Posts Tagged ‘Christopher McDougall’

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!

Hartford Half Marathon Recap

Yesterday I completed my first half marathon. It was exhilarating and exhausting, fun and made me think “Why in the hell did I ever sign up to do this?” I was surprised to find that I wasn’t nervous at the start of the race, but now that I think about it it was because I had no idea what to expect. The first 4 miles were great, I felt fantastic and I was having a lot of fun. By mile 8 my legs hurt and my Vibrams were pinching my toes. I stopped a few times to adjust but with no luck, and the pinching was annoying enough that I decided to run the last 5 miles completely barefoot. I took the Vibrams off and held them while I walked/ran the last 5 miles. At about mile 11 I ran into my friend Julia, and it was nice to jog with her for a few minutes and chat.

Throughout the race I took stock of how I felt so I would would know if I’d ever want to do a half marathon again. Sometimes I felt good and optimistic, other times I felt terrible and wanting to quit. So that didn’t really help me figure out whether I’d ever want to race it again. Now that it’s the day after, my legs hurt and I think whoever created stairs obviously didn’t run half marathons… I will do a half marathon again. Later. Not in the near future.

I’m really glad that I was able to run with Chris McDougall on Friday and get some tips from him. The advice he gave me definitely helped, and while I wasn’t able to maintain that technique throughout the half because I hadn’t gotten the chance to master it, I was able to use it for part of it. And because of that run I felt comfortable to take my Vibrams off at mile 8 and run the rest of the way barefoot. Running totally barefoot immediately made my feet and legs feel better. I still love my Vibrams, they’re great for trails – I don’t think I’m ready to run over rocky patches just yet.

I’m happy with the way I did. I had hoped to make it in under 2.5 hours, but my ultimate goal was just to finish before the 3 hour time limit. I’m happy to say I made it – 2:57:54 (Thanks for looking that up Amy!)

I also want to say congrats to my friend Julie who completed the 5k yesterday in 30 minutes flat! Only her 2nd 5k and she totally kicked its butt! Congrats Jules!! And congrats to Ryan, Amy, Julia and Brian who also finished the half marathon!

Running with Chris McDougall

So today may have been one of the coolest days ever. Today I met, ran with, got tips from, got his booked signed and got a picture with Chris McDougall. Thanks to someone mentioning it in the Barefoot Runners Club of Greater Hartford group on Meetup, I was able to get in on the noon o’clock run in Bushnell Park today with Chris McDougall. He was immediately welcoming, down to earth and just oozes the love of running. It was a small group, 8 of us plus Chris and we ran over to the Riverfront and across the Founders Bridge and along the East Hartford Riverfront. About 5 people were totally barefoot and the rest of us were in Vibrams. Halfway through I decided to go totally barefoot as well and took the Vibrams off. I figured it didn’t hurt to give it a try while I was running with an expert, and I can tell you that I totally loved it. What was so cool about the whole thing is that for a little while, Chris ran with me and gave me tips about my technique and running style. He showed me how I should be running and then critiqued when I tried it out. It’s not every day you get running tips from someone like him. I’ll share some of those tips in a later blog. We ran about 4 miles and made it back to Bushnell Park to grab our stuff then I headed to my office to grab my book to get signed. Went over to the XL Center to pick up my bib and then went over to where Chris was hanging out to get my book signed. I can tell you it is super cool to walk up to someone like that and have him say, “Hey Caitlin!” without me having to remind him of my name. We chatted for a few minutes, he signed my book (To Caitlin – Thanks for dirtying your toes with me. Run wild! -Christopher McDougall) and I got a picture with him while telling him about my blogging and barefooting escapades. Then a line started to form so I said bye and went on my way.

Forward to a few hours later at the Eat Pasta, Run Fasta! dinner and lecture. My friend Julie and I got front row seats and listened to Chris regale us with funny and somewhat random stories of people he knew and tips on how to get the most out of the race tomorrow. The story he started off with went something like this: So there’s this guy I know and he’s an arborist and a few years ago he and some of his friends decide to have a little party for the winter solstice. Now when they have a party it means they climb 100 feet into a tree to watch the sunset for the solstice, and that’s fun for them. So they were hanging out and then he ends up falling out of the tree. Now he’s 120 feet up in the air, and they say that if you fall 40 feet you’ll reach a velocity of 45mph and you’ll die. So he’s 120 feet up and he reach a velocity of 90mph on his way down. A fall like that will kill you.

[At this point in the lecture I’m thinking to myself… is he seriously telling us a story about a guy who died? You can’t start a lecture off by telling a story where the main character dies. He must not die. What does this have to do with running?]

And from what I heard from his friends who are on the ground watching this happen, while he was falling he yelled the word “headache” and then became completely silent. Now when you’re falling like that, you’re body will automatically turn itself upside down so you’re falling head first, it’s just what happens. So his friends see him falling, hear him yell “headache”, which by the way is what they would yell when they were climbing and would drop something, like a carrabeaner. So he yells “headache” then goes totally silent. They watch him claw the air and right before he hits the ground, he punches it. His friends hear this huge “whoooooosh” of air leaving his body, and he’s lying in a crater that his body made in the ground. A few seconds later they hear an intake of breath, and he rolls over. They rush him to the hospital and he has a few broken ribs, a shattered foot or something, but four days later he checks himself out and goes on with life. So why didn’t he die, and what does this have to do with the marathon you’re going to run tomorrow? Two reasons. First, when his friends said that he yelled “headache” and then went totally silent, professionally silent, he was relaxing his body. He realized that being tense wasn’t going to help anythng, so he let his whole body go limp. Second, from his training he knew that the shoulder and the neck are connected in such a way that if he could flip himself around and punch the ground as he landed, that his neck would tense and he would keep it from breaking. So he protected his neck. So what I’m saying is for tomorrow, relax. Rely on your training. You’ve worked for it and you’ll make it through tomorrow so long as you relax. Enjoy it.

The rest of the lecture was great and got me totally pumped to run tomorrow. Good luck to all of the ING Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon and 5k runners!! See you out there!