One Day Without Shoes

On Tuesday the 5th, TOMS is challenging people to spend the day barefoot. Why? Because they want to bring awareness to the millions of children around the world who go barefoot every day. Many of us take shoes for granted. We aren’t allowed in most stores and restaurants without wearing shoes. Imagine if you couldn’t afford shoes, and had to walk everywhere barefoot. The children who spend their youth barefoot are exposed to more disease, and when they need treatment and medicine, many can’t afford it. Many of them also can’t attend school because they’re not allowed to go barefoot.

So on April 5th, go barefoot whenever you can, and when people ask you why you’re doing it, tell them and direct them to One Day Without Shoes for more information.

I’ll be barefoot. Will you?

 

Win Five Fingers!

Over at MyFiveFingers you could win a pair of Vibrams by entering their contest! Visit their Win Some Free Five Fingers! blog and follow the steps involved and you could be the lucky winner! They’re giving away a free pair every month during 2011!

Here’s what you have to do (taken from their blog):

  1. Subscribe to this site’s newsletter using the form below
  2. Like the MyFiveFingers.com Facebook page
  3. Follow @MyFiveFingers on Twitter
  4. Tweet out the MyFiveFingers.com Year-Long Giveaway with a link to this page and use the hash tag #WinFiveFingers
  5. Link to this page from your blog or other website (be sure to leave a comment below with a link to your site so we don’t miss any)

You receive one entry for each method you use, and your entry is good all year!

There’s a pretty good chance you could win! And if you’ve never tried out Vibrams this is a great chance to try them out without having to spend the money. And if you already own a pair or two of Vibrams, now you can get some of the newer models that are coming out! Check out my review of the Vibram Trek Sports!

Looking Back at 2010

It’s almost 2011 and I’ve stopped to think about all that has happened in 2010. It’s been a big year for me, both personally and for running. 2010 was when I started barefoot running, which seems strange because I feel like I’ve been doing it all my life. I can’t remember running in sneakers or why I ever would have. When I started this blog back in August, I made some running goals for myself:

1) Run the Hartford Half Marathon in October

2) Run a sub-30 minute 5k

3) Run at least 3 times per week

Well, 2 outta 3 ain’t bad :)

I ran the Hartford Half on October 9th (my first half marathon) and had set the goal for myself to finish with 3 hours, which was when they would start opening the roads back up. I finished in 2:57, right under the wire. I ran 8 of the 13 miles in my Vibram TrekSports and the last 5 miles completely barefoot. It was an awesome experience and I wrote a Hartford Half Marathon Recap the day after.

I finally ran a sub-30 minute 5k! This I finally achieved on my last race of 2010. At the Christopher Martin’s Run for Children 5k in New Haven, I came in at 29:54 (I have a thing for coming in right under the wire, don’t I?). It was pouring rain that day and the energy in the group was amazing. Nothing like rain and cold to get you pumped for a race!

I didn’t manage to run 3 times a week, but I’m OK with that. I ran when I could and didn’t get down on myself when I didn’t. I’m going to try harder in the new year to actually run 3 times per week. I wrote a post for Trailblazer about New Year’s Resolutions, and how a lot of people quit their resolution because they slip up once and get discouraged. I won’t be a quitter!

Other exciting things that happened in 2010; I met Christopher McDougall the day before the Half Marathon and got to run with him! He gave me personal running tips and signed my BORN TO RUN book. He was so down-to-earth and such a nice guy, it was a great experience. I was sponsored to race by Trailblazer in New Haven. I blog for them about 3 times a month so make sure you hop over there and read their blogs. I became a part of the HoneyMilk Team, which is awesome because HoneyMilk is so delicious! If you’ve never tried it, it’s a great post-workout protein drink that tastes FANTASTIC. Most protein drinks are pretty gross, and thick, and hard to drink after running. But HoneyMilk is made with real milk so not only do I not have trouble drinking it after races, I look forward to it! (Chocolate is my favorite flavor in case you couldn’t tell!) I met some great runners through a barefoot runners Meetup group, and because of that am now signing up for the New England Relay next June!

On a personal note, 2010 was a great year for me! I started a social media business in 2009 (soon to be called Barefoot Media!), and was able to leave my job in July of 2010 to work for myself full-time. I started working with the Hartford Young Professionals on a part-time contract basis in July as well and I’m loving it. I’ve made some great new friends and some wonderful professional contacts as well. My boyfriend Paul and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary in October and he joined Twitter, both very exciting for me. I met Nancy Brinker, the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. If you know me you know that I am a huge advocate for breast cancer awareness and I walk in the 3-Day for the Cure every year, so this was amazing.

I hope to see you all out in 2011, check out my upcoming races page and hopefully we’ll run into each other (pun intended!). I’ll update that page frequently in case I have a scheduling conflict or add a new race. And say hello on Twitter!

Happy 2011!

Christopher Martin’s Run for Children 5k

Race time 29:54!

If you remember from my first blog post in August when I set some running goals for myself, goal #2 was to run a sub-30 minute 5k. I am proud to say that I can cross that one off the list! This past weekend at the Christopher Martin’s Run for Children 5k I finished in 29:54! My previous PR was at Jamie’s Run in Wethersfield when I ran a 30:20. So while I made it just under the wire for my goal, I did make it! Now I have to work harder to be consistent and keep my time down in future races.

A few things that I think contributed to beating my goal in this race; 1) What I eat. I don’t like to eat really early in the morning. That, however, doesn’t help me when I have an early morning race. I’ve been trying to be better about eating something, even if it’s something small, on the morning of my races. The morning of this race I had a bowl of cereal and half of a Chocolate Honey Milk. I’ve been paying close attention to how I feel during a race and how that corresponds to what I ate before the race. During a 5-miler a few weeks ago, I felt fantastic and I attribute that (at least partly) to the steak and eggs I had for breakfast that morning. :)

2) What I wear. For these cold races, I’ve been wearing Patagonia Capilene pants that I bought at Trailblazer and I absolutely love them. They keep my legs warm pre-race and wicks away moisture when I’m running. These are essential for me to run in the cold weather.

3) Pre-race running. I always attempt to do a solid warm-up before the race actually starts. I used to be that person who would do some stretching but not actually warm up with a jog before the race started. I always thought that I would tire myself out, but the more I run, the more I realize that warming up my legs is the most important thing I need to do before running a race.

4) Starting place. This is a personal decision for me, and is not what I would recommend for every runner. I prefer to start at the front of the pack, or as close to it as I can get. I find that when I start at the back or even in the middle, I spend more time worrying about getting around other people and not running into anyone that I don’t pay attention to my breathing or my pace. Starting at the front of the pack allows everyone who is faster than me to take off and allows me to just worry about myself, and everyone behind me can move around me. I start in the front on the right, since it’s running etiquette to move to the right if you are slowing down or walking.

5) Pacing. I used to be one of those runners who would RUN for a few minutes and then walk. And then RUN and then walk. What I found is that if I keep a steady pace then I can jog the whole time. It was important to me to find a pace that I was comfortable with so that I could finish a 5k without walking. Once I found that pace, then I could step it up slightly if I wanted to in order to push myself. In a few races I tested out different paces throughout the 5k to find what would work best for me. I tried running faster in the first mile so I would hit Mile 1 at 9 minutes or less, but found that I would be too tired in Mile 3 to run the whole thing. I tried keeping a 10 minute pace in the first 2 miles then stepping it up in Mile 3, but that wasn’t helping me get to my goal. So I went for the middle. I ran just over a 9 minute pace for the first 2 miles which gave me some leeway for the last mile. And this is what worked.

So now I have all winter to train on a treadmill to work on getting my comfortable pace to 9 minutes or less a mile. This is my goal, so that by race #1 of 2011 I can continue to beat my PR for the 5k.

The Running Community

Originally posted on the Trailblazer Hub.

When I first started running a couple of summers ago, one of the things I liked best was that I immediately felt as if I were part of a community. I started talking about running on Facebook and Twitter and suddenly had another thing in common with some friends, and made some new friends. I joined running groups on Meetup, started following some serious runners on Twitter and started blogging about my adventures into barefoot running, which opened me up into a whole new community.

I love going to races, because I get to meet so many great people and hear their stories about why they’re at that charity race or what their goals are for this 5k. Last week I ran the MADD Dash 5 mile in New Haven, and while waiting for the race to begin met two guys near the start line. They started asking me about my Vibrams and what it’s like to run in them and I was telling them about the half marathon I did in October. Then the race started and we said our goodbyes and they pulled out in front of me. About 2 miles into the race I met up with one of them, Jim, and chatted for a few minutes about how the other guy, Ed, had ditched him to run up ahead. We joked about it and then went our separate ways. I saw Jim again towards the end of the race as runners had to do a U-Turn and pass by runners in the opposite direction, and we cheered each other on.

It was great to have a “friend” throughout the race who I could look for and cheer for. And after the race I saw the two of them again, and we chatted about upcoming races and it turns out we’ll all be running the Christopher Martin’s Christmas Run 5k in New Haven on December 12th. They gave me some tips about finishing as fast as possible to get to the bar before the rugby guys get there, otherwise I’d never get a celebratory drink. See what I mean about the running community? So helpful. :)

I’ve found that this happens all the time. I meet great people at races and love to see them at other races throughout the season, connect with them online and continue talking between races. It’s a great motivator to see my running buddies checking in on Daily Mile and posting their runs and workouts, which makes me want to do the same!

What are your favorite things about running?

Cold Weather Running Gear

Originally posted on the Trailblazer Hub.

The cool weather is setting in and I am waiting for the day when it’s too cold to want to step out the door and go for a run. I ran a 5k a couple of weekends ago and it was a beautiful day for running, but that first chill had hit the air and I could definitely tell the difference in my lungs. Even though I grew up in Maine, I’m not a big fan of the cold weather so I’m in the market for some layers.

North Face makes a warm capri that will be great for running in the winter. Nothing is worse than running in the cold and not being able to stay loose because my muscles keep freezing up. Warm capris layered under pants will keep me toasty warm in the cold.

I generally hate wearing long sleeve shirts while running, because it keeps me warm before I start and then makes me hot when I get going. Patagonia has a great long-sleeve to keep me warm pre-run and keep me cool when I get hot.

I wear the $1.50 mittens from Target but if you’ve got to have the real deal, there are lots of running gloves to choose from. From Nike to Asics, there are plenty of styles to find the one that works best for you.

For headgear, a regular ball cap works if you aren’t worried about keeping your ears warm, a beanie or a headband works to keep the warmth in. I’ve been looking into neck gaiters recently for some extra protection. During that 5k a couple of weeks ago my biggest problem was my untrained lungs in the cold air.

So with all of the extra coverage, hopefully it will make for a not-so-cold winter running season! What’s your favorite gear for running in the cold weather?

Newest Trailblazer Athlete!

I’m psyched to announce that I am the newest Trailblazer Athlete! For the next year I’ll be representing Trailblazer online and at the races. They’re a great store and I’m proud to be a part of their Athlete team. I’ve bought both pairs of my Vibrams at their New Haven store and had a great experience both times. Their staff is knowledgeable, helpful and super friendly. So make sure you support your local store and check them out in New Haven, Branford or at Mohegan Sun. Also head over to their blog and subscribe to it so you can get my official Trailblazer Athlete blogs!!

 


Look for this logo on their blog to meet all of the Trailblazer Athletes!

 

 

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