Race Travel: How You AND Your Family Can Stay Sane

Hey friends!  Happy Tuesday and last day in February! To end our partnership theme month, today I want to talk about how to travel to a race with your family. Sounds simple at first right? You’re probably thinking, how can this be any different than a vacation? Well it is VERY different. Here are some tips to help you make the best out of race travel so that everyone leaves happy!

Pre-Race

Tip #1: Set expectations

Well before your big race, it is important to set expectations for the trip.  Is this a race you want to take seriously?  Is this just a bucket list race? Your fellow travelers need to know these things.  If you are taking the race seriously, your family needs to understand that the night before the race you need to be in bed early, time will need to be spent at the expo to pick up your race bib, you may need to eat a very specific diet leading up to the race, etc.  Your family is probably thinking this is no different than a vacation. Also explain what you need from them.  Do you want them to spectate the race? Do you need them to drive you to the start line? Do they need to have a large fountain soda waiting for you when you cross the finish line?  Ok, that last one is really one of mine 🙂 Luckily my boyfriend is gracious enough to make sure I have one after every race.  Thanks honey! He also knew it was important to me to take a picture of the Boston Marathon finish line prior to race day.  How amazing is this picture he took?!

FinishLine

Tip #2: Create a spectator map

If your family is spectating your race, it is critical that you create a spectator map so they will know exactly where to be, at what time, and when to expect to see you.  Your family likely has no clue what the course is or the race start. Make it easy on them by writing down all the details.  This past October my boyfriend and some friends were spectating the Marine Corps Marathon to see myself and another friend.  I made a cheat sheet of what time to be at the train stop to get to D.C., what metro line to hop on once in D.C. and the times, where to catch breakfast before the race, and what intersections to be at and what time.  I have to toot my own horn.  It took a LOT of work so I suggest doing this at least one week in advance. I also suggest checking the race website for spectator tips.

Post Race

Tip #3: Have a meeting point after you cross the finish line

If you are running a huge race with thousands of people, you need a meeting area. If you only listen to one of my tips, it needs to be this one.  The last thing you want to do after a race is walk (er, limp) around trying to find your family. Some races have a family meeting area.  Frankly I do not find this to be useful because usually they are too far from the finish and that is where everyone else is meeting.  I suggest picking a landmark near the finish such as a store or restaurant. I always have my phone on me as well, that way my boyfriend and I can touch base and find each other.

Tip #4: Celebrate WITH your family, not just your achievement

You may have endured some grueling miles, but your family has endured waking up super early on a Saturday, shuttling you around, transporting themselves through the race course, and being extra nice to you even though you were stressed and moody before the race. Be sure to thank them and treat them to dinner or an event. You want them to keep supporting you, don’t you? 😛

That’s it for now!  Share any tips or stories you have in the comments below.  Happy running!

 

How to Deal with Conflict in a Running Partnership

Hey gang!  I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day! I had to giggle when I realized this was the topic I planned for today.  Maybe some of you are dealing with conflict depending on how your Valentine’s Day went. LOL! But just like in romantic relationships, conflict exists with running partnerships as well.

About a year ago in a life coach class I was taking, each student had to present a conflict we had to the class. Turned out, one of my fellow classmates was a runner and the conflict she brought up to the class was one with a fellow runner in her club. We’ll call the fellow runner “Sally.” Apparently, during all the group runs, “Sally” would gloat about her children.  If one runner was talking about how their child made the volleyball team, “Sally” would 1 up them and say, “well my child is going to make the teen olympics for volleyball!” [Insert groan and eye roll here.] So my classmate asked the group for advice.  I jokingly mention that she should run faster to get away 🙂

So what should you do if a conflict boils to the surface?

First, assess the situation. It’s critical to have the facts instead of acting on raw emotion.  How long has the conflict been happening? Is it affecting my well-being? If it has only happened once or twice, catalog it in your mind. Maybe something else is going on in their world right now to cause this behavior, so be understanding. Is their behavior putting you in danger in any way? Probably a good time to speak up if your running partner insists on meeting for 5 AM runs in a sketchy back alley. You may have to call upon this guy….

Second, find an appropriate time to discuss the conflict. Word to the wise, do NOT bring up the conflict at the very beginning of a run.  It could make for an awkward run if you bring it up at mile 1 and you’re on a 10 mile training run. You might want to bring it up at the very end of a run or a non-running time. Be prepared if the person’s feelings are hurt and they need a break from your runs.

Third, it might be time to break up. Breaking up is hard to do, but if a resolution cannot be reached it may be time to end the partnership. That’s okay!  Be thankful for the time you all had together, accept it and move on. She wants to run at night, but you want to run at the crack of dawn. He runs slow but you run fast.  Not everything can be resolved. If the running partnership ends on a good note, you can still check in and see how their running is going, wish them luck on races, etc. Life goes on.

If you want to talk about your conflict without broadcasting it in the comments below, feel free to email me.

Any other tips for handling conflict? Have you resolved a conflict between you and your running partner?  Do tell 🙂

How to Find a Running Partner

Happy Wednesday gang! I am hoping for a snow day tomorrow for us Baltimoreans.  We all could use a fun day off to frolic in the snow! Weird thing is, it got up to 70 degrees today. Say whhhhaaaa?! I ran this morning in a tank top and shorts!

Can you spot my little troublemaker in the photo above? 🙂

But tomorrow with snow in the forecast, I’ll be back in my winter jacket and fleece tights!  Crazy!

In the spirit of February and all things relationships, I want to talk to you today about how to find a running partner.  Last week I talked about why you should have a running partner, which got you psyched, right? That’s all great, but finding a good running partner can be challenging.

You can find a running partner by:

#1- Joining a Running Club

Your local running store will likely have weekly training runs/meet-ups.  This is a perfect way to make friends and train with someone around your fitness level. I guarantee there is going to be at least one person running your pace, so do not be afraid of being left behind.

#2- Meetup.com

Meetup.com is an online website where you can join or create a group that has similar interests. You can easily search for many small, informal groups to run with. Remember there’s safety in numbers!

#3- The gym

This was kind of a ballsy move for me, but I randomly approached a stranger at the gym…who is now my running partner.  If you go to the gym often enough, you’ll quickly figure out the runners.  They are pretty much the ones killing it on the cardio equipment but barely lifting weights haha

#4- At a race

I actually became friends with someone I sat next to on the bus to the start line of a race.  We struck up conversation and became instant friends!  We do not train together, but it’s fun to check-in with each other through Facebook to see if we are running the same races. Last year we ran the same half marathon and ended up running next to each other for most of the miles.  We both pushed each other harder and it definitely paid off with fast times.  It was like having a cheerleader/coach right next to you!

Well that’s all for now folks!  Tomorrow I might be back with a picture of myself in winter running gear 😉

 

 

MCM Runners Club + Benefits of a Running Partner

Happy Friday Eve everyone! It’s February and I can’t believe us Marylanders have made it this far without one snow storm! I hope mother nature is just saving it all up for one massive blizzard 😛

This month, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I want to talk about a special relationship that no one talks about, a running partner! I have had a running partner for about 9 years and he has been critical to my training.  So each week in February, I will be writing a special post about running partnerships.

For this week’s post, let’s start out with the basics, the benefits of a running partner.  There are a TON of benefits I could put down but then this would become a novel and not a blog post 🙂 So here we go!

Reason #1: Accountability

I run outside year round.  From every weather condition from 85 degrees to 9 degrees, sunny to rain and wind, you’ll see me out there.  How do I do this consistently? Easy, my obligation to my running partner.  If someone is waiting outside for you in the freezing cold at zero dark-thirty, you are not hitting the snooze button. Period.

Reason #2: Support

It’s nice to have a cheerleader AND be a cheerleader for someone else.  When I’m going on my first 20 mile training run of the season, I know I can count on my running partner to say “you got this!” and make sure I am hydrated and fueled. Let’s face it, not everyone is going to be excited about your running (haters gonna hate) but you know your running partner is going to be there every step of the way (pun intended).

Reason #3: Fun!

Through the miles, you will see and do lots of funny things. My running partner and I constantly bring up the time we were at a race and the volunteers (cough paroles cough) were, well, I guess out doing community service?? There was a street that runners had to cross to get to the starting line and a volunteer was placed there to help assist with traffic.  There were these two tiny cones that apparently you had to cross between.  But with the large crowd, you couldn’t see them.  The volunteer would yell aggressively “I SAID CROSS BETWEEN THE CONES!!!” At some point we were almost certain he was going to take out his glock and start shooting in the air LOL!

Reason #4: Safety

This is probably one of the best reasons to have a running partner. As a young female, it can be nerve wrecking to be running in the dark and hear a wrestling in the bush or see a silhouette walking down the street.  It’s especially scary after this past summer when 3 women were brutally murdered while running. My running partner always walks me to my house after our run and checks on me during a run. I’m definitely thankful for my running partner!

Ok that wraps up the first post for our running partner series, but in other news…

I was accepted into the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) Runners Club!!!

I am BEYOND excited about it.  By completing 5 Marine Corps Marathons, I am now guaranteed annual access to early registration for the Marine Corps Marathon.  No more worrying about the lottery process!  I am still undecided about running this year’s race because I am holding out hope that I actually made it into the New York City Marathon.  Fingers crossed!

So do you have a running partner?  If so, what other benefits can you think of?