Archive for December, 2010

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.

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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?