I've just returned from running my first 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) with my wife. My overall time was 2:11:22 and it was a great experiance. A few notes I'd like to share;
Stretching: we waited in the starting corrals for about 30 to 45 minutes before it was our time to start. I always stretch before a run and this was no differant but with very little space and no place to actually sit down on the ground for the standard hurdler's stretch I had to get creative. By the time of the start I was still warmed up and as able to start out at a good pace. LEASON LEARNED: Keep stretching
Keeping Warm: the start was at 5:30 in the morning and it was chilly out, I didn't want to wear alot of extra clothing to keep warm but while waiting for the start I got a bit chilly and my wife got downright cold. We noticed other runner were wearing non-athletic looking sweatshirts and hoodies so we asked them if they planned to run with the heavy clothing and turns out that those we talked to had gone to a thrift store and bought a cheap sweatshirt which they then took off and flung to the side of the corral at the start. these discarded hoodies were collected by the race staff and donated to goodwill. LESSON LEARNED: buy a cheap sweatshirt and 'donate' it
Crowd Control: So this event had over 11,000 participants, and I get the feeling that like me this was the majority's first half marathon. that being said I think alot of the other runners entered with the wrong time/pace information and there were large groups either slowly jogging or speed walking from the starts in front of mine. Within the first mile or so I became very frustrated at having to deal with this much slower groups and individuals blocking my progress. A negitive result of my frustration is that I would take every opportunity to sprint ahead and run around these moving roadblocks; NOT A GOOD IDEA! this fast-slow-fast-slow pace burned through my energy and endurence rapidly so that by the time I finally settled into the pace I wanted I was far more fatigued then I had expected or experianced on my training runs. I also added about 0.4 miles to my total run (calculated by GPS) dodging and running around these groups. LESSON LEARNED: keep calm and carry on, also I should have calculated your adverage pace and started in the right corral for my speed.
Recovery: So that evening after the race the wife and I flew home on a red-eye flight. I'm not a fan of jumping on the latest fads and trends, but this time I did, and purchased a set of compression sleves for my calfs. These sleeves keep pressure on worn out muscles and aid in the recovery. added benefit is that on a long plane flight, they help prevent swelling that can occur in the lower legs at high altitudes. Long story short when we got off the plane my legs and my wifes legs felt like new.
LESSON LEARNED: compression sleeves actually work.
so thats all I can really think of right now off the top of my head, if anything else comes to me I'll write it down, and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask. Yours Aye! -Skip