Wednesday, October 3, 2018

First Ever Half Marathon: Gear

Every year, Team World Vision comes to our Church to talk about running and raising money for families and children in need of clean water in Africa. The video they play, gets me every time. I would have signed up years ago if it wasn't for a few different things that I just couldn't get past. 

One of them, was fear. 
"You hate running" 
"You have bad knees from years of cheerleading & gymnastics" 
"You haven't gone to the gym since college" 
"You have zero time" 
"You are already overcommitted" 

The first step, is raising your hand, getting more information, and honestly, signing up. 

When I watched that movie, I honestly couldn't believe the people that were now labeled "runners". They were all different shapes, sizes, and ages. If someone twice my age could do it, why couldn't I? 

The next step, is telling people. I remember coming home from church and walking outside to see one of the runners in my neighborhood. I walked right in front of her, making her slow down and stop her watch (which I now realize would have been SUPER annoying) and I said it out loud. " I signed up for a half marathon!!" 

She was thrilled for me. She said she would send me an invite to the neighborhood running club group and announced to the group that day, that I had excitedly signed up to run. There. I told someone. Then I told lots of someones. As many people as I could, because then it meant I was truly committed. 

Fast forward to my first days and weeks of training. 

Here is the gear that I love and have found most helpful for running my first ever half marathon. 

1) Shoes, good shoes. First I went to the local running store, Striders and was fit for Nike Pegasus. They fit and felt great. After hitting the road 5-6 times a week, my shins were in so much pain! I went back to the store and tried on lots more shoes and got more opinions. I left with Skechers GOrun Ride 7 running shoes. I honestly feel like these shoes propel me forward. They have a great cushion and an angle that keeps me leaning forward.

2) Flip Belt. I knew that I wanted my phone with me while running. I wanted to listen to music and use GPS. An avid runner & friend of mine told me about flip belt. I was sold. This belt is awesome! I would recommend trying on sizes in the store rather than just buying off amazon. I would have probably bought a small online but then I went in the store and realized the XS was nice and snug and I could barely feel I was wearing it. I also snagged the 6 oz water bottle that I store in the pouch on the flat of my back. They have two different size water bottles meant for & made for flip belt.

3) wireless headphones by Aftershokz. These are the most amazing headphones. They rest in front of your ears and use bone conduction to deliver sound. Meaning you don't have something plugged in to your ears. You can hear the music but also hear whats going on around you while running like passing cars. 

4) Music- the app called Rock my Run is amazing!! you don't need to pay for a membership but at just 25$ a year, it was well worth it to skip some commercials and have ability to play music to your steps/stride or to your heartrate. I absolutely love this app. It's all remixed songs and just about every playlist you can imagine. 

5) running app. I used Map my Run by under armour. It worked well with my apple watch and tracks lots of activities, maps out your run, and gives you updates for each mile including pace and split pace. 

6) a great headband - my head hates glasses, sunglasses, hats and headbands. almost immediate headaches for me. so I went with these nike tie headbands. These stay in place and are the most comfortable. Especially for someone who hates wearing headbands mainly because of discomfort. 

7) socks - these asics socks have great cushion and a higher heel tab. These you can definitely snag off amazon! 

8) compression socks - after my shins initially gave me some trouble, I found that these compression socks were very helpful. I ordered these off amazon after reading on a blog how much better they were than medical tape. For this price, it was well worth it even if I wasn't sure it would do the trick! I have worn on the left leg the entire training process.  

9) gummies - I haven't used many gummies during my running journey, but I did love the ease of these gatorade blocks. many people complain they are hard to open and eat but I just opened prior to the run and didn't ever have an issue. they fit perfect in my flip belt and taste great. I bought bulk off amazon. 
Less than 3 weeks and my first half marathon will be under my belt. Not only that, but I have raised over 3500$ for water for Africa. The cause itself is inspiring and has helped me change habits around our home regarding water. This will be my first ever race! I have never even run a 5K before but this training schedule kept me on track and helped me find a groove.

What's stopping you from doing something like this? I can tell you myself and people around me had their doubts but I hope to be testifying to people next year when time comes to sign up. To tell them, Yes, you can do this! No ones said it would be easy, but I can tell you that I have enjoyed it just as much as avid runners said I would. It's challenging and then some. I can't believe when I am talking to people now, I start talking about other races & different cities but the cause won't change.

Hope this helps someone out when considering your first ever half marathon. Shoot me a message if you have any questions!

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