Ah, the evolution of the runner. When we first begin, we browse running magazines, search the internet, and ask friends who are “real runners” for guidance. As we progress, we begin to develop the notion that maybe we should actually run a race. We hear stories about 5Ks and 10Ks. We learn about the “runner’s high” and “hitting the wall.” We see the finisher’s medals displayed on the walls. And we want this epic adventure for ourselves.
But as every runner knows, that first race can be a slightly different experience than we expect. Here are a few things we learn at our first race:
Get there early, if for no other reason than to be first in line for the porta-potties.
Not only will getting there early prevent a highly pressurized bladder, but you’ll avoid the aftermath of the army of people who came and went (literally) before you.
When you see runners lining up in shorts and uniforms like this… just go ahead and line up behind them.
That way you won’t go out too fast, and you won’t have to watch them fly by later.
Besides, the start of a race is a stampede of the masses. Why risk getting trampled? Better to lay low.
You also learn the dangers of overdressing. Too many layers = more problems than they solve.
The course description said rolling hills. Rolling hills. Obviously, the race director's idea of a “rolling hill” is Mount Everest.
You also learn to keep your eyes peeled for any cracks or holes that might trip you up along the way.
Oh, and make sure you don’t cut any corners too tightly.
Wait, should drinking and running be this hard? The pros make it look so easy.
When it actually looks a whole lot more like this.
Only when you cross the finish line do you see why nip guards were invented.
Sure, running is great, but in the end, we all do it for the bling.
And the camaraderie of running with people as crazy as we are.
But, oh, that feeling we get when we're done!
Good Luck and Happy Racing!
Tim Cary is FLEET FEET's Assistant Training Manager, coach of the FLEET FEET-sponsored Runnababez Elite team, and manager of the FLEET FEET Racing Team. Over his 20 years of coaching, Tim has coached athletes to three national team championships, five national individual championships, two national records, and numerous All-American and All-State honors. Click here to receive Tim's weekly article via email.