Alright, kids! The excitement is building and that means it’s almost time for…
THE 2012 WINE & DINE HALF MARATHON!
Let Race Weekend Begin!
The weather has been absolutely be-u-tiful in the Orlando area lately and today was no exception! Since I have been completely ruined by Florida’s scorching temperatures, once the temperature slips below 70 I am fully bundled. So I’m pretty sure the runners from colder climates who saw me bundled in my boots and scarf today thought I was completely insane.
I headed toward packet pick up just after its scheduled 10 am opening and was impressed by the steady stream of runners pouring into the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex gates! Luckily, the line moved at a quick clip and we were at the doors of the HP Field House in no time.
With my signed waiver in hand, I found the line corresponding with my bib number and waited my turn. Does learning your bib number drive anyone else crazy? I rarely even attempt to commit it to memory.
It was interesting listening to the people around me. One of the comments I heard most frequently was something along the lines of “wow, I can’t believe how many lines there are! There must be a lot of people running this race.” Clearly, these people must be new to the notoriously big field of runDisney races – but it’s refreshing to hear these sorts of things. Although living in the area allows me to take advantage of so many mammoth Disney races, I have no problem admitting I am a bit spoiled by the enormous scope of these national caliber events.
According to runDisney on Twitter, this years race is close to 14,000! I actually enjoy the excitement of the big field (disclaimer: I am typically placed in Corral A which, from what I understand, can be a bit of a different experience from the crowding that can occur in later corrals).
It’s Expo Time!
With my snazzy new bib in hand, I headed to what is a major highlight of any runDisney event – THE EXPO! As a girl who LOVES to shop as it is, what could be better than to combine race weekend, Disney, and shopping? Even when I was little, getting all the accoutrements was part of the thrill in participating in any new activity…but I digress.
From one race to the next I think of oh, about a bajillion new running things that I want to buy. I made the mistake of reminding Charles this morning that it was
shopping expo day. He kindly reminded me that this was not a good excuse for a spending spree. I’m sticking with the “oh, it was early in the morning and I was tired. I must have nodded off when you were talking” excuse. Think he’ll buy it?
As always, my favorite vendors joined the party. Dangerous. I have to say though, I was quite good! I only bought one thing.
That one things may have been a $75 running skirt though so…
maybe good is a bit of an overstatement. We’ll get to that in a minute.
I don’t know what it is about these race expos but I just get so amped as soon as I walk though the door. Does this happen to anyone else?
Since I rarely travel to these races, I guess the Expo represents the time when the reality of the race weekend really starts to set in. That’s why I usually can’t resist going back a second time.
I still had to get to work yesterday so I tried to keep my little morning excursion brief and efficient. After my typical sweep of the Official Event Merchandise booth, I hit up the usual suspects. Sweaty Bands is a must-stop locations. I lacked restraint and bought a bunch of new Sweaty Bands at the Tower of Terror 10 Miler though so I tried to be good and moved on quickly.
I have been thinking about what to wear for the race and wasn’t coming up with any good answers. I really loved the RunningSkirts brand skirt that I wore for the Tower 10 Miler since the little side pockets were super convenient for holding my Clif Shot Blocks. I used to keep them in my iFitness belt but I find it a little tough to zip and unzip effectively without stopping. The velcro closure of the skirt’s pockets were perfect for keeping the blocks secure but were super easy to access. Then is saw leopard print and the deal was sealed.
If you have run with me or you go to my gym, it’s not a stretch to think you have discovered my love of leopard print. While I will sprinkle it into my normal day wardrobe, it’s no holds bar when it’s time to work out. That and neon. I’m a vision, I assure you.
I have picked up numerous leopard print running capris, tops, Sweaty Bands but I definitely lacked a nice leopard skirt solution. I have had long-term-and-total wardrobe envy over the now discontinued leopard print RunningSkirts that I see on other runners all the time. I was not going to miss out again. I asked the price but I don’t even know why I bothered; the credit card was poised in my hand ready to swipe. A thousand bucks? Seems reasonable. Ring it up!
I knew I had probably already crossed that Charles won’t be mad about this threshold so I picked up tee-shirt and bag check bag and high tailed it out of there.
Let’s Get Ready to Rumble -ah- I mean Race!
With my new fitness fashions in hand, I think I have my outfit figured out and that’s really half the battle. I have decided to my lovely new skirt with a “purrrple” (see what I did there? – I amuse myself too much) tank and purple Nike Pro capris. Although the skirt has compression shorts built-in, I seem to chafe without fail anytime I don’t wear capris. Although the ladies at the RunningSkirt booth assured me that the long inseam of their shorts make them somewhat chafe-proof, a half marathon is not the time to give naked legs a whirl. I’m well aware that I am already violating the sacred “no new clothes on race day” rule. Let’s not tempt fate further.
So what’s left?
- Get my playlist in order and charge my iPod. Due to recently needing to replace the hard drive in my laptop (a huge pain in the behind and a long story), my iTunes library is not in working order. I’m sure I’ll spend a big chunk of today sorting all that out and downloading some new high-energy music for the race.
- Pull all my accessories together. There are quite a few items I can’t live without (like my Nike+ GPS Sportswatch, iFitness Belt, Clif Shot Blocks, a great bit bottle of G2, etc.). I will have a small heart attack if I forget them so I better allocate some time to check and double-check.
- Become a carbmonster. Arguably one of the most fun parts of race preparation, I get to shamelessly eat nothing but starchy goodness. For this reason alone, I wish every day could be race day.
- Rest and Relaxation. I plan to lay with my feet up and not stop until it’s time to leave for the race. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration but I will be kind to my body and just take it easy. We spend so much time as runners robbing ourselves of sleep and other forms of relaxation to rack up mileage so I guess this is running’s little “thank you” gift back to us?
Silly Race Rituals
Do you have, albeit irrational, rituals as part of your pre-race routine? I will be the first to admit that I do. Do I think they have some cosmic ability to improve my race performance? Probably not. I am, however, a creature of habit and they are also mostly just fun. Here’s just two of them (to welcome you to the inner workings of my crazy brain):
1. Pad Thai Dinner. This is a really weird one. This started when I got on a Pad Thai kick. I noticed that anytime Charles and I went out for Thai on a Saturday night, I just absolutely rocked my long run the next day. While it’s probably a coincidence, I got some Shrimp Pad Thai take out last night just to be safe. The beauty of a night race is I wasn’t as worried about eating only the easiest to digest dinner since I still have a lot of hours to go till I hit the starting line. Reality check: any effect that it may have is probably because of the carbs. I won’t over think it – just obey the will of the Pad Thai!
2. Sleep In My Race Shirt. Ok, another silly thing. Like some sort of osmosis process takes place, I love sleeping in my new race shirt the night before the race. I can’t even tell you when or how this one started but it’s just fun. When it comes to running though – you just gotta do what feels good.
I also always sleep in my compression sleeves the night before but I don’t think that’s so much being superstitious as it is about literally physically preparing my legs to race.
These impulses haven’t let me astray so far so I’ll stick with them for now.
I am not putting a whole lot of pressure on myself for this race. I was somewhat hesitant to sign up since this was not my best race last year but I got caught in a weak “I need to race!” moment. I think I could potentially PR based on my training runs but I don’t want to psych myself out.
During the 2011 Princess Half Marathon (my last half PR), I decided to stick to a very comfortable, achievable 10:00 pace as I knew this would allow me to beat my previous PR by about 10 minutes (I think 2:08 was my final chip time). I felt great the whole race and had so much pent-up energy as the race wore on that I was even able to run negative splits at the end (super fast last 2 miles). On my last long run (11 miles last weekend), I was able to maintain a really comfortable and consistent 9:30 pace on my watch. My average pace ended up being even a bit lower at 9:18. I’m hoping, assuming that I feel good and just have a good race overall, that I might be able to adopt a similar strategy for this race – keep a pace that feels relaxed even when I want to go faster and pick it up for the last few miles if I have lots left in my tank.
So we shall see!
Is anyone else running tonight? What are you most excited about?
Which do you prefer: Go in with a race day strategy or just wing it?
What are your pre-race rituals?