Posts Tagged ‘Half Marathon’

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!

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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!

Half Marathon Nightmares

I had a terrible dream last night that involved me being VERY late for a half marathon. In my dream, my parents were in town visiting and we were at their hotel. For some reason, on the morning of the marathon they had to leave so I had to figure out where I was going to park for the marathon. I had to transfer stuff from their car to my car and all of my running gear got mixed up. It’s about a half hour before the marathon starts and there are people EVERYWHERE and I’m digging through my car to find my arm band, my RoadID, my watch, iPod and Vibrams. All of a sudden the race has already started and I’m still digging through my stuff.

I think I have everything and I sprint up to the starting line to pick up my bib and when I get to the start I’m told that the bibs are around the corner and I have to go back where I came from to get it. When I finally find it, there are only three bibs left and I pick up mine. I put it on while I run back to the starting line and I put on my arm band and my watch. When I get to the start, it’s an absolute circus. Now that all of the runners have cleared out people are walking back and forth across the course and there is literally a parade going on. I have to try and run through a marching band and I am sprinting. There is a 3 hour time limit for this half marathon and since I started late I’m worried that I won’t be able to finish. I do remember thinking how good it felt to be sprinting. I must have sprinted in my dream for a mile or two and it felt so good to be moving so quickly (if only it felt that good in real life!).

Once I clear the crowd I go to switch on my iPod and realize that I grabbed my old mp3 player and not my iPod. I don’t have the half marathon playlist I created and instead have a strange compilation of music I listened to in high school. And speaking of high school, all of a sudden some of my classmates and rollerblading around me and then I have roller blades on too. The course includes stairs, and I find myself having to roller blade down a large set of metal stairs, and I end up being really good at it! While everyone else is stumbling and tripping over themselves, I’m gliding down the staircase with ease.

And then the dream ends. Let’s hope this doesn’t actually happen on race day!

One Month to Half Marathon

With one month left until the Hartford Half Marathon, I’m getting a bit nervous because my training hasn’t been up to par. I was on vacation last week and did a lot of walking, but no running. In order to get myself motivated, two things will happen before Monday. I’m creating a running playlist for myself for the half, which means it has to be about 2 hours long; and I will buy a new pair of Vibrams. I’m looking at the Vibram Bikala and the TrekSport. I’m looking forward to trying both on and seeing which I like better.

I’ve started on the playlist, and here’s what I’ve got so far. It’s far from done but it’s a start. It’s an eclectic mix… so we’ll see how it works when I try it out on the run tomorrow. I really love the Glee soundtrack, as you can see… and I also really love a cappella. There’s something incredibly powerful about using your voice to create the bass, drums and background music. I’m biased because I used to sing a cappella, but I love it!

If you have suggestions for your favorite music to pump you up while running, I’d love to have them! Once I have time to sit down and download some music, I’ll definitely be pulling some songs from Run Like a Mother’s playlist, as well as from The Running Couple’s playlist. Well, lists… since both Lee and Isis posted one!

1) Hello It’s Me – Fisher

2) Blue in the Face – Alkaline Trio

3) Full Moon – The Black Ghosts

4) Fix You – Coldplay (a cappella)

5) Sweet Caroline – Glee Cast

6) Beautiful Life – Fisher

7) The Mixed Tape – Jack’s Mannequin

8 ) Tripping Billies – DMB (live)

9) Does He Love You? – Rilo Kiley (a cappella)

10) Don’t Stop Believin’ – Glee Cast

11) Young Hearts Run Free – Kym Mazelle

12) Hung Up – Madonna

13) Supermassive Black Hole – Muse

14) Gold Digger – Glee Cast

15) Decode – Paramore

16) Bust Your Windows – Glee Cast

17) Crazy – Gnarls Barkley (a cappella)

18) Get Together – Madonna

19) Untouched – The Veronicas

20) Holiday – Green Day

21) Local God – Everclear

22) Mercy – Duffie

23) Spotlight – Mutemath

24) Hate On Me – Glee Cast

25) SexyBack – Justin Timberlake

26) Defying Gravity – Glee Cast

27) Keep Holding On – Glee Cast

28) Bust a Move – Glee Cast

Barefoot in Connecticut

One of the best things about quitting my job and working from home is that I get to be barefoot (and work in my PJ’s) whenever I want. When I bought my Vibrams back in May, I wore them whenever I could; to the grocery store, to the bank, to the dry cleaner. I’ve run 5 or 6 5ks in them and walked 20 miles of the 3-Day for the Cure in them. I love my Vibrams; I no longer have knee pain and my legs feel stronger and healthier. I love running in them but I’ve never been motivated enough to train in them, I just run races. But I want to be a better runner, so I’ve made some goals for myself to be a better and more consistent runner.

Here are my goals:

1) Run the Hartford Half Marathon in October

2) Run a sub 30-minute 5k

3) Run at least 3 times per week