We are officially 3 days into 2016. Only 363 to go (yes, I can do math…leap year people there are 366 days in 2016). I have spent the last few days of vacation and relaxation to reflect on the highs of 2015, but also the lows. I had an awesome year full of adventures, accomplishments, and lessons. Many of the mistakes were hard earned and I would like to not repeat them. Part of my 2016 New Years Resolution is to “pay it forward” and hopefully my failures will be useful not only to me but also others. Time to bear all my oops moments, here goes nothing…
- Bonkfest. I was a mess when it came to nutrition while running long. I found myself countless times mid-run with no get up and go. I was spent and frustrated. It took a ton of trial and error to get to a comfortable place with nutrition while running. My advice to new runners is to play around with your training runs. I tried lots of products and finally found what works for me. I have learned to eat early and not wait to feel drained.
- Carb-Loading. I have for years binged the night before a race and thought I had my bases covered. WRONG. Carb-loading needs to happen 2-3 days before a big run. Even after running as many marathons as I have I still from time to time make this mistake. Milwaukee Running Festival in 2015 was a prefect example. I had a crazy week at school and did not eat properly, let alone carb-load the days before. Crash is an understatement the day of the marathon. It was a rough day and I could not make up what my body needed while running.
- Hydration. Drink early and drink often. Again, learned that the hard way. When you feel thirsty while running you are already behind the 8 ball and heading down the path of dehydration. Duh?!?! I did not know this until a fellow runner pointed this out to me. Now that I drink often in races and training as well as early I have fared much better. Another lesson that I learned in 2015 was combo up at aid stations…drink 1 glass of electrolytes & 1 glass of water. For me the balance is needed and keeps me on point especially when it is warm out. Another game changer was to buy a hydration system. Having fluids with me on long solo runs has been a freeing experience and helped to improve my performance. I used to drop bottles along my course, but had a few stolen (yep, hot commodity in Luxemburg). Being without hydration is dangerous and limited me. Not anymore!
- Just wear shorts. I’m a very modest person, who through the years has not been kind to my body. After years of starving myself I have done damage that cannot be reversed. I’m embarrassed that I am so fit, but don’t have the body to match. This was a vicious summer in Wisconsin, hot and humid, and I tried to wear running tights to cover up, but it was an epic failure. I had to get over my insecurities and find a pair of shorts to fit so I did not overheat. My advice for those that are in the same boat and hate to wear shorty-shorts – look for a pair with an inseam that is 3.75 -4 inches. This has been the sweet spot for me, not to long that they chafe but not to short that your butt will make an appearance during a run.
- Lube, lube, and more lube. It only took me one race to figure this out, but it is a lesson I will NEVER forget. I have not cried like that since my children were born and I honestly believe that was less painful than the wound I endured on my back after the No Frills Marathon. I used body glide in the typical areas, I however forgot to lube up my hydration vest. The rubbing and sweating of the bladder (I froze it to keep me cool) created an awful situation. When I finished my arms were bleeding and I had a huge sore on my lower back. For weeks I had to wear band-aids and shower with care. It was awful! Lube up people…and when you think you have enough put another layer on. You can never have to much on to prevent chaffing.
- Trust. I’m generally a loner when it comes to life. I like to keep my circle close and small…which included running. I was afraid to ask questions, get involved, and put myself out there in the running community. I stumbled a lot, but had individuals along the way step up and help me get become stronger and more knowledgeable. Man I wish I would have done so sooner. There are wonderful people in the running world and I am greatly enjoying getting more involved.
2016 is going to be an amazing year! I cannot wait to see what adventures unfold and what new lessons I acquire. Each step forward is a way to learn & improve. #BeKind #BeHappy #BeActive