CT Pace Per Mile Report: A Busy May Weekend

In this Connecticut Pace Per Mile Race Report for April 30 – May 6, 2012, I am featuring lots of races. It’s a busy running weekend!

May 5:

Mill Pond 5k, Somers CT, Saturday, May 5, 2012, 9:30am – The second annual Mill Pond 5k and 1 mile Family Fun Run will take place in scenic Somers. Proceeds from the races benefit the Somers Academy – The Grammar School Scholarship Fund. There will be a 5k and a children’s fun run. Timing will be provided by The Last Mile Racing and prizes will be awarded to the top three males and females in the 5k. Walkers are welcome in both events. Registration is $20 for the 5k and $10 for the 1 mile fun run and race day registration is available.

Run MS, a Cinco de Mayo 5k, East Hartford CT, Saturday, May 5, 2012, 9am – Taking place at Rentschler Filed in East Hartford, this race will benefit the National MS Society. The $25 pre-registration fee includes a commemorative T-shirt and light refreshments after the race. The race will be run entirely in the stadium grounds (read: flat!). Timing will be provided by The Last Mile Racing and prizes will be awarded for overall winners and age group winners.

May 6:

Cox Rhode Races,marathon, half marathon, and 5k, Providence RI, Sunday, May 6, 2012, 7:30am and 8am – The 5th annual Cox Rhode Races will feature a marathon, half marathon, 5k, and kids’ race.The course is a nice mix of historic urban and rural neighborhoods as the race starts in Downtown Providence and heads along the Providence River to India Point Park before heading down tree lined Blackstone Boulevard towards Pawtucket. The course then winds through Pawtucket before heading back down the famous Boulevard and down along the Providence River, and finishing back downtown. The courses are all USATF certified. The marathon registration fee is $100 today, and $120 on race day. The half marathon registration fee is $70 today and $85 on race day. The 5k is $37 today and $40 on race day. Children must be registered in advance for the kids’ race – registration is $20 and no race day registration is available. Registered runners will get a t shirt, medal (marathon and half distance only), and a post race party. Race maps, and tons of other great information, is available on their website.

True Colors 5k, Manchester CT, Sunday, May 6, 2012, 10am – Hosted by the Hartford Marathon Foundation (and all that implies), the True Colors 5k will be run through beautiful Wickham Park in Manchester. The course is a two loop course featuring rolling hills and beautiful scenery. The race benefits True Colors, a sexual minority youth and family services bureau. Registration is $30 and students gets a $5 discount. Race day registration is available. True Colors is a great organization, that works toward creating a world where youth, adults and families of all sexual orientations and gender identities are valued and affirmed. They challenge all forms of oppression through education, training, advocacy, youth leadership development, mentoring and direct services to youth and those responsible for their well-being. Contact True Colors at 888-565-5551 or www.ourTrueColors.org to learn more.

In addition to these great races, it’s graduation weekend for many colleges and universities, including UConn. Congratulations, graduates and faculty, staff, family, and friends, who have supported the graduates. 🙂

Looking for races in another location, or interested in races other than those I have featured? Check out The Race Robot, a runner-created resource. Also, consider adding your reviews if you run one of the featured races. The feedback will help us all find great races.

Friday Favorite: SPIbelt

Today’s Friday Favorite was inspired by a recent Twitter exchange. My favorite way to carry gear on long runs and in races is in my SPIbelt. You will find me wearing it on most trail runs with my camera tucked inside and in races with my phone, or a random collection of items I think I need.

I have a pretty pink one and a water resistant black one. I recommend the SPIbelt to everyone. I even reviewed it on the blog.

One nifty feature runners are sure to appreciate – it holds its shape despite run after run of overstuffing abuse. I have shoved my rain shell in it, my camera and my phone…you name it, and the SPIbelt bounces back. I also like the optional race number holders. They served me well in a recent race.

All things considered, I love my SPIbelt. It’s a great addition to any runner’s wardrobe. My next gear purchase will definitely be their belt/dog leash. I’m on a quest to teach my dog, Lucy, to run well on a leash and surely a SPIbelt leash will help with that.

Thinking about Running

There’s a workout that’s been on my schedule from my coach for 3 weeks. 5 by 600s. It’s not a hard workout. I could do it on a track, or on a trail. I could do it pretty much any time. But I haven’t done it and it’s going on three weeks that I haven’t done it. This weekend, I apologized to my coach for not doing that workout for the second week in a row. I’m usually highly reliable and I get my workouts done and done properly most of the time. The last two weeks have been different. In addition to the 5 by 600s, I cut a long run short and, rather than doing a slow run with 3 minute pick ups, I ran tempo. This is highly unlike me. My coach (hi, Coach) will attest to this – I run what I’m assigned to run.

He and I were discussing my recent episode of noncompliance. I told him I simply didn’t have an explanation for why. I wasn’t tired, I was enjoying running, the workout wasn’t hard. I just didn’t do it. He said something that has stuck with me ever since – “It’s your time not to think”.

That’s really what it is. Running is my time not to think. When everything else is crazy, I love getting lost in the run. I like the freedom of not thinking. I have an academic job and I’m a therapist, so I spend way too much of my life thinking. Add on work stress, a broken stove (sigh), and some other random events, and my need to not think gets even more important. I didn’t run an easy workout because I needed not to think more than I needed the workout. Running is my time not to think.

Sometimes don’t we all just need to get lost in the woods?

Friday Favorite: Run Your Heart Out Tights

In today’s Friday Favorite, I am highlighting my favorite full length running tights – the Lululemon Run Your Heart Out Tights. I love these tights. I own a couple pairs in a variety of colors. My favorites of the favorite tights are grey/grey white stripe. They have nifty little triangles at the thigh (slimming!) and a ruffle on the calf.

Cute, right!

I love these tights because they always stay put no matter how long the run. They are comfortable, allow a full range of motion, and fit well. They come in interesting colors and usually have fun details. They really hold up to the abuse of running and washing – mine still look great after lots and lots of washes. They’re comfortable at a variety of temperatures and have great wicking and breathability. All in all, they’re great tights.

Spring has Sprung?

We’ve been having nice weather all week and I’m convinced that it must finally be spring. Hooray! I love spring, and spring running. There’s something so nice about running in shorts, without 3 layers, a hat, ear muffs, mittens, etc. And, this early in the season there aren’t mosquitos, black flies, gnats or other creepy crawlers.

This week, I did one of my trail runs near a shallow lake and I saw a sure sign of spring – the first little sprouts of lilly pads!

 

Though most of the trees still don’t have leaves, it finally feels like spring.

Even more than spring, I’m looking forward to the spring training season. I need to get to work if I’m going to achieve my goal of reaching my pre-surgery pace this fall. Here’s hoping….it always seems easier to be optimistic in the spring.

CT Pace Per Mile Report: Run for Animals!

In this Connecticut Pace Per Mile Race Report for April 16 – 30, 2012, I am featuring some excellent spring races, including one run for the animals!

April 21:

Belltown Spring Sprint Road Race, East Hampton, CT, Saturday, April 21, 2012, 10am – This race will feature a scenic 5k course around Lake Pocotopaug and the surrounding neighborhoods. Proceeds from the race benefit the East Hampton High School Project Graduation. Registration is $25 and students in grades 12 and under can register for $10. The race will feature chip timing by The Last Mile, food and beverages post-race, and awards in 10-year age groups.

April 28:

Animals for Life Run for Rescue, Middlebury, CT, Saturday, April 28, 2012, 9:30 and 10:30am – The 10th annual running of the Animals for Life Run for Rescue promises to be a fun event for the whole family. There will be two races run, a 5k (humans only) and a 2 mile run/walk with your dog (one dog per person). The event also features a number of non-running activities, including demonstrations by working dogs, dog and cat adoptions, and vendors. All proceeds from the race benefit Animals for Life, an animal rescue and adoption organization. Registration is $25 to run, $18 to walk. Pre-registered human entrants will get a race t-shirt. Doggie registrants will get a fun goody bag. Prizes will be awarded in both events, with the 5k humans and the 2 mile dogs getting the best prizes. There will be post-race refreshments and activities, so runners and walkers can plan to have a fun day. I have run this race in the past and I can say that the course is basically flat, it’s out and back, and there are few human and no dog water stops. My dogs wanted to stop in a roadside creek, so be prepared if Fido isn’t much of a runner. It was a fun event, and one that I hope to do again this year.

Glastonbury River Run, Glastonbury, CT, Saturday, April 28, 2012, 10am – Hosted by the Hartford Marathon Foundation, the Glastonbury River Run is a popular annual event that benefits the Glastonbury High School Crew Team. The 5k course is mostly trail, and run along the Connecticut River in South Glastonbury. Race registration is $28 (lower rates for students and kids) in advance and race-day registration is available. Everyone who pre-registers will get a race t-shirt and entrance into the post-race party with food and drinks. Interested runners can upgrade their shirt to a technical shirt for a small fee.

Looking for races in another location, or interested in races other than those I have featured? Check out The Race Robot, a runner-created resource. Also, consider adding your reviews if you run one of the featured races. The feedback will help us all find great races.

If you’re planning ahead, consider one of these races:

May 5:

Millpond 5k, Somers CT

Run MS, a Cinco de Mayo 5k, East Hartford CT

May 6:

Cox Rhode Races, half marathon and 5k, Providence RI

True Colors 5k, Manchester CT

Requests from the Back of the Pack

Lately I’ve been thinking about my status as a back of the pack runner. In my running life I’ve been an age group winner, a mid-pack runner, and now, a back of the pack runner. I feel pretty secure in my status as a back of the pack girl. I like the back of the pack. For many of you reading this blog, maintaining a pace per mile in the single digits is no big deal, but, for the rest of us, the 10+ minute milers, I have some requests.

As a back of the pack runner, the following are my notes, and some requests, of the rest of the running world.

1. Yes, I’m really running. I know that what I’m doing might look like a jog to you. In fact, you might be able to walk as fast as I’m running. But, I’m giving it all I have. I’m running. There were many times, just after my knee surgery, when I was running a 15 or 16 minute per mile pace when I felt like I was flying. Those early days, when I was running a mile at most, I felt more like a runner than I ever have. Pushing through the pain, flying along on the grass, I felt free. I was running. No pace, no walkers passing me, could convince me otherwise.

2. Please don’t lie about the pace of the group run. If the pace of your running group is 8:30 to 9, say that. Please don’t tell me that your pace is “about a 10 minute mile”. To me, the difference between a 9 minute mile and a 10 minute mile is the same as the difference between me and Shalane Flanagan. We’re both blond, about the same height, and often wearing similar outfits, but we are NOT the same. To you gazelles I can see how 9 and 10 minute miles seem the same, but to me there is a significant, and uncrossable, divide between the two. I would rather know in advance how fast you really are than to be the horribly slow girl panting at the back of the group.

3. Please don’t lie about the mileage of the intended route. And, the corollary, if you don’t know, say you don’t know. Maybe you’ve told me the correct pace of the running group – say 9:30. I know that I can maintain that about 3-4 miles. If you tell me the route is 4 miles, I know I can keep up. If you tell me the route is 4 miles and it’s really 7 miles, I’m going to be suffering and will probably have to walk, dejected, the last mile back to my car. Just like you faster runners, I like the occasional tempo or race pace workout. But, I like to know that it’s a manageable distance. I don’t like to find myself exhausted, miserable, and 3 or more miles from my car. This is especially important if you have newer runners or runners who prefer shorter distances in the group. If someone is depending on you to know the distance, please make every effort to know the distance.

4. Please don’t state the obvious, be snide, or make assumptions about my running. I get it. I’m slower than you. I can see that. Stating the obvious (i.e. “Wow, that was probably too fast for you”), being snide (“Can we push the pace a little?”), or making assumptions about my running (i.e. “Going a little slow today – hamstring?”) isn’t very nice. If you’d like to know if I’m injured, ask. If you’d like to push the pace, say so, but don’t expect me to come along with you. Further, please stop complaining about your “pathetic” race efforts that I can only dream of while I’m within earshot. If you’re disappointed by your 45 minute 10k, say so. Saying that you felt “pathetic”, “fat and slow”, or the like, isn’t very nice. I am excited you are fast. I think that’s really cool. I’m happy to support you when you do well and commiserate when you’ve had a bad race, but let’s be kind.

5. Keep the lines of running communication open. If you’re a gazelle and you’ve agreed to run with me, let’s have a chat before we start. If you’re going to wait for me at every corner, let me know. If you’re going to stick with me, let me know. If that changes, let me know. As a friend, I want my running friends to do well. The best way for us to run together and support one another is to be honest about what we need and what we’re looking forward to in the run. If that changes mid-run, don’t be afraid to talk to me about it. If you’ve been sticking with me but are feeling amazing, let me know. I am happy to let you have a great run, even if it means leaving me in your dust. Most importantly, please let me know before you take off on a speedy clip – I, and every other slower runner I know, have been abandoned on the road or in the woods, lost and without a sense of how to get home.

6. Don’t be greedy at the race party. I love that your spouse/friend/sister/child has come to the race to support you. That’s awesome. I don’t love it when there’s no food left at the post-race party and I see your 5 year old throwing out food she thought was “funny”. I don’t love it when I see you carrying away 4 cans of Coke from the race. Please take the food you can reasonably eat. Then, let the rest of us eat. I have been to too many races where the food was literally gone, or all the good stuff was gone, and had to watch friends, family, and greedy folks carrying off all the food that my entry fee paid for. If you’re unsure as to whether or not the race director has planned for friends and family to eat, ask. And please, for the love of all things running, take ONE of everything.

7. Please stop doing your cool down on the race course. We all have to cool down somewhere, but do you really need to run the exact race course backwards, carrying your 4 Cokes and chatting with your friend about how easy the race was? I’m still running out here and it’s demoralizing. Please, find a different route to cool down, or, if you must run the course backwards, cheer for me and my back of the pack friends.

And, a few special notes for race directors and volunteers.

1. It’s ok to cheer just as much for me as for the person who won the race. It’s good to cheer for everyone. I like it when people cheer for me. I do not like it when race volunteers stare blankly at me, look bored, or ask me “how many more behind you?”. I know I’m not going to win, but I could use the encouragement. It’s easy to cheer for the winner, but it’s also easy to cheer for someone running their first race or a new PR. You never know what someone has overcome to be running this race. They deserve the support and the cheers.

2. I am racing, too. I know I’m not going to win. That was clear to me when I registered for the race. But, I’m really racing against myself. In one race not long ago, I was having a possible PR of a race when a volunteer asked me to stop so she could let some cars by. I was dumbfounded. I know I’m not going to win, but if I’m having a great race, I’m racing. Please let me run my best possible race.

3. If you have an intended finish time at which you will reopen roads or close the course, post it on your website. This one needs no further explanation – encourage runners of all speeds by making sure we feel comfortable registering for your race.

I love my gazelle-like friends. Running with faster friends has made me a better runner. But, I still have experiences that are disappointing and difficult. We’re all runners, and one of the best things about running is supporting other runners. So, I submit to you, loyal readers, my requests from the back of the pack.

Friday Favorites: Cool Racerback Tank

Loyal readers will know that I love consistency, so, in the spirit of creating routines, I have decided to begin a new tradition. Welcome to Friday Favorites. On Fridays, I will feature something that I love that makes my running life better.

Today, the weather is warm and the sun is shining, and I’ve been thinking spring. For spring and summer running, nothing beats the best tank top ever – the Lululemon Cool Racerback Tank.

Here’s what I love:

– It’s long. I love long tank tops.

– It doesn’t creep up and stays in place during downward facing dog.

– The fabric isn’t too workout-y. I would feel comfortable wearing my Cool Racerback as a normal tank top.

– It’s great for layering. The top really stays put and it is great for a wicking base layer.

– The seams are really flat, so there’s no armhole chafing.

– They launch new colors or patterns practically every week so I can always find one that is just right.

There you have it. The first ever Friday Favorite.

The rest of the outfit: Lululemon Gather and Crow crops, Experia socks

Does this Haircut Make Me Look Fast?

I get my hair cut tomorrow and I’m struggling with selecting a style. I have had pretty much every imaginable hair cut over the years and I usually favor functional styles. That’s not to say that I haven’t fallen prey to the horrible trend (bleach and tone, short and spiky cuts, long layers, etc.) and the hideous haircut. About a three years ago I got the worst haircut I’ve ever had. I had just moved to Connecticut and was looking for a place to get a good cut. After several recommendations, I went to a local stylist. I went in with a long bob and came out with a shaggy mess something akin to what my hair might look like had I cut myself, with a weed whacker. Since then I’ve been hesitant to try another shorter cut. It’s presently long and straight with only the tiniest layer.

I have been thinking about cutting my hair for some time, but I am held back by one thing – running. I have the ideal running hair cut. It’s long enough for a nice, thick braid in either a high or low ponytail. I can get it into a tight French braid or a bun. It’s so easy. I braid it to run and it stays tangle free. I can put it in a bun or a twist for work or yoga. It has no layers to fly free, no bangs to get in the way during yoga. It’s convenient. But, it’s convenient. It isn’t the most stylish or exciting. It’s flattering enough, but it’s been the same for a long time. I’m bored of this haircut, but I can’t bring myself to change it because it’s just so convenient. I’m afraid that if I change my hair it will become a hassle, so I keep it the same. Boring, functional, safe.

We shall see. Maybe I will take the plunge and change my haircut tomorrow. Or, maybe I’ll stick with the same safe, runner-friendly style. And maybe that isn’t a bad thing.

CT Pace Per Mile Report: Mid April Races

In this Connecticut Pace Per Mile Race Report for April 9 – 16, 2012, I am featuring some excellent races to get your spring racing season off on the right track.

April 14:

Hebron Road Race, Hebron, CT, Saturday April 14, 2012 , 9:00am – This race begins and ends at the RHAM high school gym, so parking should be easy. The race course features rolling hills run in a loop around scenic Hebron and past the town green. It will be run entirely on paved roads. The registration fee is $24 and all pre-registered runners will get a race t-shirt. Registrations after April 8 must be hand-delivered to the Hebron Parks and Recreation. On-site registration is also available. Chip timing will be provided by The Last Mile Racing, ensuring professional timing. Just a note – this race is for runners only, so walkers may want to try another option.

Salem Road Race, Salem, CT, Saturday April 14, 2012, 10:00am – The 19th annual running of the Salem Road Race will be sponsored by the Salem Lions Club. It will take place in Salem, an historic town. The race organizers describe the course as challenging, so runner beware. The course will be closed to traffic, a definite plus. The registration fee is $20 and online pre-registration is accepted until April 10th. On-site race day registration is available. A limited quantity of t-shirts will be available for purchase on race day for $10. There is a maximum family registration cost of $50, so family groups are welcome. Runners and walkers will enjoy a post-race pancake brunch.

April 15:

Sprint into Spring, Middlefield, CT, Sunday April 15, 2012, 8am – Benefitting the Middlefield Lions Club, this race features a 5k and 10k distance. Walkers and family groups are welcome. The race organizer had this to say about the race: “Our race will be in beautiful town of Middlefield CT and it will be a scenic race with some great vistas, especially a gorgeous view of the mountains including the soon-to-be-reopened Powder Ridge Ski Area.We will give our first place medals to men and women in each of five age groups for the 5K and 10K (20 awards total).  We’ll have music and food for the finishers, as well as a kids’ race.  It’s our first time, so we want a good start, but we’re convinced this will improve over the years!” The 5K course is a single loop and the 10K is two loops, and both will end at Peckham Park. Pre-race registration is $20 for the 5k and $25 for the 10k (race day registration is $25/30). T-shirts will be provided and there will be post-race entertainment and photos by Capstone Photography. A printable registration form can be found here.

Looking for races in another location, or interested in races other than those I have featured? Check out The Race Robot, a runner-created resource. Also, consider adding your reviews if you run one of the featured races. The feedback will help us all find great races.

In my next report, I will feature some end of the month races. If you’re planning ahead, consider one of these:

April 21:

Belltown Spring Sprint Road Race

April 28:

Animals for Life Run for Rescue

Glastonbury River Run