the good, the bad, and the ugly

My very first race was all I could have hoped is the good, bad and ugly of the face of the first race:

Lets start with the good:
I would highly recommend running with friends.  The group energy was awesome.  We held each other's spirits delicately in hand as we began and ended the race pushing through with encouragement and inspiration.  Their is power in a team (especially for a first race) feel it - love it - run with it! Join a group to train with - establish a group that runs the same happy pace. Having my family on the sidelines was amazing.  We ran a 5k loop three times - every time we passed the turn - they were standing on the sideline cheering us on.  Seeing my daughter and husband clapping and screaming to run gave me an extra oomph in my step.  It is with great hope that my running will inspire Mya to live big and dream hard.  That nothing comes without dedication and hard work.  That life is about discipline and then great reward.
I suggest picking a first race that is small. There were probably a couple hundred runners/walkers in our race, compared to the thousands that run Disney. The check-in was easy and quick and no stress. There were no crowds or fighting for a spot before or during the run. And the awards ceremony was nice and intimate. We all dressed like runners! Zak and I donned *oursoleintent* shirts with black mini skirt skorts feeling like hot mother runners. Feeling good makes for a good mental attitude and helps you feel like you are a runner - its a mental thing. Mya gave me a tatoo on my arm which felt like a symbol of guts to run like a mother. Ask your children and/or husband to give you something to run with - obviously something light to wear (silly bands), a small note to stick in your pocket with words of inspiration, a tatoo (great idea Mya)....

The bad:
Do not try any new paraphernalia before a race.  I bought a new expensive blue tooth headphone - but then got worried about the impending rain and ended up switching it out for Matt’s - which kept sliding out my ears because I usually wear the over-the-head earphones instead of the ones that stick (or not, in my case) in my ears....this was an aggravation the entire race.
Stopping for water was good but my legs cramped when I began to run again during the last 5k time speed walking may help, I don’t know.
It was difficult not to get stressed about the weather - awful dark grey clouds surrounded us 15 minutes before the race - and I got in a funk thinking we were all going to get wet and possibly struck by lightning. I guess this is one of the many elements that you have no control of - this is where mental training is important. Knowing that things will not always be perfect - the weather, bugs, route - to be able to adapt to surroundings and situations and learn the fine art of “going with the flow”. One of the many lessons of running - to BE in the moment - take it with grace and run with each step as the focus - that is all we know for sure - that our legs will keep moving - regardless of what is thrown at us along the way.

The ugly:
All the runners in our team complained of an stomach upset, or butterflies buzzing away in our guts the day of the race. Suggestion: eat bland healthy foods with slow burning carbs (pasta, potatoes....)
The night before the race, fears and the subconscious invaded my mind and I slept horribly. Oh well, this is a given for most races....but do not worry about it, adrenalin kicks in and I did not feel tired at all.
We ran at night, next time I will train the time we run our race - my body felt achy for the first mile or so because it felt different running at that time?
The cost of the race? I am not sure how they figure out the price of races, but I am guessing just like any business, it is supply and demand. Weigh out the overall benefits of small verse large races. Ask a lot of questions....first aid station? Drinks that will be provided? Is it gatorade, powerade or another non-generic version? How often are drink stations? What is the cut off time to finish?...

And now time for an afternoon nap. After only a couple hours of sleep last night, the runners high and great friends & family...I am going to dream another dream of the next great race.

Happy Trails,

bodyNikki Blantonraces