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#TBT - I Did It All For A Medal


Picking a race can be a funny process. Sometimes the theme of the race really grabs you, or maybe the location is one you’ve always wanted to run.

Then sometimes it’s the medal. Okay, for me, registrations happen a LOT because of the medal. And earlier this year I found myself registered for the Cheshire Half Marathon, a race I had run twice and really had no intention of running again, simply because of an email I received that had a picture of a really great looking medal.

The race is one I’ve had some pretty good luck with in the past. It’s an extremely flat course run largely on bike paths during the early Spring when the temperatures are ideal here in Connecticut.

I wasn’t alone heading to the race that morning as my oldest came along to run the 5K with my mom for their second year in a row. It was pretty cold that morning as we pulled in, so we huddled in the car as long as possible before heading to the starting area.

As we took off through the Cheshire streets, things felt really good with this race. The previous year I had some problems with my right hamstring that had affected me for weeks following the race, so I was a little cautious with my pacing. I found a good groove as we ran through the neighborhoods of this upscale town for the first three miles before jumping onto the bike trails.

While the bike trail is extremely flat, it can also be very monotonous to run. It’s very isolated without much scenery to look at and runners have to contend with a fair amount of pedestrian traffic as the paths are still open to the public during the race.

It was also on this stretch that my stomach became increasingly uncomfortable and I wondered if the lack of portolets on this course would prove problematic. It seems like lately knowing that a course isn’t going to have that type of support really messes with my head in a total psychosomatic way as worst-case scenarios start playing through my mind and every tree I pass becomes a would-be shelter in the event of an unplanned gastrointestinal disaster.  

Thankfully I was able to shut my brain up and just zone out as I ran down the path which ended around the 7-mile mark before making the turn to start the journey back to the starting line.

By the time the course hit mile 10, I was still feeling really strong as visions of the medal that inspired me to register for this race danced in my head. The 12 mile mark where I injured myself the year prior brought a sign that had me wondering if I might be able to PR. It would be tight, but I thought if I pushed hard enough, I could come really close.

I really started to feel tired as I came down the last stretch and then ran into a major obstacle. The course takes a 180-degree turn before entering onto the track at Cheshire High School where the finish line was located. Before I could maneuver through the turn, a push-rim racer was there having trouble maneuvering through the turn which forced runners to stop and wait. It’s not the most thought out part of the course, but what can you do? I pushed to make up time on the track and even got a high-five from my son who was there cheering me on as I ran past him. I didn’t make the PR that a mile ago had seemed possible, but I still finished with my second fastest half time of 1:39.

I was beyond pleased with my time which was five minutes faster than the year before. And as for the medal, well, it’s a nice medal but I’ve learned that registering for a race based solely on a picture of the medal may not be smartest move as it wasn’t exactly the whopping sized bling that the email had led me to believe…




Rounding Out The Year

With November now upon us, the time for racing here in Connecticut is getting shorter and shorter. Luckily thanks to some amazingly unseasonable weather, we're still hitting 70 degree days, but unfortunately that will likely quickly turn to much colder days ahead.

With that in mind, I have the rest of my 2015 running year mapped out with just three races to go.

The first is one I just found this week and I'm really excited for, the Great Turkey Escape! The race is put on by the same people who host the Redding Road Race which I had the chance to run in 2014 and they do an amazing job at putting on their races. When I saw all the perks that they offered runners, I signed up immediately.



Not bad for a 5K! Hell, not bad if this was a full marathon! I've never had the chance to do a Thanksgiving Day race, so this seems like the perfect choice for my first.


Two days after Thanksgiving, I go back to Bethel, CT for the Run Santa Run 5K. This race is now in its fifth year, and I'm proud to say that I've been a part of this race every year since it started. While the race had some problems finding a permanent home, shifting courses and towns several times, it never lost its following. With a race director that looks like Santa and unique themes every year, this holiday 5K is a perfect way to kick off the Christmas season.


This year's theme is my personal favorite:


And this ties in perfectly to my last race of the year:


My family had such a great time at last year's race that we're all ready to make the trip back to Cleveland to do it again! Initially we were going to switch our registration to do the virtual race option (which if you haven't registered, you still have time! Go to A Christmas Story Run to sign up!) until my kids watched the movie again and found themselves overwhelmed with excitement to go back and do it again. They loved being able to go through the house from the movie and seeing all the sights Cleveland had to offer.


Three holiday themed races should make for a great ending to 2015 as we look ahead to all the excitement that 2016 will bring, starting with a trip in January to Disney World to take on the Dopey Challenge.

Looking Ahead To 2016 And Even 2017

This past Sunday, I spent much of the morning watching status updates, Tweets, and Instagrams all roll in from New York City as so many people that I know took on the New York City Marathon.

For years this race has eluded me. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to gain entry through their lottery system since 2012 and come up empty each time. Of the 50,000 or so runners that take on the 5 Boroughs, only about 14,000 of those are lottery entrants. While this is a pretty large pool, that number draws from nearly 80,000 who put their name into the lottery. With a 17% chance of getting in, lotteries have never been my strong suit.

 
So after sitting on the sidelines and watching another race year go by, I decided that sitting and waiting for my name to come up in the lottery may just end with me never having the chance to run this dream race so I did something about it.

The New York Road Runners Club offers a great program for its members for guaranteed entry into the New York City Marathon called the 9+1. The way it works is that you run 9 races hosted by the New York Road Runners, then volunteer at one race all within a calendar year. Successful completion of this guarantees entries into the next year’s marathon.


So, I joined the NYRR for the very reasonable fee of $40, and started checking out some of the races they offer. The 5 Borough Race Series immediately jumped out at me, so I threw my name in for the New York City Half Marathon lottery. 


Hopefully luck will be on my side a bit more for this race, but even if it’s not, there are still plenty of other races for me to choose from to fulfill the requirements.

I’m really excited to be taking on a new type of running challenge and can’t wait to see all of the great races that the NYRR puts on!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

#TBT - I Did It All For A Medal


Picking a race can be a funny process. Sometimes the theme of the race really grabs you, or maybe the location is one you’ve always wanted to run.

Then sometimes it’s the medal. Okay, for me, registrations happen a LOT because of the medal. And earlier this year I found myself registered for the Cheshire Half Marathon, a race I had run twice and really had no intention of running again, simply because of an email I received that had a picture of a really great looking medal.

The race is one I’ve had some pretty good luck with in the past. It’s an extremely flat course run largely on bike paths during the early Spring when the temperatures are ideal here in Connecticut.

I wasn’t alone heading to the race that morning as my oldest came along to run the 5K with my mom for their second year in a row. It was pretty cold that morning as we pulled in, so we huddled in the car as long as possible before heading to the starting area.

As we took off through the Cheshire streets, things felt really good with this race. The previous year I had some problems with my right hamstring that had affected me for weeks following the race, so I was a little cautious with my pacing. I found a good groove as we ran through the neighborhoods of this upscale town for the first three miles before jumping onto the bike trails.

While the bike trail is extremely flat, it can also be very monotonous to run. It’s very isolated without much scenery to look at and runners have to contend with a fair amount of pedestrian traffic as the paths are still open to the public during the race.

It was also on this stretch that my stomach became increasingly uncomfortable and I wondered if the lack of portolets on this course would prove problematic. It seems like lately knowing that a course isn’t going to have that type of support really messes with my head in a total psychosomatic way as worst-case scenarios start playing through my mind and every tree I pass becomes a would-be shelter in the event of an unplanned gastrointestinal disaster.  

Thankfully I was able to shut my brain up and just zone out as I ran down the path which ended around the 7-mile mark before making the turn to start the journey back to the starting line.

By the time the course hit mile 10, I was still feeling really strong as visions of the medal that inspired me to register for this race danced in my head. The 12 mile mark where I injured myself the year prior brought a sign that had me wondering if I might be able to PR. It would be tight, but I thought if I pushed hard enough, I could come really close.

I really started to feel tired as I came down the last stretch and then ran into a major obstacle. The course takes a 180-degree turn before entering onto the track at Cheshire High School where the finish line was located. Before I could maneuver through the turn, a push-rim racer was there having trouble maneuvering through the turn which forced runners to stop and wait. It’s not the most thought out part of the course, but what can you do? I pushed to make up time on the track and even got a high-five from my son who was there cheering me on as I ran past him. I didn’t make the PR that a mile ago had seemed possible, but I still finished with my second fastest half time of 1:39.

I was beyond pleased with my time which was five minutes faster than the year before. And as for the medal, well, it’s a nice medal but I’ve learned that registering for a race based solely on a picture of the medal may not be smartest move as it wasn’t exactly the whopping sized bling that the email had led me to believe…




Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Rounding Out The Year

With November now upon us, the time for racing here in Connecticut is getting shorter and shorter. Luckily thanks to some amazingly unseasonable weather, we're still hitting 70 degree days, but unfortunately that will likely quickly turn to much colder days ahead.

With that in mind, I have the rest of my 2015 running year mapped out with just three races to go.

The first is one I just found this week and I'm really excited for, the Great Turkey Escape! The race is put on by the same people who host the Redding Road Race which I had the chance to run in 2014 and they do an amazing job at putting on their races. When I saw all the perks that they offered runners, I signed up immediately.



Not bad for a 5K! Hell, not bad if this was a full marathon! I've never had the chance to do a Thanksgiving Day race, so this seems like the perfect choice for my first.


Two days after Thanksgiving, I go back to Bethel, CT for the Run Santa Run 5K. This race is now in its fifth year, and I'm proud to say that I've been a part of this race every year since it started. While the race had some problems finding a permanent home, shifting courses and towns several times, it never lost its following. With a race director that looks like Santa and unique themes every year, this holiday 5K is a perfect way to kick off the Christmas season.


This year's theme is my personal favorite:


And this ties in perfectly to my last race of the year:


My family had such a great time at last year's race that we're all ready to make the trip back to Cleveland to do it again! Initially we were going to switch our registration to do the virtual race option (which if you haven't registered, you still have time! Go to A Christmas Story Run to sign up!) until my kids watched the movie again and found themselves overwhelmed with excitement to go back and do it again. They loved being able to go through the house from the movie and seeing all the sights Cleveland had to offer.


Three holiday themed races should make for a great ending to 2015 as we look ahead to all the excitement that 2016 will bring, starting with a trip in January to Disney World to take on the Dopey Challenge.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Looking Ahead To 2016 And Even 2017

This past Sunday, I spent much of the morning watching status updates, Tweets, and Instagrams all roll in from New York City as so many people that I know took on the New York City Marathon.

For years this race has eluded me. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to gain entry through their lottery system since 2012 and come up empty each time. Of the 50,000 or so runners that take on the 5 Boroughs, only about 14,000 of those are lottery entrants. While this is a pretty large pool, that number draws from nearly 80,000 who put their name into the lottery. With a 17% chance of getting in, lotteries have never been my strong suit.

 
So after sitting on the sidelines and watching another race year go by, I decided that sitting and waiting for my name to come up in the lottery may just end with me never having the chance to run this dream race so I did something about it.

The New York Road Runners Club offers a great program for its members for guaranteed entry into the New York City Marathon called the 9+1. The way it works is that you run 9 races hosted by the New York Road Runners, then volunteer at one race all within a calendar year. Successful completion of this guarantees entries into the next year’s marathon.


So, I joined the NYRR for the very reasonable fee of $40, and started checking out some of the races they offer. The 5 Borough Race Series immediately jumped out at me, so I threw my name in for the New York City Half Marathon lottery. 


Hopefully luck will be on my side a bit more for this race, but even if it’s not, there are still plenty of other races for me to choose from to fulfill the requirements.

I’m really excited to be taking on a new type of running challenge and can’t wait to see all of the great races that the NYRR puts on!