January 2007 – our first big running event – PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon in Phoenix. We probably did just about everything wrong when it came to this event … and, sadly repeated those mistakes for several races to come.
First, what we did well … we signed up for the race several months ahead of time – enough time to train. We also signed up with a friend which gave us some motivation to actually do the race.
Our mistakes … although we had the time to train, we didn’t. We were playing a little co-rec adult soccer at the time which gave us some running but that was about it. The week before the race we went on a Caribbean cruise for my mother’s birthday. We did get on the treadmill one of the first days – the rest were spent scuba diving and eating. A positive out of this was our legs were pretty well rested come race day. The mistake was that they had never run more than a few miles at a time … 6 or 7 max. In addition, our nutrition – especially the week leading up to the race – was, umm … lacking. Not only did we eat whatever we wanted on the cruise, when we arrived home Saturday evening, we ordered a delicious Rosati’s deep dish pizza … a great pre-race meal! Since we didn’t get home until the night before the race, we were unable to attend the expo – so, we didn’t have our race numbers or timing chips. The morning of the race we met up with our friend, checked-in and tried to figure out where to go and what to do.
Surprisingly, the race itself went okay. The 3 of us stuck together, ran the whole thing, used the nutrition on the course and finished in 2:10. Although the race went better than it should have, we were pretty useless the rest of that day and miserable the next.
Knowing we were able to run a 1/2 marathon, we signed up for the Disneyland 1/2 with some friends that following Labor Day. We figured we now had some experience and could do it right this time … wrong! We didn’t realize how tough it was to train for an endurance event in Arizona during the summer … again, we did very little training. We had also learned nothing about nutrition. Unfortunately, this time we weren’t as lucky with the race. Race day was so hot and humid – the race was ‘red flagged’ before it began and given the ‘black flag’ before we finished … which meant they turned off all the mile marker clocks to turn it into a fun run rather than a competition. With the conditions I totally overheated and when we started taking little walking breaks we both suffered muscle cramping. This time we finished closer to 2:30. After the race we met up with our friends and went to eat … this was not a very pleasant experience … I had a lot to learn about race nutrition! We then had to make the 6 hour drive home … again, a miserable post-race experience!
We did Disneyland again the following year – it’s a great event & good excuse to go to the parks. Our pre-race story didn’t change, but the results did – only because the weather was great … we were back down to our 2:10.
Our next big event was January 2009 – this time we decided to take on the PF Chang’s full marathon … thinking we may take training more seriously if it’s a bigger distance … wrong again … while we did do more running than we had for the previous races … we hadn’t learned our lesson about training or nutrition. Kris did better than I did but we both finished the race saying it was the stupidest thing we had ever done and I swore I’d never do another … yes, it was that bad!
Luckily, we have learned quite a bit since then and have totally changed our approach to training and nutrition and have now had some amazing experiences. Our goal with this blog is to help you learn from our mistakes so you can have enjoyable experiences with whatever endurance events you choose to train for. In the following days we’ll cover a few of these early mistakes and how to avoid them.