If a crowded room makes you want to head for the hills, than prepare yourself: The race day crowds are crazy. Public transport to race events is often free, which is fantastic although it also means participants cramming into trains and buses. While driving is the usual fanfare of fails. As for parking? Can be impossible….
Quick fix: Leave early. Even earlier than you’re thinking. Sorry.
All that racing got you running for the loo? We understand. But we hope you can hold it, because the queues for the loos will be lengthy. You might even have to practice your best glare, because there will be attempted queue-jumpers and line-skippers.
Pro tip: BYO tissues – toilet paper is not always available.
Yep, we know it’s called a “run”, but there’ll be a tonne of people walking too. Especially in charity events and fun runs. The downside of this is the inevitable weaving in and out of the walkers and walking groups, as well as having to make way for all the costumes.
The upside of this is that it adds an up-beat, party-like atmosphere that balances out the competitiveness!
Think you can get away with silently sticking to your side of the asphalt? Nope. People WILL talk to you. Which is super fun and super annoying at the same time if you’re struggling to breathe and an eager stranger wants to know where you’re from, what races you’ve competed in and what you had for breakfast.
If you’re an introvert, it’s best to grin and bare it. Who knows; you might find that extra bit of motivation you needed. If you’re an extrovert, you’ll love every minute!
Who knew drinking from a paper cup was so difficult?! Trying to run and drink – all while dodging the other competitors’ flying cups – is a catastrophe waiting to happen. You can add that dribble to the water you’ll throw over yourself at the drink station though (and call the whole lot an impromptu shower).
When you’re beginning to doubt yourself, turn to the crowd. Throw your hands up, give them a smile and ask them to cheer you on. Have a high-five ready – don’t leave the kids hanging! – If you can display your name on your race bib, t-shirt or hat. Hearing your name shouted out, gives you that extra boost of motivation you need.
Not literally. Well, it could be. But we hope not. More, there’ll be a point in your run where you feel like you can’t go on/can’t go faster/can’t go further. It happens to everyone. It’s okay; just trust that this is temporary, and you can - and will – get through it.
… In places you didn’t even know you had. Between your legs. Under your arms. Bra straps. Nipples. Yep. All the places. You can protect yourself as much as possible by popping bandaids, blister patches or even petroleum jelly on blister-prone areas. Oh, and don’t, we repeat DON’T, wear new shoes to a race!
This was probably our saddest realisation. Like you, we’d been dreaming of all the things we’d eat once our strict race-day diet was no longer required. But that greasy burger you’ve been fantasising about? Will be a struggle to get down and may not sit right... as for the beer – well, we’ll let you experience it for yourself.
For days, if not up to a week, after your race, you’ll look at stairs and hope there is an alternate route.
Our advice? Consider each ache and pain a mini reminder that YOU DID IT! You completed your first race.
(P.S. Epsom-salt baths and massage really will help.)
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