1. Don’t eat taco chicken before your long run—the first of many lessons I learned in the past few months as I trained to run a half marathon.
2. Peer pressure can be a good thing—because I never, ever, in a million years ever thought I would run 13.1 miles again….until some friends talked me into the “opportunity.”
3. Razors are a runner’s friend. Armpit stubble and long runs don’t go together.
4. Run with an amazing person, such as my friend Debbie. The right running partner will motivate you, inspire you and make the time fly by with witty stories. Don’t run with Debbie though, because then she might be too tired to run with me. Selfishly, I don’t want to share her so go find your own running partner.
5. When sending encouraging text messages to other runners, always proofread. Otherwise, your phone might autocorrect, “I’m giving you a big whooo rah!” to “I’m giving you a big wet rash.” Then, no one will want to room with you in the hotel.
6. When training for a half marathon, try to avoid the never-ending winter of the Polar Vortex, if at all possible. It snowed on my first day of training in December. It snowed, rained, sleeted, froze…you name it…literally every week of training all the way through March including the day of the race.
7. Ignore the myth that running helps you lose weight. If you are unable to avoid the Polar Vortex, you need some extra layers anyway. Use this as an excuse to carbo-load like crazy. Start early, eat often. But, as previously mentioned, just not taco chicken.8. Make the race far enough away that you need a hotel room. People keep asking, “How was the race?” Hmmm, I ran for 2 ½ hours. It was freezing cold and windy. Torrential downpours brought flood warnings and my phone is still sitting in a bag of rice trying to dry out from the whole ordeal. It was fabulous! I didn’t cook, clean, grocery shop, pay bills, mediate teenage bickering, run errands or grade papers. I was with good friends. We talked. We laughed. We dined in real restaurants. Which brings me to my last lesson…
9. Set a goal—13.1 miles in Philadelphia, check. What’s next, friends? Moab in October or New Orleans in November? Key West in January or Nashville in April? I’m ready to train for our next adventure. I’ve already started carbo-loading!