Race Day Do’s and Don’ts

I’m not an elitist or snobby runner by any means but I do get anxiety over race day faux pas. Few things can be more frustrating than when someone breaks common courtesy or protocol during a race – it just kills your vibe, man. Granted, if you’re signing on to a race of five to ten thousand people, you just have to know these things are going to happen, but while running at the Star Wars Half Marathon last weekend, I couldn’t help but feel I must do my due diligence and teach at least one person how to save the world. Or just get someone to lessen my anxiety. I’m pretty sure I got through an entire mile just by listing out my pet peeves of life. Don’t judge me… running is emotional. And also… don’t be a Racehole.

5 Courtesies to Keep in Mind When Running a Race:

  • Walking is okay! But please stay to the right so those still running don’t have to weave in and out of walkers. Keep this in mind at water stations as well – not everyone will stop.
  • Hang on to your trash! Whether it’s your GU Energy Shots or aid station water cups, don’t be a Littering Larry. Hold on tight till you pass a trash can or stash it in your fanny pack until you cross the finish line.
  • No sudden stops! Just like walking – having to stop is quite alright. Put your hand up to let the people behind you know you are getting ready to halt.  Running is not a contact sport and we are not trained to tackle. It could get ugly!
  • Avoid aid station greed! Chances are the aid stations have tons of people ready and willing to hand out water or electrolytes. Look behind you before heading to one side and don’t grab the first cup you see. Move forward to someone looking for a friend (this will also get you through faster and back on your way.) Be sure to thank the volunteers that want you to get to the finish line hydrated and full-spirited. And don’t be a Littering Larry!!!
  • Watch your surroundings! Perhaps most importantly – be aware of the other runners on the course. If you nudge someone, turn and apologize. If you feel someone wanting to pass, let them. If someone trips, pick them up. If someone needs encouragement, cheer them on. Remember – we all want to get that medal at the end so whether we know each other or not, we’re in it together.
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Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

Well folks, I’m halfway there! I’m still, kind of, recovering from my third half marathon over the weekend. I say kind of, because I’ve yet to take a day off from working out. Please don’t be like me. It’s sick. (Don’t worry, I’m being very wary of injury. Lots of stretching, soaking, stretching more and advil.)

First and foremost, I have to thank Natasha and her family for being such wonderful company over the weekend and allowing me to crash their party. It’s always wonderful to have a few friends by your side to ease the nerves and celebrate the after.

Second, nothing proves how much running gear you have than when you have to pack for an out-of-town race. Proof: here’s everything I packed aside from a Lion King tank top.

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Included in my packing list: GU Energy Gels, Body Glide, wicking socks, rolling stick, Nuun electrolyte tabs, running fanny, Beats Wireless In-Ear Headphones, portable phone charger, Run Disney race waiver, Fitbit, Ibuprofen, sparkly headband, Old Navy compression pants, Nike sports bra, tank and sweater, and of course, the Darth Vader skirt and matching hat… which I ended up not wearing.

One of the running perks that comes with big races is the expo and packet pick-up. Tons of goodies, samples and things to buy. My favorite acquired item? A sparkly headband that says “May the SPARKLE be with you.” If you know ANYTHING about me, you know that there probably is no better headband for me to own.

The bummer news about the race is that I was in corral E. I was most definitely one of the last two hundred people to start the race which meant I started about 30 minutes later than planned. But once across the starting line, I felt bliss – I was finally marking something off my bucket list!

Miles one through five were throughout Disneyland and California Adventures. Most of the time it was exhilarating, but then there were times where I was on the verge of an anxiety attack. Trying to fit 10,000 runners through one entry gate and a back alley into Disneyland is probably the worst idea in the entire world. As I looked down and saw that I was pacing 14 minutes per mile, I could feel all the anxiety running through my body. Knowing that I didn’t want to waste my energy on the petty stuff, I tried to take deep breaths and – oh hey! There’s Chewbacca! Space Mountain! Storm Troopers! Big Thunder! I can’t wait to ride all of these! You see… those first few miles, though aggravating at times, were quickly shoveled aside by the atmosphere. Here I was, Sunday morning at the butt crack of dawn doing one of the things I love most at one of the places I love most. The Castle, Main Street, the Ferris Wheel, Cars Land, oh my!

The rest of the course took us on a tour of Anaheim – did anyone see that giant hotel with all of the giant indoor water slides?? I’m in. When does it open?

I do wish there was more Disney during the race – in the sense that once you’re done with the parks, you kind of forget you’re doing a Disney race. It’s mostly residential, parks and businesses the rest of the way. Too bad Target wasn’t open. I could’ve used a Cliff Bar. But the people of Southern California did a great job of dressing up in Star Wars costumes and planting themselves at random stops along the way. At one point, about mile eight or nine, I was staring at ten Darth Vaders plus a mini Vader. Someone even dressed their car as R2d2. Side note… I don’t think the guy with the Delorean got the memo.

Usually between miles eight and ten are when I start to feel the need to hop in a disgusting port-a-potty but I can humbly say that I, Sara Robbins, successfully made it through a long distance race without the dreaded Runner’s Shits. Seriously. I was soooo looking forward to every part of this race except the though of walking around Disneyland afterwards and having to leave the two hour Space Mountain (errr… Hyperspace Mountain) to barely make it to a toilet. I feel confident that between my pre-run electrolyte stock-up and taking advantage of Powerade at every aid station, I waved a big middle finger to ye’ old trots.

At mile 12, I got my runner’s high. I was ready. Let’s get this last mile done baby – you’re on your way to churro gold. And before I knew it, I was done. Two hours and thirty eight minutes later – I tried not to be too disappointed with my time as I reminded myself of the park cluster and instead gave a big ol’ fist bump to those who finished with me and accepted my medal with style and grace… and a post-race waddle. Half marathon number three was officially in the books.

 

 

 

Thanks for being a friend.

Hey you. Yeah, you. I just wanted to say, “Thanks.” As I’m recovering from the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, I’m most humbled by the amount of support that carried me through the finish line. Whether you called, texted, read this blog or just simply “liked” a photo – please know that I’m incredibly overwhelmed by the number of people who are on this path with me, even if in the simplest ways.

Running is my happy place. Running makes me feel free. Strong. Sexy, even when doused in more sweat than any one person should be. Empowered. Free. But perhaps most importantly, running makes me feel inspired. To participate in a race and see thousands of people competing with themselves for the same goal: inspired. To watch people do things they never thought possible: inspired. To see so many others cheering on complete strangers: inspired. To be supported by people near and far: inspired. And overwhelmed. But mostly inspired. So thank you. Thank you for inspiring me.

More on the Dark Side to come…