Everything you need to know to run the Montgomery Half Marathon

By on 4 October, 2013 in Fun, Meg Lewis with 0 Comments

Photo by Kekka

So, the MGM 13.1 is next weekend. Are you registered?  If not, do it! This is an outstanding race and you’ll love it! Only if you’re trained for 13.1 miles though. If not, do the 5K. It’s pretty sweet, too.

First of all, if you haven’t run this race before you need to know that the route is historic and gorgeous, the time of year is perfect, there are tons of happy, encouraging people and volunteers along the route, and when you finish at Riverwalk Stadium the Mayor himself is going to put that finishers medal around your neck!

So, first things first, let’s assume you’re trained for running a half marathon distance. If not, maybe a 5K is your style, and they have one of those too. Go to http://montgomerymarathon.com/ and register. Do it before Wednesday the 9th.

Second, get in your car this weekend and drive the route, or as much as you can of it. The map is here: http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=513507 You might even want to do a six or eight mile section of the course to get a feel for it.

Third, stock up on energy gels or chews, make sure your water bottle is clean and ready and start thinking about your pre-race meals. Start increasing your water intake right this minute.  I highly recommend a pre-race dinner at El Rey or Midtown Pizza Kitchen. Both use great ingredients, and if you eat totally clean you can probably find an option at El Rey. I find some of my best runs have been after a dinner of delicious pizza for some unscientific reason, and I think MPK has some of the best in town, for sure. If you subscribe to the controversial carb-loading theory, MPK’s pasta is the best around.

Be sure to run by the Packet Pickup and Expo between noon and 7 PM at Riverwalk Stadium on Friday or if you’re just too lazy or busy for that get to the Renaissance between 6 and 6:45 AM for late pickup. The expo has not historically been large, but worth going through since you have to get your packet and T-shirt anyway. Shirts have typically been great, and this year they have a cool new logo and the shirt appears to be teal with lime green racing stripes.

Prearrange a cheering crew in a few select locations on the course. Most importantly at the finish line, but there are a few places where you’ll want some encouragement if you can get it. The first half of the race is scenic. Between  Old Alabama Town, Oakwood Cemetery, South Capitol Parkway, Oak Park and the marching band on the ASU campus, you can’t possibly get bored or unmotivated. Cloverdale is beautiful, but you will have conquered some significant hills by mile 6, so stationing friends on Woodward is a nice idea, or if you can hold out until you’ve done the one mile out and back struggle of Thomas Avenue, having friends on Cloverdale Road is a great idea. They could even do breakfast at Derk’s and sit outside to wave as you run by. Dexter Avenue is going to seem like heaven after the Perry Street hill, so you may want someone there to smile back at you as you close in on the final mile or so of the course.

Prepare mentally for Perry Street. You should walk Perry Street at least once if not run it before the race. It’s not the worst hill ever, but it’s not the easiest. Located between mile 10 and 11, it’s perfectly positioned to separate the runners from the funners. Don’t feel bad if you walk this hill. But if you run it, you’ll feel like a rock star!

Don’t forget to smile when you see those photographers on Dexter Ave and at the finish line. Suck in your gut, pull your shoulders back, focus on form, put your chin up and smile. If not, you’ll hate those race pics!

Open up your heart and get ready to feel awesome about what your race does for children. This year proceeds go to help support Child Protect, an incredible organization that supports the victims of child abuse. Their website states:

Child Protect exists to minimize that trauma and help rebuild young lives shattered by child abuse. The Child Protect Children’s Advocacy Center offers a non-threatening environment where a multidisciplinary team works together to minimize any further trauma during the justice and restoration process.Instead of having to be interviewed multiple times by different agencies and attorneys, child abuse victims are able to tell their story once, and the information is then shared among appropriate parties. This lessens the impact on the child abuse victim and family. As the process moves along, the child may receive counseling and other services in this same, non-threatening, nourishing environment.

So even if you walk it, even if you relay it, even if you just pay the registration and get your T-shirt, this race is so worth it! I hope to see you out on the course Saturday.

And don’t forget to stretch!

Meg Lewis is a runner and cupcake baker who resides a smidge outside of the bypass. She regularly makes her rounds through downtown and midtown Montgomery evaluating the beer selections, live musical performances and the social atmosphere of local establishments in the company of a small and close-knit group of fabulous people.

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