My first race of the year, the Fly With the Eagles Half Marathon (Marion, IL), is this Saturday (February 11)! I can feel my anticipation and excitement growing. On today's training run, I thought it might be a good idea to make a list of everything I'll need to make this race a happy experience. So here's my list for a happy half--your needs may differ:
I need compression tights and socks, a good supportive bra, a wicking t-shirt, and either a long-sleeved wicking shirt or a zip-up jacket or both. I like a knit cap (usually self-made) for winter runs and a baseball hat for summer runs. I tend toward being cold, so I dress warmly for winter runs and races. The weather looks really good for this Saturday so I'm hoping I won't have to do too many layers. I wear gloves (cold hands, runny nose).
I would not call this a trail race at all, but it does take place in a national wildlife refuge. I remember last year the really fast folks had mud all over the backs of their legs! I had some mud myself. I will wear a pair of Asics that are pretty sturdy and mud-resistant.
3) mp3 Player:
I've done halfs with and without music. This is a rural race, so I'll use music. I like to zone out with some steady-paced music and look at all the trees! I use crappy headphones because I sweat all over them! I use the over-the-head or behind-the ears kind of headphones because I can't stand anything stuck in my ears for any length of time, much less two hours!
4) Waist Belt:
Yes, they look dorky. But they are where I stash my gels (which I usually break out at mile 7), my phone, and anything else I might need. I don't use a water carrier belt for a half, but if I ever run a full, I'll definitely use one. If my mp3 player doesn't have a clip, it goes in my waist carrier.
You can go old school with a regular watch or fancy with a Garmin or Polar. I've done races with my Garmin but I have had times when I've forgotten any kind of timing device! It's great to have a watch on just to know what your pace is.
6) Duffle Bag:
This bag has my own stash of safety pins (after enough races, you end up with a bunch of them), vaseline (body glide if you want to spend money), a change of clothes and shoes for after, a snack for after (lots of races have great post-race food, but bring your own if you are picky), a towel, and wet wipes and/or cleansing pads. It is also good to have a duffle along for any t-shirt or other freebies given to you by race organizers. Some are generous with free samples, etc. And leave room for your medal!
1) A training base:
I've been logging 28-30 miles a week. For me, this is enough mileage to know I'll finish my halfs pretty comfortably. It's also do-able given my teaching schedule and other weekly commitments.
2) Racing weight:
I race best at 132-133 lbs. I don't freak out if I'm heavier, but if I'm lighter, I feel too fragile.
I know I've worked hard and whatever finish time I get, I'll be proud of my achievement.