The question: I have signed up for my first 10K race. My training is going well, but I am scared about race day and of being overwhelmed by all the lingo. What is a "race expo" and what are "running bibs" and "corrals?" Help!
The answer: Try not to stress over race-day logistics and running jargon. Somehow the sport has become complicated and rule-bound. But really, to run, all you need to do is put one foot in front of the other.
Running is not your job. Your rent is not riding on your time. Have fun! Embrace the novelty of the experience.
The best part is that since this is your first 10K race, you are guaranteed a PB (personal best).
A friend dragged me kicking and screaming to my first race. The entire race I told her (while gasping for air) that I hated her. Once we finished, I changed my tune and asked, "when is our next one?"
Be prepared: You may become addicted to running!
The expo is a space (usually a conference centre) where vendors gather to promote running events and technology and sell athletic gear. You pick-up your race kit at the expo. The kit usually includes your bib, safety pins and a T-shirt. On race day, use the pins to attach the bib to your shirt.
Your number is on the bib. It also usually has a timing device attached. (This is new – the timer used to be tied to a running shoe). After the event, use your number to find your time online.
Keep in mind that, unless you are at the front, there will be a difference between your individual "chip time" and the official "clock time". Since you're not trying to win, your individual time is all that matters.
Bigger races use corrals to manage participants, so runners of similar speeds leave together. When you signed up for the race you would have marked an estimated finishing time. They used that info to pick your appropriate corral. Your corral is marked on your bib.
Consider asking a friend, preferably a runner, to race with you. That way you have someone to help navigate the experience.
Trainer's tip: If it is a nippy race morning, think about bringing a layer of clothing you can easily ditch. Ask a friend to wait for you at the 2K mark and throw him or her your top layer. Or wear something you have wanted to give to Goodwill (most big races donate discarded clothing).
Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.