I'm going to participate in my first half-marathon this May. I have no idea how to properly hydrate myself during the race. Do I wear a camel and drink from it while I run or will people hand out paper cups throughout the race? I'm just not sure how to prepare myself for this particular aspect. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Virtually all races of this length will have aid stations along the course, usually every mile or every other mile. At the aid stations you can get either water or a sports drink in a paper cup. A volunteer or volunteers will hand out the fluid in paper cups. The race website or flyer should state where the aid stations are located on the course, and also what the energy drink will be. If you use energy drinks, make sure to train with the exact type that will be served at the race. If you use only water, you don't have to worry about that. Some people prefer to bring their own fluids in a camelbak or hydration belt, usually if they want to drink at other intervals or if they use a particular sports drink that isn't being offered at the race.
@ 5K: New Balance Palm Springs 5K, Palm Springs, CA, 24:32
Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:24
Pride of the Valley, Baldwin Park, CA, 24:28
@ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K, Los Angeles, CA, 52:15
Great Race of Agoura - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 51:40
Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 49:57
Yes, the race will have water at least. BUT....don't overhydrate. There is no need to grab a cup at every mile, unless the heat is oppressive, which I doubt. Listen to your body, if you are not thirsty, or not even sweating that bad, wait for the next water stop. I have never carried water with me on the 1/2 marathons I've done, I usually grab a cup at the 2nd or 3rd mile and then take water at every other break from there on. The last thing you want is water sloshing around in your gut. Or have to stop to pee. There is a term: Hypernotremia(sp?) which is what happens when you consume too much fluid and the sodium/potassium levels get knocked out of whack. It can be fatal, and it does happen on occasion. Good Luck!