Nor are athletics. Nor any other form of physical activity… including, but not limited to: general motor skills, walking without falling, walking without running into things, driving, throwing things accurately, jumping, fitness, hand-eye coordination and especially team sports.
This, among many other factors, is what led many spectators and everyone close to me to believe I was a crazy person when I signed up for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. They were correct, I am actually crazy, but I did it and I finished. So WHAT UP.
The sneaky, brilliant people at Nike did a little market research on female psychology. They thought, WHAT on earth would get nearly 30,000 women to RUN just over 13 miles? Well, girls really like Tiffany’s. Get a bunch of Tiffany necklaces, dress up some good looking firemen in tuxedos, put them at the end of the course with some silver platters topped with dozens of little blue Tiffany boxes and then SET THE FEMALES LOOSE. GO GET ‘EM GIRLS.
Then everyone runs 13 miles. It’s that simple.
I learned a few things during the training and completion of my first half marathon. Here they are.
1. Anyone who runs more than 13.1 miles is a clinical psychopath and/or cyborg. Honestly, who are you. You are not real to me.
2. Orange slices are delicious gifts from the heavens and incomparable to all earthly foods. They will rejuvenate the soul. How did I go 24 years without knowing the power of these precious delicacies?! I ate three of them and made the sign of the cross.
3. Running in cold air = less chance of looking like a drowning, purple-faced, naked mole rat.
4. Running a mile in under 15 minutes isn’t impressive to anyone, and some people actually run 6 minute miles. This is a thing. Those people will also be LESS exhausted than you. Because their lungs are capable of far greater things than yours.
5. The same people who make those funky protein bars at the grocery store make something called “Shot Blocks,” which I think is made from a combination of melted fruit snacks and cocaine.
6. If you start in the last time corral, it will take you an hour to cross the Start Line. This means, when you are chugging through mile 2, someone will be winning the race. Because apparently this isn’t for fun, it’s a competition.
7. Everything I like/want to buy sells out. Very quickly. I learned this the hard way. Apparently I have the same taste as every other person who is a size extra small.
8. Tiffany necklaces look better when you earn them.
9) Nike is the coolest brand ever.
Here are some of my tips now that I am a super professional runner/athlete; i.e., Stuff I Like:
*Because I discovered during this journey to 13.1 that I am in fact an athletic expert, I promise to continue to deliver my exceptional expertise in all things fitness.
My Race Day Outfit
I love my race day outfit for a lot of reasons.
1. It received a lot of compliments.
2. It received a lot of Instagram likes.
3. My BFF, Laura, made the prettiest headband ever.
4. It was comfortable, chafe-free and perfect for all 13.1 miles.
So like, I broke one of my toes trying to be a super cool surfer like my friends when I was working at our surf contest in San Clemente. It obviously didn’t work out (refer back to the first paragraph). Breaking a toe is super not chill if you’re training for a half marathon because even though they say half marathons are 90% mental I’m pretty sure they’re actually 90% feet.
Things I Ate
I really love eating and turns out, half marathon training is concurrent with half marathon Eeating. YES. But apparently you’re supposed to eat specific foods or something. I essentially neglected all of that, but I did add a few things in.
Pre-Race: During training, I realized that people who are getting swole must have access to hoards of cash because the process is very expensive.
My boyfriend took me to the Getting Swole Store to get this powder stuff for my water that apparently would make my muscles not hurt so much. It costs forty dollars and is literally on bodybuilding.com if that gives you any insight.
I don’t like Gatorade… and this stuff tastes like pineapple Gatorade. But all the normal, power-drink-drinkin’ people in my life enjoyed it. At first I could barely swallow it, but post-race I ended up downing it as if it were the last drink on earth. Almost as if my muscles were telling my taste buds ‘Shut up and take it!,’ and ‘MOAAAARRRRR.’
During the Race: Nike provided several nourishment items along the way. As mentioned, nectar-0f-the-gods orange slices. There was a chocolate station somewhere around mile 12 and I’m pretty sure I blacked out because of it.
Post-Race: When I ate my breakfast, instead of being broken down into chyme and then fortifying my body with nutrients, the banana and chia squeeze hit the high road and underwent some kind of apparition process — they ended up in my finisher’s snack bag. Thanks Whole Foods!
Then we hit up the Tipsy Pig and this happened:
See? You get to eat whatever you want when you run. It’s the greatest thing ever.
Other Tips and Important Notes
De-stressing: This was of particular importance to me, as I had what most psychiatrists would diagnose as ‘an almost-panic attack.’ Usually, when I’m calm/sane, I can fall asleep – anywhere, anytime. There could be jackhammering outside my bedroom window during a category 5 earthquake with the sun blazing into my face… and I would be relatively comatose.
This was unfortunately not the case leading up to my first half marathon. I was so keyed up, I couldn’t even nap.
And since I knew I needed sleep, I knew I needed a sleep aid. Because Ketamine was not on hand at the local Safeway, I opted for a combination of over-the-counter coma-inducers.
I was less stressed about the actual race… I figured my body would just do as it wanted and i somehow would appear at the finish line. What I was stressing about was this:
What if I lose cell service? Will we find parking? Am I going to be late? What happens when I’m late? Do I miss the start? Will I find my friends? What if I lose my friends and I can’t find my mom at the finish line? How will I get home? Did I eat the right things? Where is my corral?
There are so. many. women. EVERYONE LOOKS THE SAME!
What also helped me de-stress was a good list of bitchin’ tunes…
Music: Although I considered just having Shake it Off on repeat (nothing new on race day, you know), I decided to mix it up and created a fun little playlist on Spotify. Katy Perry’s eye of the tiger song gets you freaking AMPED. Also threw in some mellow Tycho and Odesza tunes to keep me feeling mellow.
The first few miles were about getting in a good rhythm, but by the time we were at mile three, I was FLYING.
*begin internal dialogue*
Start line: omg it’s cold AF. good thing I brought a sweatshirt
Mile 1: GET THIS THING OFF OF ME I AM A THOUSAND DEGREES RIGHT NOW
Mile 3: this is the best day of my life. i’ve never felt better. why have i always doubted myself? why have i never run before? this is amazing. i must’ve trained really well. i probably look so awesome and athletic and skinny. wow. i’ve never felt more beautiful.
Mile 4: this still feels awesome. i bet i could do a whole marathon. i wonder what my time is. how am i only running a 12-minute mile?! wtf?! this thing is lying. this is bullcrap.
Mile 5: EVERYTHING IS AWESOMEEEE. Wait. those kids have orange slices. Lemme get dat. Omg. wait. THESE ARE AMAZING!!! These kids are so awesome! I love them!
Mile 6-8: Similar sentiments. Feeling great. Golden Gate Park is BEAUTIFUL!
Mile 7.5: MOM! MOM I SEE YOU! YES! I’M SO HAPPY!
Mile 8: Maybe we should walk mile 8. Yeah? then we’ll feel great.
Mile 9: Maybe we should also walk mile 9. Just the hill part. How long is this hill?
Mile 10: WHY DID WE SIGN UP FOR THIS?! WHAT IS THIS HILL?! WHEN DOES IT END? Okay we’re almost at the top. i can’t see because of the fog. omg still not at the top. when does it end. I CAN’T DO THIS.
Top of Mile 10 hill: That hill was my bitch. Ain’t no thang.
Mile 11: I think the rest of this is down hill. I’m pretty sure. there better not be any tricks. my feet and willpower are not prepared for any of that.
Mile 12: CHOCOLATE R U SRS. YES. *suddenly rejuvenated*…. I can’t believe I haven’t stopped to pee. I. AM. A CHAMPION.
Mile 12.4: It will probably be too embarrassing to walk to the finish line (deja vu)… better start jogging again.
Mile 12.5: … is that the finish line?!
The finish line: