I tried: Running a Half Marathon the Day After Dillo

Dillo Day in itself is a marathon. Students wake up as early as 6 a.m. to prepare for a morning of dartying, followed by an evening of five consecutive concerts. While many refer to Dillo Day as the most fun day of the year, those same students would probably also attest to the fact that this little music festival is one of the most exhausting days of the year.


So when I told people that I was going to run a half marathon the next morning, the response was overwhelmingly one of disbelief. Completing everything that is recommended for a pleasant and successful long run is incredibly difficult given the demands of fully participating in Dillo Day. Maybe it sounds insane, but it is possible to complete this race without limiting your Dillo experience. 


Given the early rise on Saturday morning and the even earlier rise on race day (I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to make it downtown in time), sleep seems to be out of the question. Since your body’s sleep carries over a day, you really only need to make sure you’re rested on Friday night. I woke up at 7:45, so I just made sure I was in bed at 11 (allowing for more than a good eight hours of sleep)



A long day in the hot sun, especially if you choose to drink, can be seriously counterproductive for staying hydrated. Not wanting to pass out during my run the next morning, I brought a 33-ounce water bottle around with me all day, refilling it at least ten times. Sure, I may have had to take a lot more bathroom breaks than I would’ve liked, but I never felt fatigued, overheated or dizzy—which ended up making my Dillo experience much more enjoyable.



Many training manuals often recommend that before a half marathon, runners should relax for the day, staying off of their feet. I’m going to be honest, if you want to do Dillo, you can’t really get out of this one. Instead, I wore comfortable shoes and took an hour off of my feet in the middle of the day. However, I found that spending the day with my peers and having a great time completely took my mind off the race, allowing for a different kind of mental relaxation that I couldn’t have achieved sitting at home.



Despite all of my other efforts, I think what made this goal so achievable was having friends by my side. I ran this race alongside five other girls, who made the process of going to Dillo Day then waking up before sunrise to run 13.1 miles incredibly rewarding.


Dillo may not be the ideal pre-race event, but I don’t regret signing up for this half, no matter how ridiculous I may have looked running down Lake Shore Drive covered in flash tats.


(I was a lot happier than I look in this picture)