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    The Take On Names And Numbers

    Friday, October 22, 1999; Page H7

    Elissa Leibowitz and Effie Dawson of The Post's Sports staff ran their first marathon last year. They compiled the following tips they wish they had heard before last year's race:

    1. Pin your number to the front of your shirt, not the back. Many first-timers missed receiving much-cherished finish line photos because photographers couldn't identify them without a visible number.

    2. Only the most skilled road racer knows how to run and drink water from a paper cup at the same time. Don't bother trying, unless you want a bib of water down your shirt.

    3. Don't ingest any food or drink that you did not try while training. Some people we know ended up with upset stomachs after trying an unfamiliar sports drink at the water stations. (On tap Sunday: wild berry-flavored Ultima Replenisher.)

    4. Wear your name on the front of your shirt. It might seem hokey, but hearing strangers yell, "Good job, Wendell!" and "Go Bernice!" seemed to motivate runners who planned ahead. We loved seeing the two men with "Cheer for Tracy" scrawled on the backs of their shirts, with arrows pointing at the woman between them. Or, wear a shirt or hat proclaiming your college (or high school or favorite pro team). You'll get lots of cheers (and some good-hearted ribbing) as you run.

    5. Tie your shoelaces in a double bow so they don't come loose during the race.

    6. If you have pockets or a waist pouch, carry a lipstick-sized tube of lip balm or petroleum jelly to rub on body parts that begin to chafe. It's easier and less messy than high-fiving a volunteer with globs of petroleum jelly on his hands, and you can use it at your convenience.

    7. Predict the times that you will arrive at certain mile markers and write them down for your family and friends. Suggest places for them to wait for you, and look for them. It's sometimes easier to spot your fan club than it is for them to spot you.

    8. Get in the bathroom line early at the starting line, even if you don't have to go. It gets long, long, long as race time nears. You don't want to be in the Port-o-John when the gun sounds.

    9. Wear your lucky socks. They'll help.

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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