The other day, I was chatting with someone about my last marathon and talked about my favorite race day traditions. They thought my marathon tradition was pretty neat (and I do too) so I thought it’d be fun to share mine (along with some other traditions from fellow bloggers)!
So here is my awesome race day tradition:
When I ran both of my full marathons (and for any other marathons that I do in the future), I asked everyone I know to email me something fun to read during the race and put “Marathon” in the subject line so I knew not to read it before. I never ran with my phone in the past so I used to have someone else print all the emails off and cut them into little strips for me to pull out of my fuel belt.
Whenever I needed a pick me up or encouragement, I’d pull out a little slip of paper (preferably near an aid station so I could toss the paper quickly) and read what someone had written. Some were funny, some were sentimental, and others were just encouraging. They made my races awesome.
Luckily I never delete anything in my gmail account, so here are a few of my favorites from years past.
I wish I could share more but a) so many are inside jokes or memories that would seem ridiculous, and b) there are quite a few that are probably too inappropriate to post publicly, haha. But here are a few favorites…
From a friend from college, Amy Wu – sharing a joke for a good laugh:
Not Amy Hu, Amy Wuuuuuu!
From another friend from college, Lisa Ferreira – touching on my desire to become the next well-known sports RD:
I’m not sure what mile you’re at right now, but wherever you are, YOU ARE AMAZING! I am so proud of you not only for what you are doing at this very moment but also for all that you have accomplished in your recent athletic endeavors. You’re the new Nancy Clark!!!! You’re amazing! Keep on running and thinking about your fabulousness.
From a friend from high school, Daniela – touching on a magazine article we read suggesting “hugs” are a great gift:
If the miles are getting tough, just picture me waiting at the finish line with a beautifully wrapped gift box, and inside that gift box is…….. a hug!
From my 4th grade teacher – who always managed to inspire me:
Its your old teacher buddy Mr. LaSusa (aka Brian 🙂 I hope this email finds you pounding the pavement with power in your heart, focus in your mind, and a smile on your face. You can do it! Keep going! Failure is NOT an option!!! You are a bad ass and need to pick it up! Keep workin and know that I am always proud of you!!!
From an old coworker, Casey – who has obviously knows my shopping habits:
We have so much to catch up on. But, of course, not at this moment. Because at this moment you are probably praying to God to get you through this marathon. Or you are thanking God for giving you this amazing body that can do such an incredible thing. Also, I’ve got to know how much you paid for those running shoes. I’m guessing not more than $4.99. Am I close?
From the Reverend at the church I used to visit – giving me a little divine inspiration:
May God’s grace be with you, Chrissy Carroll, as you fly like the wind down the streets of Cleveland. May the strength of the Spirit hold you fast through moments of doubt or trepidation. And may the wisdom of Jesus bring you peace as you cross that finish line, as I know you will. Many, many blessings on this wonderful, and tremendous, undertaking!!
From one of my best friends when I was younger, Louie – who used to make me laugh so hard that I would spit out my drink everywhere…
THINGS NOT TO DO WHILE RUNNING A MARATHON: Don’t make eye contact with anyone while you’re drinking the little cups of water that I think they give you in marathons at certain points. You don’t know if I will be there and then you don’t want to risk spitting everything out.
Lastly, one of my very favorites, which was sent and labeled “read the night before” from a friend from my tri group, Bill:
Before my first race I was a mix of nervous, anxious, and excited. I was wondering how I would perform? Would I finish? Will I screw up? What are people going to think of me? and instead over the last few races I have realized that my focus was COMPLETELY wrong. I was focused externally…The raceday and even my performance in the race wasn’t what the stressful event. Completing it is the reward for coming this far. months ago you set what may have seemed like an overwhelming goal… to train for 26.2 miles…to fundraise… to sacrifice weekends for LONG runs… to set aside this time… and now you are approaching that reward. you have already passed the stress… its the time to reflect on your journey and to enjoy the glory of your run tomorrow. Its been an amazing journey. The strength and endurance you have developed. The character and determination you have built. The friends you have made along the way. Tomorrow will be 26.2 miles of fun – time to reflect on your journey – the first run you did. How you thought you would do…. its a day to relish every moment, to reflect on what you have done…. thats what I thought of. Take in the experience in a beautiful venue, the positive you have done for yourself and others by doing this race. Lifelong memories… sparking you to only begin to realize what you else you can do. congratulations… so proud of you …
SO awesome, right?
When the miles got tough, these made me smile and kept me going! Definitely my favorite tradition for a marathon. And honestly, reading them all again right now has me all jazzed up and ready to go sign up for a race!!
What about other race day traditions?
I know other people have different traditions for races of any length, so I also reached out to some of my blogger friends to find out what their favorite race traditions are. Here’s what they said (obviously, we are a crowd that are particular about our food, haha):
- I eat the same breakfast, which usually consists of a banana and a glass of Chocolate Almond Milk. It’s a random tradition I got into because I used to get pretty dehydrated/sick after longer races. So the extra carbs & protein help me a bit. – Molly at Strong Girl Fitness
- I wore the same outfit (exact!) for the NYC marathon 5 years in a row! And I usually eat the same breakfast for marathons which is a banana and 1 1/2 was old fashioned Power Bars now Pure Fit Bars! – Erica at Erica Finds
- The night before my race, I love to watch Spirit of the Marathon! It’s such an inspiring movie and reminds me of all the hard work that goes into training for a race. It’s the perfect way to mentally prepare! – Gretchen at Gretch Runs
- The day before I run a half marathon, I always eat a chicken burrito with guacamole and have vanilla pudding and a banana before bed. The morning of, I eat a PB&J on Ezekiel bread. And I wear this one style of capri. Mildly obsessive over here! – Christine at Run Out of the Box
- I always wear my race shoes the day before the race, and I’m one who always has pasta – but two nights before the race! – Samantha at Sam Runs
- I am pretty traditional with long races (anything 10+ miles). I eat pancakes with bananas as my dinner the night before, eat an Uncrustable PB&J and a banana for breakfast, and always, always, try out my race day outfit the weekend prior. – Meesh at The Slow Sheep
- When I first started racing triathlons I would always get my body marking done at packet pickup then go out for pizza. I always wondered what people thought about the black numbers on my arms and legs. Now that I am a little more careful with my nutrition I make a pasta dinner at home. – Amber at Eat2Save Your Life
- I have a pair of lucky ladybird earrings I always wear. – Jennifer at The Fit Fork
- I used to wear same blue tank top… And I usually drink coffee and bagel before the race. – Dixya at Food Pleasure and Health