10 things I learned from my first half marathon

So I ran my first half marathon (click here to read the race report) on Sunday the 22nd of September. The last 5 kilometers felt really hard but nothing I couldn’t handle. As soon as I finished I felt pretty great, not too tired. The only thing at that time: blisters. There was no fluid buildup, but they were stinging like hell as I was walking. I crawled my way to the car (Aislinn was picking me up) and one guy shouted “soak them in salt water b’y!”. I wasn’t sure if I would do that. 

2013-09-22 12.04.28

Two 6lbs bags of ice did the trick!

When I got home I thought “this isn’t bad at all, I feel great and not stiff”. Yeah. About that. Let’s fast forward about 4 hours. I did take an ice bath which I hate for the first 30 seconds, but love for half an hour after getting out. That helped a little bit, but everything started to feel stiff and sore, more so around my pelvis and surprisingly my calves and shins were doing just fine.

Fast forward another 20 hours, and I could barely get out of bed. Everything was stiff and my quads felt like they were on a big cramping holiday (ba dum tss!). I had to go down the stairs backwards and take the elevator at school (while I’m the guy always telling people to take the stairs because they’re still young).

Everything slightly improved over the next days and by Thursday I felt alright (that’s three recovery days in their purest form!). The funny thing is; during those three days I was already excited to run another half marathon. I still am, but not as anxious as during the recovery period. Runner’s high? I was full on stoned, best high ever!

I found two more pictures of me running too:

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Lots of people drafting of me, something I wasn’t aware of!

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Right before I would get the Powerade in the cup all over my shirt.

So to recap, the 10 lessons I learned from my first half:

  1. Prepare! Doing a 20k before definitely helped, maybe more so mentally (“I can do this!”)
  2. Use something to prevent blisters!
  3. Don’t eat gummy bears during the race. Too hard to chew on.
  4. Don’t take a sports drink from a cup, too much spilling going on!
  5. Squeeze your cup so you can drink faster and walk for 5 seconds during drinking.
  6. Wait to speed up until 15/16 km in. Before that, run comfortably hard.
  7.  Focus on reeling people in during the last 5k, and think about running form.
  8. DO NOT sit right after you finish the race, walk around even if the blisters hurt.
  9. I’m cut out for long course racing, shorter distance are not my forte.
  10. I’m hooked.

I ran again today (for the first time after the race because I had no time in the previous days), and I ran to the top of Signall Hill along the trails. I managed to sneak some pretty cool shots on the way and I’ll post those in another post later this week.

Ow’s ya gettin’ on maid? – How are you doing?


3 thoughts on “10 things I learned from my first half marathon

  1. #2– body glide on the feet (or some other form of ‘glide’ that people use to prevent chafing) along with some drymax (or other good running socks) is magic for feet that blister easy.
    #3 if you’re a gummy bear fan but want something easier to chew- try Sports Beans. yum
    #4/5– bring a cut-in-half straw tucked away. Stick it in any cup you grab and bang- auto no spill quick drink ‘n throw.
    #8– yes and eat/drink whatever helps you in recovery!

    Day after try to hop on a bike while you’re still reasonably loose and do very easy rotations with your legs to keep them from doing the “freeze up” that you experienced. You can keep doing that through the recovery period until you can run again. You’ll avoid that whole walking funny thing.

    Congrats on your first half!!!! You’re awesome =)

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