To Be a Better Racer: Lessons from the Finishers’ Chute

That’s it, no more griping about the race organizer this past weekend. It’s over and it’s time for me to (re)learn from my mistakes. The bottom line is that, as much as the race organizer had fault in my race results, so did I. The other fact is that most of what ailed me on the course was stuff I could have fixed.  And truly, my results weren’t all that bad. So, what am I working on before now and my next race?

First, going out too fast. I’m no newbie, I know better. Jeff Galloway would have been disappointed by my utter lack of control. Now, in fairness, I was worried about my friend’s knee, but she’s a big girl and does not need a chaperone. I went out too fast and not only wore myself out, but made myself sick.  I felt like vomiting well into mile 5 and by then, really had no fuel to lose.  Once I slowed down and worked smarter, not harder, I felt much better.

Second, not appropriately fueling prior to and during the race. Another newbie issue. I had thought to bring my fuel belt, but it was just one more thing to pack. My new rule, always have it the first time I race on any course/in any race. And, I had two packs of chews, wanna know how many I ate? Two chews from one pack and….well, that’s it. Two chews for 2 hours and 45 minutes of running after an hour and a half delayed start. STUPID GIRL!

Third, train for all possible courses. Yes, it was touted as a course with “gentle rolling hills”, but maybe whomever ran it and decided on the phrase really felt like it was. I think my performance regarding the course was very much tied into points one and two.  If I had taken the first half at the right pace and appropriately fueled and hydrated, who knows, I may have done better, and I certainly would have felt better doing it.

Finally, I want to just decide to be more positive in all aspects of my life.  This morning was a rough one at our house, but then I saw a friend’s husband on the way home.  This man lost his wife (my friend), last summer.  He’s lived as a single dad with his two boys for over a year, and he’s still out there biking on cool mornings, and I see him running on the track.  He will always be a reminder to me that things could be worse, harder, and not just racing issues.  His wife was one of the most positive, beautiful-hearted women that I knew and even though she fought a 5 year battle with cancer and lost, I know she would be taking my “issues” in stride.  So, for Debbie, I’ll pull myself up by my bootstraps and soldier on, with a smile.

Stinky running people…it’s just my way of life. 🙂



  1. Yes, we’ve all been guilty of starting out too fast. Since all of my runs have been 5Ks (up until my last one on Sunday, which was a 10K)…’s not so bad to start out too fast on those cuz you don’t have too far to go! ha ha. However, when you know your wasted halfway through a longer distance run….and the thought crosses your mind that you still have major miles to travel, well…that’s a different story all together.

    Our running group has been experimenting with various “fuels”….and we’ve all determined what suits our systems best. Sun. was sorta a practice for our first half next month in terms of pacing ourselves better and in terms of fueling at the right times. I was lucky and ran with a running buddy and we constantly monitored our speed….and with that, we were still going too fast for our endurance levels. It’s just hard to “slow it down” when you’re excited and in the mix with a lot of other runners. We ended up taking a 30 sec. longer walking break before mile 5 and again right before we raced to the finish. It’s amazing what that extra 30 sec. can do in terms of rebounding the strength.

    I’m sure the long wait and the resulting temp increase messed big time with your hydration and stamina….I’d be reallllllly ticked at that……especially after the DIVAS cast the blame on the runners! OMG!! How lame!

    I hear ya about trying to take the “being more positive” apporach. . .I’ve had a really bad start to my day. . .and I know there are soooooo many folks who have lots worse things to deal with. Thanks for reminding me of that.

    One of my running friends keeps telling us (when we get down) just to be thankful that we are all in such good health that we are able to do the things we do (running) while so many others only wish they could do a portion of that. She’s right!

    I loved your posts, Melanie!! Keep up the great work you are doing with your running!!!

    1. Thanks dear friend.

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