2fer: Vancouver Marathon Race Report + GU HumpDay Giveaway

Note: This is a crazy-long race report! If you are only interested in entering to win 24 (!!) packets of GU energy gel, scroll to the bottom. Otherwise, buckle your seatbelt and hang on. 

Seven of these carb-rich gels fueled me during Sunday's Vancouver Marathon; 24 of them can be yours in our giveaway.
Seven of these carb-rich gels fueled me during Sunday's Vancouver Marathon; 24 of them, in a variety of flavors, can be yours in our giveaway.

For Marathon Number 10 for me, I wanted something special. The Paris Marathon (ooh-la-la!) seemed too extravagant for our family finances, yet going international felt right. So I recruited my Portland bestie, Molly, to train and run the Vancouver Marathon: It allowed us to get out of the country, yet we could drive and remain in our own time zone. Perfecto! (That’s foreign-speak for, “perfect.”) Yet training got off to a rough start for me: a slight flare-up of plantar fasciitis had me sit out the first few weeks of training, then a sudden knee issue kept me sidelined for 10 days about a month later. I had serious doubts I’d ever be standing on the start line.

In our hands: Molly and I holding the marathon course map at the expo.
In our hands: Molly and I holding the marathon course map at the expo.

Yet that’s exactly where Molly and I were hustling toward on Sunday morning, under a dazzling sun unfiltered by any clouds. The sun had been up since 5 a.m. here in these northern climes, and it felt hot as the 8 a.m. start neared. If we had paid attention to metric conversion in grade school—or could access Google on our U.S. phones—we would have known the exact temperature. In our badass mother runner tanks and shorts (Molly) or capris (me, with the chafe-prone inner thighs), it already felt warm, around 60 degrees. Nearly half of my marathons have been under unrelenting sun, so I knew I had to adjust my pace. (I’d also heard Jeff Galloway tell the ladies at the Disney Princess half: Slow down by 30 seconds a mile for every 5 degrees above 60 degrees Farenheit.)

Truth be told: I was pleased to have an “excuse” to back off my pace. I’d trained to run 9:00-9:10 minute/miles (don’t ask me what that converts to in kilometers) but mentally I wasn’t up for the task—or the hurt. Keeping the hammer down for 26.2 miles takes courage/fortitude/determination/heart/stomach/balls, and a whole bunch of other qualities (or body parts) I hadn’t packed in my rolling dufflebag. On our 3-mile shake-out run along the waterfront on Saturday, my knee, calves, and foot had felt better than they had in months. The taper had worked its magic, and I felt well trained. I just lacked the fire in my belly. Here’s the God’s honest: I’m weary of feeling competitive and keeping an eye on the race clock. I just wanted to run at a challenging pace, learn a few new things about myself, groove to my playlist, and enjoy what promised to be an exquisitely beautiful, albeit too sunny, course.

There, I said it here. And as I fiddled with my iPod and Garmin in the starting corral, Molly intuited my mood. (Sorry: Italics for inside joke. “Intuitive” was my word of the weekend.) Molly wrapped an arm around my shoulders, saying how much she’d enjoyed our training runs and now we just needed to go out and have a fun race. I tried to let her mood rub off on me like her SPF 30 sunscreen had during the embrace, but I felt grumpy as we crossed the starting mat. I tried to swat away my mood with a few high-5s with race officials, but I felt glum for the first few miles.

Goofy gal-pals pre-race. (Gotta love iPhone self-photos, eh?)
Goofy gal-pals pre-race. (Gotta love iPhone self-photos, eh?)

Trying to stay with Molly as we dodged slower racers (we’d started too far back in the corrals) only added to my bum mood. We’d agreed to run separately eventually, but even sticking together for a kilometer or two seemed like work, especially since our badass tanks were the same royal blue as the race tees: Whenever I’d swivel my head to look for Molly, I thought I spied her 10 times before I actually picked her out of the crowd. She also set off at a faster-than-I’d-planned warm-up pace: I was aiming for 9:30-9:40, but she was closer to 9:10. I let her go, and turned inward to my tunes. The buoyant melody of “Telling the World” by Taio Cruz went a long way in putting me in a better mental space: It reminded me I was running in a different country. (World/country: It’s how my mind works when staring down a hefty challenge.)

As I continued paying perhaps more attention to my music than the homes, shopping center, flowers, and foliage we were passing in the early miles, I could feel my negative attitude start to dissipate. Then, while “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors played (thanks to whatever mother runner suggested that song—it ‘s now a new fave for me), I felt a distinct shift in my visual and mental focus. It was as if I had twisted the zoom on a camera lens, and my attention was beamed in front of me. It’s a zen state I have honed on long runs: I still feel and see things, but miles can go by without having to think about much. Hard to explain, but I’m both in the moment and out of it. I could sense that Molly was no longer near me in the crowd; it was time to run my own race. Florence + The Machines echoed this sentiment right about then on my playlist: “And I am done with my graceless heart/So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart.” I shook it out.

As the kilometres clicked by, I rarely looked down at my Garmin Forerunner 210. I pushed myself harder than in a training run, but not to the point I had when I was trying to qualify for Boston. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d put it at a 7. Molly and I had driven a good bit of the course, which gave me a comforting, if vague, sense of where I was. Like I knew to save my strength for the long climb from 9K to 10K. As all hills go, it wasn’t super-slanty, but as a hill on a marathon course, it was steep and long. It was the first of many spots along the lovely course that many racers around me slowed to a walk.

I paid careful attention to fueling—taking in a GU at least every four miles (while the course was marked in Ks, the water stations were every mile, ideal for this American)—and drank more than I normally would. But the heat and sun were taxing, making a slower pace feel as challenging as my usual race pace. Around Mile 10, I toyed with the idea of slowing to long-run pace (so like 10:30-ish), but dismissed that notion. While I wasn’t racing, per se, I still wanted to push myself. Sweeping vistas of the inlet and surrounding snow-capped mountains took my mind off the exertion.

The second "hill" of the course that slowed many runners, the Burrard Street Bridge leading into downtown Van
The second "hill" of the course that slowed many runners, the Burrard Street Bridge leading into downtown Van

As the kilometres racked up, I couldn’t shake a nagging disappointment that I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. This feeling hit a crescendo when Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” started playing: My breath caught in my throat and tears stung my eyes; I immediately thought of mother runner Michelle San Antonio, who had just rocked 3:30 at Boston Marathon. (We shared our love of the song, both embracing it as our new running anthem.) As I continued faring forward, I examined my reaction, realizing how much I admire a runner like Michelle who can hold tight to her goal pace, no matter the pain. I had been that runner (albeit not as fast!), but not anymore.

Still, I found the words, “stay strong” circling my head on an endless loop. The course entered famed Stanley Park, with its paved trail hugging the shore and lush trees rising on the other side right about Mile 20. Despite the shade, the heat was taking its toll—many marathoners had slowed to a walk. My GU-fueled muscles propelled me past other participants: My pace was 10+ minute/mile by this point, but I appeared to be flying. My mantra shifted subconsciously to, “stay Boston strong.” Mental body scans revealed my legs didn’t hurt, but I didn’t feel the will—or the energy—to push any harder. This was as good as it was going get now that the temperature was over 70 degrees Farenheit.

I look happy, don't I? Post-race, pre-ice bath. Note: My hair is shellac'ed with sweat into that Farrah flip.
I look happy, don't I? Post-race, pre-ice bath. Note: My hair is shellac'ed with sweat into that Farrah flip.

I continued passing scores of runners (love my stat-geek hubby, Jack, who later informed me I made up as much as 10 minutes on runners in my age group in the second half of the marathon), and I whooped it up good as I rounded the final corner out of Stanley Park. Yet I felt disappointed when I saw my finish time of 4:22—I’d been aiming for at least 14 minutes faster. (Molly crossed the line in 4:37, almost 30 minutes slower than we'd predicted she'd run.)

But as I’ve let the race conditions sink into my psyche, and I’ve done some calculations, I’ve realized my 10:00 average pace is almost exactly in line with venerable Jeff Galloway’s advice: I slowed my pace by about 30 seconds in the first half, and a good minute in the second half. I’m left feeling my 10 marathons have taught me to be savvy, just not swift.

Time to get to the good stuff: GU. 24 packets x 3, to be exact.
Time to get to the good stuff: GU. 24 packets x 3, to be exact.

Your reward for sticking with this post? Three women will be able to run their next race well fueled courtesy of my gel of choice: GU. (Dimity and I love GU so much, we mention it by name in TLAM a bunch of times!) Three winners, chosen by, will receive 24 packets of GU of various flavors, including succulent Mandarin Orange, sandwich-worthy Peanut Butter, rich Vanilla Bean, and wake-you-up Espresso Love. To enter to win, leave a comment below this post on our website (do not hit reply if you are reading this on a mobile device), telling us: What have you learned about yourself in a recent race or on a run? Could be as simple as you prefer a fruity-flavored GU over a sweeter one, or could be as revealing as you’re completely content to run at one speed, even in a race. No judgments. Just reveal something you’ve learned about yourself on a run or race.

[Some fine print for this fine prize.] This sweepstakes is open to those over 18 and residents of the United States and Canada. It begins on 5/8/13 and ends on 5/14/13; the winners will be announced on 5/18/13. One entry per person. The value of each prize is $34.80. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Void where prohibited by law.



573 responses to “2fer: Vancouver Marathon Race Report + GU HumpDay Giveaway

  1. After not being able to train like I should and a bad start to my first 10k, I learned that having a best friend waiting at the finish line with a great big hug and a good job is all I need to get me to that finish line!

  2. I have been running around my neighborhood, and parks for years. I was always afraid to do more. I finally got the courage to run a 5k and succeeded immensely! I learned to not doubt myself and to push myself. Who cares who is judging you!?

  3. I’ve learned that I’m much tougher mentally than physically. In my first Marathon I got to a point where I really thought I would pass out and had to walk and just felt like I’d given up by slowing down. I passed a little girl with a sign saying “You are my hero” and she gave me the most excited high five ever… next thing I know I was completely re-energized and somehow forced my legs into motion and ran the rest of my race and pace and super proud. Mind over matter!

  4. I’ve learned that although I’m aging quicker than I’m progressing beyond being a newbie, I can still improve upon my time. But as I get faster I need to learn to pace myself better in the early part of long races 🙂

  5. In my first half marathon on Saturday (where I got to meet SBS!!) I learned that I let nerves prevent me from being properly prepared, I was way underfueled and sleep deprived when I got to that starting line. The great news is that #1 is in the books and I’m ready for number two and a more relaxed mental state 🙂

  6. I learned that setting the right pace at the beginning of a race makes all the difference at the end. I went out way too fast at my first marathon and had a pretty rough time the last 10 miles. A few months later I ran a 50k, went out at the right pace and felt great at the finish.

  7. I am about to take on my first half marathon on 5/19 and ran my longest run ever on Mother’s Day. Planned to do 12, probably much closer to 13 because I accidentally paused my running app for a mile or two. But I learned I CAN do it, and I will finish on Sunday.

  8. I ran my last half marathon on my 47th birthday in 40 degree cold rain for over half the race and I have never felt such a sense of accomplishment when I crossed that finish line. I live in North Carolina where I am used to hot humid weather so this was quite a challenge. But I did it and was only 5 minutes off my PR.

  9. I’ve learned lately that even a short run during my lunch break is better than no run. I’m more replaced and when I get home from work I am ready to start parenting. When I don’t get out, I’m kind of a bear!

  10. In a recent 10K I learned that speed work really does work! Seriously. I trotted through many 5Ks and 4 half marathons without any focus in my 20s. Years of infertility treatments then a twin pregnancy sidelined me and depleted my entire bank, and I knew building back up post-partum was going to take some serious work. I followed the TLAM 10K program, and now I’m about to start the TLAM 1/2 plan.

  11. Recently I ran my worst ever half and what I learned is that I can no longer depend on my pre baby fitness. I need to put in some miles.

  12. My most recent race I learned that I CAN actually do it!! I can run a 5k and not feel like I’m dying!

  13. Thanks for your honest race report. It’s not always a glorious experience and months of training sometimes also leads me to feeling disappointed on race day.

    One thing I’ve learned is that I can drive myself too crazy with worry and actually STRESS about races and running. To change this, I’ve started lining up way in the back of the pack where it is less competitive and don’t look at my time until mile 20. I’ve started interacting more with people on the sidelines cheering (on my last marathon saw the same husband and wife team 4 times and we joked about their signs). I enjoy it so much more now. I accept that I run the pace I do and don’t stress out about not being faster.

  14. I learned that I CAN “empty the tank” SBS style– and recover from it. In my last race, my first 25K, I wanted to finish under 2:50 (sub 11 min/mi). Had a long week with very little and poor quality sleep (my sister had a baby so I flew out to see her, stay at the hospital with her and flew back into town day before race). I was really skeptical that I would even be able to make it the full distance running, let alone be able to make my goal. Race day was perfect weather, I started the first 5 miles easy, picked it up a little an the next 5, and it the last 5 I told myself “Don’t save it for Sunday, Ruth. Leave it all on the road!” Within feet of crossing the finish line my muscles started seizing. My brain had no idea how to process what was happening–I wanted to puke, eat everything, collapse, and keep running all at the same time. I drank some water and Gatorade, ate some fruit, and kept a painfully slow (and somewhat unsteady) walk, and eventually get some color back in my face and felt a little more steady in my feet. There is no feeling quite like it.

  15. During a 10K road race last month, I learned that I am capable of digging deep and finishing strong even when the conditions aren’t optimal. My right foot was numb for the last ~1.5 miles (due to tight calves?), but I focused on one step at a time and didn’t give up! While my final time wasn’t my best, I was proud that I finished strong.

  16. I just ran a half marathon on Saturday — and I think I learned that I don’t push myself hard enough during training! I’m a lot tougher than I lead myself to believe. I definitely do better when I am running with someone that can push me. My running buddy knew the 1:50 pacer, so we kept up with him until the end — and I finished with my new p.r. or 1:46:31!

  17. I learned that I don’t give myself enough credit for all the training I do. In one week in January, I started a new semester teaching, my father-in-law passed away, we moved, and I ran a half marathon. I almost didn’t run it, but I wanted that medal!

  18. I have learned that I spend too much time in my own head. I think about my form I criticize my pace and end up uncomfortable in my run which makes my miles trudge by. My last run I grabbed an audio book and zoned out and it was the easiest 4 miles ever! I gotta learn to let go.

  19. I’ve learned that while hills will slow me to a crawl every time, I always can find a final push in the end of races. In my past 3 races, I’ve been able to squeeze out my fastest splits in the final 3 miles. Nothing feels better than flying through the final stretch!

  20. I’ve learned I am still strong enough to run and run a little faster after having my little boy. It was a high risk pregnancy and when my doctor (who had met me on the running trail a few days prior) told me – no running – wow – it was like a ton of bricks thrown at me. Amid the tears, and knowing whatever it took for a full-term babe – I’d do it – it still was hard to hear. Well I did it, stopped cold turkey that day! And funny thing – when I got back out – my times were better than pre-baby. I also learned that I need to lighten up and practice what I preach. I often tell my friends or new runners who ask for advice — “just cover the distance” and if they’ve trained – and have run their race distance on a training run – well they already know they can “cover the distance”. I even tell my kids this. Do your best and find it within to cover the distance.

    However, as much as I know when my legs (& timing chip) cross that finish line…or just out on a weekend run, I’m going to want to be excited about my finish time and not disappointed even when I “covered the distance”. I guess that’s what our competitive nature do to us – push us further… and hopefully faster.

    As an aside — Loved the podcast I listened to during the virtual 5k (Mother’s Day) and YES – some of us “nice Canadians” probably wouldn’t shout out BAMR if we were spectating in Vancouver. lol

  21. I have learned to not think just go…I will always feel better after a run. Do not let the weather deter your run – chose to look at it as an obstacal for new oppertunity.

  22. Wow, a life changing marathon from all accounts. From what you have admitted in Run Like A Mother, reading the words ” I’m weary of feeling competitive and keeping an eye on the race clock.” made me sit up with surprise and I had to read every word of the race recap!!!

    Good on you Sarah. Well done for running the race the way you felt in your heart (and whatever body parts you may wish to include). And I know exactly what you mean by that zen moment you found yourself in – present but not present – it is an incredible feeling and I think that is why I run – to keep on finding it.

    I hope you are feeling at peace with your race. Enjoy some rest. 🙂

  23. I am so much stronger and capable than what I thought I was and I can’t wait to see what I can do next!

  24. I’m thick into 1/2 marathon training and was starting to feel a little burnt out on running. Last week I forced myself to relax into the run and remember why I love it so much. It worked! Awesome 8 miles today- felt the zen. ..  

  25. I learned on May 8th while running a 21.75 mile long run that I am not good with heat and that my fueling strategy for long runs in cool weather is very different than my fueling strategy for long runs in hot weather. I am training for the Ottawa Marathon which is May 26th. I thought I was okay with water and gels. But I tried a new gel that I had never had before and by 6 miles I was in trouble. I didn’t think I would make it to my goal of 21 miles. But I slowed my pace and kept trudging along. By 12 miles I had to stop for gatorade. 5 minutes later my stomach was happier and I made it to 21.75 miles.

  26. I’ve learned I’m a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of my own head. I’m learning to be a little kinder to myself!

  27. That I need to pay attention to my feet or I’m going to trip and slide across the sidewalk quite ungracefully.

  28. honestly……it is as simple as learning that I really truly could do it! I ran my first half marathon last weekend and up until I was within a quarter mile of the end I wasn’t quite sure. now I know!
    btw, I do really like that shellaced hair look! you will bring the Farrah Flip back!

  29. During the Princess 1/2 marathon, I learned that I need to make sure I have enough protien with my carbs the night before. I was HUNGRY within the first few miles of the race…good thing I had my Gu but that hasn’t ever happened to me before.

  30. Today I learned that I still have it. After 2 months of being lazy (only 1-2 runs per week, I was able to come within 30 seconds of my PR in a 5K. If I work hard, I could really do something.

  31. I have discovered that while running a half or full marathon, that when your handed an energy gel that is NOT a GU brand you just know the difference! Knowing that you cant spit it out for fear of spitting it on someone’s shoe….

  32. My husband and I train together and I am very competitive in my training…I can’t let him lap me on speed runs!!! Come race day, I just enjoy the atmosphere and as long as I am pushing myself I try not to worry about the time on the clock.

  33. I’ve learned to listen to my body and dig deep when I need to. And also to look around and enjoy the place you’re running in.
    BTW Sarah I was a spectator at BMO Van and looking for you to cheer you on but never found you in that sea of blue. Hope you enjoyed running in my home town. Cheers!

  34. I learned that when an expletive involuntarily comes out of my mouth, it is time to re-focus….relax my stride, relax my arms, head up, cleansing breath.

  35. I am *trying* to learn to slow down on the long runs. I understand intellectually how and why to do this, but am having a hard time getting my legs to cooperate.

  36. I’ve learned that no matter how much I do not want to run at that moment I’m always glad I did and I’m always in a much better mood after. I’ve never regretted a single run.

  37. One day recently my IPod died just before I left for a run. Most of the time I run with friends, a podcast or at least tunes to help the miles pass, but that day I headed for the trails in silence and listened to nature. It was glorious! So I learned I don’t need distraction to run happily.

  38. I’ve learned to never, ever look at my Garmin during a race. The pace I’m running at is perfect for the present moment and knowing that I am running faster or slower than I thought just freaks me out. I once ran beside a women who checked her watch every few minutes. She held her breath every time she looked at her watch and it didn’t make her any faster.

  39. I’ve learned that the running love I had two years ago- the love that helped me train for and complete my first half-mary, is still inside me. Maybe that goal of a full marathon can be realized.

  40. I learned that I can indeed come back after an injury and run as well as I did before the injury. I am training again for a 1/2 – this one WILL happen!

  41. I’ve recently learned that when I’m running for speed I definitely need to listen to upbeat tunes. Not only does it motivate me, but more importantly, I can’t hear my own heavy breathing that makes me think I’m working harder than I am. When I hear all that huffing, I get mentally worn out and fizzle before I physically do! Sorry to those around me who hear the puffing— if I’m out for a PR, I don’t care that I sound like a mad dog in your ear!! 😛

  42. I’ve learned that I can’t “bank time” and that I am better off running at an even pace, starting out a bit slower and finishing strong.

  43. I’ve learned this importance of stretching when you’re pushing a stroller! That extra weight can really do a number on your achilles is you’re not limber! (Says the girl who’s been laid up for the past week because she learned the hard way.)

  44. I learned that my patience and persistence in training offset all the extra belly fat I’m carrying around! I can run faster and farther than most skinny folks!

  45. I raced a 5k last weekend and I learned that jogging from the car to the start line (about half a mile), was really a convenient and easy warm-up! I think jogging the distance helped my race time.

  46. I have learned that I can push my body far beyond the limits of my mind. It’s a very liberating feeling. 🙂

  47. Big races (14,000+ last weekend) seem to take energy away from my run. Training runs were fantastic, the race felt like quicksand. I won’t give up on big races, but I will be better prepared with music, mental toughness to run my own race (darn those whipper snappers whizzing by!), and hopefully I will have as much fund DURING the race as I do before and after.

  48. I’ve learned that I really, really need a race plan in my mind. I have a terrible habit of starting out super fast (like SPRINTING) which kills me in the end. Contrary to anything normal I have to consciously run slow to start.

  49. Pumping my arms more in the end of a marathon makes my legs move… and repeating 1-2-3-4 over and over in my head keeps my cadence high.

  50. I have learned to run at my own pace and not depend on my watch. Believe in myself and go as fast or as slow as my body will let me.

  51. I have figured out that I really like to run! Sounds a little silly but for someone who never really ran growing up this is big. I like the training runs but have the most fun at the races. Doesn’t matter if it is a 5K, half, or full, I love the other runners, the outfits and the spectator signs.

  52. I learned that cross training with weights and yoga really DOES make a difference in your running – in a good way.

  53. I’ve learned that I really can run faster than I thought I could and I’m learning to listen to my body’s cues.

  54. I am learning I AM stronger than I think I am. I just ran my first half marathon, and everything was so in-sync, I rocked it!

  55. I’ve learned that letting go is good, that every up hill has a down at some point, and it IS totally liberating to flail down hill like an 8yr old kid, just letting go and enjoying the ride/run.

  56. I am learning to run by feel and to run for the love of running. I’m in nursing school and raising 3 children, so running time is few and far between. I can’t run to train right now, nor can I run to burn calories. Every run (average of 1-2 a week) is just for the love of running and the release it gives me. I usually only have 30-35 min, which is 3 miles+ cool-down. But I’ve been running those 3 miles a little faster each week. It’s all I can do right now, and it’s enough.

  57. Running has taught me to enjoy the feeling of empowerment. No matter how rough the run, how long or short, I always feel better, happier, more capable, stronger (physically and emotionally) and tolerant after running.

  58. I learned after running my 9th marathon that I have officially mastered posing for the camera. Didn’t pr or BQ like I had hoped but had my best photo shoot EVER!

  59. I learned I am not as slow as I think. At a recent race another runner who I had been passed and passed said “I like your pace” it shocked me so much I started to slow down. Then I told myself, stop thinking and go. It was great.

  60. Coming off of a hamstring injury, I’ve learned that not every training run has to be faster than the one before, that walking the occasional hill does not mean I’m a bad person, and that the numbers in my running app do not define me. I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that I can run, period, and to enjoy each run, the good ones and the less-good ones!

  61. I recently ran the Nike dc women’s half marathon and they gave out clif shot blocks and mini Lara bars. I learned that m body cannot or doesn’t like either hole running. Too much chewing with a dry mouth and not enoug. Liquid to wash it down. I’ll stick with Gus to Ge me through–so please Eli me replenish my stash before I start training for the Arline corps marathon (my first!)

  62. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be slow and to just be thankful that I am able to run, not only for the health benefits but for the peace of mind!

  63. That it is not only ok, but much smarter, to use the less aggressive training plan for my first half post injury. This was the decision today when my body felt like 6 was a good long run instead of 9. I just have to KEEP telling my self this so I don’t feel Ike a slacker 🙂

  64. That I have become faster than I ever thought I could be:) I need to not be as scared of certain numbers on my Garmin and just go with it!

  65. I recently ran my first post-baby race 4 months after the birth of my 2nd child. I decided to run it without my garmin or watch to see how fast I could go. My final time was 2 minutes faster than my goal and less than a minute slower than my 5 K PR! I learned that I am tougher than I thought I was. I was most proud of giving the race everything I had.

  66. I learned that I am both very good and very bad at trail races. My last race was a trail ultra and was second overall female, but I also fell in mile 4 and broke my finger so badly it required surgery. No more trails for me!

  67. Last weekend I just completed my first half marathon and I’ve learned that I will always need some sort of running plan to follow–even w/o an upcoming race. I can hardly believe it’s only been 5 days since the race, because I feel like I haven’t run with purpose in months!

  68. I’ve learned that I do my best and feel my strongest by running every other day and cross-training on the days in between.

  69. Something I’ve learned is that I haven’t been pushing myself as hard as I can and still be “safe”. (Whatever that means! Safe to keep that pace for a run, safe not to cause injury, safe to allow myself to be tested and still be okay to fail. No one is judging me but me!) On my last run, I started out stronger than i thought and when my app read back to me my pace, I cut 2 minutes off my mile per minute. I freaked out! Yikes! i can’t do this! I’m going to crash at the end of my run!! And my partner just said “Try.” between huffing breathes, and we did it! We set a high pace and lived. We weren’t even more sore after, so we’ve been strolling too long. 😉

  70. I’ve learned its OK to run MY race. I don’t have to compete with the other ladies in my running friends group or try to place. Just run and keep MY goals in mind and I’ll finish = winning!

  71. I learned that I am going to really miss my familiar routes and passing by friends’ homes, the school crossing guard, runners/walkers I only know by sight, etc. We move in a month, and my new neighborhood is more rural and removed from activity. I have to soak up the current view while I can 🙂

  72. I learned that I can’t ‘wing it’ through my race and achieve the results I desire. One of the first BAMR podcasts I listened to encouraged me to set non-time goals, which translate into a plan of action. I spent much time drilling those goals, that plan, into my head, so that during my first 1/2 marathon, I knew EXACTLY what I was going to do. Since then, I’ve taken a much more relaxed approach, and during my last 1/2, decided that ‘relaxed’ doesn’t achieve the results I desire. While it’s not all about time, it IS all about being happy with my performance.

  73. That I can push myself and still stay healthy. I stayed with the same pace for a long time trying not to reinjure my ITB. It’s time to fly a little bit, just not all the time.

  74. Running a 5K with my 8 year old son and hearing him yell “I was born to RUN” – he was having fun because I was going so slow (out of shape) – and I stopped beating myself up about being slow and loved every minute of the race after that.

  75. I have learned…but not always successful…that I do ALOT of negative commenting to myself. About how slow I am, about how my feet make too much noise when they hit the ground, about how loud I am breathing, about how under-fueled I am, etc. etc. I am LEARNING to try and talk nicer to me.

  76. I have been recovering from foot surgery for the past two months, and have slowly eased back into running. Unfortunately, while I am mentally thrilled to be able to run again, my body is less than enthused…I seem to be suffering from what I refer to as “tree trunk leg syndrome.” In other words, I feel like I am dragging around heavy wooden logs rather than legs! It’s been humbling to go from easily knocking off 8:45 minute miles to barely hanging onto a 9:30 pace, but always invaluable in that running hasn’t been hard for a really long time, and I’ve learned that I CAN endure even when I feel like I can’t. Hopefully this knowledge will see me through if/when I hit the wall during my first marathon this fall!

  77. What I learned at Prescott Whiskey Row Half Marathon is that it is OK to walk the hills and still be happy with my finish time.

  78. I have recently learned on my long runs that I CAN tolerate gel-type fuel. I tried once 2 years ago and it didn’t agree, so I switched to Sports Beans. This training round, I am experimenting again and finding that just like training my muscles to run I can train my stomach to not reject GU. Love it, because it’s so much easier than beans!!

  79. I learned that I CAN be fast. I finished a 5K race in 23:52 this past weekend. I never imagined I’d achieve a PR under 24 minutes!

  80. During my most recent marathon, I learned that, for me, it’s not all about the mileage during training. I ran my first marathon in 2009, and though I only trained for a few months, I trained hard and I ran a lot of miles each month. This year, I ran my 3rd marathon, expecting to be much less prepared. Training always took a backseat to family and full-time work. I didn’t log as many miles, wasn’t as careful with my diet, and wasn’t as slim, yet still, I beat my time by almost 12 minutes. This marathon reminded me that training my mind is as important, if not more, than training my body. When you believe anything is possible, anything is possible.

  81. I’ve learned that it feels great to acknowledge and to get acknowledged with a wave, nod and I’ve even gotten a thumbs up by other runners. It makes me smile, happy and motivated! I also learned that I have great legs and collar bones after losing 20 pounds after having my second baby!! 😉

  82. This morning I had to admit to myself that I really do care about pace and I really should pause my running app at stoplights.

  83. I’ve learned In a race that its ok to walk if I need to! It took off so much pressure when I allowed myself to walk if need be.

  84. I just completed my 8th half marathon, but used GU for the first time. I’m not a fast runner, but my goal for this race was to finish it feeling good. I raced unplugged, no watch, no iPod. I listened to the world around me, chatted with a 60 year old who had open heart surgery 2 years ago and was running his 2nd half, gave high fives to anyone who had their hand out and smiled whenever I saw a camera. I’ve always shied away from the gel stuff, it seemed strange. But I decided to try some for this race, I did a long training run with GU before the race, I knew that much. I was so surprised by how I felt and the energy I had after using GU. It will definitely be part of my racing repertoire from now on. I can actually say I finished the race feeling good, with a smile on my face and energy left to watch my nephews soccer game. Now I feel like I can start working on faster times, but I want to always have fun, using GU will give me that edge to do both.

  85. What I learned during a recent run is that you never know who you are inspiring. I was feeling sluggish and less than “all that”, but when I finished and the negative self talk was chatting away in my head about how disappointing that run was, a fellow runner came over and said that she was tracking me and that I kept her going and got her through her longest (to date) run. Made me realize that my purpose that day wasn’t to run well for myself, but to just be there for a run so someone else could have a great run. Totally made my day.

  86. I learned that if I go out steady and keep it that way I can finish strong and feel good about the race. Going too hard makes me bonk in the middle and then it puts the whole race in a different perspective. I love finishing with a smile on my face, appreciate the people who have come out to support the runners and I have better finishing times too. Fueling is important during a race and GU is a favorite.

  87. In my last half marathon, I didn’t take in any fuel during the race. I was so depleted at the end of the race and while I ran a PR, I knew if I would have properly fueled I could have ran faster and had a better finish/recovery.

  88. What I’ve learned about myself in a race is that I’m more capable that I think, and stronger than I may look.

  89. I learned that at the end of a race, it feels much better to be nice than to reach a personal best. Slow your pace to run with a friend that is struggling, take the time to thank all the volunteers at the hydration stations, high-five the people that are spending the morning cheering total strangers on, and, most importantly, stop running to hug and kiss your husband and kids that have come to see you cross the finish line.

  90. I’ve learned that no matter the race distance, a finish isn’t a given until you cross the finish mat. Two weeks ago I raced a 5 miler and was feeling strong and running comfortably until right after mile 4. Suddenly it felt like something slammed into my gut and it brought me to an immediate stop. I had to step to the side and walk for what seemed like an eternity before I could straighten up and run again. I’ve run 2 marathons, 9 halves, and countless 5 and 10Ks and never experienced anything like that. I was never so happy to cross a finish line and find a spot to lay down. Never again will I take a finish for granted.

  91. One thing I’ve learned about myself as I’ve been training for my first half marathon is that I can run further than I ever thought I could! I doubt myself before every long run, but have accomplished every one so far.

  92. That I can run faster and stronger and push myself to continue that pace for longer distances than I thought was possible. It has always been a mental thing and I feel as if I am overcoming it!

  93. When running my first 10k in Hershey a few weeks ago, I learned I am stronger than I ever thought I was. Never thought a year ago I could run 1 mile much less 6.2. Training actually works.

  94. Since I am training for my first 1/2 marathon, I have learned how amazing my body really is. I am amazed that I can run such distances.

  95. This past week, I learned just how hard I could push myself to eek out that final minute for a Boston Qaulifying time. I think the guy next to me must have thought I was nuts (I was running in Dusseldorg, Germany, so he probably spoke German or French) when I was running the last half mile talking to myself under my breath that I could make it in under the 3:35:00 mark. I made the time by 3:34:52. Just call me “Mouse” and I will keep squeaking by.

  96. I’ve learned that I am not the fastest person out there but I finish. I’ve improved so much over the past year thanks to sticking with it. I can’t let others ideas of what I should be able to do get me down, I just have to be me and do what I can to get it done!

  97. I’ve just finished my first full marathon, and have learn’t that it’s all about the pacing , not knowing what to expect my goal was just to finish injury free , I think that made the difference for me , I kept a steady pace and finished injury free with a time I was more than happy with

  98. I have learned that I don’t have to be faster than anyone else but me. I only need to be better than who I was yesterday.

  99. I realized during my first marathon a month ago that you have to enjoy the little things (flowers, the view) and take walk breaks when you need them!

  100. The races have revealed that I’m super-competitive. Even when I say I’m not going to race I feel competitive on the course, and even on the few occasions when I’ve backed off during a race, I’ll find myself passing people at the end–ESPECIALLY if they passed me earlier. Also, speedwork and races tend to bring out all the can’t-do-it/who-are-you-kidding inner demons, which makes for an interesting mix when also feeling competitive.

    Thanks for your race report. I’m running the Colfax Marathon in 11 days (!) and struggling with my goals. I trained and would like to run sub-4 (as in 3:59:59), but between two sinus infections that resulted in a loss in two speedwork sessions and printing errors in the “revised edition” of the book I was using also meant that some of my long runs at the peak of training were shorter than they probably should have been. (No, it wasn’t TLAM, sorry, but I needed a plan that was somewhere between “finish it” and the serious time commitment that I did not have necessary to “own it.”) So…we’ll see how it goes.

  101. I was reminded that running at 5pm when it’s 30 degrees Celsius and the sun is beating down on you is a really bad idea…even if it is only a 5k training run

  102. I’ve learned that when I’m in the middle of a huge fight with my husband (or kids, or boss) a run will always put me in a better mood. At least until I get home.

  103. That I tend to feel horrible the first quarter of the run. But if I hang in there I find my groove and get a little power in my step that keeps me running.

  104. I’ve learned that training does pay off. I just finished a race and felt great through out the whole race. It was nice to see how my training had helped.

  105. I recently learned that at least 50%, if not more of training for a race occurs between the ears. I was sidelined with an injury for 6 weeks prior to a planned half marathon, gained at least 5 pounds and hardly ran. On race day felt well enough physically to run and was so happy to just run again. I went out telling myself to go with whatever felt good. I ran a greater than 3 minute PR to finish only 2 minutes off my ultimate half goal time.

  106. Warning: Canadian here (I’m a metric mother runner)!I am running my first half marathon in three weeks and did a 21k run this past Suunday in the warmest weather we’ve had since last summer. I live in Calgary, Alberta and last week I had to wear full winter gear for +5 degeree temps, but Sunday it went up to 26 degrees during my run. I learned a few very valuable lessons from that run: 1) I can not only run the 21.1k well but I can do it ALOT faster than I thought! and 2) I need to buy a size larger runner shoe. My feet swelled so much on that run that I am now losing my big toenail. Gross and OUCH but now I feel like a BAMR!!!

  107. I’ve learned that I need to plan out my runs and mix in some hill work. Hills are not as scary as they use to be

  108. I’ve learned that you can still have a good time if you aren’t as you used to be, and that if you try, you can be faster again one day. 🙂

  109. During my first marathon, Day 2 of my runDisney Goofy Challenge, I learned that I can run a marathon and like it, especially the hills!

  110. There’s a very pretty running route close to home that I love, but I’ve learned that I need to run a new route at least once a week to keep myself interested and motivated.

  111. While training for my first marathon, which I completed a few weeks ago, I learned a new appreciation for any person who has trained for and run a marathon. It’s not easy! No matter if it took 7 hours or 3, it is a huge accomplishment!

  112. I learned that I love having a training plan! I am training for a half marathon in June and using the AMR own it half plan. In the past I have had a plan for weekend long runs, but just sort of winged it during the week. Love the speed workouts and love that I don’t have to come up with a plan-thanks!

  113. I learned that I have begun to let too much self-doubt creep in to my own head and if i really take the time to talk positively to myself, in my own head, I can change the way I think about myself. Recently on a run, I was beating myself up about something that happened — funny, b/c now I cannot even remember what it was I was so worked up about. But, I stopped, noticed what I was doing and thought to myself, what if instead of all this negative self talk, I talked myself up? I started a mantra out loud in the early morning, “I AM POWERFUL!” I kept repeating it, along with things I have done in life which I am proud of. By the time I got to the top of that hill, I had tears in my eyes, because I don’t think that in recent years, I’ve taken the time to say those things to myself and reflect on what I can accomplish as a mother and a woman. So, long story short, I’ve learned that I AM POWERFUL!

  114. Just yesterday, I learned the importance of having goals in workouts and working hard to achieve them in my tempo run. Not only does one have to run hard in races, but running hard when you are alone on the road is necessary at times, too.

  115. I tried to comment this morning, but I think it got eaten….

    I learned – on my last Saturday morning run with my BRF – that I am faster than I thought! Hooray!

  116. I learned at my recent first half that sometimes finishing is all that matters. Ran my race with a injured knee and finished in 2:21:31. Not the time I wanted but I did it!!! And now no running until my ortho appt.

  117. I am training for a 10 mile run Memorial Day weekend. This is my longest road race ever, and I have very few races under my belt. But I have learned that running is SO mental! I have to play little challenge games with myself during each run, but when I am mentally strong, I can do anything!

  118. Last race I learned that I am a good hill runner, and that I am good at keeping the pace in a good spot for the first part of the run so I can kick it up at the end! That was a good race. 🙂

  119. I’ve learned that I wear a sign periodically during the race that must say,” you like like a person that will motivate me to keep going!” It’s crazy how when u r trying to just “do your thing at your own pace” & a complete stranger will start chatting with you, asking your race history, sharing their strengths & weaknesses & want your input & cheers to push them. I must be a friendly looking mother runner!!! All good & fun for me!

  120. I learned that once I get in my groove I feel like I can run forever and it feels amazing! I just wish I was always in the groove :-).

  121. I learned that I can push myself harder than I thought as long as I set my mind to it. I CAN finish those hard runs in the heat and I WILL continue to do so as long as I am able to run! 🙂

  122. My most recent half-marathon was two days after my husband and I returned from a trip to NYC. We walked for hours each day and ate and ate and ate (5 bakeries in two days). I was 18 minutes slower than my goal at the race. I was soooooo discouraged! I learned that taper is seriously serious business! And diet counts, too!

  123. I learned I love to get up early and run before work. It makes the after work craziness easier to handle.

  124. I learned this last fall on a 12 miler when I was prepping for a half: if I any do basic distance math, I’m overheating. Not under hydrated or under electrolyed, but over heated. Fortunately, when I went to wipe the side of my face and noted it was dry (yet nice and rough from the evaporated sweat), my brain was working enough to say ‘Whoa there, this is BAD’ and when I got to the next bench in the park (fortunately in the shade and next to a water fountain)I allowed myself to stop and sit and cool down, even though I had another mile.

    So no math skills = time to take it down 20 notches.

  125. I learned a powerful lesson about training smart, not stupid which is what I did when I ran a marathon undertrained. I’m from Utah and the St George Marathon was my first-the first always has a special place in your heart, right? Well, this marathon is a lottery and if you run it for 10 years, you’re inducted into the 10 Year Club and you don’t have to do the lottery anymore. Last year was St George Marathon #5 so I HAD to run it, right? My mom passed away a year earlier and I sunk into a bit of depression and stopped running. I was registered to run the marathon and I had to run it because I want to be in that 10 Year Club so, that’s what I foolishly did. My longest run before the marathon was a 12-miler and though. I had a PW, I finished the marathon swearing that I will never, never, NEVER run a marathon untrained again. I’m very lucky that I didn’t get injured. Foolish, foolish thing to do.

  126. That I can beat boys! In a half on Sunday I kept trading places with 2 men. At mile 12 I looked at them and said, “OK, let’s go!” And we did. They let me think I was beating them until in the finish chute. One tried to pull ahead. I have never sprinted that hard! And it worked. I won! And PRed by 22 seconds 🙂

  127. I learned that trying a new race day strategy can actually work! (I tried running 10 minutes and walking 1 minute and I PR’d)

  128. In the thick of my half-marathon training, my first of two (scheduled) for this year. Scheduled to run 12 miles this weekend for training…and on Mother’s Day!! Enjoying a fun local Color Run this weekend with friends as well. Here’s to a great weekend ahead!!

  129. I have learned to not doubt myself. I do have confidence in my runs, but I sometimes get a nagging feeling like, “maybe I just can’t do this….” By not doubting myself, I have been able to reach new goals and limits.

  130. Although I train alone, I prefer to talk the entire half! I also learned running halfs is the most fun I ave had as an adult…is that weird???

  131. When I run with others I push harder than when I run alone. Also – day of hydration makes a big difference even at the short distances I am running.

  132. My last race was a 1/2 on the weekend and although I’m tappering for a full which is less than 2 weeks, I raced it. I found out that I’m stronger than I thought. My time was only 2.5 min off my PB. I didn’t think my training had gone well enough to get that close to it. Here’s hoping that race doesn’t take too much out of my upcoming race…marathon #10 in Fargo. Got my “badass mother runner” tank in the mail today. Perfect timing!

  133. I have realized through all my training and my two full marathons….I can do anything for four and a half hours (my 2 mara times). Mind over matter….and the feeling of crossing the finish line, all worth the effort (pain and craziness!)

  134. Like to run with a partner. Keeps me running longer. Also after the second mile, I get my second wind!

  135. Since I started running, something I didn’t think I could do because I was “too old”, my confidence in myself has grown and that has encourage me to not be so afraid to try new things.

  136. I have learned that when I chill-out and just try to enjoy a race (the people, the route, the environment, etc.) and be in the moment, I do MUCH better. I PR’d this year at a half marathon that I went into with this mindset and it was completely unexpected.

  137. I realized that I really love running with a running partner or a group. It just makes the miles go by faster.

  138. It takes me 1 mile to wake up/warmup, 2 miles before a smile starts, 3 miles to realize that the problems foremost on my mind are not as big as I thought (or beyond my control) and 4+ miles to free-associate my life, my running or anything else that pops into my mind!

  139. I’ve learned that I leave too much in the tank. My strong finish should start farther than 200 metres from the finish line….

  140. As a writer who is compelled to express in words the myriad feelings of life’s experiences, I reveled in every word of this story. You carry us along with you every step of this long road.

    And as someone who is so non-competitive [all I care about is finishing, so I completely subscribe to you ‘Finishing = Winning’] I very much relate to your feelings about not pushing as hard as you did in earlier days and enjoying the experience.

    And further, as a fellow Rhode Islander, I loved your comments about Michelle who just ran the Boston Marathon in 3:30. She rocks the world.

    Although I run regularly (three times a week) to date I have run only one official race, a 5K last August. What have I learned? That running with others pushes me to go a little faster than I knew I could. Beginning my running career last year at age 59, I have learned that I have a lot more in my tank than I imagined. Last week I surprised, no, shocked myself on a free run before beginning 10K training by running 4.25 miles, reaching that lofty step by never looking at my Garmin. Best of all, I have found a raft of new friends, this amazing community of runners. Some near home, some from around the United States, others from around the world, all generous and supportive. What a wonderful way to step into senior citizenship. Bring it on, I say!

  141. Been dealing with a lack of training while preparing for this year’s Ramblin’ Rose, and I’ve learned that its ok to just plan to finish!

  142. I have learned that the making sure to fuel yourself pre-race is very important. I ran my first 1/2 in February and was disappointed my the results. When I looked back I realized I did not eat a good breakfast (not nearly enough calories or protein). Once I got a gel at mile 8 the last 5 miles were way easier than the first 8!

  143. I ran my first half on Sunday and I learned that I am far stronger than I ever knew! I found that BAMR buried deep inside of me, and ran 13.1 miles with her alone…it was glorious. Hard, but glorious. I also learned that I am entering your Ragnar contest…I didn’t think I was tough enough or runner enough. I am both! And I’m going to need that GU to train for that fall relay, ladies! Get ready!

  144. Great race report! And look at that blue sky – you hit Vancouver on a good day. 🙂

    I learned the other night that even a strong woman sometimes needs to know when to back down. I went out late for my long run and it was pitch dark by halfway through. Part of my planned route was through a somewhat isolated neighbourhood and when I got there, I looked down the road and saw no streetlights, hesitated, started down the road, and then turned around after 10 steps. My spidey senses said it was stupid to run into that isolated darkness. So I took a few other (well-lit) detours to get my distance in and reminded myself that sometimes you need to know when to walk away.

  145. I’ve learned that mantras really work and you can talk yourself in or out of anything on a marathon course!

  146. I learned that fueling for & during a 30 mile bike ride is not the same as fueling for a 10 mile run. Over the weekend I completed my first 30 mile bike ride in training for my first half ironman triathlon. The first 25 miles went GREAT! I felt fabulous… then I hit some sort of crazy wall. I wasn’t breathing hard and my legs did not hurt, not one little bit but, wow, did I get dizzy! I had to sit up out of aero position, slow way down and I almost lost sight of the people I was riding with. It was all I could do to finish the last two miles of my ride.

    Point taken….. next time fuel and drink something besides water when on the bike for so long.

  147. adjust expectations along the way. sometimes, it’s just not a good day, accept it and salvage what you have even if it’s just a finish.

  148. I’ve learned that my competitive side doesn’t always lead to the best results. I’m better when I’m focusing on being MY best and not trying to compete with anyone else. I also learned what plantar fasciitis feels like. Bleh.

  149. I learned that, yes, I do like running with buddies! I’d been afraid to try, but it was great and I plan on doing it more often.

  150. On Sunday I ran my longest run to date (10 miles), and at my running buddy’s suggestion we walked for 60 seconds at each mile marker. I always try to run without any walking, so this was new. And my average overall pace ended up being a good 30 seconds faster per mile than ever, including the walk breaks! And I didn’t feel like crap when I was done. So I learned it not only isn’t the end of the world to take a walk break, but that it even improves my average pace! (I know all the Galloway people are probably saying DUH at this point…)

  151. Another Molly here, who ran the half in Vancouver last weekend. Such a beautiful day, such a beautiful course, but I think the heat (although we started and finished earlier that the full) and the sun slowed me down. I’m also mentally gearing up for my first full in the fall, and I think this caused me some mental strain – the last two miles, I could not fathom running another 13.1. Hearing your story made me feel better! Thanks!! (I knew you were running Sarah, and kept an eye out for you – hoping for a celebrity spotting, but didn’t see you! Love your books and the podcast.)

  152. I just started running about 6 months ago, and recently finished the local “triple crown” race series. I was perfectly content to just finish the 10 miler in that series. However, after that race, I am determined to increase my speed and endurance so that next year I will kick the 10 miler’s butt, instead of it kicking mine…

  153. I recently joined a women’s running club and had my first long run with a member I had only met over FB. Being primarily a solo runner, I learned on that run that running with company can be so much better than running by yourself, particularly with a kindred spirit… a fellow mother runner.

  154. I learned this past weekend (Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon) that I am actually capable of running 13.1. First one ever and definitely a huge goal accomplishment! P.S. GU tri-berry was my pick-me-up on this run – delish!

  155. Yea for that Best Day of Your Life song. I downloaded it too, and it popped up twice on my shuffle during Sunday’s 26.2 in the OC (don’t ask – my shuffle hates playlists so I load the songs I want and I get what I get 🙂 It also conveniently gave me Girl on Fire during the last two miles. When my Dad asked me what happened (my pace for those two miles was WAY faster) I told him I was on fire 🙂 What I learned during this last marathon, was to trust my strength. I doubted myself all the way up to race weekend & considered dropping to the half many times. I stuck with my birthday Cinco de Mayothon plan and it turned into a birthday PR 🙂 I also learned to make sure your hotel has a bathtub, our Marriott race hotel did not. An icy shower just isn’t the same as an ice bath 😉

  156. I’ve learned a good playlist can make or break a PR and if I mentally chop the race in half and stop for a few seconds mid way for a GU and a drink, my second half can be pretty strong!!

  157. I’ve learned that if I can make it to the top of a hill, I can keep going. I always used to take a walk break at the top of tough hills, but now I know that I’m strong enough to push through.

  158. I learned that sometimes I need to unplug and run for the enjoyment, not just the numbers (ie. time/pace)

  159. I loved reading your post Sarah because I just ran BMO as well, so I know exactly what you are talking about. I learned that despite goals, there is an art form to readjusting expectations in circumstances such as heat (and in my case an unexpected plantar fascia pain starting at mile 2 and sharing the entire journey for 24.2 more miles). Mental power can be stronger than physical!

  160. i have had foot pain all my life. i discovered that if i run 3 times a week(wearing a good shoe) my feet never hurt! great motivation to keep going.

  161. I’ve found that I have to really work to find that calm space within. If I start focusing on whatever nagging issue I’m having, my concentration and my run suffer. Sometimes I’ll just talk to random people, sometimes I’ll just sing to myself.

  162. I learned that running a bunch of hills actually won’t kill me…and it WILL make me stronger! 🙂

  163. I just ran my first half marathon this past Sunday. I was filled with self-doubt and nerves until, my legs took that first stride. I realized, it was just another day, another run. I spent nearly two glorious hours just soaking it all in, and realized quickly that if I just enjoy the moment and being among other athletes, I will finish at the pace I was meant to be at. I ran, comfortably, yet strong, and finished my first half marathon at 1:54:51. I begin training for my first marathon in a few weeks.

  164. I am new to running. Always had knee and lower back pain when I had tried in the past. In January my husband discovered Chi running, and with these techniques I started as a walk/runner and have excelled to a 4 mile solid run. I have no unusual discomfort after my runs with Chi running. I will be running my first 5k on June 1st and am very excited!!! I have learned that I can be a better me!

  165. I’ve found with my two marathons that I really have to dig deep near the end in order to hold onto my time goals. It was a struggle both times, but I’ve never been so happy to be done. I like the Vanilla GU , but can’t handle more than 3 during a race.

  166. I learned that even after a sprain and plantar fascitis, I really, actuallY, can do way more than I thought I could – fueled by the crowd, the goal, and the inspiring runners around me!

  167. I’ve learned that even though I have over 175 miles on my current pair of shoes, I can still inexplicably get a blister from running just 3 miles!

  168. I have learned that running in the sun is my favorite and I have a really hard time getting out when it’s cloudly or cold! Thanks for the giveaway!

  169. I have learned that when something doesn’t feel right. To take some time off. I missed a marathon due to IT band issues. If I didn’t continue to push myself I would not have had to back out of the race.

  170. I learned that if I calm myself, the run will feel better. Being stressed just makes it worse and bumps up my heart rate.

  171. I completed my first half marathon and learned that even if I have to walk the last two miles because I’m dehydrated and injured, finishing is an accomplishment nobody can take away from me.

  172. I learned that I can do more! Feeling great at the end of a half marathon means I’m ready for bigger and better things. I am running an 18 mile race Saturday followed by a full next month 🙂 I’m stoked!

  173. I’ve been feeling off for awhile..but I managed to rocked an 8k and place well in my age group. A few days later I found out that my iron level is low. I’ve learned it’s important to listen to my body. If I can rock a 8k with low iron….just wait till my next race!!!!

  174. At a half this past weekend I learned that I have been holding myself back. I pushed myself a bit harder and finished in 2:08 which is not a PR but it was 6 minutes faster than my last four halfs.

  175. In my last race I overcame a major mental obstacle of not thinking I could run more than a 5k. I have run longer distances using the Galloway method but seemed stuck at 3.1 miles for running the entire distance. Thanks to a wonderful BRF and a stubborn streak I ran a whole 10k!

  176. Great post!!!

    I have learned recently that I am faster than I think I am….of course that only happens when I open my mind, heart and legs to the speed and the training that I have put in! Funny how you always underestimate yourself! Next weekend I am running my 8th half…..I WILL NOT HOLD BACK!!!!

  177. I’ve learned that its fun to mix it up in my races. I thought I really liked big, fast marathons with lots of crowds support, but last weekend I ran a marathon with 140 people, high elevation and hills. It was a great experience. Of course I was slower than my “normal” marathon pace, but who cares! It was beautiful!

  178. Three weeks in, after six months of no running due to a mysterious knee injury means every run that happens, particularly under strict requirements to only run UP hill, is a learning experience. I’ve had to learn to enjoy whatever run I can have, regardless of pace or distance.

  179. If you’re injured, be smart and don’t run. duh. A difficult lesson I recently had to learn. I love GU! Especially, Espresso Love 🙂

  180. I need someone with me to motivate me. I walk if I am with walkers, run if I am with runners, and don’t move at all if there is no one to make me!

  181. I’ve learned I don’t really like music when I run– much prefer being “connected ” to where I am!

  182. During my last half marathon, I learned the hard way that I can’t chew and swallow those Chomps while running!!! I have also learned that even if I have to slow my pace a little, it’s still better than completely giving up on a race.

  183. Great report, and some of us can only DREAM of a 4:22 (never mind Michelle, who may as well be Kara Goucher to me!) 🙂

    I leaned that though I’m glacially slow I can still run strong, for me, and push myself on a long run without dying.

  184. I’ve realized that I love the challenge of different types of courses. My first 10k about a month ago was full of hills and the 5k tomorrow night is going to be flat, so I am curious to see how I do. When you put your mind to something and complete it, that’s the reward…

  185. I recently ran my first half marathon so I have learned that I can actually run much farther than I ever imagined!

  186. I ran my first marathon in about 12 years. In between that time, I battled cancer and am now cancer free. I wanted to prove to myself that I still “had it.” That I could do something as amazing as a marathon with the body that I now have. And I did. I did it. I finished in 4:11:29. This was slower than what I trained for. However, and this is a big one, I just ran a flipping MARATHON! I am kind of shocked that I was able to do that!

  187. I learned that I can race a half marathon, alone, with no music. I stammered with a group of friends, but our paces split us up. I’ve always done my solo runs with music, but this time I tried to focus on the course, the city, the miles around me. Very empowering

  188. SBS the Vancouver Marathon sounds awesome! Glad that you learned something about yourself that day.

    I ran both my first and second half marathons within a week of each other – April 28th and May 5th. I learned that I really have recovered from my hysterectomy. Fibroids and tumors don’t control me any more!

  189. My latest lesson from a run is ‘It’s Okay.’ Meaning if the run is slower than anticipated, it’s okay. If the hill seems tougher than last time, it’s okay. If I need a walk break, it’s okay.

  190. I have grudgingly learned that conditions I can’t control can affect my run, and when that happens I have to just go with it and not be hard on myself. This became clear at my first half, this year’s Princess. I ran with the remnants of a sinus infection, in temperatures unexpectedly warmer than what I had been training in, even though I live in Orlando. I quickly realized that the race wasn’t going to go quite the way I had planned. I finished 15 minutes slower than expected, and I was bummed at first. Then I quickly smacked myself upside the head and remembered that I just ran 13.1 freaking miles. And just as quickly decided that there was no way I was going to be one and done, and started planning the next race!

  191. I’ve learned that I can push myself further than I thought. I need to make my brain quit telling me to walk when my body can keep going.

  192. I’ve learned that I can run outside without listening to music… there’s so much to see and smell and listen to, now that spring is here.

  193. I have realized that I don’t always love running while I’m
    Doing it , but absolutely love it after I’m done !!

  194. I’ve learned that running with my grandkids may not be a hard workout, but it is a great experience, for both of us.

  195. I have learned that I really am stronger than I think. And that I love to sing out loud while on long runs!

  196. I’ve learned that I’m totally addicted to running & am pretty stubborn! I’ve had some ankle issues & don’t like having to miss runs or have to walk out the pain. I’m also currently dealing with ITBS & going to PT for it…I’m having to take a short break (hopefully) from running, which is killing me! I want to be on the road!

  197. Recently, I’ve learned that I’m better in races than at home; before I was really at the same pace. But when I run with ”my girls” out on Race Day, I can go faster and harder than alone. (We live too far apart to train together) This tells me my body is willing but I gotta train my brain to be able. Working on that now…..

  198. During my 10 mile race this past Sunday, I learned that my body is capable of much more than I’ve been requiring it to. While of course there are physical limitations, my biggest stumbling block has been more mental than physical.

  199. I learned that I need to consume more GU!! I have a sensitive stomach and am weary of cosuming much other than applesauce and water pre and during run. At the SF Mother Runner Party SBS suggested I give GU a trial run and so I did during my weekend runs. I ran a half this past Sunday and fueled with two GUs…happy stomach, happy pace, and PR’d a Sub 2HR (1:53) time! So thank you SBS and GU Jet Blackberry & Chocolate!!!

  200. It really is possible to negative split a race … you just have to kick your arrogance to the curb before the gun goes off.

  201. I have learned that almost always, my head gives in way before my body and that I just have to “push through” those negative voices. Also, I have learned to appreciate all my runs, even the bad ones, because they all count in the end.

  202. I recently ran my first 10K. I finished almost 5 min faster than I had hoped. (thanks, TLAM.) but when I finished, I still had energy. I felt like I could go at least another mile or two. (Thanks, race adrenaline. ) what I learned is that I’ve become too comfortable with running comfortably. As a new runner, I’m not yet in tune with my body and when I can- should push it a little. I back off when it gets hard. Kind of disappointing to learn, but I’m glad to know so I can get mentally and physically stronger as I peep for two halfs in the next 10 months.

  203. What I learned this weekend is that crossing the finish line with my boys is sweeter than any PR ever!

  204. i have realized that if i didn’t race as fast as my last, its ok!! i’m 50ish and at least i am out there running!

  205. I’ve learned that I really can run a steady, but challenging pace by just listening to my body (but I do still like to use my Garmin to confirm it). 🙂

  206. After a half marathon this past Saturday, I realized that if you are used to music on your weekly long run, you should NOT forgo the use of the iPod and music during the actual race. I didn’t hit the wall but I sure did bonk the last 4 miles. Sometimes the cadence of a rhythm is required for this mother runner!

  207. I’m coming back from an injury and I’ve learned that it can take a long time to feel normal, but that I’m not as slow as I thought I’d be!

  208. I have learned that running with a friend is EXTRA therapy time for me. Gosh, I SO look forward to the runs with my running friend twice a week.

    *** Congrats SBS on finishing your 10th marathon ! That is so amazing !!! ***

  209. Congrats SBS & Molly! I had a marathon like that a couple years ago SBS and when I trained/raced the next one I kicked some serious mama tail :). I’ve been temporarily sidelined due to a cycle injury while training for my first tri. I had an awesome trail race lined up this weekend with a great running friend that I had looked forward to racing. However, I had to make the decision to either push out this present race in pain with a huge chance of compounding my injuries or press pause for the bigger picture of healing and many more months of racing in my future. In the end I tearfully learned it is ok to NOT race and that sometimes, like in this circumstance, it was/is the wiser choice. It was very hard but I have zero regrets. 🙂

  210. Taking time off from running to rest an injury really does work. I ran pain free this morning and I haven’t stopped smiling!

  211. I learned at mile 20 of the Tallahassee Marathon that I really did like Gu better than the Accel Gel I had been using. What’s bad, is that I was out of Gu at that point, so I had no choice. As I forced down the Accel gel, I couldn’t help but sense that I would have felt better and run faster if I’d had Gu instead!

  212. In a 10 mile race last month, I learned that I just really like racing. Even all by myself and in cold weather conditions, I still had a great time getting out there with other runners and enjoying the challenge.

  213. I’ve learned that sticking with a training plan is going to get me where I want to be on race day. But, when everything falls apart (sick kids, work travel, under training, bad nutrition, lack of sleep) leading up to a race I have a secret well of determination to draw on that will see me through. I think that is because I’m a mother. I never seemed to have that kind of mental fortitude before I had kids.

  214. I also ran the bmo van this weekend, so amazing! It was my first half, and I learned a lot. I learned that ineed to invest in a fuel belt to avoid the water tables. Also, that putting my phone, post-race, into the pocket that had held my gel is a bad idea, oops! Above all, I learned that I could do it, and I think I could have done even better! So excited to get back out there!

  215. That I can in fact run a race without headphones and do decently well, by my standards. Also, that one should probably wear long pants for a race that is near water in April in DC.

  216. My “revealing run” happened 5 months ago when I agreed to run the Richmond Half Marathon on 36 hours notice… and I was 5 months postpartum (my first)! I had been back at running for a few months but hadn’t quite made it over 6 miles, and then I agree to run 13.1?? I felt elated and giddy about doing something so crazy, something I didn’t think was possible. My obvious goal was just to finish, but I really wanted to come in under 2:30. My time was 2:25! That was when I realized that I was stronger than I thought – and sometimes you just need to do something “crazy” to be confident in your own ability!

  217. I learned last week that it can be fun to run “naked” (sans technology). It was nice to just run without music or my Garmin.

    Congratulations on finishing your TENTH marathon, SBS!

  218. I ran a half in March and walked the first hill and figured I was just running to finish. For some reason I felt invincible at mile 3 and took a risk and pushed hard for the remainder of the race. I set a PR and learned you can plan all you like but race day changes things (this time for the better!)

  219. I ran my first 10k last weekend, and it was a challenging mud/obstacle run. I had a team, and we expected to stay together. Pretty quickly, I realized I was there to race, and they were there to play. My time was very disappointing to me, but had more to do with the waiting around for team members than any lack of energy or effort. Lesson?? Decide in advance if you care about your time, and talk with teammates about what to do if you want to run ahead! It was fun and challenging, so all in all, a fantastic experience. And now I feel pumped to start training for my first half!!!

  220. I have learned that I have to listen to my body. I might have to take a day off of running but it will be totally worth it in the end.

  221. My learning came from my third half last weekend. One of my “deep thoughts” was RUNNING RACES HURTS! I had my Garmin, but ran instead to how my body felt. I pushed to a point where I could maintain the pain. I had a small PR and finished 15-30 minutes faster than I thought I was going to (training was haphazard this time!).

  222. I’ve learned that I need to take it easy on myself. I tend to have this negative inner voice who believes I will fail at everything I try to do. But during my most recent workouts I’ve consciously worked on shutting up that voice and listening to the wee little positive voice in my head. My workouts have been much more successful lately.

  223. I learned that I am stronger than I think I am, and that every run, no matter how hard, is a joy and a blessing.

  224. I’ve learned that there is always a do or die moment in every race where I can give in or I can choose to keep pushing and go for it. If I don’t go for it, I find myself disappointed afterward, living in What If Land. I can’t stand What If Land. Better to go down fighting.

  225. I’ve been running for 11 years now. I started at a more advanced age(38) than most, but have learned lots of things in that time. I’ve learned age is not relevant; training will match results; mental imagery really works; runners are both crazy and wondeful at the same time; and Gu is the only fuel that works for me!

  226. During the Pittsburgh half marathon this past weekend, I learned first-hand that seconds at the beginning will cost you minutes at the end… I went out way too fast in Pittsburgh — nearly PRing my mile time. I ended up slowing down A LOT. Was walking by the end. I will never go out lightening fast again!

  227. I learned a couple of things on my recent 12 miler: 1) I may suffer from multiple running personality disorder as my mood flipped about 4 times during the single run. 2) I have no qualms about talking to myself OUT LOUD as I run. 3) Adam Levine and Maroon 5 perk me up. Every time.

  228. Just completed half marathon #3 this weekend. I learned that I can run faster and stronger than I thought. I was still passing people at mile 12!!

  229. I am a newbie runner so I learn something new almost every time I head out. What to eat/not eat, what time of day do I feel better running during, how to dress (not too hot, not too cold, just right!). Lots to learn and enjoying that I am blessed to get the opportunity to learn it!

  230. I have recently learned that I actually enjoy speed intervals. I hated them (and generally skipped them) when I was trying to pinpoint short distances with my Garmin out on the road, but then I discovered the local middle school track. I can’t wait until my next race to see how it pays off!

  231. that it is nice not to watch the clock…just run by feel and lots of times that is faster than the pace I might have wanted to hit anyway! Makes it relatively low pressure which is nice too!

  232. I have learned that I can hold an entire conversation without feeling out of breathe! I recently started as a 5k clinic instructor and worried that I would not be able to keep up or have enough things to talk about during the training runs!

  233. I’ve learned that I actually like running. (After the first mile. I can’t seem to like ANYTHING during the first mile….)

  234. While training for my 3rd half that I had to DNS due to a wonky calf, I learned that I love, love, love the Peanut Butter Gu!!

  235. I’ve learned that I am a great pacer! The last 5K race I was in the person behind me thanked me for keeping a steady pace because she was trying to catch me! Love it! My time wasn’t all that great, but I did keep it consistent!

  236. What I learnt at my last race is that it is okay to run 11 minute miles and pull in near to the last runner on the trail. I also learnt that I can thankful and proud that I can get out there and finish the race!

  237. I’ve learned in some recent runs that I can push through the desire to take a walk break! (But sometimes a quick walk is what you need)

  238. Great race report! I learned that running with my group always pushes me more than I would push myself. If I’m by myself I tend to give up easily. Need to work on my mental game!

  239. I have learned that having to run 10+ miles in training no longer scares me. I look forward to hitting the road in the early morning and enjoying the run!

  240. Since I haven’t been running for three months due to injuries, I recently got back to it with a very slow run/walk. I learned how much I really miss running, and it surprised me a little. Hopefully I’ll be back to my old self soon.

  241. I’ve learned that the perfect fueling for me for a marathon is 5 Honey Stinger chews, plus one Chocolate Raspberry Gu Roctane, plus one Espresso Love Gu. Worked like a charm in Boston!

  242. On a recent trail run I learned that I CAN push two kids in a jogger up (and down) a mountain on an un-paved trail! It was exhilarating and oh so much fun!

  243. I have found that I have more determination and will power than I thought. I got out and got a good 6 mile run in the chilly windy rain the other morning! And I made myself stick to my training plan when I was feeling a little yucky and knocked out 8 good hill repeats!

  244. I just did my 5k on May 5th for my favorite cause, Outpacing Melanoma. I learned that I am strong and can keep up with my male BRF’s. I set a new PR and won 1st place in my age group. Of course I was wearing my BAMR shirt!

  245. I’ve learned that if I want to run a half marathon at a specific pace I should probably not slack on my tempo and race pace runs during training! 😉

  246. I’ve learned that I am way stronger than I ever thought! Never thought I’d be a runner and until recently I still had a hard time calling myself a runner but with 900+ miles under my belt in less then a year I KNOW I am a BadAss mother runner!!!!

  247. After my very 1st ever 1/2 this past Sunday, I learned that I CAN finish a 1/2 Marathon and do it faster than I ever thought I could (2 years ago I didn’t even think I could finish a 5k)!

  248. On my most recent run I learned that my foot wasn’t healed so I couldn’t run my full marathon last weekend. LOL Other than that….

  249. I ran my first half marathon last weekend. I learned that I need to toughen up during the last few miles. Also, I learned that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself after a race 🙂

  250. Recently realized that I can run faster than I think I can. Ran 1 km in 5:41 minutes (approx 1.6 miles). In a recent 10 km I came in under 1 hour (58:41 minutes), I thought that the course must have been maybe 0.5 km shorter but now I know that I am faster than I used to be…

  251. I learned that pain is NOT my enemy, self doubt is. Also that I really run my best races when properly fueled! Last race was a 10miler and I PR’d by 20min!! yay me 🙂

  252. I learned that even though I came in dead last in the 5k I ran with a friend recently (THANK YOU TLAM 5k finish it plan!) that meeting my time goal of finishing in less than 45 minutes (I’m a very slow runner) was still awesome!

  253. I am just training for my first 1/2 marathon. This week I ran the longest I’ve ever run–11 miles. It felt great and I can honestly say I never thought I’d “enjoy” running for 2 hours straight. I guess I should learn…”never say never” 🙂

  254. The thing I’ve learned about myself recently is that I am a much better runner than I thought I was and I can run longer and faster than I ever thought I’d be able to. I feel like I can conquer the world when I get home from a run now. Up until a few months ago, I was slow and sluggish and felt like an imposter. Now, I feel like a different woman 🙂

  255. I just ran a half this weekend and everything from finding a parking spot, the walk to the start, and lining up in the corrals, went in my favor. I was totally at peace and took advantage of all around me, including the morning sunrise. I learned I can dig deep, get up three miles of hills and then keep the gas on to finish by clicking off the mile markers, one at a time, telling myself it is just a walk in the park. For the record this is the fourth time I’ve run this half and the best time I’ve done with this mental digging!

  256. I learned that I need to control my emotions at the beginning of a race. I tend to get so excited and use up too much energy in the first few miles. I need to learn to slow down and pace myself better!

  257. My second marathon was Sunday 5/5 and I learned that even though I did everything right, followed 5 months of training to the 0.5 mile, went to PT to correct my weak gait (it worked! No knee pain!!!) and fueled perfectly, I’m forced to come to terms with the fact that I will not be a Boston runner. But I DO know that I can kick butt in everything from 5K to 13.1, so I will keep on keeping on! Plus I learned that my 14 year old son is proud of me. I cried a little as he stammered and blushed when he told me, too! Nothing beats that feeling.

  258. I just did my second marathon on Sunday and was 35 minutes faster than the first one completed 17 years ago. The two races were such different experiences especially mentally. I was a head case when I was younger in the end of the race (I’m sure it didn’t help that I didn’t consume any calories during that first race, GU had just come out on the scene) and this time although I was in a lot of pain for the last four miles, I knew I had the inner strength to keep moving and finish strong. I got a BQ time by almost 5 minutes. I had 3 GU’s along the way and probably could have used another one.

  259. I learned that I am able to keep pushing the pace even when I feel like puking in a race. Hoping that will pay off this weekend when I race again – come on, new PR!

  260. Thanks for the report.
    I have so much to learn…I’m running my third half-marathon in three days, and I’m nervous. My runs have been all over the place, and I’m not even sure what pace to run. These are my goals 1) get my half-marathon pace to 10 min / mile (currently it’s 12ish) 2) Run the Portland Marathon in 2014 3) Do more trail runs.
    I know that that’s not anything I learned, but that’s all I know!

  261. I learned that I CAN run a half marathon. I trained up to 12 miles and am ready for my first half this weekend!

  262. This sounds funny, but as I run I’ve realized that it’s OK my training hasn’t been absolutely perfect, and my race probably won’t be perfect, either. It’s OK. Just getting out there is an accomplishment.

  263. Still trying to come back from back-to-back babies and approaching 40, I have felt disappointed with my pace and overall lack of fire and energy during my runs. So, I REALLY appreciated this post! What I’ve been learning in my runs? The importance of showing up. I’m learning to let go of all of my “shoulds” and to just show up, rediscovering my love of running, which ultimately has little to do with speed.

  264. I recently ran my third marathon (2nd in one month and 3rd in 6 months). I was disappointed in my time as I was hoping to PR it, but a chest cold left me fighting for air most of the race. I learned that I need my BRFs beside me to help push me and that reading encouraging posters held by crowds do a lot to help alleviate running boredom.

  265. In January I had a endometrial ablasion. IT took me out of running and all activities for 3 weeks. then another 3 of slowly getting back into it. I gained 10 pounds. But I am running. I did a half two weeks ago. Not bad. Not a good time. But not at all my WORST. DAMMIT!!! I felt so bad. Then last sunday, I had a freaking abysmal run. NOT FUN. over 2.5 hours to slug thur 18km. 4 potty breaks. Ass chafe. But when I got done, went back to the run store we meet up at…one of my gals said…look you did it. Its done. Even terrible is better than no run. Make every mile count. I got home, had a wee cry in the shower. ANd GD it. yeh. it counted and no matter how BAD i wanted to quit, I didnt. I will remember that next run!!! Keep the momentum.

  266. I’ve learned that I’m much stronger than I thought, that it’s fun to run with a friend, but if you want to push it’s ok to leave that friend behind.

  267. I’ve learned that I have a love hate relationship with my bowels. It seems I always have to stop mid run 10-15 minutes into my run to go potty. Oh well, I just deal with it and keep going. 🙂

  268. I’m trying to come back from baby #2 who unexpectedly required open heart surgery 2 months ago. Between the stress and sleep deprivation I’d really been struggling with my runs. Now that my baby is “cleared” to ride in my jogger, we set out recently and I realized that we will both recover at our own pace and I need to be happy (at least temporarily) with just getting out there pace and distance be dammed. That’s a pretty big leap for me as I’m uber competitive and always pushing my pace and distances.

  269. I LOVE a good, long race report! I want EVERY detail!! I was trying to find out your race results on Sunday night online! Good job!! You are very inspiring.

    On my recent long run I realized I don’t have the thighs for competition shorts (butt-huggers) and I DON’T have to suck up the $40 I spent on the running shorts that “DON’T RIDE UP!”. I don’t care that I sweated in them for 2 hours. I washed them up and returned them for a full refund and did not feel guilty one bit!

  270. I just ran my first half (thanks to the Finish It plan!), and I learned that while its super cool to pass people, and feel like a stud, if I don’t keep great track of MY time I will go to fast and die at the end. And crossing the finish line looking like death does not make for great post-running pictures.

  271. I’ve been working on my pace for the half, but on a recent fun-run 5k, my plan was to PR and just see how fast i could go. My daughter was planning on the kids’ dash 1k and at the last minute she asked if she could run with me. When she said, “mom, i want to run with you, but i don’t want to slow you down,’ (she knew i was working on speed) my decision was made. I told her that running together was far better than running fast, and that’s what we did. It was awesome.

  272. That I CAN do it! The farthest I have run is a half but I know I can run it. Maybe not in the time I wanted or the race I wanted but I CAN do it!

  273. I’ve learned that it is perfectly acceptable to do run/walk intervals, even during the race. When I first started, I thought I had to run and if I walked then that was giving in. Now, I have embraced the intervals and that is helping me push even farther than I ever thought I could go.

  274. I have learned not to play “Chicken” with cars. As mad as drivers make me when they won’t move over and I am on the edge of a ditch, it’s better not to get hit. Still makes me mad though.

  275. I learned from running that some flavors of GU I love and others just remind me of swallowing a BJ!

  276. I’ve learned that sometimes just finishing is enough of an accomplishment and enjoying the journey can be far more rewarding than meeting a specific goal time.

  277. My husband and I ran a half marathon on Sunday, which was his first race ever. While we had agreed to run our own races (mostly because I was sure he would beat me), I found myself ahead of him and wondering if he was ok. I learned that it wasn’t all about how fast I was running, but if he was doing ok. I learned that passing on a love of running to him, helping him train, and get ready for a race, was as satisfying for me as my own race.

  278. That even though I always thought visors were for old ladies and dorks, they’re awesome. ( or maybe I’m just ok w being an old dorky lady now :).

  279. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t always assume the person in front of me in the race knows the correct route! Listening to my gut and NOT turning where they did may be the way to go!

  280. I recently learned that running and crying don’t really mix – especially after doing a GU. Sunday, I ran a very strong 10 miles, thinking about my dog whom I had to put down a few days earlier. At mile 4, I did a Peanut Butter Gu and immediately started bawling. The Gu and the crying turned into gagging which intensified the tears. I ended up cracking up and felt such relief! Laughter is such good medicine.

  281. I run much better if I actually drink something during a long run! I might have taken sips during my half marathon training but my friend (a coach, although not mine) said drink at every aid station – no exceptions! I listened and I felt strong, strong, STRONG (but still slow)!

  282. Congratulations to you both on your marathons!

    I completed my first marathon the same day as yours–Flying Pig, in Cincinnati–and what I learned from this run/race weekend, is that no crazy challenge is out of bounds if you have the support of those you love. I never thought I’d be running a marathon, but I did it, even if it took me 5 hours! And we had some nutty obstacles along the way.

    My partner, our 11-year-old and I, all had to sleep in our car two nights before the marathon (that’s the most crucial night’s sleep pre-marathon too, right?!) because our car broke down on the road, in a small university town on graduation weekend, which meant EVERY SINGLE HOTEL ROOM IN TOWN was sold out. We made it to the plaza with the town’s one car rental place, around midnight, hoping there would be an available car the next morning, and slept in our station wagon, brushing our teeth etc at Starbucks the next morning.

    Anyhoo: got a rental car, made it to Cincy, ran the race, recovered, went back to the small town to get our now-fixed car, and drove home….before our car broke down again two hours later and started spewing smoke on the freeway just outside Detroit. We made it into D-town, got a new rental, family car was towed, is now being fixed and I guess we have an excuse for another road trip this weekend as we go to pick up our car.

    Was everything worth it? Without a doubt, yes! Made for an amazing race weekend I’ll never forget. My family was with me every step of the way (not literally on the course, obvs) and it made me realize how lucky I am.

  283. I’ve learned that going for a run after push mowing my lawn doesn’t yield a spectacular pace. 🙂

  284. Way to go, Sarah on completing your marathon! I’ve enjoyed listening to you discuss your training on the podcasts, so I’m super proud of you!!

    My last race was so very long ago because the two I was signed up for in 2013 were both cancelled by the race organizer (just happened that both races were by the same organizer that suddenly went out of business just weeks before the first of the two); but what my last race experience taught me was that I’m always capable of more than I think I am. It seems impossible at times, but then you push through and realize that you actually LIKE the challenge!

  285. Thank you! I needed that inspiration. Ran my 1st and lat marathon (SF hills and all) last summer and immediately registered for this years 1/2, again. I haven’t felt inspired as the race 6 weeks away. Advice for those of us who don’t push has hard as we can? I finished the last miles of the marathon fast. Should of pushed it more on the flats…

  286. In a recent 5K, I learned that if I run by effort, instead of by pace, I may actually run a PR. I didn’t necessarily run a PR at this last 5K but I know I’m capable of doing it if the course wasn’t as hilly.

  287. I have learned that I have to walk hills and then can recover my pace and feel way better than pushing up those darn hills!

  288. I trained my friends to do their first 5K so it was a short race for me. I was jogging at their pace which was slow for me, but I was there to be supportive and not PR. Trying to help other find the joy of running. With a mile to go my friends told me to take off. So I did. I was surprised that I could go so fast after training with them at a slow pace. It felt great. I learned that the body is a marvelous thing. It can do things that you never thought possible.

  289. I learned that hard work pays off and to dig deep when it’s needed. After a 12 minute PR in Philly last November, I was more focused than ever and took 4 minutes off my last ten miler and 6 minutes off of my last half marathon two weeks ago. I’ve learned that if I push myself and focus, I CAN do it!

  290. what I’d like to learn… to use GU. I’m terrified of the consistency, so that’s kept me from shelling out the $bucks$ required for a test run, but it’s getting harder and harder to chew and swallow my pre-portioned bite-sized bits of Lara Bars when I’m huffing, puffing, and otherwise slobbering all over myself in the middle of a race.

    what I’ve learned on the run… 1. That I’m stronger than I thought. 2. That it’s the ‘doing’ that matters – it’s what keeps me centered in my life and what has inspired my friends to start. 3. That there’s tremendous power of the mind over the body, especially when ‘purpose-driven’ – prayer for a particular person(s) per mile or a run in honor of a particular person(s) or cause.


  291. I’ve learned I have to be stronger mentally. I pretty much just gave up as my BQ time passed me by on my last marathon, and then I bawled for hours at the disappointment. However, I am going to suck it up and run another marathon in a week (3 weeks after last disappointing race) and hope I can get the mental happiness to pull me through the hard spots! (uh, that would be any mile past 18. haha)

  292. Great report, Sarah! It totally hit home with me since I was there running it and my feelings were almost identical to yours – even the feeling grumpy at the start because I knew how hot it would get and it worried me! I was about 25 mins slower than I had hoped for.

    But what I learned while persevering on Sunday was that I didn’t have to be disappointed in myself for being slow. Just training for months for a marathon is an achievement. Crossing that finish line is the icing on the cake. And maybe next time the weather will co-operate and it will be that magical marathon experience that comes along every once in awhile. I’m just happy to be running since I turn 50 in a month and also my marathoner hubby just found out he may have to hang up his running shoes. So now I enjoy every run I take, fast or slow.

  293. I have learned I can conquer lots, like set a new PR on a 5k race a year after I delivered my daughter!

  294. I’ve learned that I’m more competitive than I think I am! Also, I need to learn to pace myself MUCH better:)

  295. I’ve learned numerous lessons running 4 half marathons but, the one that sticks out like as sore thumb is seeing my fan club( my husband and daughter) at mile 11/12 is the vision I need for that last little boost of energy to pick up the pace and finish.

  296. Loved your race recap, Sarah. I was thinking of you on Sunday.
    This past year after too many episodes of injury, I’ve worked harder through Pilates and PT to make my body stronger overall. And I’ve learned to my surprise that there are still PRs to be had, even at 50!

  297. I learned that I have to run my own race. Stick to my race plan and not let others’ paces distract me 🙂

  298. I have recently learned that I like listening to music while I run. For more than 10 years, I never listened to music on a run and assumed I would not care for it. However, I started listening to your podcasts on long runs and then switched to music when the podcast was over. I’m surprised at how much music helps keep my pace moving too.

  299. In my last training run with Girls On The Run I learned that I can sprint really fast when properly motivated by an 8 yr old. Also, that I need to start pushing myself to keep running when I want to walk. I think I’m taking it too easy and letting my mind tell me I’m tired, when really I can keep going.

  300. I’m too hard on myself. I missed my goal time by 1 minute and was mad at myself for weeks. I’m over it now but it was rough.

  301. I learned that I really have a solid base pace. My last three half marathons were within 3 seconds of each other. this is the first time I have a really solid feel about my race pace and I can use it to adjust my training this summer and try for a PR in a fall marathon.

  302. I’ve learned that I can push away the “poor me miles” by thinking of my mom – who at my age was diagnosed with MS and could not walk a few feet let alonw run 26.2

    I’ve also learned that I cannot tear into a GU without getting completely sticking – so I grab two cups of water at the next aid station – one to drink and one to wash.

  303. I learned that I am not gonna keel over and die if I run fast enough to get a bit out of breath for a couple of minutes! 🙂

  304. I’ve learned just this week that I need to just get comfortable with being uncomfortable for while post-baby until I find my groove again, and that I feel so much better when I’m done for the day before the kids get off to school.

  305. I’ve learned that running can be both an escape from life and a celebration of life – sometimes at the same time.

  306. In my last 5k, I learned that people still look at you funny when you run pregnant. Luckily there were just as many who cheer you on.

  307. My Half marathon showed me that running a Half is much like a birthing plan… It sounds great until you start running!

  308. After giving birth to baby girl #2 2 months ago, I’ve learned that I’m ready to start hitting the pavement again and I can’t wait to sign up for my first race as a Mama of 2! Gu is the best stuff for 1/2 Marathon training and I hope to need it soon!

  309. I’ve learned that I need more positive thoughts in my head to keep going. I’m too quick to be hard on myself, tell myself I should stop, slow down, etc. It makes a world of difference if I can just be a little more upbeat!

  310. I learned to listen to my body and actually respect what it was telling me. I had a 13 mile long run I had to postpone to a Monday due to family obligations on the weekend. I also had to cover a small little of window of time at a local protein shake shop prior to the run. Got home, changed, decided I was going to do 2 6-mile loops around my neighborhood and then a quick half mile out and back to complete the 13. I got barely 2 miles in and realized something just wasn’t right. I felt awful. I turned around at 2 and ran a total of 4 thinking that I’d just switch up the plan and rearrange my week. Slowed to a walk up my street and immediately my left glute cramped up, and later that day, my right calf at the lower insertion point got all angry. I rested for a day – eased into an easy run on the ‘mill thanks to our horrendous weather up here in Duluth, and was pleasantly surprised how good I felt. I even did the strides at the end as the program stated. The next day was a good run as well, so I was all set to run easy and then I was all teed up for my tune-up half marathon on Sunday. I got the WORST flu virus I’ve had in a long time on Friday when I woke up. Fever for 4 days, had to bag the half-marathon (something I’ve NEVER done), and finally felt better just yesterday. That crappy run and the after-effects were my body telling me – there’s something brewing….and for once I listened.

    Now, of course I’d be running right now, except 2 of my 3 girls are home sick. Sigh…there’s always tomorrow.

  311. I enjoyed the race report, thanks! What I learned most recently about my running is that I do not like to chew gum on a run. I kept hearing how it helped people keep their mouths moistened, so I figured I’d give it a try. Did not work for me at all! My mouth was gooey and way too sweet. I won’t try that again.

  312. This past weekend I ran the Tacoma City Half only a week after my Heroes Half in order to qualify for the Half Fanatics Club. I was seriously struggling around mile 9 and even considered walking due to the heat and muscle fatigue of races two weeks in a row. Around mile 10 another runner turned to me and asked if I wanted to run together. That was enough for me to make it through my mental barrier and PR! Long story short, I learned that I enjoy racing with someone that can push my limits.

  313. Thanks for the reace report – I was wondering how you did. It was such a lovely day here but hot and I thought about you running. I was hoping the clear skies and beautiful views would be a great backdrop and hopefully a distraction from the heat. We don’t want to complain too much – it’s been so cold and grey for so long we needed the sunshine to cheer us all up! In my recent runs I’ve realized I don’t like running in hot weather so I need to switch back to early morning runs.

  314. I’ve learned that my goal is to just stick with it for the ret of my life. I’ll never be super speedy (i have a decent shot at middle of the pack awards), but I want to be the 80-year-old who wins age group at the 5k in just under 1hr 🙂

  315. Great race report, Sarah! I’ve been wondering how it went and so I was grateful for the blow-by-blow. Good for you for listening to yourself and enjoying the race in spite of the difficulties at the beginning.

    Recently, I learned that I really, really do love running with music as opposed to without. I have done some outdoor runs without music lately, and unless I have someone to talk to, I really do feel like I run stronger and faster with some tunes!

  316. I’ve learned that slow is relative. Running is a gift & no matter my pace, I should be thankful that I CAN run.

  317. I have learned so much about myself. I have learned that I can do anything I put my mind to and I have the power to quiet my head when I hear internally or externally “I can’t”. A bad run or a bad food day doesn’t mean all my training gets derailed. I have the power to take back my plan and make it happen. Also running calms me, I have the best thoughts about how to resolve work or family issues on my runs. Best of all I’ve learned I’m OK with ME.

  318. I have learned that my body is much stronger than I ever thought possible and my favorite GU is Mandarin Orange.

  319. I learned that despite wanting to exercise 7 days a week my body does best with some rest. It’s hard to take a day off but I feel so much better when I do!

  320. So glad to read Sarah’s account of Vancouver. As I head into my fourth Half Marathon I feel under-trained, sidelined by achillies issues, and not as well trained as in the past. I had registered for the full Marathon but realized that goal was not going to happen this year so I switched my registration. Feel lousy about that but I don’t want to get hurt… I still love to go out for a good run and have fun. I don’t want to make it unpleasant… I keep thinking that I will go and just do my best on the day of. So here I go.. less than two weeks until I step over the starting line!

    The Gu would be great to stick in my pockets!

    Thanks, Beth

  321. On 5/5/13 I ran my first full marathon at Tacoma City Marathon. It was the first time I followed a training plan and went into the race feeling invincible. The first 20 miles flew by easier than a training run then I hit a wall. I lost all my goals in those last 6 miles EXCEPT the sub 5 one. I finished in 4:53:54.

    I know you are not supposed to do anything different on race day, but I did most everything different. I ran with someone and talked with them the first half. I only used music the second half when by myself. I forgot completely about fueling and felt it. I took the time in the race to enjoy the things and people around me.

    What I learned most of all is that (1) it was FUN to run with an talk to someone. and most importantly (2) PROPER FUELING IS VERY IMPORTANT.

  322. I’ve learned that no matter how bad your day is going or how tired you feel… a run makes it all better. It’s amazing how I feel once I get past that first mile, I just have to smile and thank myself for taking the time to run.

  323. First, LOVE a nice long race report Sarah. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can stretch race details out 3-5 pages out when I type them up.
    Second, (to officially enter your contest)….Don’t underestimate the value of starting off the marathon at a slow pace. Running a negative split is completely gratifying (and less painful).

  324. I’ve learned that I am terribly emotional during a race. Signs, cheers from friends, and the finish lines are all huge motivators for me, and I almost always cry when I cross the finish line (no matter how long the race.)

  325. I learned in my recent 1/2 (in which I set a PR by about 15 min!) that if I start slow, I can speed up. Sounds very simple, but it has been so hard for me to do! This time, I ran with two different friends who were a bit slower pace than I was ultimately planning to run which kinda forced my feet a little. That enabled me to run the last 5 miles faster than my planned pace and resulted in my fastest 1/2 to date!

  326. *tears* LOVED your race recap. thank you so much for sharing that. you indeed are a girl on FIRE! makes me think of dimity’s post a bit back about what is your brave?…and this marathon seemed to be yours. doing it at your pace and enjoying the moment for all it is. HIGH FIVE!!!! you inspire 🙂

  327. I have learned that my asthma gets the best of me while running 🙁 I just did a 10k race where I couldn’t catch my breath at all and while it was still a pretty good time for me (cold and all), since it was a combo race (5k/10k with most doing the 5), I almost came in last place which did some damage. Think I will be sticking with the 5k’s for now 🙂

  328. Dear Sarah, I love this post! It was so awesome to read about all of your emotions and that you validated that it is ok to not race all the time but to run for the pure enjoyment and satisfaction of running. Sounds like you learned alot about yourself during this marathon, despite having run 9 of them already. So inspiring!
    What did I learn about myself during my last race? To trust in myself and my training and to just go out there and enjoy the experience. I did just that and really had a good race. I also learned to be grateful for the experience because I know not all races will be like that.

  329. I have learned that there are just some things you can’t control and you have to take it in stride and adjust your plan.

  330. I’m beginning to learn that a bad run does not mean disaster. Whether failing to hit my pace in my mid-week five-miler or the first (awful) run after taking a few weeks off to recover from injury, I’m getting familiar with the feeling of “oh, okay, let’s get through this and be done with it; tomorrow will be better.” And it is.

  331. I’m fighting an injury right now so what I’ve learned recently is that it’s okay to slow down. I’m pretty competitive out there, especially with myself. I have a hard time slowing down and just enjoying the run! I’ve been trying to do that more often lately and it’s been great!
    I look to win the gu and explore that for fueling with my upcoming 1/2! Great giveaway!

  332. I’ve learned not to be afraid of the hurt. Once I got past the fear of being uncomfortable (ok, yes, in pain), it’s now like a friend that I don’t like a whole lot but don’t really mind hanging out with for a while. I know I’m not going to die from it and have on occasion, chased it. It’s been a true revelation in my running life.

  333. On a training run the other day, I was having a really hard time just keeping the legs going forward. I thought about why today was so different than other recent runs and I decided that my eating over the previous few days was not giving me the fuel I needed to do my best. So I vowed that instead of worrying about calories, I was going to think about what is the best fuel for my body so that I can run energetically and easily. I also started reading posts about fueling during the runs so I am definitely going to take water with me and start trying different options like Gu.

  334. I’ve learned that sometimes I need to back off of “training” and just enjoy “running.” I burn myself out if I don’t take some time to step back and run for fun once in a while!

  335. I am a new runner and have been mostly running about 2-3 miles on a treadmill. Today I went and hit the pavement and my mile time was almost 2 minutes per mile FASTER than what I was running on the treadmill. I realized today that I CAN run and will keep going for my goal of a helf marathon in October!

  336. 2 things here as of recent:

    1. I really enjoy running, especially just for the aspect of running. I love not being on a schedule, just hitting 3-6 miles on a whim is really working for me right now.

    and somewhere on the flip side:

    2. I really should be keeping up with some type of training. I’m not going to see any type of improvements if I don’t have a goal to work towards.

    What to do?!

  337. I’ve learned that running half marathons is a perfect distance for me! I am sure I will attempt another full in the future but just not right now….

  338. I learned the value of a different pre-race warmup. Took a friend’s advice and tried something new. What a difference.

  339. Like you, Sarah, I tend to run better and faster when I’m not a slave to the Garmin. I need to lock in at a pace, take in the sites, and enjoy myself. And I’m trying to stay true to that as I train for my first marathon this November.

  340. Sarah, I truly hope that Vancouverites, and all Canadians you met during your stay, treated you well, and that you had some time to enjoy what the city has to offer. I ran the Vancouver Half for the first time and was so impressed with the race organization, with the well planned routes, and with the spectacular scenery. I will recommend it to anyone who asks as a great place to participate in a big race event.

    It was an emotional run for me, as it was the first time at the start line since the Boston tragedy. I truly believe there is great comfort and healing in simple act of running.

    I hope you will both participate in other Canadian race events You have many fans on this side of the border and we have many, many great race events.

    And about that Gu question: I have learned not to mess with a good thing! I do what I know works, and I stay away from experimentation on race day.

  341. I’ve learned I can finish strong. I usually sputter out and walk around mile 10 or 11 of a half marathon. At the MORE half last month (I met you guys! So cool!), I ran with and encouraged a friend until mile 8. The slower pace for the first 8 miles meant I had plenty of gas in the tank for a speedy 5 miles at the end.

  342. My last marathon was in OKC at the end of April (sunny and 60s plus). I am slowly learning that there are times it’s okay for me not to PR. As much as I want to meet a goal, running can be so much more than time on a clock.

  343. In Ottawa we went from winter to summer in a week. I was struggling in the heat at the end of a long run on Sunday. I learned that I love running with a group and having support of others makes the miles go by quickly. I needed an extra walk break and I learned that slowing down is not a sign of weakness.It allowed me to regroup shake out the negative thoughts and finish the run upright and smiling.

  344. Right now, I’m learning how to go out on longer training runs in preparation for my first half marathon in September. Today I’ll be running my first 10-miler! I’ve learned how well I do when I take in a sip or two of water every 2 miles, so I’ve been running a 2 mile loop. It sounds like it might be boring, but it’s actually very motivating for me! I never dreamed that I would be able to run 10 miles! (I started C25K in November!)

  345. Sadly, during last weeks 5k, I learned that I still haven’t gotten over my mental block while running. Running a race solo, and forgetting my Garmin makes it even worse. I never *feel* strong, so when I don’t know my pace and don’t have someone to use as a guide, I give up.

  346. My recent runs have been slower due to heat and hungry. I’ve learned 2 things from this: I prefer to run when it’s a little colder and that I’m awesome for just getting out there and doing it!

  347. I learned last Monday that I’ve FINALLY moved past the last long plateau that I’ve been on. It was a beautiful, fun, energizing 5 miles instead of the drag it’s been lately. Hurrah.

  348. In my 1/2 marathon this past weekend, I learned that I underestimate myself. I had a goal of 2:20 and finished in 2:04. I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.

  349. Speaking of Gu, I learned to carry my own Gu & not depend on the course for it. I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon over the weekend and there wasn’t enough on the course. I really had to gut if out and over compensated by drinking more Gatorade which left me with a stomachache. I still PRed and reached my goal of breaking 4 hours with a time of 3:57!!!!

  350. I learned that I can run a marathon! Vancouver was my first and I loved every minute! Anything is possible because I am strong!

  351. I need to drink a LOT at the water stops, including the water I bring myself…if there are levels of hydration need, I’m in the top bracket.

  352. I’ve learned to use GU! I’m 13 weeks into a 15 week training for my first half marathon. I had always thought that it would be better to use ‘real’ food for fuel while running. Then my training partner introduced me to GU and I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment. I get why people use it now. It’s quick, easy and stays down! So what I learned on my run is that sometimes its okay to believe the hype. BTW my fave flavours are Chocolate Mint and Espresso Love!

  353. First, congrats of your marathon even though it wasn’t the time you were hoping for. I could hear the “meh” in your words. I’m sure it was a heat adjusted PR for you! I ran my first sub 2 hour half last week and I learned so much! First, after 5 years (and 8 half marathons) I’m done chasing THAT goal. On to new ones. Second, trust your training and tell your head to SHUT UP! Didn’t figure that one out until I was running through the finish line. Lastly, could never have done it without the support and encouragement of the tribe, my family, and friends. 🙂

  354. I have learned that I really do not like courses where I have to do multiple loops – I almost always cut them short. I run much farther and more energized on a course where I don’t see the same thing more than once.

  355. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that my big fat feet swell on runs longer than ten miles. I’ve learned it is possible to become dehydrated enough that you can’t pee, but feel like you have to. I’ve learned all sorts of places one can chafe that a person might not imagine.

  356. Learned: that I train solo (only runner in rural town) and I race solo (must conserve energy). Also I would like to master how to keep the lactic acid levels lower so my higher mileage isn’t a zombie jog.

  357. I learned at my full marathon in LA this year, and then seriously confirmed it at the OC marathon last weekend, that even when I am hurting (I have some serious knee damage that needs tending to), my mental state can overcome it; albeit temporarily anyway. I had debilitating pain from mile 18 on in LA, and from mile 8 on at OC. I even told a “nearby” runner (I’m always trying to chat with my fellow “mom-looking” racers, hoping for a running friend connection), that I was considering ditching out at the half marathon mark. I didn’t. I kept going and despite having to make a mile 20 emotional phone call to the hubby, begging for words of inspiration, I made it to the finish. This was my slowest full of all (I have now run 7 in 2 1/2 years), but I think I need to remind myself what a strong mental b*** I can be when I need to. I also learned that I do NOT LIKE Cliff Shot gels (at mile 19) Blech!! GU Espresso Love is theonly one for me…

  358. I’ve learned that I really can do a long run solo. I’m training for the South Bend Marathon and all my running pals are either injured or are off my particular schedule. It is a nice challenge. And I get to listen to LOTS of music! I do miss the chit chat though:-)

  359. I learned that I need to pace myself better. I went out much too fast on my first half (actually left the pace group because I felt it was too slow) and deeply regretted it at mile 11.

  360. I have learned that I can do anything that I set my mind on!!! I’m just starting to run at age 39 & I am getting stronger each day!

  361. Things I’ve learned: 1.) I like chocolate GU because it tastes like icing – kind of like a “cheat” on a normal day, but on a run it’s allowed and even encouraged! Can’t wait to try vanilla. 2.) I am not to blame for other people’s bullshit. In typical female fashion, I often take the actions of others (especially people to whom I give way too much importance) and see them as a reflection on me. On a recent long run, I was starting to obsess and beat myself up, when a new voice chimed in: “That’s on him. That has nothing to do with you.” It was a moment of clarity and I have run lighter ever since.

  362. Although I haven’t raced in a year, something I’m constantly learning (last race + recent first ever interval training) is that I’m capable of doing WAY more then I ever thought possible!! I never thought I would be a runner, let alone racing a 8:45 minute/ mile in it. Today I’m slower then that but I know that with some time and training I’ll get back to where I was.

  363. I’ve learned that new songs added to a playlist can make a WORLD of difference, just like sometimes taking the earbuds OUT in order to listen to nature.

  364. I learned in a recent charity run that it is ok to quit. My shin splints were killing me and to save myself for an upcoming goal race, I pulled out and enjoyed watching my friends finish for once. I’m usually still on the course when they finish, so it was a kick to see them cross the finish line.

  365. I’ve learned that I don’t always have to race for time. In fact, the most fun I have ever had at a race was supporting my friend in her first half marathon. I ran and just enjoyed, not worrying about how fast I would be, if my body would hold up, etc. It was a joyful experience!

  366. I have learned that sometimes you just have to listen to your body… Sometimes it turns out better, sometimes not but in the end it always turns out fine.

  367. I have learned that It does not matter when I run, or how fast I run, or what I am running to rid my mind of, I can run and that is the biggest blessing of all.

  368. I struggle a lot during races, but at the end feel triumphant. My weakest half marathon I questioned multiple times why I run. In my favorite race of all time (a 5k with my 6 yr old), I realized why I run. Today, I run because I can (my injury has mostly healed). Now trying to figure out if I want to jump on the horse again with another 13.1 this fall.

  369. I much prefer the espresso or coffee flavored gu/gels but ingesting nothing but gu for a 50 mile ultra will leave you quite nauseated for up to 2 days post race!!!

  370. I learned that in the smaller, community races, start closer to the front. Too much energy is expended otherwise trying to dodge kids, tandem runners, etc.

  371. I have learned that I need to take a step back when I am feeling tweeks or minor injuries so that I can prevent a major injury. I am 1.5 weeks away from my first marathon and really holding back on running so that I can complete the marathon that I trained for.

  372. I recently re-learned that I really like running. It sounds so silly, but it’s true! It makes me feel good.

  373. My half in March: I have more to give….enter a sub 2hr PR
    My Trail 17 miler in snow and ice: I am not strong enough yet…enter hill repeats

  374. That I can run hills! I’ve been scared to try a hillier route in my neighborhood, but I rocked it last weekend!

  375. I’ve learned on my recent half marathon that the last few miles for me are the hardest. I have to fight back the excitement of finishing and refocus.

  376. I’m training for my first marathon and although I knew training for my first marathon would be hard, it’s a million times harder than I even imagined! But, I also learned that I can do this!!

  377. I learned that sometimes it is more mental than physical when it come to racing and that I definitely need to work on my mental game.

  378. I recently ran a VERY hilly half marathon and was not sure I was going to make it at mile 11. I pushed through and was able to neat my previous half marathon time by almost 2 minutes and the previous course had been very flat. I was so proud of myself that I had stuck with it and finished strong!

  379. During this training cycle, I have learned that I like to listen to music or podcasts after 5-6 miles. I’ve never been a huge fan of listening to music because I felt like I am missing the quiet time of running. But I have found that I like to listen in those later miles when it is nice to focus on something else.

  380. I learned that my body remembered my training since December when I was sidelined for over a month (the last month of training) with knee pain that hit full force. I’m not the best at healing and being patient. During the race, which was my first marathon, I had a new flavor of GU that was amazing, by the way! Island Nectar…highly, highly recommend!

  381. I ran a trail half last weekend and I discovered that I can dig very deep, both mentally and physically. I was done by mile 9, but I managed to hang in there. Now I just need to teach myself to run my own race and I’ll be golden.

  382. A recent 10-mile race through driving rain and over non-stop hills taught me that I need to run my own pace and not worry about how fast my sister is running. I’m only 39. You would have thought I had figured that out, say, 20 years ago!

  383. My last race was a St. Patrick’s day half marathon, I learned that I really dislike running in the cold (here in MN is was in the teens). So I think that next year I will opt for the 7k instead and put my first longer distance race later into spring.

  384. During the NWM DC I learned that my body is so much more resilient than I ever would have thought a few years ago. I was faster than my goal pace for about the first half of the race, but I was mentally fatigued around mile 10-11 and significantly slowed down. But when I started the last mile I was able to dig in and I finished only 8 seconds slower than my goal (thank you speed workouts!).

  385. I am new to running, set to run my first 5k on June 1 and you know what I’ve learned? I’ve learned that I am strong and I am badass. My 12- and 13-year-old sons have told their friends that their old mom can outrun them and that is pretty cool. I’ve also learned that I’m ridiculously competitive, especially with myself,which isn’t a terrible thing at all.

  386. What I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t have a particular drive to go FAST, I just want to run strong and long and in the rhythm with my own body (you know, that conversational pace).

  387. I’ve learned that I need to run for me. Even when I want the clock to work in my favor, getting disappointed isn’t an option…I trained and have reached miles I’ve never done before. That’s what I’ve learned.

  388. I learned at my last 100 mile race that I like to have my pacer start with me just as it’s about to get dark. I had him join me based on distance but this race was in November where it got dark earlier than other 100s I’ve done.

  389. I learned that I need to TRAIN HILLS and stop pretending that I don’t live in New England where hills abound!!! Recently I ran a 10 miler in Newport, RI my hometown and even though I knew the course from years as a teenager and young adult running these same roads…I still bonked in the last 3 miles as the hills came on fast and furious!!! Oh and I learned I am not a good finisher these days…hills included!

    I am so thankful for this race recap Sarah…shows how you really truly dug deep…that the opportunity was there to quit on your race but you had to continually rechallenge yourself…makes me feel like I’m not alone!

  390. I’ve learned that although my short legs are getting older & thicker (than I’d wish they were), they are stronger & faster than many runners younger at my races. And, I am mentally tougher than 1 was 5, 10, 15 years ago. So, on days when I am feeling negative about said “thick-thighs” & having a hard run, I thank them for carrying me through these wonderful experiences…and off we go!
    ~Jennifer WB, 40yo

  391. It’s not all that recent of a run, but I learned a lot running the 2011 Chicago Marathon. In fact, so much that I am doing it again this year as a “re-do.” I learned to trust my training and my instincts and not listen to last minute advice from those who really don’t know what they are talking about (albeit with good intentions). I learned to listen to my body and when it says “I am tired,” let it rest. I learned there is no shame in walking a bit during a race as long as a marathon. I’ve also learned that I am a badass mother runner!

  392. While wrapping up training for my third half-marathon in about a 2.5 year time-span I have learned that I am actually capable of running faster than I used to think would ever be possible. I NEVER used to average less than 10 mins/mile on a run, whether it be 3 miles or 10 miles and this season of training I am seeing the vast majority of my runs averaging a 9:30 and I occasionally even squeak out a couple sub-9 min/miles. With proper training, nutrition and a little will-power, anything is possible!

  393. During a horribly cold and rainy 15K last weekend, I learned that I DO have the mental toughness to stick it out. We had raised hundreds of dollars for ALS research in honor of my MIL and I felt obligated to go through, even though the weather was abysmal.

  394. I’ve learned to not worry so much about who I beat and what my time is, I try to just enjoy that I’m out there doing it. There’s a lot of people that cannot or won’t. As long as I keep loving running I’ll keep racing.

  395. I have learned that I have LEARNED SO MUCH in the last 7 months since I started this journey called running. I listen to podcasts, read running magazines and just get out there every day, problem solve and grow. People are starting to ask me questions, and consider running themselves. And there seems to be no end in sight! 🙂

  396. Every race is different. No matter how well you train, you could go out and feel great, or just have a bad day. Just go out and have fun!

  397. I’ve learned that my even the worst/ugliest finish line photo can’t take away the fact that I felt proud, beautiful and strong crossing that finish line 🙂

  398. I learned that 1000m repeats are hard work, but that I have a superpower (MotherRunning) and I have a whole Tribe of superheroes (Other Mother Runners) whose voices ringing in my head remind me what a bad-ass I really am.

  399. I would have been ecstatic with that 4:22, especially in those conditions! Congrats! You proved to me what I realized at my last race, a half, that I need to do a better job with pacing. Last Sat, I felt great, ran too fast, and paid for it at mile 10, where I had to (shudder) walk! That advice courtesy of Jeff Galloway is good advice, and I need to remember it.

    As always, you are inspirational! Way to run it like a BAMR!

  400. I set goals last November for back to back races(5k the last weekend in April & a half marathon the first weekend in May. When I made the goals they seemed like a stretch; I doubted that I would be able to do it often. Even though I trained everyday I still wondered if I trained hard enough. I am so happy to say that I reached both my goals. This has taught me that goals can be achieved even if at first they seem impossible. Just put in the work don’t sweat the small stuff and believe you can!

  401. I’ve learned that it’s so hard for me to run my slow runs…they usually end up at a steady pace instead…I need help running at a conversational pace! I might need a buddy to run and talk with 🙂

  402. I’ve learned to appreciate running more, to view it as a gift and to enjoy that gift to its fullest on every run

  403. I’ve learned that by letting go of negative feelings during a race, it is very freeing. Strewing out with every mile split isn’t going to get you there any faster. By pushing those feelings aside, I will feel lighter, and will be able to finish strong.

  404. I’ve learned to stop hiding behind the “I am a Mom of five small kids” excuse. I don’t know if it is just pride, self doubt, or some combination of those and competitiveness. But I often tell myself and others that I am “sort of fast for a Mom of many”… I learned this by recently running a half marathon on non-specific training, I decided two days prior to it to run it, and then PR’d by 5 minutes. I went home right after the race to only find out 6 hours later that I actually placed in my age group. So.. I am capable, I am fast, and not JUST for a Mom.. for ME!

  405. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I thought! I’ve ran two 5Ks in the past month in the 22s. I *never* thought I’d get below an 8:00 pace, but the consistency and hard work is translating to progress! 🙂

  406. I regained confidence in myself and my ability to enjoy running again on a recent “maintenance” run. Trying a new route was interesting and energizing, and it helped me hit the enjoyment stage of running for the first time since I’ve come back to running after being sick (and burned out on training) for a month.

  407. that a little faster than I think is my correct pace is probably my ideal pace (so, in sum, push a bit harder than I think is ideal)

  408. On a recent women’s ride day, I realized I am my own worst enemy. I have been in touch with my fuel flavors, my frustrations, but that day, on hills and in rain, I knew that I was the only one who could do what needed to be done.

  409. I am truly content running on my own! (Seems simple, but I have been weighed down in the past by negative thoughts in my head.)

  410. I learned that I really am much more of a social runner than a competitive one! I’d rather run slow with friends than run fast to try to break a record.

  411. I realized on my last half marathon that I am not a quitter and stronger than I think I am. I wanted to stop at mile 10 but pushed through and PR’ed by 4 secs

  412. During my long runs and any races, I’ve learned to switch up my run/walk intervals if needed, to be thankful for each and every cheer, smile, and cowbell along the way (sadly no cowbells on my long runs during training), and to develop a kick-ass mix of songs to keep me moving mile after mile.

  413. I learned that my body is capable of more than I know. On Friday I was diagnosed with fairly severe anemia, no wonder my paces were slow and everything felt like so much work! On Saturday I ran my longest long run ever, 10k (week 3 of TLAM 10k Finish It plan) and I covered the distance. My iron-depleted body was extremely slow, but I had the strength to make it happen and I’m so proud. I’m working on building up my iron levels now and I can’t wait to see what I can do when they are normal again!

  414. I’ve learned the truth of a saying I saw on someone’s shirt: You don’t get what you wish for. You get what you work for.

  415. I have learned to ask myself what I’m looking for before every run. Sometimes it’s pace or distance, But other times it’s simply the feeling of accomplishment. I find I’m a much happier another mother runner whenever I know what I’m looking for on the run.

  416. I ran the Broad Street Run on Sunday. It was my first time running this 10 mile race in 6 years and three babies. I learned that I am stronger than ever (in more ways than one) and even PR’d the race!

  417. Don’t be too hard on yourself, SBS, you ran and finished smart. We’re all proud of you!

    What have I learned recently? I’ve learned that I need to run more hilly trails in prep for a trail relay that I’m doing in four weeks. I ran a full-on hilly trail 10K two weeks ago and my quads were not ready.

    Congratulations to you and Molly!!

  418. Wow, Sarah, you did AWESOME!! (I am seriously thinking of entering my 1st marathon later in the year!) 🙂

    I have learned that I need to fuel more often, and always eat something within 15-30 mins before I start a run.

  419. I learned to quiet the voice in my head telling me to slow down when my legs and lungs were becoming tired. Racing really can be more of a mental challenge than physical.

  420. I learned that training really does work! I ran my second half two weeks ago and crushed my time by 31 minutes. I listened to my body..slowed when I had to, let the crowd carry me when I was exhausted. I practically sprinted the final mile.

  421. Thanks for your post. It makes me feel better about having off training days. I learned that nutrition plays a bigger role than I thought. If I fill the tank with bad choices, I pay for it in slower and painful runs.

  422. During my marathon relay leg on Sunday, or rather after it, I realized I turn too far inward when it starts to hurt. I hadn’t noticed any of the sights along my route, including the beautiful shots that initially made me excited to run through the neighborhood where I went to college.

  423. I have gradually learned how to dress better for the weather. I am almost always cold so I tend to dress warmly only to overheat when I run. I am starting to figure out that I can start in short sleeves and will be fine once I warm up!

  424. Recently I’ve learned that for a long run to be successful I need to be prepped mentally, emotional and with nutrition. There’s nothing worse than running out of calories and fluids with miles to go. Lesson learned.

  425. I learned the hard way at the Princess Half that I am too stubborn to listen to advice about the weather. It was super hot that day, and I should have slowed down as Jeff Galloway recommended, but I kept up my pace, trying to break two hours. I didn’t meet my goal and felt sick the rest of the day.

    Go SBS for staying smart and having a fun marathon!!!

  426. I learned that I can run without my Garmin. I got up for the Pittsburgh Half on Sunday with no troubles. Was running a bit behind but that was okay as I knew I didn’t need to be there right at 6. Got into the corral and realized I never put my Garmin on. It was still somewhere in my daughter’s apartment. I had charged it the night before. Hmmm… Jumped further up in the corral and found a pace group that was doing the run/walk split I had trained with and ran without my Garmin.

  427. I learned two weeks ago that I am as strong as I need to be when I’ve actually trained well. I am a heavier runner and always feel self conscious about identifying as a runner. Two weeks ago after really training I beat my 10 mi time from last year by 12 min. It was awesome.

  428. I have learned recently that I’m turning into more of a solitary runner. I’m running just for myself now and not for the social interaction I once craved and needed to motivate me.

  429. On a recent run I found out I can actually go faster & injury free running sans Garmin.
    I A MAZ ING after realizing I finished my 5 miler much faster/quicker.

  430. The lesson I keep learning and keep integrating is that I need to get out of my own way — my head can so quickly overtake what my body is doing, and that is rarely helpful for me!

  431. I have learned that I can overcome obstacles if I put my mind to it! I had a knee injury over the winter and had to skip a half marathon I had been planning with my group. I cheered them all in at the finish line but I was determined to get back out there because the finish line as a spectator was not where I wanted to be or where I belonged. So after some physical therapy I am back out there doing my 3 rd 5 k this weekend and really am back tomy preinjury pace.

  432. Oddly enough, I’ve realized I am not a competitive runner. I love running, but don’t feel that urge to compete when I go out.

  433. That I feel hopeful I am coming back from this terrible injury. It’s been 9 months of hard work, and to be starting a runn ng program all over felt daunting, disappointing, and scary. But I felt good the other day. So hopeful. And maybe even a little confident.

  434. I have learned with any race (I train in FL) that no matter how well I train the one thing I can never accurately predict is weather. Its disheartening to train for a specific time goal and then sometimes abandon it in hopes of just finishing. But I ALWAYS finish and that’s what counts!!!

  435. I have learned that alot of finishing a race is mental~ you think you have nothing left but you just keep telling yourself to keep going

  436. I recently (along with my BRF) ran a long run (which, for now, is about 5 miles) at a near-tempo pace. I’ve learned that the work IS paying off! And, that I need a new tempo pace. It has given me to confidence to pick a 5k on a weekend we are out of town, so I’ll have a run with new (distracting) scenery to help me keep up the pace on a “solo” run.

  437. That I actually like hills! While training for a hilly 15K in March, I discovered that while difficult they make you stronger and give such a sense of accomplishment! I’ve started to incorporate them at least once a week, and don’t shy away from adding a pretty steep hill into my route in the final mile of a long run.

  438. Recently I found out that I’m actually faster than I ever imagined. I ran the second leg of a half marathon relay. My partner was Speedy Gonzalez and I must have channeled her when I got the wristband and took off. I ran a sub 9 pace for all 5.2 miles of my leg. That’s insanely fast for turtle-me. I was shocked!

  439. I just ran my first marathon and I learned so much about myself. I think what speaks loudest to me is that running those long training runs and the 26.2 miles in the pouring rain with my training partner by my side is that we both became stronger people in so many different ways.

  440. In racig I’ve learned to pace myself by how I feel and not by what my Garmin says. Nine times out of ten I’ll finish faster than I expected! I’m stronger than I realize!

  441. Doing speedwork in recent weeks has made me realize I can be relaxed during a hard effort instead of just panicked and waiting to get it over with. I have more gears than one, and it’s a pleasant surprise.

  442. I learned this past weekend when I PR’d by 4 minutes in the Long Branch Half Marathon that maybe I’m not really pushing myself when I run and could do so much better if I put a little “oompf” into it. I’ve been running since grade school, so I kind of knew this, but at 41, do I suddenly want to become competitive with myself or continue to enjoy my “run so I can eat” attitude?

  443. I’ve learned that running has taught me there are many more things to learn about myself. and the challenge and joys of running will reveal them to me slowly, steadily, easily and with difficulty.

  444. I’ve learned to accept what the day brings. Some runs feel amazing and easier than others. I have speed and nothing hurts so its a gift. And there are days when my legs are slower than my mind would want. So I accept the run I’m given on that day and feel proud for sticking with it. Some runs are tough, but I’m tougher.

  445. In my last 5k, I learned I can run faster than i think I can. I guess it’s time to apply that little golden nugget to my training!

  446. I learned that even though I may feel tired towards the end of the race, there’s always something left in the tank! I came back from a long road trip for work and drove out to a rugged trail race. I knew it would be tough but once I got out there, it was great and I finished strong!

  447. What I learned about myself on my first run – apparently I’m competitive :). I started running just for a new challenge and for my health. My first race though, when I distractedly passed a group of people I felt a thrill. I compete against myself but am very motivated by other runners too. NEver would have guessed it.

  448. I have learned (and am learning) that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. Mantras help me roll past thinking I should take more breaks!

  449. I have learned that I am stronger than I ever realized. ME? A marathoner?! I never thought I would run a mile, not to mention 26.2. I am determined and disciplined, and can keep going even under very challenging circumstances. That feels great to know!

  450. I have recently realized that having specific goals for each run is so much more important than just logging miles!

  451. That I can run up hills and feel strong even when I’m tired in a longer race. My training route often includes hills and I’m so thankful for them during hilly races!

  452. I have learned to embrace the runner I am and quit worrying about my times as much, never going to be fast, just working to improve.

  453. On my longest run when I was sore the night before, I managed to wake up NOT sore- I realized I really can do this half marathon thing!!

  454. I’ve learned that I’m happier (and faster) when I run without a garmin. I’ve been trail running a lot in preparation for a 50k and I’ve had to take a whole new approach to running, one where pace is less important than conserving energy and having fun. On Sunday, I ran my second marathon (Pittsburgh–which was also my first) and ran garmin-less (battery needs to be replaced). I had the happiest race ever … And took 27 minutes off my time in last year’s Pittsburgh marathon. True, my training was better and the conditions were in my favor, but re-focusing on my surroundings and the idea of having fun and conserving energy really worked for me!

  455. I learned Sunday at the Broad Street Run that I have am getting slower during ultra training. Last year I ran the BSR 2 minutes faster, the week after I ran Big Sur. The good news is that I kicked at the end and my last mile was my fastest! It just takes me 6 miles to warm up!

  456. Since last saturday was my first official 5k since training amr i learned that the training was worth it (best time), im better racing with a friend bc she keeps me distracted(trained mostly alone) and i learned that most importantly I CAN be a BAMR!!!

  457. I am stronger than I thought! Two weeks ago at 22 weeks pregnant, I ran an awesome, but slower half. I finished under 2 hours and felt great. I was so happy and tired but as soon as I crossed the finish line, mom duties kicked in an I had a crying 15month old in my arms and an almost 3 year old dragging me to the bounce house at the race. Life of a mother runner:)

  458. I ran a last minute 5k with my BRF and was so much more excited about her PR than I’ve ever been about my own…learned/reaffirmed that I love to see those I love succeed!

  459. That I can do things I never thought possible. Even when I feel like I have no more energy, I remind myself that I can do this and will.

  460. That I am stronger than I ever thought possible. I am persevering with a condition that could leave me bed ridden but I still feel strong. I will continue until I can’t.

  461. Yesterday I ran in 80+ temperature… The first of many, I can feel, during my marathon training in Texas! I learned that my “Run faster” mentality has got to go. This is my first marathon, and I want to finish strong. But that doesn’t mean I have to finish fast!

  462. I simply learned I was capable of being an average runner and could enjoy a race. I never thought ofcmysekfcas a true runner, just a back of the packer. I learned with sufficient training I was capable of running a good race

  463. Congrats on your 10th marathon!!! I ran my second half on 5/4 and I learned that there are good, bad, and ugly runs … training runs, long runs … disappointments happen … you can wonder why you even run … then you have one great, strong run (like this race was for me) and it completely changed my perspective on running, feeling strong and confident again. It all goes together and it’s okay. 🙂

  464. I showed up to my last race (a 10 miler) completely unprepared (forgot my water bottle, my phone/pace reminder completely dead, no watch, just not in the right mind-space) and I ran it faster than I thought I could. I learned that I don’t “need” all the props that I thought I did, I just need to show up. It was also the first race that I have run where I didn’t feel any nerves whatsoever beforehand.

  465. I prefer to run alone. Trying to run with someone who wants to talk when all I want to do is concentrate on the run is such a bummer. I’d love to be a social runner but I’m going to have to be a lot more fit to make that happen. Thanks for a chance to win.

  466. SO far in 3 years of running and 1 race, I’ve learned that I don’t really know how to push beyond a comfortable pace on a long run. Something to train for! Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  467. That I can go fast if I want to … but only if I want to. (Gotta work on that mental strength!) And I empathize heartily with the hot-weather blues, though I want to commend you on overcoming them MUCH better than I did recently!

  468. Congratulations! As an Australian who can only think in metric and is constantly fumbling over American advice/training plans in miles I can certainly sympathise …. 😉

  469. Congratulations on your 10th marathon! Glad we could provide a great day for you 🙂 I agree, though, the heat was stupid hot for Vancouver in May!

    I discovered (in the same race) that I am stubborn, in a good way. After writing off all goals due to stomach issues, the heat, and wanting to walk off the course at 14km, I finished in 5:59:29. Certainly not the race I had envisioned for myself (in fact it was a PW by 2min), but it was definitely another character builder!

  470. My first marathon was on 5/4 (Shiprock, NM) and I learned that I need to listen to my body and not do what everyone else does regarding hydrating and fueling. I ended up over-hydrated and over-fueled.

  471. Congrats on your marathon – it’s an amazing achievement, I take my hat off to you!!

    I recently learned that if your first four miles of a half marathon include two of your fastest miles ever, then the remaining 9 miles won’t be any fun 🙂 I also learned that pink sparkling wine at the end is a great way to rehydrate!!

  472. I’ve learned that I can’t just decide intellectually and physically to do another marathon–I have to be emotionally and mentally ready too. I have been toying with the idea of a fall marathon for the past couple months, and with each run, I reassess whether I have it in me. I know for sure that if I’m not feeling it, I won’t be able to do it–that’s not something I needed to consider when I ran my last marathon in 2010. Something has changed about the way I run lately–can’t exactly put my finger on it. But it has become more obvious over my last couple months of runs.