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Hartford Marathon Weekend!

14 Oct


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!!


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!


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!


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


I love that they give us a water bottle!!


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.


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!


Nice course


Some pretty decent splits along the way…

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

Race Recap – NU Hartford Half Marathon

14 Oct


Ten years ago I moved to the East Coast. And about Nine years ago I ran the Hartford Half Marathon for the first time. It was (and is!) a great event, best known for the flat, fast course and the post-race Apple Crisp!

The first time I ran this, it was pouring rain at the start, but eventually that slowed to a drizzle and then by afternoon the sun managed to peek out sporadically.

So, since I’m in the middle of my training for #Dopey15, and seriously lacking in personal  motivation, I decided at the almost last minute to sign up for the half marathon that took place last Saturday. I headed to the expo Friday after work – got stuck in traffic and missed the One Miler  which made me feel:


Headed directly to the expo then and after picking up my bib was greeted by the Skechers booth!! Now, I’m not sure I’ve adequately expressed my love for my Skecher performance shoes I got at the Houston Marathon expo last January — they’re light, they’re comfy and…they Glow. In The. DARK!


I’ve been wanting to get a new pair and when I saw they would have a booth at this expo I was excited! I checked in the the folks in the booth and saw that they had the new, upgraded model available. And, yeah, these will glow too!! (They also come with an extra insert if you need the extra cushion!)


On my way to grab my shirt I stopped by a couple of other booths — OohRah Hydration: Hydration products that support our armed forces and disaster relief efforts. The flavors and colors of the bottles reflect the branch of service being honored – so pretty cool! And the flavors I tried were nice (Chargin’ Blue -grape, and Fightin’ Green -lemonlime) and Generation UCAN: a great source of energy with a SuperStarch source of carbs which gives energy while helping stabilize blood sugars!


The Shirt. My only issue is that the Half marathoners have to “share” a shirt with the 5K and the Relay people…:(

After picking up my shirt, and grabbing a new pair of Skechers, I got back in the car and headed home to rest up.

As expected, when I woke up Saturday morning, it was….well, drizzly…and a little chilly. You know the weather, the kind that makes you want to just stay in bed. But too many people knew I was planning on running this so…up and at ’em!!! When I went to bed I told myself “Don’t forget to wear your DryMax socks on account of the rain”…then I woke up and threw on my ProCompression socks. That are not my DryMax socks…and by then it was too late! 🙂 But I love my Compression socks for long runs so I was hoping to not run through any puddles …hahahaha

By the time I got to Downtown Hartford, it was actually raining, not just drizzling. And it was still kind of chilly. I had on a plastic rain poncho that I figured I would throw away when the rain stopped and the sun came out (spoiler — I wore it the whole time!). I dropped off my bag with a dry sweatshirt and some flipflops and tried to find a potty before the start. Success.

There wasn’t a long wait before the horn blew and we were off! Now, the last time I ran this, it was a completely different course. Not a bad course necessarily, but, there were some sketchy sections. This new course is fantastic!!! I love it!! Sure, there were hills…there will always be hills. But they weren’t unbearable! I was cruising to a return to my olden day times until mile 10. I saw a sign and had a delayed reaction and turned to go back and take a picture (which I ended up not doing after all!) and strained my calf a bit. So the last three were slower than I’d been going but I was still definitely going to beat my time from 2 weeks before!

The finish line snuck up on me!! I really was expecting to have to go around a block once we got back into downtown but nope! Turned a corner and we were there! With great support from the volunteers — including a mylar blanket and a new water bottle!!


A water fountain nearly a block long!!!



Pre-filled for us even!

And the bling!!


I knocked 20 minutes off of my time from 2 weeks ago too — which was a bonus!!

Up next — Hershey Half Marathon! And the rest of my training week of course!

**My absolute favorite part of Saturday’s run was when we were passing one of the three fire stations on the route. From a couple of blocks back, I saw runners -almost every one of them! – turning up into the station driveway where there were 8-10 firefighters high-fiving every single runner! Amazing!!



It Just Keeps Getting Bigger!!!

30 Sep

starting line

And no, I’m not talking about my rear view 😉 Note – if you are trying to find a picture of someone’s rear end, google will show you a lot of nekkid ones….

I’m talking about my list of upcoming races – or as I like to call them “events” (since I don’t actually race much other than my own self!). And since I’m doing all this training I thought a good reminder was in order.

So, in Order of Appearance, here we go:

Hartford Half Marathon – I’m actually also doing the new “One Mile Friday” which is, yep, a One mile run in Hartford followed by a beer 🙂 After the half I’ll get this beauty:

hartford half medal

Hershey Half Marathon – I’ll be doing this one with my friends Kathy and Jennifer. And, we will of course be headed to the park on Saturday before for Roller Coastering! And, I think for this one, we don’t know what the medal will be ahead of time so it will be a delicious surprise!!

Marine Corps Marathon – This is the ‘biggie’ for 2014! You know, the one you can show your support of my efforts by donating to the Tug McGraw Foundation! C’mon! It doesn’t hurt!!

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon – This one we do for “fun” — and the training miles 🙂 And after the miles and before the Food and Wine-ing I’ll get this around my neck (bonus – it spins!!):

2014 Wine Dine Half Marathon Medal

Santa Hustle Half Marathon –  This was a new add (like Hartford) since I’m getting to the point of having some really long weekend runs, I *know* it will be tons easier for me to get them in if I have an event. Not that I don’t love circling my town a few times to get my long runs in…Plus SANTA!!!

TXU Turkey Trot 10K – Everyone should do a Turkey Trot at least once!! This is a nice one – I’ve done the 5K before. And, really, it’s probably best to start the holiday eating season by moving a little!!

Then…after Thanksgiving I’m taking a ‘break’ – from organized events! That is, until I get to the Main Event:

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Dopey Challenge – 4 Races, 6 Medals (Okay, one of the ‘medals’ is a rubber medallion but still…) 4 Races? 5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, Half Marathon on Saturday and Full Marathon on Sunday –  I had planned to do the Goofy Challenge this year since it’s an anniversary year and then they went and added that crazy 10K in there!

Aramco Houston Half Marathon  – I deferred this one in 2014 since I was having so many issues even walking! I’ve done this one a few times and it’s a nice course and a really great event! They’ve also added a 5K on the day before so of course I said “What the heck, why not?!

Publix Georgia Half Marathon – So now I’m entering “what was I thinking” territory! This one was registered for when I saw that I could get in for something like 34 or 40 dollars! Really. That’s it. Plus, it’s one I’ve often thought of doing so….there ya go!

The next Biggie — Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris – Another one where I entered a lottery on a whim, et voila! Making this into a fun trip with a friend. She’s even decided to do the Paris Breakfast Run the day before!

And then, my pal Jackie applied appropriate pressure to get me to sign up for the Brand New! runDisney Pixie Dust Challenge! So new it isn’t even up on the runDisney page yet!!

So there you have it. And all I can say is WHOA! If nothing else, I am definitely feeling way more motivated to train than I normally am. Which is to say, I am feeling motivated to train 🙂



Run the Rent

30 Jul

Last Thursday I ran the Hartford Marathon Foundation 3rd Annual Rentschler Airfield 5K. This event benefits the East Hartford Police Officer Brian A. Aselton Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc. which provides scholarships to children of police officers and local criminal justice students. Fast and flat through an old airfield — I did this one last year too and it wasn’t just the donuts that brought me back!! Though, they helped that’s for sure!!


The weather was *perfect*!! There was a tailwind heading out – which of course meant that we would be running into the wind on the way back (booo!!). We were also warned of possible coyote sightings out in the more “wild” part of the course. Didn’t see any of those – and it felt like the course changed a little bit from last year, not as much trail and more runway running. Which is fine with me!!


My plan was to do my Galloway 45 minutes so I wasn’t too concerned with beating the clock (Not that I am ever concerned about the clock!!) and I stuck to my 2:1 intervals for most of the way. For a couple of intervals after Mile 2 I was more 1.5:1.5 intervals but got back to the 2:1 until I saw the finish arch then just went with running.


These guys were waiting at the finish line….

Like last year the finish line snacks were burgers, donuts, beer and ice cream – you know, health food!  The burgers were provided by Cabela’s. Beer provided by Olde Burnside Brewing Co. makers of the tasty Ten Penny Ale. And the donuts once more provided by Faddy’s Donuts & Ice Cream. And lucky you, you don’t even have to run 5K to try the great apple cider donuts at Faddy’s since they are there at Cabela’s all the time! This year I just by-passed the burger completely and enjoyed my donut with a beer chaser 🙂

This is one I will definitely keep doing — I enjoy the evening runs during the summer!

What is your favorite post-race goodie?!  Especially in the summer, I like a nice cold beer! 

Race Recap – Hartford Marathon Foundation Red Dress Run for Women (5K)

12 Jul

Logo courtesy of the Hartford Marathon Foundation

I’ve participated in this event a few times (last year’s recap can be found here!) and really do enjoy it. It’s truly women only and seems to me that it gets bigger every year – which is always a good thing right?!




I got my things ready the night before and headed to bed pretty early, since I’ve been having trouble waking up lately!!


The event was to start at 8:30, after the kids race, but parking is about a mile away and there are shuttle buses to contend with so I headed up to West Hartford around 7, coffee, water and Power Crunch bar (Nom, vanilla!) in hand!


Pre-race breakfast

Got parked, got on the bus and got up to Elizabeth park with no issues at all — not that I expected any!! Got lots of “great skirt” comments which are always appreciated. Hey, I’m out there for quite awhile, people need something pretty to look at!! 😉

Before I headed to the start, I checked my sugars and then dropped off my bag. One of the bonuses for running this race is the rose garden — we know I love my roses!! Some of them were still in bloom even!




It wasn’t long before we were ready to take off. “Take off” is probably a mis-statement for what I actually did. Slow and steady is my these early days of #Dopey15 training. I’m more concerned with being able to keep to my intervals and avoiding any asthma/wheezing and getting the miles/time in than getting a better time. For now anyway.

As always, a couple folks had sprinklers on. Fortunately today wasn’t as warm as last year, but the sprinkles are still very much appreciated! The course is gorgeous and, as most courses are, a tiny bit hilly 🙂

I did not break any records with my time, though I seem to be getting a little better each time I go out – duh! I guess that’s what training means 😀 I could get used to this improvement thing!! 😉   At the finish line, we were awarded a great little bangle, which was a new addition this year.


Another great part of the morning was catching up with my RockStar friend Kim — who was, as always, out there kicking butt!! Keep on being awesome Kim!!  And hey, while you’re here hanging out on the internet, go vote for Kim to be on the cover of Runner’s World magazine!


I hope everyone is out there having a wonderful Saturday! The weather here in New England is just beautiful and I am going to soak it all in!! And tonight? I will be working on seeing that SuperMoon!!




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