the bridge back into the city around mile 10. Save some energy as I have seen that bridge take out a lot of people’s energy and it makes for a rough finish.
Tip 5: Have Fun. Wow, great Tip Chris – but seriously Have Fun. If you are not having fun you are simply making yourself miserable.
Tip 6: Place people you know in key spots. For the ½ it may be Mile 11 or the full maybe mile 20. When you are about to hit the proverbial wall, that familiar face can be the lifting moment to push them through!
Tip 7: Know how far you have to go. For a 10K it’s about 32,736 ft. The ½ Marathon is only 69,168 ft and the Full is 138,336. See don’t you feel better? What you need more encouragement? If you’re running the 10K that would be like climbing the Eiffel (Tower 1063 Ft) 30 times. If you’re Running the ½ it would be like Scaling the Hoover Damn (726Ft) 95+ times. And for those taking on the full it would be like climbing to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,341ft) over 7 times! Do you know why this is not scary? Because you will have 20,000 people with you, you will have crowd support (your own personal Sherpa’s) and it is not the Great Wall of China – that dang thing is like 5500 miles!
Cleveland is a fun race! It is my home town. You will see sporting venues, neighborhoods, Downtown #CLE, the Lakefront and more. Awesome medals with Guitar spinners and a great post-race party.
The one thing that you can bank on is the Cleveland Experience will be one you remember be it your first or last… Crossing a finish line is one of the most rewarding things you can accomplish. No matter the distance, your motivation, you’re first race or 100th – you have accomplished something many will never try.
But please remember this – the hard part is over. Training was the challenge, the Race is your reward!