. Carlos Lu is the resident web designer and production whiz Zeel.com, and he's about to add marathoner to the many hats he wears. On Sunday October 28th, Carlos will be participating in his very first marathon - the famed Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.
Months of juggling work, play and training have filled Carlos with not only a deeply rooted excitement to get this darned thing over with, but an enlightened outlook on the art of running really, really far. Here, Carlos gives us six realizations he's come to since his journey first began, and hopes that, in addition to finishing the race and completing 26 celebratory push-ups at the finish line, that you can learn from them too.
Fine-tune your fuel. Don't underestimate the power of Gu and other energy sources; they go a long way. Carlos also found electrolyte tablets to be a major game-changer during his training. Around miles six to eight is where he tends to cramp up and get dehydrated, making the tablets a must. Carlos especially likes these from Nathan.
Hands-free. While fueling is important, being able to do so without fumbling for your stash is equally essential. The fuel belt is key for Carlos because it enables him to carry his water bottles and stay hydrated without having to search for a drinking fountain or hold off until he hits the next water station.
Stick with it. Unless you're dealing with a potential injury, don't allow yourself to hesitate in the weeks leading up to the race. With the MCM event, the deadline to defer was pushed back several times. Carlos says that he was tempted more than once to push off his training until the following year, but that sticking with his original plan helped him to commit.
Foam rolling is your friend! Using a foam roller is great after long runs-and when your legs just need a little extra TLC. Carlos has used his foam roller practically every morning to stretch, prevent cramps, ease muscle soreness and get ready for the big day.
In the zone. Music may get you through most runs, but Carlos recommends throwing an audiobook into the mix. He says it's a great way to space out, especially when you've hit your stride and can simply coast along. "I recently realized this on a long, 18-miler," Carlos recalls. "At around mile seven or eight, I threw on The Hunger Games and ran to it for the remaining 10 miles. It was great."
Own the distance. There's no way around it. "26.2 miles is 26.2 miles," Carlos says. "I know that sounds very obvious and rather silly, but there was a point when I realized that 26.2 miles is not a simple jaunt around the park. I expect the "what was I thinking" moment will kick in around miles 23 or 24, but knowing that going into it will certainly help me get through it and reach the finish line."
Best of luck, Carlos!