It’s the Final Countdown!

Yeah, I went there.  Enjoy.

Anywhoo… holy crap.  I will be running my first half marathon in two days.  Wow.  It feels totally surreal.  I laid out my A-B-C goals in my last post, so today I thought I’d share a little bit about my overall plan for Sunday.  I’ve made a packing list and checked it twice, so hopefully I won’t forget anything on the day.

Fuel:  I’ve decided to use Gu.  Other than the first flavor I tried (Vanilla), I have experienced no GI side-effects.  This was also the fuel that gave me the most noticeable pick-up/extra energy of the 3 types of fuel I tried. Happily, I finally found Salted Caramel Gu at my local Fleet Feet, so I’m ready to go!  I plan to eat them at miles 4 and 8, and mile 12 if I need a little help at the end.  I will also have Nuun in both the bottles of my hydration belt, so I can get my electrolytes on the go, and still get plain water at the water stations.


  • iFitness 16 oz hydration belt
  • Watch
  • Headphones
  • iPhone (for GPS and music)
  • Running Kit (stays with my checked gear or in the car)


  • Nike Rival 4″ shorts
  • Nike Dri-Fit tank
  • Smart Wool Socks
  • Panache sports bra
  • Brooks Nightlife Running Hat
  • Saucony Mirages
  • Sunglasses

The Plan

Body Glide:  Everywhere.  Feet.  Thighs.  Bra strap and band.  Under arms.  Waist (where shorts sit).  Hips (where built-in briefs sometimes dig in).  The last thing I want is to feel like hell just because of chafing issues.  Body Glide is my friend and I will use it liberally.

Start Slow and Remember Pacing:  My biggest fear is going out too fast and running out of gas before the end–this is a huge problem for me.  Most of my runs (long or short) have positive splits.  I wish I had a Garmin, because I would like to maintain a really steady 11 min/mile pace for the first 3-4 miles, just to really find my groove, before picking it up to 10-10:30 for the bulk of the race.  I REALLY would like to run the whole thing without walk breaks, but I may need to walk while drinking or fueling, so we’ll see.

Maintain a Positive Attitude:  As I said in my Tigger post the other day, I know that if I stay positive and have a can-do attitude going into a run or race, I usually perform much better.  I just need to make sure I don’t psych myself out.

Enjoy the Ride:  This is just the first of what I hope will be many half marathons that I will run over the course of my lifetime, so there’s no need to worry too much about the numbers.  No matter what, it’s a PR, which is awesome.  And I can always improve.

In other news, the race director emailed all runners this morning stating that there was a last-minute change to the route, which eliminates  “the toughest hills on the course” and went on to apologize because he knew we were all “really looking forward to them.”  I can’t tell if he was joking or not.  I, for one, am THRILLED to have less hills to contend with, especially considering that they never posted an elevation profile, so I didn’t know there WERE big hills.  Oy.

Does anyone have any last minute advice for my first half marathon?

Wish me luck!

29 thoughts on “It’s the Final Countdown!

  1. charissarunning says:

    Good luck! I think you have a great strategy. Just enjoy it and one last piece of advice – go to sleep early the night before!! Even if you can’t fall asleep right away (my mind is always firing off the night before a race), it will still help to be in bed resting 🙂

    • DarlinRae says:

      Very good advice! I’m gonna try to get to bed early tonight too, so that if I’m too nervous to sleep tomorrow night, at least I’ll be somewhat rested from tonight 🙂

  2. prairieprincessrunners says:

    Just relax and take it one step at a time. Embrace the sites and sounds around you, the others running, the cheering and the amazing way it will feel when you cross that finish line–there is nothing quite like your first half marathon! 😉 Good luck!


  3. Rachel says:

    I’m so excited for you to have this experience!!! One thing I had wanted to say on your last post that I will just bring up here instead: I know your A goal is to finish under 2:30 and your B goal is to run the whole race. Am I correct in assuming you called them A and B because you think A is more ambitious/harder to achieve? I just wanted to say it is VERY LIKELY that you will run faster if you take walk breaks. From what I have read as well as in my experience, the body fatigues more quickly if running the whole time. Granted, this may be different for everyone, but I just don’t want you to beat yourself up over wanting to walk, or even if you finish in a spectacular sub-2:30 time but walk some of it. At my last half in May, I felt like utter shit and was in a lot of pain, walked through every water station and even more than that during the second half of the race, and still finished in 2:17, which was a 10:21 pace. I don’t know how your running is on a day-to-day basis, but if you’re planning to start at 11s and work your way down to 10-10:30, depending how easy that pace is for you, I think you will be absolutely fine and even may benefit from walking through water stations.

    From Hal Higdon’s novice marathon training program: “I once ran a 2:29 marathon, walking through every aid station. My son Kevin ran 2:18 and qualified for the Olympic Trials employing a similar strategy. And Bill Rodgers took four brief breaks (tying a shoe on one of them) while running 2:09 and winning the 1975 Boston Marathon. Walking gives your body a chance to rest, and you’ll be able to continue running more comfortably. It’s best to walk when you want to, not when your (fatigued) body forces you too.”

    So overall, I think running the whole race is an excellent goal, but your time won’t necessarily benefit from it, and as a beginner, you might be better off walking a bit. 🙂

    • DarlinRae says:

      That’s pretty good advice! I haven’t trained at all to do walking intervals, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to at least walk some of the water stations. I’ll probably just play it by ear.

      I know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking walk breaks and that many runners very successfully employ walk/run intervals, I’m just not sure how to implement it at this late stage. I may have to experiment with it for my next round of training 🙂

  4. SuzLyfe says:

    So, so excited for you. and you’ve got #flatsfriday today (they looked so cute and comfy!) to help you prep. Just have an amazing time–That last one is critical. Maybe it will be the race of your dreams, maybe not. But there is only one first half, and that feeling when you cross that finish, it will be just momentous in every way. And tweet/email me IMMEDIATELY when you finish!

  5. irishrunnerchick says:

    Best of luck! It looks like you have your plan nailed down so just stick with that, but I think you’ll surprise yourself with your pace once the race-day adrenaline kicks in. Does your race have any pacers? They are usually good to start with as they can help keep your pace steady at the start.

  6. runsaltrun says:

    My advice? Enjoy every minute on it!! It’s only your first one time and it will probably end up being one of the dearest to your heart races that you will ever do. GOOD LUCK although I don’t think you really need it. You’re going to do great. Also thank you so much for posting this song because I love it and now I’m going to have to listen to it 5 times.

    Can’t wait for your recap!!

  7. txa1265 says:

    I’m so excited for you! I have three pieces of advice:
    – RELAX and have a blast!
    – Hydrate and fuel up
    – Chat with people lining up before the race and see who else is trying to run around your pace and has a Garmin … keep an eye on them, and at mile 1 (when you hear the chorus of beeps) ask about the pace. That will help guide you.

    Oh and one request
    – Please do a recap afterwards so we get to enjoy hearing all about it! 🙂

  8. dgobs says:

    Yay about the toughest hills being eliminated!! Haha, I would have danced with joy if I had received that email before a big race 🙂
    When I want to make sure I take it slow early in a race (early… ha… all my races have been wicked short) I line up towards the back and try to focus on taking it easy. If I’m running with someone, I try to make sure I can chat without getting winded. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement at the starting gun, but forcing myself to go slow at the start has helped many times! Does the GPS on your phone give you current pace or just averages? I usually glance down at my app a few times to see how fast I’m going, and then I try to pick someone out of the crowd around me who’s going about the pace I want and try to keep them in my sights.
    Good luck, have a blast, and I’m sure you’ll do great! 😀 I can’t wait to read the recap!

    • DarlinRae says:

      I do have a GPS app on my phone, but the current pace doesn’t update all that often, and I don’t want to mess up my rhythm by speeding up and slowing down a bunch. I will definitely take the tip about lining up in the back, though–good call!

  9. piratebobcat says:

    Do do do do, do do do do do (final countdown music). Good luck! Looks like you’re ready! My advice – do not have a time goal. You don’t know what running 13.1 is like yet. #2 – Do NOT go out too fast. Everyone will be, but keep it in check. #3 – Enjoy yourself. Enjoy it all day!

  10. knockinheels says:

    Here’s a not so serious note:) keep your eyes peeled for the race photographer(s) & smile big when you see one. Good race pics to view afterwards are a huge bonus especially if it ends up being a grueling run. And of course have fun and good luck!

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