Lessons from the Finish Line

On Sunday, after months of training, Sally and I successfully completed the Cox Providence Half-Marathon, all 13.1 miles.  It was a blast. Here are some of the things I learned:

From training:

  • Follow the plan.  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society gave us a typical training plan in which the long runs get longer every weekend.  We followed it pretty obsessively.  I credit this with  how surprisingly great I felt on the days following the race.
  • Bring water!  I learned this years ago on a hike and again on a long bike ride and then AGAIN last fall on another hike (this blog could just be called Lessons Learned Again and Again So Why Don’t You Get It Yet Already?): Severe dehydration feels like fatigue rather than thirst.
  • Test all of your gear well before race day. Find out what rubs and what doesn’t. Find out what falls down.

From Race Day:

  • Drive the course.  It was really good to know what to expect and you really can’t get that from the maps & elevation diagrams.
  • Nothing beats having a great Pit Crew!  I will hold in my heart, forever, the image of Kat slapping a new bottle of Gatorade into my hand and blindly flinging the empty one behind her onto the lawn or whatever was it its path.  Steve, Kat & Wes worked the logistic perfectly so that we saw them at the start, 4 miles, 8 miles and finish.

Best Pit Crew Ever

  • Know where your supporters will be.  Knowing, in advance, that Carol & Mark were at mile 1.5 and Gale was at mile 6.5 just inspired us  and pulled us along to those points.
  • Don’t know where your supporters will be.  Having Gale pop up two other times, unexpectedly, was fun and a boost. Those squishy orange sections were a bonus and made great running snacks.
  • If you are lucky enough to find a big crowd of spectators  at the finish line (we were at the back of the pack BUT we shared the last mile and finish with main-stream marathon runners), no one cares how slow you were – they just see you finishing.  If you throw your arms up into the air (which is what we wanted to do anyway) the crowd goes nuts!  What a great way to finish!

It was a great experience and Sally & I both learned that we are stronger then we think we are.

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