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VA Wine Country Half Marathon Race Review

12 Jun

Let’s just preface this review by saying I love wine. You know that scene in Anchorman where Ron Burgundy is drinking scotch? “I love scotch, scotchy scotch scotch. Here it goes down, down in my belly.” Yea, that’s me with wine. I will take wine over almost another form of alcohol, which makes me a terrible Brit. I’m sure my family will now disown me for choosing wine over warm beer, but I lived in France for a year, people! What do you expect? Although, living in France makes me a bad Brit too.  I need to go stand in queue or do something else incredibly British.

Now that we’re completely off-topic let’s talk about the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon. I really, really, really wanted to love this race. It has wine in the name! What’s not to love? But I just could not do it. I did not like this race at all. Some of my issues were out of the race organizers’ control (sunny and 85 by 7AM?!), but many of the issues could easily have been avoided or remedied. Many, many runners seemed to share my views, so hopefully the race organizers will make some changes to next year’s race.

Packet Pick-Up and Expo

Packet pick-up was held at a country club in the area. Unfortunately, the location of packet pick-up within the building was not very well signed, so we parked approximately 3 million light years away.  We wended our way through the country club maze, quietly mocking all the country-club elitists, and finally made it packet pick-up. A friend had given me their bib for the race, so I went through the bib-transfer process, which fortunately, was quite painless. I was able to pick up my packet and shirt within 10 minutes.

The race expo was small and we arrived at the tail end of it so most of the vendors were packing up.


I loved the shirts. They had men’s and women’s sizes so I wasn’t swimming around in a unisex shirt. And it was lovely tech-tee material, instead of cotton. However, the remaining swag wasn’t great. A cheaply-made tote half-filled with a few coupons. I want my samples!!

Transportation and Start

The race offered shuttle buses from several of the neighboring towns to the start. I was all about taking the shuttle bus because I had no idea where I was going. I triple-checked times to make sure I wouldn’t miss one of the shuttle buses. I showed up at the specified location, early (which at 5:30 on a Saturday morning is a MIRACLE), and there was no bus. A volunteer was stationed in the parking lot and as the arrival time for the bus came and went he frantically tried to call the lead race organizer, the volunteer coordinator, the shuttle company, and finally gave up and called the race’s parent company, Destination Races. No one answered, except Destination Races headquarters, who informed him there was nothing they could do.

As we prepared to drive to the start, the bus finally showed up. We all piled on and trundled off for the race start. Then the bus driver missed a turn, then he missed another turn, and another. And it became quite apparent that our driver had no freaking clue where we were going. Thankfully, we live in an age where we all have little maps in our pockets, so someone pulled up the address on Google Maps and started directing the driver.

About 3-4 miles out from the start line we came to a total stop. We were still roughly 30 mins out from the start time, so we all thought there was plenty of time. Nope. 20 mins went by and we had gone maybe a mile-and-a-half. I got on Facebook and the event organizers posted an update saying there were delaying the start by 15 mins to give everyone time to arrive.

We finally made it to the start about 20 mins after the initial starting time. I sprinted to the porta-potties and ran into ridiculously long lines. People were peeing out in the fields and behind trees because the porta-potty lines were far too long.

I gave up and jumped into the starting corral seconds before the starting gun went off.


Ugh, this course. At first it was lovely. Rolling hills and bright blue sky, with plenty of shade. It was hot and sticky, but as we had just started it did not feel too terrible. It was quite crowded the first couple of miles. There was no wave start, nor did people organize themselves according to expected pace or finish time. So runners were trying to get by walkers causing significant bottle-necking.

About a mile into the race, gnats become an unrelenting issue. From mile one until the finish they were everywhere. Flying into eyes, jamming themselves into noses, clamoring for space in mouths. Just everywhere.

Online it stated there would be roughly 1.5 miles of dirt road. Lies. Total lies. We ran largely on dirt roads from miles 4-9. Running on dirt roads is completely different from running on regular roads, or treadmills. I was not expecting 5ish miles of dirt road and wasn’t trained for it. So nearly breaking my ankle was just super-fun.

At mile 6ish they had a turn-around at a winery. It was essentially single file down and single file back, so again bottle-necking become a huge issue.

By this point, it was also blazing hot and we had lost most of that fabulous shade from the start. To compound the extreme heat, at the water stations they were only handing out tiny cups of water and Accelerade, which by the way is disgusting. I was carrying a water bottle, but had finished it by mile 8 and was having to grab 3 cups of water at every station. The water stations, like the start and the turn-around, also created serious traffic-jam issues. Anyone with time goals at this race was probably SOL.

Finish Line

I crossed the finish line and went in search of the world’s largest water bottle to consume. But, instead of full-size water bottles all they had at the finish was the little tiny cups of water and more Accelerade. I asked them to fill up my water bottle with ice and then dumped several cups of water in it. Naked Juice also had a stand and was handing out samples so I grabbed one of those. There were no bagels, or muffins, or pretzels. A volunteer handed you a small plastic baggie at the finish line with a sample-size sunflower butter packet, an apple and a banana. Not cool. I want carbs and I want lots of them after a half-marathon. I was already hot and tired and sore, and now cranky was added to the list due to a severe bagel shortage.


Not even going to talk about this. The pictures were… they were just. It was horrible. All the ways to look unattractive while running.

I have no plans to run this race again next year. The entry fee was steep given how many issues there were. I ran the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon two weeks before this which has a cheaper entry fee and is far better organized. If the race organizers’ make some significant improvements, and make sure to have bagels, then I’ll consider running it. But I’m discovering that half-marathons in the summer months equals nothing but pain and suffering.

Who had a great race experience lately?

Anyone else had a hideous race experience?


Run Me Home 5k Race Review

10 May

One day, I will actually post a race review within a respectable time frame. Today is not that day. But hey, I’m still under the two-week mark, so, win!

I loved this race. There. Review over. Thanks for reading.

Kidding! But, in all seriousness, this was a fantastic race. It was my first 5K (why, yes. I have run 3 half-marathons, a marathon and a relay race without ever having run a 5K. Good life choices, people!), and my only real hope was to finish and not embarrass myself too badly (speed demon, I am not).

I’ve avidly avoided 5ks throughout my short running career for a two reasons. One, I simply prefer longer distances. But two, I’m not fast. I am certainly faster than I was a year ago, but I get a little rage-y when I read posts by bloggers saying things like “OMG, such a slow day today. I could only run 7:30 miles”. Excuse me? You could manage only  7:30 miles? Quiet, you. If I all-out sprint I can reach that sort of pace. Jealous, much? Totally not at all. Not jealous at all.

But it was the teacher’s first race and try as I might I could not convince him that a half-marathon makes a great first race. So 5K it was. I hit up, a great resource for races in the DC area, and 10.2 seconds later we were registered for the Run Me Home 5K.

Packet Pick-Up

We picked up our packets on the Friday before the race. Packet pick-up was held at a small, local running store in the area. The process was a breeze. Because it was a smaller race, there only 2-3 people in line ahead of us.


Smaller races typically don’t have the major swag that larger races can acquire. This race still had nice, albeit cotton t-shirts (in yellow, my favorite color!), and a few coupons to local restaurants.


We didn’t arrive until just before the start, so I can’t say much about the entertainment. They had enough porta-potties to manage the number of runners participating. Even with 5 minutes to go before the start I was able to grab one without waiting in line.

The event had three races. A 10K, which started first, a 5K, and kid’s fun run to wrap it up. The start was a free-for-all, but as the race was smaller it wasn’t too bad. If we had arrived earlier we would have been in a better starting position, but as we arrived with just a few minutes to spare we ended up towards the back of the start and spent the first few minutes weaving around those who were walking.


The course was lovely. It started at an elementary school in Leesburg so you spent the first 3/4 of a mile on the road. The course then wended its way to one of my favorite places to run, the W&OD Trail. The race organizers did a wonderful job blocking off traffic while we were running on the road so you never felt unsafe. It was a semi-out-and-back course. You turned around on the W&OD Trail (probably around mile 2 or 2.25) but once we exited the trail the last 1/4 mile ran up a different road to the finish (start line and finish line were in the space spot).

Finish Line

For a smaller race, this one had a fantastic finish area. Plenty of food options (bananas, donuts, danishes), water, and freebies. There was also a trivia game taking place, but we didn’t partake. The party atmosphere was definitely in place and I wish we had stuck around a bit longer.


I know photos don’t matter to everyone, but as this was the teacher’s first race I was really hoping for a couple of good shots. The race photographers delivered. They had quite a few photographers (at the start, on the course, at the finish), and we ended up with some great shots including this gem:


Overall, this was a great little local race (and the entry fee was quite reasonable!) If they host it again next year, I’ll be back to run it!


Any DC-area runners, if you’re looking for an upcoming 5K I’m serving as a race director for the Save the Trail! 5K on Saturday, May 25 and would love to see you out there! If you’re interested, you can register here. I promise I’m not too awkward in real life. Ok, I actually can’t make that promise…I’m pretty awkward.

Any favorite race memories?

What was the distance of your first race?

How to Race with Your Significant Other & Not Kill Each Other

29 Apr

When I first met my soon-to-be-other-half (otherwise known as the Teacher because that’s what he does and cutesy nicknames involving a play on the word Husband annoy me), he was, suffice it to say, not a runner. For the first few months of our relationship he was pretty damn hostile to the idea of running. The teacher would happily come out to support me as I raced, but he breathed fire when I suggested the two of us go for an easy run together.

Somewhere along the way, things changed. I’d like to chalk the change up to the teacher’s realization that running is the most super-awesome-fantastical activity ever, and it has all these kick-ass health benefits, and you live longer and blah-blah-blah. But let’s be real, it was the incessant nagging that wore him down.

But anyway, things changed. Now instead of saying  “I can’t run today, I just found the perfect spot for my butt on the couch”, the teacher says things like “Hey, tomorrow is a run day, right? Man I can’t wait!”A few months of steady running later, and we ran our first race together on Saturday (the teacher’s first-ever race, and my first 5k).

Now, you might assume that racing together would be no big thang after having run together the past few months. But no, racing together is a whole different beast. So, a few suggestions on how to race together without wanting to punch each other in the face:

1) Agree on a game-plan before the race. Are you sticking together no matter what? Is one of you allowed run ahead if the other is having a crappy day? Make sure you both know what the plan is, otherwise the ride home will be a little awkward…

2) Read your partner’s body language. Reading body language is not a skill of mine. Oh, you don’t really feel like talking? Too bad! Let me tell you my whole life story! I’m standing too close? Here, let me give you a sweaty hug!

This was an issue for us on Saturday. The teacher usually likes to talk while we run. Mostly it’s me saying things like “Awesome job! Keep it up!” or “I really hate squirrels. Why are there so many freaking squirrels everywhere?” or “We shouldn’t have to run up hills. Hills just shouldn’t exist while you’re running.” So really, really important and exciting things.

On Saturday though, the teacher did not want to talk. I kept trying to encourage him and he kept looking at me like “Stop talking now because I do not like you at this moment.” If I had paid any attention to his body language, I would have shut the eff up instantly. He was clearly “in the zone” and wanted to focus, but I was all let’s-talk-about-all-the-things! So, yea. Pay attention to body language. It’s important.

3) Get to the race with plenty of time before the start. I usually like to get to the starting line 10-15 minutes before the race starts (this only applies to smaller races. For bigger races, especially with wave starts, I arrive about 30 minutes prior to the start). This gives me enough time to use the restroom, mess around with my music, and then line up. It’s the perfect amount of time to prep, but not end up awkwardly standing around trying to look like you know what you’re doing. If I had any common-sense, I would have thought ahead and built in more time for us to prep prior to the start of Saturday’s race. But common sense just isn’t my thing. We woke up a little late, took our time getting ready and didn’t arrive at the starting line until just a couple minutes before the race started. I rushed to find a porta-a-potty and the teacher forgot to take his wallet out of his pocket. Needless to say we were a bit frazzled when the starting gun went off.

4) Anticipate your partner’s needs.  This wasn’t really an issue for us on Saturday as we only ran a 5K. But, the teacher is talking about running a half-marathon with me in the future where we would absolutely need to try and anticipate each others’ needs. Does one of us need a walk break? Do we have gels or gummies for fuel? Do we need water or Gatorade? Training together will help you gain a better understanding of your partner’s running rhythms: when they start to tire, when they need fuel, when they can push, etc. Couples who run together, stay together. That’s just science.

5) Have fun. Seriously. With any luck it’ll be a beautiful day to race, so just relax and enjoy being out on the course together, whether you finish first or last.

Finish Line2.2

Note to self: your stride is horrendous. Fix it.

2013 Running Goals

20 Mar

Right, so it’s March. Already. I actually wrote these goals not long after the New Year with every good intention of sharing before the first month of the year was out. And now it’s March- but, better late than never, right? Right??

If I’m being wholly honest, I lot of coffee drove the writing of these goals and I may have been slightly overambitious (run 1,000 miles?!). Hopefully, the perfect trifecta of motivation, energy, and determination will occur, and I’ll breeze through these goals. More likely, I’ll experience the imperfect trifecta of apathy, lethargy, and avoidance and will wheeze through these goals. But you know, one can always hope.

1) Beat my half-marathon PR. This is doable. Tots doable. As long as I actually make a plan, follow it, oh and sign up for a race. But in all seriousness, I love the half distance, it’s my favorite race to train. I can easily beat my PR by the end of the year. Probably.

2) Run my second marathon and beat my previous (crappy) PR. So anyone who has followed my humble little blog for awhile will now that I went into my first marathon in 2011 having just come off an injury that included several weeks of no running. My first marathon was not pleasant (not that any marathon is “pleasant”), and long story short, I walked away with an awful finish time. I’d love to run my second marathon and beat my crappy finish time, but my body does not care for 26.2 beast and I’m not certain I’m ready to tackle running another marathon this year.

3) Run a second relay-race. I loved Ragnar. Such an awesome time. Except the whole sleeping in the dirt thing. I don’t camp. Ever. That’s why we invented houses and indoor plumbing. But, otherwise, love Ragnar. Maybe I’ll just sleep in the van this time around.

4) Run 1,000 miles. Pretty sure this is not going to happen for 2 reasons a) I have not been accurately tracking my running (I’m sorry DailyMile that I’ve been neglecting you) and b) I just did not run enough in the first 3 months of the year. Oh well, there’s always 2014.

5) Run a 5K. This will happen as I’m volunteering as a race director for a local 5K.

6) Run a race with the pups. This could be a lot of fun or a complete disaster as my dogs are currently going through a phase of “let’s bark at every dog we see and try to pull mommy’s arm out of her socket while we chase down the dogs and make them be friends with us!” Common sense, is not my strong suit, so I’ll convince myself it will be find and will immediately regret my decision as soon as I get to the start line. I make good life choices!

7) Don’t compare my running to anyone else. Truth moment: I’m competitive. I like to win. I like the teams I support to win. I’m also not very fast. And I cheer for teams that tend to be very hot/cold (I’m looking at you New York Giants!) Comparing my running abilities to others always results in me tearing myself down. By just focusing on my abilities without the comparison factor, I notice my improvements more vividly and I feel like I take more care of my running because I’m no longer expanding energy thinking about others. It’s a win-win!

What Makes A Runner?

11 Dec

‘Tis a question I have often asked myself in the past year. After Marine Corps Marathon last year I completely jumped off the running bandwagon. Actually, jumped doesn’t do my nose-dive off the bandwagon justice. In the space of a couple months, I went from “OMG. I love running. It’s the best thing ever” to “Running is the worst. Ever. I’m not running another mile or even another step.”

Every run felt hard. I applied desperation tactics in an effort to motivate myself. I made training plans and paid no attention to them (even the color-coordinated plans). I bought new shoes only to leave them in a box in the back of the closet. For awhile, I just gave up on running. My life was changing and I felt none of my previous overwhelming desires to run as an escape.

But like bad 80s clothing trends, running just wouldn’t stay out of my life for long. I soon found myself lacing up my pretty new Brooks Pure Connects and heading out for runs. Shorter runs, but still runs. Adopting this psycho helped, as someone didn’t appreciate the brilliance of sitting on our butts all day:


Adopting this little nutter helped too, as he thoroughly enjoys an excuse to don his stylin’ green raincoat:


Between these two crazies and few other exceedingly dull reasons, my love of running returned. I ran the Las Vegas Half in early December and signed up for a few more upcoming races. Some super-serious thought is going into my 2013 running goals. And not just, “I want to own some lime-green running shoes” but real running goals. Things like “I want to run a sub-2 hour half-marathon.” That’s some super-serious thinking right there folks!

Writing my 2013 running goals prompted some thinking about what exactly qualifies you as a runner. Is it hitting a certain weekly mileage? Is it signing up for a race? Racing a certain distance? Are there certain time qualifications? What invisible line do you have to cross to become a runner?

This topic  has been discussed ad naseum in the blogosphere but I’m going to throw in a few thoughts of my own:

If you run you are runner. It doesn’t matter if you run 3 times a week at a 10-minute per mile pace, or 6 times a week at 7-minute per mile pace. By putting on your trusty running shoes and hitting the pavement a few times a week you are a runner.

If you find the time in your day to go out for a run you are a runner. It doesn’t matter if you find 20 minutes or 2 hours. If you carve out that time for yourself to run you are a runner.

If you are excited by the prospect of running, whether it be a race, or a standard Tuesday morning run, you are a runner. There will be days where you loathe running with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. There may even be months like that (ugh, been there, done that, got the t-shirt) but if there are days where you just OMG! cannot wait to lace up your running shoes, then you are a runner.

I’m not sure when being a runner started to involve having to run X number of races a year at Y time for Z distance (also, when did algebra get involved with running? I HATE algebra and all math. This needs to end!) Being a runner shouldn’t be about any of that BS. Above everything else, considering yourself a runner is an attitude. Why should someone who runs a 16-minute 5k be any more of a runner than someone who runs a 30-minute 5k?

Being a runner is about showing up. Day in and day out. On the good days and bad days. It’s about committing to constant improvement, no matter what your starting point. It’s about pushing yourself and picking yourself up when things get hard. That’s what makes a runner. Not fast times, not race medals, not fancy gear. But commitment.

What do you think qualifies someone as a runner? Cool shoes? Distance? Attitude?

A Promising Return

4 Dec

Well, well, well. So much for my grand plans to get back on track and start posting regularly. Said grand plans had to be set aside when life got in the way. Without getting into too many boring personal details it has been a year of extreme highs and very deep lows for me. A year of love and new beginnings coupled with loss and significant readjustments. One day I might be prepared to share, but I’m still getting a grip on the major changes to my surroundings and it’s a tough slog at times.

But, despite all the ups and downs, I’ve found that I’ve missed blogging these past few months, and while I probably have roughly zero readers left at this point (that’s what I get for teasing everyone with “Hey! I’m returning to regularly scheduled programming” posts and then doing the exact opposite) I’d like to start blogging again, even if it is just to keep my sanity in check. Maybe I’ll get lucky and a feel people will journey on over to my little piece of the internet. If so awesome! Welcome, you are fabulous and I’m happy to have you here. If no one finds they’re way over here, that’s okay too, life will certainly go on even if my blog doesn’t have, like, SO many hits everyday! So for these few readers who still occasionally check in over here, today’s post might be a little a serious, but I pinky-promise it’s probably just this one time. Serious isn’t my style. We all need a little sass and sarcasm up in here.

So along with blogging, running also took a backseat for awhile. But fortunately, that has started to shift over recent weeks and I’ve turned back to running. Sometimes for fun, sometimes to clear my head, and sometimes just because the sun is shining and I can. I stupidly signed up for another half-marathon, made a training plan and then promptly do not follow it. But in the end it wasn’t so bad. I ran the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon on Sunday, and while I am definitely sore, it’s not abysmal. I promise a forth-coming post with more race/training details.


I’m planning to sit down before the New Year and create some solid running goals for myself. Once I have a few goals set, I’ll make the requisite training plans and, fingers crossed, I’ll stick to those plans this time around. I may have gotten away with no training and no injuries this year, but knowing my body as I do, it’s only a matter of time.

I don’t have plans to become a three-times a day blogger, I can’t even promise I’ll blog every day (honestly, some days I just have nothing interesting to say, especially on Mondays they suck), but I will posting at least a couple times a week again. Although, I can’t guarantee it will be about anything remotely exciting or relevant or serve any purpose whatsoever other than I felt like ranting and rambling.

And if you’re interested in what little writing I have been doing recently, you can scurry on over here to do a little further reading.

How to Run a Half-Marathon with Absolutely No Training

26 Jun

*DISCLAIMER: This is a really terrible idea and you have to be a few crayons short of box (like me) to actually run a half-marathon with no training. But if you choose to pursue this wildly ridiculously course of action here is how to not die on the course, which with no training, is the only measure of success.*

Back in February, I signed up to run the Marine Corps Historic Half-Marathon. It was my first half-Mary last year and I was determined to rock this course. My head was filled with thoughts of “I will PR this beast” “I will own this course” and “I will run 5:30 min/miles and become an elite runner as destiny intended”. Obviously, going from a steady 10-10:30 min/mile to a 5:30 min/mile was completely achievable (SPOILER: it’s not) and all I needed was a beautiful, color-coded training plan (and also a new body, one that is designed for elite running and not persistent shin splints).

So, I made my beautiful color-coded training plan. I purchased shiny new running shoes. I hoarded Gu and Gatorade in preparation for long runs. But, somehow those long runs never took place. Barely any runs took place. Despite taping my color-coded plan to both the fridge and my wall at work, I simply never ran. Two or three teams a week I would make a half-assed effort and get my sorry butt out the door for 30 mins, or I’d lift a few paltry weights for 20 mins. But that was it. No speed training, no long runs, no cross-training. Nada. My motivation had escaped me and was now cleverly disguising itself. Without any motivation, I was too lazy to look for it.

Suddenly, it was the day before the half and I found myself with a color-coded training plan, a snazzy pair of shoes, plenty of Gu, and zero training. My longest run since Marine Corps Marathon in October was 6 miles. I couldn’t recall what a track looked like as I hadn’t been near one since the previous summer. And my runner’s legs were starting to resemble cankles.

Now, I could have used that lovely little thing called a brain and decided not to run this half-marathon. Attempting a half with no training sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Not so, said a stubborn little voice in my head. What’s the big deal, the voice whispered, you’ve run a marathon before the half is nothing! And so I found myself at the starting line of MCHHM with zero training under my belt, working hard to hyperventilate and/or pretend I was simply a spectator who had gotten lost in the corrals. 13 years later (at least that’s what it felt like to my untrained legs) I crossed the finish line, collected my medal, and downed a beer in record time (the perfect recovery fuel). I also declared myself an expert in running half-marathons with no training, and I will now impart all of my acquired wisdom to you lucky readers who stumbled here by accident when you searched for actual half-marathon training plans:

1) Have previously run and properly trained for a half-marathon. Seriously, if you have never trained for a half before, or you are just a few months into running, STOP READING AND DO NOT DO THIS. Half-marathons are hard with proper training, they are even harder without training and they are impossible if you are a newbie and have no training.

2) Wear good shoes. Not good-looking shoes, but shoes that you have been fitted for. At a running store. Run in them several times before the race. You will seriously regret this otherwise.

3) However slow you think you should go, go slower. With no training, you are not going to be able to maintain any kind of “good” pace. You’ll be lucky to finish the race without crying uncle. No matter how competitive you are, you will not be winning any ribbons when you haven’t done any training. So give it up and just run to finish

4) Along with the go-slow approach add, do not wear a watch. If you wear a watch you will look at the time. If you are looking at the time you will try to go faster. If you try to faster you will die. Don’t die. Don’t wear a watch.

5) For all of us goal-obsessed people (unite!), set goals, but do not set one single time goal. Seriously, do not. Or I will come find you and kick your ass for you. You haven’t trained for this so time goals are not an option. Set goals like: I will count the number of squirrels I see on the course. Or, I will take pictures of the most ridiculous shirts I see on the course. See? Great goals to try and achieve, everyone wants to count squirrels, exciting stuff.

6) Drink water, lots and lots and lots of water. The day before, drink water like it’s your job. Drink some more water the morning of the half. Although you might want to stop drinking a little before the race, don’t want to be one of those people caught peeing in the bushes. Try to drink a little bit of water at every water station. Alternating Gatorade with water might also help. Everyone knows winners drink Gatorade (losers drink Powerade).

7) Walk up the hills. Just do it. Your legs are already going to HATE you the next day, don’t make it worse by trying to run up the hills.

And finally…

8) Run with a friend who has also done no training so you can whine to each other about how you have done training. Honestly, this was probably the reason I finished the half because I had a good friend running with me who was in the same boat. Instead of thinking about how much everything hurt, we just bitched about how little training we did. Distractions are the best.

So, hopefully everyone has a few more brain cells than me and would never actually run a half-marathon without training, but just in case, these fool-proof, completely scientific bits of advice will get you through.