Posts Tagged ‘Hartford’

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!

New Vibrams – Treksports

Two weekends ago I decided that I wanted to buy some new Vibrams for my Hartford Half Marathon training, so I went down to Trailblazer in New Haven and purchased the Vibram Treksports. Derek at Trailblazer also helped me try on the Treks and the Bikalas, but the Treksports were a pretty easy sell for me. I love the mesh top and the over the foot strap, but most of all, I love the pad on the back that cushions my Achilles.

My two biggest problems with my Classics (don’t get me wrong, I love them!) when running is that there is no tread and that the strap on the back would aggravate my ankle when I would stretch. The lack of tread would mean extra blisters, and for the trail running that I do, means I really become friendly with the rocks I would step on.  So from the first second that I put on the Treksports, with the tough looking tread on the bottom and the soft cushiony pad on the back, I was in love. I wore them out of the store and went on a 3 mile walk. I think that if I had had the Treksports back in July when I did the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure (60 mile walk) that I would have been able to walk the whole event in Vibrams, rather than having to switch to sneakers.

So I’ve been running in the Treksports and breaking them in, and I have very few complaints. I ran a race last week which included running on trails that had a lot of rocks and I kept waiting to be able to feel them under my feet like I would have in the Classics, but it never came. It’s the perfect balance of foot protection and still feeling barefoot.

My one complaint about them is about the strap. The inside of the strap hits the arch of my foot, and after running about a mile and half starts to chafe on my foot. By the time my 5k was over I had rubbed the skin so raw I couldn’t stand to keep the shoes on, and had to walk back to my car through Downtown Hartford completely barefoot. However, once I put a band-aid on the chafing I was able to put the Vibrams back on without an issue. I’m not worried about having to put a band-aid on when I run in them, that’s not a big deal when I consider how every other thing about running in them is awesome. A band-aid is a small sacrifice to make when I can now run without knee or back pain, which I get when running in sneakers.

I’ll keep you updated on how the Half Marathon training goes. I’m running a 10k this Saturday in Cheshire so we’ll see how that goes!

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

Hartford Dragon Boats!

This weekend is Dragon Boat weekend in Connecticut. HYPE (Hartford Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs) had two boats, Team HYPErspeed and the HYPErsonic Dragons. For a lot of us, it was our first time ever racing in a Dragon Boat. It is a REALLY fun experience. I wore my Vibrams all day; they recommend no flip flips because it’s more likely you’ll lose it when getting in or out of the boat, and I didn’t want to wear sneakers because sneakers are uncomfortable when wet. Plus, Vibrams always spark good conversation about running and barefooting. I talked with a couple of other HYPE members about how I got into it, how I trained in them (slowly!) and why I love them now. I told them they should really read Born To Run, because I thought it was so fascinating about barefoot running in different cultures. I think I was able to convert them, or at least get them to try it out.

Both teams did exceptionally well, coming in in the top 15 out of 44 community teams. We raced in three heats and I paddled during the first heat then took on the drummer seat in the final two. When you’re the drummer, you keep pace for team by using the drum and counting out when they should be paddling. It’s an intense position because you sit on the nose of the boat in a little seat, and if the boat were to tip too far to one side, the drummer is going to get dumped. It was a lot of fun and we all had a great day.

But being the drummer meant I wasn’t using as much energy as everyone else, so at the end of the day when everyone else was tired I still had a lot of energy. The races took place down on the Riverfront in Hartford, which is where a bunch of 5ks take place as well, and I know the trails, so a friend and I went for a run. It felt good to go on a spontaneous run and get all that energy out. It was only about 2 miles, but it was just enough for me to go home feeling satisfied that I had accomplished something.