Ok, here’s the deal. If you have signed up for a race and it’s your first time or 5th time there are a few things you should know.
Wait. Before I continue, let me preface this by saying that I encourage runners and walkers of all speeds, shapes, sizes and abilities to participate in a race.
Now I know you can find a lot of things to prepare you for a race but I wanted to give you the down and dirty, real world race primer. Please indulge me.
Racing Tips from the Street
- Be honest and humble. If you run an 11 minute mile, don’t try and shimmy up to corral #2. You will get mowed down or become the slow car in the fast lane that people have to run around. Remember, it’s much better to pass than to be passed.
- Run lightly. Leave your ball of keys and extra pocket-change in your car. We can hear you jingle jangle about 40 feet behind and it’s annoying. For a 5K or 10K you don’t need a pack with 5 GU’s and 2 water bottles. There’s water and energy drinks and even first aid on the course and you’re not climbing Everest. 🙂
- Move over. Slow runners and walkers should, out of courtesy move to the right of the street so the fast lane can move on the left. Just like a car we runners are trained to pass on the left. I’m not saying you have to stay on the right the entire time, but please be mindful that people may want to pass. I have been in the wrong start group before (thought I could go faster than I actually could) and had to live on the right for half the race.
- Blowing stuff. I ran behind a gal on Sunday who took sips of water from her bottle then spat on the ground, slightly to her right. Which, annoyingly was directly in front of me. If you have to spit, hock a loogie (funnily, I’ve never written that before so forgive me if I misspelled any part of that), launch a snot rocket or throw up, please MOVE TO THE RIGHT, OUT OF THE WAY, and PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT SPRAY, BOOGERS, JUICE OF ANY KIND CANNOT TOUCH ANOTHER HUMAN.
- Thin the herd. Walking is a great activity and walking with friends during a race is something I totally encourage. Just not, 5 abreast, starting from corral #2. Hang back, be careful that you’re not blocking people and go on with your bad selves.
- White = see through. Ladies, if you are wearing a white sports bra and a white tee shirt we can see your nipples. Your friends may not tell you this so I’ll break it to you. Black and dark colors are your friends for sports bras. Speaking of see through. If you wear tights, leggings or bike shorts I want you to put them on and go outside with a friend. Stand in the full sun with your friend behind you and bend over to touch your toes. Ask your bestie if she can see your pink hiney through the material. If so, toss them and get a new pair.
- Race shirts. Sigh. Back in the olden days, race shirts were awarded after the actual race took place. A race shirt indicated you “completed” the race. Like the medal. Would you wear your medal before you did the 10K? No you would not. Same with race shirts. I know this will may be considered very controversial but like politics and religion, it’s best not to argue. Save it for after the race to show off at breakfast.
- Bathrooms. Go when you get to the race. And then get back in line. I have missed many a starting because I stood in line for the bathroom. And on that vein, skip the first set of porta potties along the course – there will be more and less crowded.
- Remember your manners. Say thank you to volunteers. Smile at others. Tell someone they are doing a good job as they run past you. Cheer for the ones who are going to win the race as they run past you. Don’t throw your empty (and slippery) GU packets into the running path. If you miss the garbage can, apologize to the volunteer (but you don’t have to stop and pick it up, they have rakes to take care of that gooey mess) but at least show that you didn’t mean to be a complete douche.
- Check your ego in the car. Preferably with your ball of keys and the $45 in nickels you like to hold on to during a run. You, and I hate to break it to you, are probably not going to win this thing. So relax. But run hard and cross that finish line. Whether it takes you 45 minutes or 2 hours. Whatever. You did it.
Then put on your shirt and medal and eat like you just ran an ultra. ‘Cause that’s how we roll!
Now go run!