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Hello, It’s Me.

23 Sep

Once upon a time, I thought, “hey! I’ll write a blog! It’ll be great for accountability and I’ll meet new people and…it’ll be great!”

So here I am.

 

But haven’t been terribly consistently accountable.

I *think* I might be getting close to organized enough in the other areas of my life to jump right back in – and hopefully, to even eventually share some of the awesome things I’ve done so far this year but never posted. We’ll see. No promises, right?

And now it’s coming up on Fall Race Season – you know, that time of year when I spend several weekends either travelling somewhere to run or running at home (mostly the former though). Last year wasn’t completely disastrous. Until I got to the end of October and then beat myself up – privately of course – for my horrible performance at Marine Corps Marathon.  I swore that I would never again run a marathon without doing the training.

Well. For the last 2 months I HAVE been doing the training. Mostly. Yeah. I started late, missed a couple of the shorter long runs and more than a couple of the short mid-week runs.

But I’m hitting the road. And the treadmill. Ya’ll I did FOURTEEN miles on a treadmill when the temps were over 100 a few weeks ago. I ran nearly every day when I visited my dad at the end of August. Usually around noon. In Texas where, again, it was pretty darn hot. But it all felt good!!

Now I’m 36 days away from my redemption at MCM – and feeling confident that I won’t repeat last year’s mess. Because I’m spending a lot of time with hills. BIG hills

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Just an example of how things are running at home….this from my 18 miler turned 19.5 miler last week….

I’m kind of being helped along by a couple of changes being made by the Marines due to some logistical difficulties this year. The Guantlet and The Bridge have both been moved up by a couple of miles so SCORE! And, as I mentioned, I’ve actually done some training this year.

But before then, I have a few other things on my plate –

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Tomorrow is the Hogsback Half Marathon – I discovered this one on the Twitters when someone mentioned the great post-race feast and I’m glad I did. It’s a fairly small event, with a gorgeous course – seriously, no part of this course is ugly! – great post-race festivities. And, they offer an early start for us slower folks which is really nice because you’re finishing with #allthepeople and not straggling in

After that, starting in October, there is the Hartford Half Marathon – I did this one once before I moved to CT. A few years back they changed the course and this will be my second year running the new course. This is another fun post-race – particularly the Mile 27 Beer Garden (the Hartford Marathon Foundation also offers a full on the same day) and the longest drinking fountain ever! Instead of bottled water, you get a water bottle which is pretty awesome.

The following week I will be travelling to the Sweetest Place on Earth. That’s not a typo! I’m heading to Hershey PA for the Hershey Half Marathon. This will be my third time running this one and one that I plan to keep on my must-do list for as long as I can. I mean, great swag and fresh chocolate at mile 12? Yes please!  A few of my friends are planning to run this one as well which adds to the great weekend!

Then. Dun dun dun….it’ll be time to head down to DC and #runwiththeMarines. I’m not out to set records, but I am out to do the best I can. And again, lots of friends running this one as well but I will probably spend most of the 26.2 on my own. Laser like focus right? And I have a plan…

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My MCM Race Day plan – based on the original timing

My plan – for all of my events coming up but most especially for the Marathon – is to stick with the intervals I’m training with. No funny stuff!! And really work on not taking off so “fast” and holding back the first few…or first 10-15 miles.

Run my own race, work towards the goals I’ve written down. Trust myself. I’ve done it before and I can do it again, right?

Hartford Marathon Weekend!

14 Oct

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This weekend, I ran the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s Half Marathon – definitely one of the best small fall marathons out there

I went to the expo on Thursday evening – hoping to score some new shoes but came away empty handed- I had heard a rumor that the new Skecher Nite Owls would be out – they weren’t and the guy in the booth was a…well, not as helpful and friendly as the Skecher reps tend to be usually.  The whole event seemed kind of small to me and not much to look at that I was interested in so I only spent about a half hour there at most.

But I got the most important items — my bib  and my shirt!!

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I really wish there were separate shirts for the 5K and the half….

The plan was to get to downtown Hartford as early as possible on Saturday morning – to avoid road closures and find parking. I managed to accomplish both and parked in one of the state lots near Bushnell Park — super tiny parking spots and really crowded at 6:15 in the morning but VERY convenient!! I hung out in the car for a little while then gathered my things to start meeting up with my friends!

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As usual I was running with no belt since my shorts have pockets and I made the last minute discovery that my jacket has a HUGE pocket in the back!! Carrying my ID, a lip balm, 2 packets of GoGoSqueez applesauce, my external charger for my phone (because it dies SO FAST!) and a cord to charge. My plan was to do 30:30’s since that had worked out so well at Disneyland when I ran with Kim.

I met up with Kimberlee at the VIP area (she was the VIP not me!) and then we hunted down Pam and Diana – eventually all 4 of us were in the same spot near the start, waiting for the signal to go. I decided to hang with Pam and Diana doing 30:17 intervals and we started off with a great pace – not too fast, not too slow! Pam and I were looking at this as a training run for Marine Corps Marathon in 2 weeks so the idea was definitely not to push it since it was definitely more important to get in the miles that break any records!

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A gorgeous fall New England morning at the start line

Things were moving along smoothly til somewhere between miles 4 and 5 – this is when, of course, I felt a pull in my right calf, like someone had just reached in – very gently – and was ripping the muscle down the center.  Not quite a cramp and not a full on incapacitating muscle pull, just a bit of a strain. This slowed me down for the next mile or so but the girls stayed with winning some awesome friend points!

Then, in general, I just started slowing down – partly to compensate for my calf and partly because of my usual lack of pushing myself too hard. Around mile 9 or so, Pam decided to stay with me but Diana had things to do!!! She ran on a head and we finished up the last 4 at a little slower pace

The new half marathon course (new the last 3 years I think) is beautiful – we spend a couple of early miles winding through downtown Hartford then move out to West Hartford and at mile 9 head into Elizabeth Park and out the back side to head back into town. Something new this year was a Candy Station at the entrance to the park – and you KNOW I love this concept! Especially since right before Mile 8 my blood sugar had dropped quite a bit and I was working through my snacks (and Pam’s!) trying to get it back up – 3 gummy bears, 1 packet of Vanilla Bean GU and a pouch of applesauce steadied things out but I grabbed a caramel apple Milky Way mini just to be sure!

We finished strong and saw our friend Kimberly just as we crossed the line – she had been going for a PR but missed it by 5 minutes or so (but still kicked some serious butt!) and after getting a heat blanket, Medal, our Finisher’s water bottle (an awesome way for races to “Go Green”) and our snack back (with a reusable bag!) we found Diana – or she found us – and we headed into the Finisher Festival in Bushnell Park

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I love that they give us a water bottle!!

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And a new lunch bag with some treats!

After trying to find Kimberlee, and failing (since she wasn’t feeling great and headed home) we went to the food tent. Now, one of the places that HMF excels is the post-race festivities — the tradition is chili and apple cobbler. Over the years I’ve done this event, the menu has expanded to include holiday breads baked by local schools, fruit, cornbread, and, I think this year, mac and cheese. We didn’t see any of the mac in the tent but it was wandering around on plates!

Did our chowing down and then headed over to Mile 27. That’s right. The Harpoon Beer Garden. Because what better way to finish things up than with an ice cold beer.

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Eventually it was time to call it a day – or at least a morning!

All in all it was a great morning!! This is becoming one of my favorites!

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Nice course

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Some pretty decent splits along the way…

Up next, the Hershey Half Marathon this coming weekend!!

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