Racing Don’ts (and one Do)

In case you didn’t know, New Hampshire has kind of a big drug problem these days. So when Mama Reven sent me an email about a trail race in my hometown that was raising money to help fight the statewide heroin issue, it seemed like a good idea. After all, I like trail running and helping good causes. Win, win.

I also like learning opportunities…and boy did this race turn out to be a good one of those!

The internet is full of “Running Dos and Don’ts” articles and I’ve been in the game long enough at this point to know the things I should and shouldn’t do when it comes to racing (and running in general). However, I ignored pretty much all of it when I signed up for the Spring Forward Rotary Run 10K last week.

Mama Reven came to watch me run and work on her selfie game (it’s getting much better!)

Here are the very important lessons/common sense things I “learned” (there’s no ground-breaking information here) on Sunday:

  1. DON’T decide to register for a 10K when you haven’t run more than 3 miles at a time in over three months. (Especially if there’s a 5K option! Don’t be a hero dummy!)
  2. DON’T pick a trail 10K when you haven’t even given any thought to your trail running season yet. (Unless you’re just using the race to “get an idea of where you’re at,” which is now what I keep telling myself I was doing.)
  3. DON’T donate blood the same week as race day! (This was equal parts a timing issue and an “I sometimes make bad decisions” issue—I had given blood on Wednesday and Mama Reven told me about the race on Thursday. YES, I know I could have just said no, but that’s clearly something us New Hampshirites have some difficulty with…not to mention I was down a pint of blood and not thinking clearly.)
  4. DON’T eat 4 cinnamon buns for breakfast, even if you’ll have a few hours between eating and running. (I got lucky and had no actual GI distress to deal with, but I could definitely feel the little buggers weighing me down.)
  5. DON’T pull your stuff together the night before and then skip double checking it all on race morning. (I didn’t forget anything super important, but I missed my bright orange running sunglasses and racing watchless felt weird. I’ve read a lot about people who decide to ditch their watches and start running better and I really thought/hoped I’d be one of them. Now, I’m pretty sure I’m not.)
All things considered, I guess I can’t be too upset with that finish time (1:02:26 officially)

Despite making a handful of mistakes with this event, I still had a really great time. That’s my one DO: have fun! I’m not an elite or anywhere close to it, and chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re not coming in first anytime soon, either. I’m all for pushing yourself and doing the best you can, but at a certain point (like when you’ve done all the don’ts listed above, for example) it’s definitely better (smarter!) to ease off a bit and simply enjoy yourself, the trails, and the knowledge that, even though you could have done the same run for free, you’re helping to solve a big problem just by doing something you love.

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