Shelby was asking Amy and me for advice on running in a half-marathon as it is her first. As we started to give her our old, stand-by tips, we started noticing similarities in running a half-marathon and garage "saleing". While it may seem like a stretch, the advice you would give someone on running a half-marathon has a striking similarity to the advice you would give someone when they first go garage "saleing". If you will indulge my zen-buddha-yoda moment, read these tips and see if you agree.
- Eat a good, easy to digest breakfast, but don't try anything new: When you are running in a distance race, you need to give your body good fuel to make it all of those miles. While l like to eat gluten-free pancakes, as you may have noticed, Amy likes to eat a bagel with peanut butter. Either one is a matter of taste, but they are both easy to digest and won't weigh you down. It is also important to eat something that you know agrees with your body. You don't want to get creative race-day morning with something you have never tried before based on advice someone gave you. You risk not tolerating the food and ending up with stomach pains half-way through the race. (Been there.) If you are a seasoned "garage saler", that is also good advice to give a novice "garage saler." Think about it: garage "saleing" can be something of an endurance sport. You have to get up early, look at your route, and try to make good time so you can hit every garage sale. Most likely, you will travel in a pack of people and no one is going to want to be around you if you are getting "hangry." You need a solid breakfast before you head out so you are sustained to make it to as many sales as possible. You also want to make sure you are eating something that agrees with you because when you once you are out "saleing", it will be very difficult to find a bathroom stop.
- Bring a cell-phone or a way to get ahold of someone in an emergency: If you are running your first long-distance race, it is a good idea to bring your cell phone with you in case something happens. You may not know the course well and you may incur an injury away from an aid station. It's a good idea to have someone on standby that can get you help just in case this happens. The same can be said for garage "saleing". You may encounter unfamiliar territory on your route and you need to have someone to call in case you need directions. You also might get a flat, run out of gas, or see scaffolding that your dad needs and need to get ahold of him immediately so he can purchase it. Right, Lynn? :)
- Hydration is key: Drinking a lot of water up to and during your half-marathon is essential to making it through well. My dad, who is an awesome distance runner, always tells me to get water, sports drinks, or gel at every stand that I come across, even if I don't think I immediately need it. There is nothing worse than feeling dehydrated during a race; that is why there are usually a lot of water stands. Hydration is also key to having a successful garage sale outing. If you are not drinking enough fluids, you will not effectively negotiate or make it to the afternoon sales. Make sure that everyone in the car has a bottle of water with them at all times.
- Pace yourself: When you are running your first half-marathon, you'll probably have the urge to jump right out of the gate and start with a fast pace. That is normal given the crowds and the excitement of the starting line. But remember that you have a lot of miles to run and you need to save energy for the end of the race. With your first race, remember the goal is to just finish and enjoy the race, not set a world-record. Again, I would advise a first time "garage saler" in the same way. Don't buy everything you see at the first couple of sales. Pace yourself, watch what people around you are buying to make sure you are getting a good deal, stop and think if you really need what you are buying, and learn negotiating tips from the seasoned "garage saler."
- Protect against chaffing: This tip can save your race: make sure to wear Vaseline, Body Glide or something similar in your "sensitive areas". Jogging bra or running shorts chaffing is not fun during a race so make sure you protect yourself beforehand. While this might seem like an odd tip for garage "saleing", you might want to consider bringing something to protect against chaffing on this outing as well. Because the driver of the car you are in might get overly excited about seeing a sign for a sale and drive over a CURB to turn around to find it. And in the process of driving over said curb, you might get flung in to the DOOR causing a major BURN on your arm. And then you will wish you would have protected yourself. Not that this happened to me before. ;)
- Bring your best crew: It's so important to have a good crew cheering you on to the finish line when you run your first race. I would totally recommend running with a friend or having a group of friends and family willing you to the finish line. That makes the race that much sweeter. It is also true of garage "saleing". You'll have so much more fun if you have a group of friends to go to lunch with when you are done, talk about your finds, gossip about weird houses, and laugh about your burn marks. :)
Any good half-marathon or garage sale tips? Leave them in the comments section!