Run Happy!

I decided to kick off my thirty-ahem-throat-clearing-cough-rd year by running the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 18th. My friend Lisa and her Crazy Running Girls Club started running half marathons and mini-triathalons last year and it sounded like a lot of fun, plus they all look fabulous.

I am not a "runner". In fact, I kind of hate running. I think that a half marathon is about the furthest I ever care to run. But it's good for me on so many levels, so I suck it up and I run.

I was EXTREMELY under prepared for this half marathon when it came to training. The furthest I'd ever run up to that point was about 8 miles, and that was last summer. In the two weeks leading up to the half marathon I ran a few 5 mile jaunts and carbo loaded like CRAZY. (Oh yeah, I pretty much carbo load all the time, it's essential to athetic training, no?)

Lisa, Tiffany and I met for Sushi and race-packet pick up on the Friday before the race and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a whole bunch of little vendor booths, right there at the race packet pick up! (This was my first major race, and I definitely got the feeling that racing is big big business.) Since I felt totally NOT prepared on my training, I figured, I might as well have the right gear. Plus, this was an excuse to shop!!! As you can see from the picture above, I had way WAY too much stuff. Like, a ridiculous, hilarious amount of stuff. Like, I TOTALLY looked like the newbie on the block. Oh well.

Since I totally over-packed for this occasion, I thought I'd share my half marathon essentials:

1. Friends

Having a couple of friends to run with was SO SO SO fabulous. First of all, I had someone to be accountable to with my training (or lack thereof). I had people with experience that guided me through the race ins and outs (a lot of my essentials were suggested to me by Tiffany and Lisa). Most importantly, I was motivated to keep up with them during the actual race. We had the goal of finishing in 2.5 hours or less and we all came in at 2 hours and 21 minutes. Whoop Whoop! There is no way I would have made that time if I had been running on my own. And it was just FUN to do this with someone else. (Thank you Lisa and Tiffany!!!! XOXO)

2. Kleenex

I know, you think water would be next on my list, but no, Kleenex. My nose was running like crazy (it always does when I run) and I was glad to have a pack on hand after Tiffany told me about an unfortunate farmer-blow incident in a race she ran last year. On a side note, hard core runners are kind of gross. They have no problem spitting and blowing boogers all over the road and leaving tons of litter in their wake.

3. Water

I drink water like crazy while I'm running. I made a tactical error by buying this water bottle belt thingy. It drove me nuts, bouncing up and down and hiking up my shirt, etc. I think it will be useful for hiking but there was actually enough water on the course so I didn't need to carry all of this around for the race.

4. iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, and iPhone

I live in fear of not having any music while I'm running. A lot of runners say "oh, I love to run because I can be alone with my thoughts". Oh really? Because when I run and I don't have any music playing all I hear in my head is "Why am I running? UUUUGGGGHHHHH. How much further? Why am I doing this anyway? I'm hungry..." After a tragedy last summer when my shuffle ran out of battery 3 miles into a 6 mile run, I bring an extra iPod back-up. In this case I brought my iPod shuffle, iPod nano AND my iPhone. Sidenote - you definitely want to have a mobile phone on you for something like this otherwise it would be impossible to find people afterwards.

5. Breathable Fabric

I have always been skeptical of the whole wicking/breathable fabric thing. (Obviously I'm not much of an athlete.) I decided that maybe one of the reasons I hate running so much is that I'm so effing hot all the time. For this race I suited up in Brooks "Run Happy" running gear because I thought it was SSSSOOO cute and I am SSSSOOOO happy. Perfect right? Run Happy. Love it!

I wanted to see if these fabrics were all they were cracked up to be. OMG. Wow. Yes, the outfit was worth every penny. I was not too hot, not too cold and definitely didn't feel sweaty. Lisa and Tiffany said that they mocked the running skirt, but used them last year to run the Ragnar Relay and ended up loving them. I loved the running skirt too. You feel like you're basically naked from the waist down but you don't have to be in those wicked ugly running shorts. Plus, I do not have the kind of bum that can rock a pair of those running shorts anyway. I threw in a pair of running socks at the last minute and I'm SO glad that I did. I had the normal two blisters that I get every time that I run, but other than that I was fine.

6. Goo

You know, those packs of goo and goo like substances that are at the check stand at REI? The ones that make you think "Who the H would ever eat that"? Well, Lisa and Tiffany said that I would want some calories around mile 10. And I suppose you can't just whip out an apple on the course now can you? Lisa endorsed the Clif Shot Blok's. Tiffany likes the good ol' Goo. I picked up a couple of packs of Shot Bloks. They looked the most like gummy candy. They actually tasted really good and totally hit the spot.

Since the half marathon I've run a total of 5 miles. I think I need to have an 'event' on the books to keep me motivated and justify all of the money I've spent on this sport so this weekend I'll be running in the Salt Lake City Race for the Cure. And if anyone out there is looking for a running buddy, please let me know! It really is more fun when you're not alone.


Stina said...

I'm starting to get into the race thing this summer and----what a culture! i had no idea how popular it was. Being a non runner myself, i totally know how you feel and I'm glad to know i'm not the only one. I'm doing a race tomorrow but it's only a 5k. I'm working myself up :) thanks for the post!

Katrine said...

That's awesome Natalie, congrats! I always thought that part of the glory of crossing the finish line, is doing it in got style!

Ashley said...

Go kick some ass! Mean while I will just sit myself on the couch and have some icecream. . .

a bunch of BS said...

Natalie- that first picture- hot. I am totally feeling your "come hither" stare especially with that spandex on :)
P.S. When are you going to post pics of the nursery and the baby shower? Want to see!!!

NatRat said...

Good job Natalie! Keep up the running:) A tip on the runner's belt is, you have to wear it actually on your waist so it doesn't bounce. It looks pretty lame and dorky, but at least it doesn't bounce. They are the best for training since you don't have water every 3 miles. Keep it up!