This is the final segment of my “So You’re Going to Run a Half Marathon” blog-a-thon. If you want to catch up on parts 1 – 5, you can check out my deep thoughts (with a sprinkling of hilarity) here: Researching Your First Half Marathon, The Training Plan, Acquiring the Gear, The Mental Stuff and The Day of the Race. I know, it’s a lot of amateur advice to take in. But like I said, deep and hilarious – if you like it like that.
So here is my not so sage advice on what to expect when the race is over. Once you finish a half marathon and you’ve let your awesomeness sink in, you will need to come up with 3 (yes, THREE) versions of your race day story:
- Version 1 – This is what you tell clueless acquaintances. These are the folks who don’t really know you all that well and don’t even really know what a half marathon is. You just tell them that you ran a race and it was fun. So, your conversation might sound something like this:
- Chuck, the clueless acquaintance: “Hey, how was your weekend? Do anything fun?”
- You, the half marathon finisher: “Well, it was a pretty busy weekend. I actually ran a half marathon. “
- Chuck: “Dude, seriously? Did you win?”
- You: “Well, no. It was my first half marathon and it was 13.1 miles so I really wasn’t trying to win, just trying to finish…which I did, by the way.”
- Chuck: “So, you didn’t win? Bummer. Sorry about your downer weekend.”
- Version 2 – This will be for people who love to run…People who have finished a half marathon, a marathon or any long distance race. This is where you can go crazy and describe all your gory race details. We want to know what miles 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 were like. Tell us all about miles 5, 6, 7 and 8. And did you hate miles 10 and 11? Were you stoked by mile 12? Were you falling down by mile 13 or were you sprinting to the finish? We want to know about running hills, hitting walls, temperature, pace, what your medal looked like. Did you cramp up? What did you eat? What was on your playlist? Were the lines long at the porta-potty? Did you experience any chafing? Did you cry? WE LOVE THE DETAILS!!! So, please do your non-running family and friends a favor, save Version 2 for the runners in your life and come up with Version 3 for your other friends and family.
- Version 3 – This is for the people close to you who know how hard you trained and understand all the work you put into finishing the half marathon. You can tell them the details of your story but don’t do it mile by mile. Tell your story emotion by emotion…they’ll relate better 🙂 And, by all means, if they ask for details, do not hold back!
Other important “When the Race Is Over” things you should know:
- You will feel like a bad ass. Quite honestly, you should feel like one. And you can even act like one for a few days if you want. I’m pretty sure it’s in the half marathon policy manual somewhere.
- You should reward yourself in a meaningful way. Here’s how I rewarded myself : 1) The day after the race, I took a vacation day. I honestly wasn’t sure I would be able to move, so I thought I better play it safe. I actually felt GREAT the day after the race! Nice, relaxing day off…Check! 2) I promised myself a new pair of running shoes. The weekend after the half, I went to a local running store and had a pro assess my running situation and make a couple of shoe recommendations. New Shoes…Check! 3) I got a pedicure. My poor feet deserved that pedi. Cute toes…Check! Those were the things that made me happy. I’m so easy to please.
- You should sign up for another race. It doesn’t matter if it’s a half marathon, a 5k or a 10k. Just sign up for something so you have a race to look forward to and you keep yourself in the running groove.
- Lastly, in my experience, I had a lot of bone head moments shortly after the half. My not-so-scientific explanation is that running a half marathon takes a great deal of focus and I’m pretty sure the week following the race, my brain was taking a breather from the half marathon focus factor. Maybe it’s just me. But if it’s not, please let me know your experience so I don’t feel like a weirdo.
So, first time half marathon finishers to be, my advice is to enjoy your journey. From figuring out which race you’re going to run, to tracking all your training progress to crossing that finish line. It will make you proud and you will inspire people around you…maybe even that dumb ass acquaintance Chuck will be in awe once he figures out what a half marathon is.
Go forth and train, run, finish then be a bad ass!