Last Monday, you sat patiently at your computer watching the countdown clock tick toward "0" at High Noon. As soon as it did, you scrambled to click register and enter all your details for the "toughest race in the Northwest."  Next thing you know, you were now what?!

Get ready to have the time of your life and possibly lose a toenail, that's what! Years ago, I told myself that I'd never run Robie but ended up giving into peer pressure and joined my teammates for the 40th anniversary race in 2017. I'm so glad I did, because it was one of THE BEST race experiences of my entire life.

My training schedule didn't line up to do the race last year, but I knew I wanted to be back in 2019! Only problem? I knew I was going to be in Hawaii and really didn't know what I was going to be doing when registration opened, so I "volun-told" a friend to sign me up. Little did I know, I'd be doing some post race relaxation in Aloha Stadium in Honolulu after signing up for the Great Aloha Run on a whim. As soon as I got her text that I was "in" I looked at my husband and said, well...I've got some work to do now!

Will you be joining me on April 20?  If you're a Race to Robie Creek virgin like our Jillian you might be wondering "so now what?" What you're feeling is natural. It's exactly how I felt and stared at my "registration complete" screen when I got into the race for the first time! After running Robie, here's my top 5 tips for you newbies!

1. You Don't Need to Train on the Robie Course

I mean...right now, it's kind of unpleasant to even try.  Thanks to the snow we got last week, the dirt part of Shaw Mountain Road is a snowy, icy mess anyway. If you're scared of the race, don't train on the course.  It seems counter-intuitive, but if you have a bad training run on the course, it could get in your head on race day and you don't need that negativity! In 2017, I did all my hill training on 8th Street.  I started small, running up hill for 10 minutes at a time and worked my way up to an hour before the race.

2. Wear Sunscreen

This is not a joke.  My teammates lathered it on in 2017.  I sat back and laughed because it was 45º morning in April.  It seemed pretty unnecessary.  I was wrong.  There's no shade on the course till after you get over the summit and not much at the finish line party.  You will get sunburned without it.  I looked like a tomato after my race...and last year, when I forgot to put it on because I was just spectating.

3. Walk If You Have To

I thought I was going to be this hardcore first timer who would run every inch of the race. The course gets so steep before the summit that it's nearly impossible to do.  Accept your humanity and if you think you can walk faster than you were running, go for it.  I eventually swallowed my pride and gave in to the walk.

4. Get a Pre-Race Pedi

When people tell you that the downhill is just as bad as the uphill, believe them.  Three of my toenails turned blue pounding down the hill to the finish.  If I had painted them beforehand, I wouldn't have seen how ugly they were after changing into my sandals at the post race part.

5. Don't Take It Too Seriously

Listen, this is never going to be your fastest half marathon...not with 8.5 miles of hill climbing to do! Relax, have fun and embrace the spirit of this year's "race story." This year it's "Birth of Wonder Toad" and participants are encouraged to wear superhero costumes and use their super powers on the course.  Embrace the silly and have fun with it! Trust me.  You rather be taking selfies with your caped friends while enjoying the almost bottomless beer at the post race party than beating yourself up about what you could've done differently during the race. I, for one, have already started searching for the perfect Wonder Woman outfit for the big day.

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