Friday, September 8, 2017

Join the League of Injured Runners

The new League of Injured Runners allows you to support and encourage each other through various stages of injury recovery – something we almost all experience at some point.  Nobody wants to need the group, but we hope it will help you stay motivated and engaged when you do. And, when you’re back out there post-injury, you can encourage others through their struggle.

With the support and expertise of the Connecticut Sports Medicine Institute at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, we will bring you a video series of tips on injury prevention, signs and symptoms of common issues and recovery strategies.  The doctors will be available to provide general guidance and address questions through the League of Injured Runners Facebook group.  We’ll also provide those who JOIN the League with email updates on special events and opportunities and share stories from the community.

Community – that’s the most important part of this initiative.  Special thanks to Team HMF member Jeanne Corey and HMF Volunteer Ambassador Jackie Owens for their help in this effort and in rallying the community around each other.  You’ll see each of them at events and hear from them on the Facebook group.  Today, meet Jeanne and hear her story.  Next week, we’ll introduce you to Jackie and her story and we encourage you all to share with us and with each other – sign up to join the League and then talk with us on Facebook too!

When I had my first running injury, I was a new runner and signed up for every race I could find.  Back then, I didn’t own a Garmin, running sneakers or any fancy gear - I used to wear my lucky big hoop earrings during races and carb load the night before my 5Ks. LOL

I started having some pain in my hip when running, did my research, learned some stretches and diagnosed myself with a pulled hip flexor.  I read articles and advice to “run through the pain” so I kept running.  The pain got worse to the point where I started limping all of the time and it would wake me up at night.  I finally went to the doctor, got an MRI and eventually the bad news - a stress fracture.  

I made my list of questions for my 1st doctor visit.  
1.    When can I run again?
2.    What kind of exercise can I still do? (if the answer to 1 was not what I wanted)
3.    How long will this take to get better?

It’s funny, I can still remember that feeling of disbelief and some of the crazy thoughts I had:  “Maybe I can still run using my crutches”…“I wonder how many calories I can actually burn power walking with my crutches”.  

I was also haunted by horrible negative thoughts.  I felt isolated.  I remember crying when I received the automated text alerts about my friend running the Hartford marathon.  I think the worst was seeing runners on the road - I hated them!  I was in such a bad place.  I missed running.  It was like losing my best friend.   

A good friend sent me an article from Runner’s World - “How to cope with the 5 Stages of Injury Grief”, I recommend it and was so grateful to read something that made me realize I wasn’t going crazy!

I had a hip stress fracture and was not allowed to put any weight on my leg whatsoever. I was lucky enough to have a friend introduce me to “Pool running” (if you’re not familiar with this concept watch the video).  I tried it the first time and my legs were like rubber after - what a great workout!  It was probably the first time that I started to feel mentally good again. 

Finally, months went by and I was given the okay to run again!  I asked my doctor if I would be able to train for the Hartford half marathon that was in 8 days.  He just shook his head and said I’d only be able to walk/run the 5K, so I signed up and ran it – without stopping.  

I was given a very strict recovery plan but started up with my own over-aggressive routine again (not following doctor’s orders – bad idea!).  I began running, teaching classes and less than a year later had my second stress fracture.  

I wish at that time in my life I was involved with HMF to know that I could still be involved with the running community even though I wasn’t able to run.  I also wish that I had a support system that would listen to my craziness or even discourage me from doing too much too soon when I got the “okay” to run again.  

I’ve learned a great deal since then.  There is a lot that a new runner can do to avoid injuries; foam rolling, getting fitted for sneakers, warming up, not increasing miles too fast, and the most important – listening to your body.  If something hurts it’s time to slow down.  Not running for a couple of weeks sometimes can make the difference. The bottom line is we are runners, therefore we will get hurt one time or another.  The thing to remember is you’re not alone! 

Jeanne Corey
-Team HMF

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Marathon training: stories from the community

We see so many runners cross the finish line at the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon, and we appreciate when we can get to know them a little more.  What made you start running?  How do you get through the toughest of your training days? Why is Hartford a goal race?  

We’re happy to bring you more of these stories over the next six weeks as we lead up to race day.  And below, please meet Devin Obedzinski, an employee at United Bank.  We appreciate United Bank’s continued support of the Eversource Hartford Marathon and are thrilled to have their employees run and volunteer with us on October 14.

Devin is taking on his first marathon in Hartford and he knows it’s all about the mental preparedness.  How can you relate to his story?

I have played organized sports since I was a kid, and I joined the Rockville High School track team my Freshman year. I had wanted to try long distance running, but Coach Dave Smith (I still call him Coach), wanted me to try out sprints, specifically hurdles.  I took to it pretty well and never ran more than 400 meters in high school. 
Devin and his training buddy Matt after 17 mile long run

I started running 5Ks after college as well as the Manchester Road Race to keep up my competitive drive and keep myself in shape.  In 2015 I ran my first Spartan Race and my first half marathon, the Hartford Half Marathon, finishing in 2:08:24.
Jokingly, I told a friend that I’d run the Eversource Hartford Marathon with him, and then he replied that he was serious. He asked if I would train with him.  I started logging miles with my training buddy back in April, because we knew that inevitably there would be distractions, vacations, injuries, etc.  

Running a full marathon is as much of a mental accomplishment as it is physical.  There’s not much I can do to make running for 4+ hours interesting, so it takes me a lot of mental toughness to fight through the boredom, the urges to quit, and the internal questions of why the heck did I do this to myself!  But those hurdles are what I see as challenges to overcome and add another accomplishment to my resume. 

I’m surprised by how much my body can change from day to day sometimes.  I can go out and run 10 miles and feel great afterwards, feeling like I could run another 10.  Then next week I’ll feel like dying after my first mile and wonder how I lost so much progress.  

Diet and sleep have been crucial, and I definitely feel the impact if I slack on my non-running training schedule.  Energy drinks are my guilty pleasure and one of my very few vices.  I’ve been much better at cutting them out of my diet.  About a month before any big races, I eat a much stricter diet, cutting out all 99% of all alcoholic drinks (maybe one a week) and focusing on eating the right foods.  

People usually ask me to see a therapist when I tell them I’m planning on running 26.2 miles.  Some don’t understand the 24 hour commitment to success and will try to pressure me into having a drink or eating fast food, but I keep the overall goal in mind when I stick to my plan. And, I still go to my old coach, Dave Smith - he helps keep me centered!

Check back for updates on Devin’s progress in the next few weeks!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Top 5 Ouches to Avoid

With seven weeks to race day, Eversource Hartford Marathon training calls for a 19 miler tomorrow.  Even if you're not training for the full, increasing mileage, especially while we're still enjoying great summer days, can wreak havoc on your body.  Our friends at Fleet Feet West Hartford provide 5 tips to avoid some of the common issues and annoyances that can side-track your training success.

Ah, the joys of training, especially as mileage increases and the heat is still a factor! Chafing, burns and blisters don’t have to be your bodily “badges of honor” – you just need to wear the proper gear. Here are a few tips to prevent common  ailments:

Friction & Chafing
The problem:
Seen in areas where skin rubs on skin such as the inner thigh and underarms. This can also be caused by your fanny pack, hydration belt, sports bra, or any new clothing rubbing as you run.
The solution:
Only wear technical fabric designed to manage moisture when you run. That means no cotton. Lubricate before you run with Body Glide or 2Toms BlisterShield.

Bloody Nipples
The problem:
Primarily seen in men and caused by friction of the t-shirt rubbing against the nipples, creating raw skin. Not a pretty site for those post-marathon photos!
The solution:
Since bloody nipples are really just a result of localized friction and chafing, the treatment for them is almost identical. There is a product called Nip-Guards that can help tremendously in preventing a bloody t-shirt.

The problem:
Also caused by friction, usually from shoes, sweaty feet, or cotton socks.
The solution:
Try lubricating your toes with 2Toms Sport Shield or BodyGlide, then use socks made with technical fabric designed to reduce moisture and prevent blistering. Don’t wait until the week before your race to get new shoes – that should happen 2-4 weeks BEFORE race day so you can do a few long runs in them.
If you do get a blister close to race day, drain it by running a pin or needle through alcohol or a flame then poke the blister. Let the fluid drain. Do NOT remove the skin. Protect it (and any hot spots on your feet) with special “bubble bandages” that are sold at your run shop.

Athlete's Foot
The problem:
This is a superficial fungal infection that thrives in moist, dark environments (your sweaty feet covered by socks and shoes). Athlete’s Foot typically manifests as an itchy, irritated, flaky rash on the sides of your feet and in-between the toes.
The solution:
Wear socks made of technical fabrics suitable for managing moisture (not cotton). This will help reduce the amount of sweat on your feet, and should prevent a repeat occurrence. Over-the-counter Lamisil cream works in most cases but some need prescription treatment. If persistent, see your dermatologist.

Purple Toenail
The Problem:
Also known as a subungual hematoma, this is basically a bruise under your toenail caused by friction and trauma to your toe, a result of ill-fitting shoes.
The Solution:
Prevent by making sure your shoes fit properly—should have ½ shoe size width space from toe tip to shoe tip. You might also look for a more square toe box in the shoe so that the shoe is actually deep enough to accommodate your toes. Lubricate prior to running and wear socks made of technical fabric that manage moisture. If you do get one, you will likely lose your toenail, which will regenerate and grow back, likely over the course of several months. Best to see a podiatrist or dermatologist.
As with any medical condition, you should always consult your physician. 

Run Happy, Run Safe and WEAR THE RIGHT STUFF! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Congrats to the 2017 Aiello Inspiration Team!

Thank you all so much for sharing “What’s Your It” submissions.  Your stories and experiences moved us and we are excited to share them with this amazing running community as we lead up to race day in Hartford on October 14.

Look for photos, quotes and stories through the coming weeks, with a “What’s Your It” feature to help us all start the week strong on Motivation Monday.

Today, we are excited to share the final selections of the 2017 Aiello Inspiration Team at the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. This year’s team includes inspiring individuals who run for many different reasons - they run to honor loved ones who have passed away, they run for weight loss and health, they run to overcome illness or difficult times. Their intrinsic motivation will help carry them to the finish line of this year’s event in Hartford.  

2017 Aiello Inspiration Team members were chosen from countless submissions that answered the question “What’s Your It?”, showing incredible ambition, drive and commitment in their lives to the “It” that they run for.  Members represent a vast array of backgrounds, experiences, ages and running goals.

2017 Aiello Inspiration Team members:

Sonya Alexander, Fairfield, CT – Charity 5K 
Allan Darrow, New Milford, CT – Marathon
Lee Falk, Bristol, CT – Marathon
Kayla Giacin, New York, NY – Half Marathon
Danielle Marcue, Portland, CT – Half Marathon
Ed Rudman, Rocky Hill, CT – Marathon
Nan Richardson, Middlebury, CT – Half Marathon
Paul Smith, West Hartford, CT – Half Marathon 
Sammi Verbickas, Torrington, CT – Half Marathon
Bryan Williams, Leicester, MA – Half Marathon

Members of the Aiello Inspiration Team will receive special VIP treatment including custom event apparel and complimentary PRE Perks package with limited access parking adjacent to the start/finish line, Mail My Packet service to receive bib and shirt in late September, personalized bib, access to pre-race VIP area and personal baggage check. Additionally, they will be profiled within the Eversource Hartford Marathon Insider’s Guide and highlighted within team promotions at the Total Fitness Expo. 

The Hartford Marathon Foundation is joined by Aiello Home Services, sponsor of the team, in the effort to recognize individuals whose determination and perseverance serve as an inspiration and motivation for others.

More information on the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon can be found at, on and on Twitter @runHMF.

Friday, July 21, 2017

runHartford (we'll take good care of you!)

Each year, right after the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon (well, after a few days of needed rest), we assess the ins and outs and all of the details.

Over the last 24 years, we’ve changed it up and done some things differently and, hopefully, much better.  We work hard to listen to feedback, improve where we can, maintain what works well and adjust in a way that enhances participants’ experiences without increasing costs. 

The 2017 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon will have some new frills:
  • Enhanced athlete tracking – GPS capabilities for friends and family to find you
  • Start seeding – Additional corrals to help make your start smoother, areas available for marathon runners under 4:30:00 and half runners under 2:05:00 (deadline to apply – September 1, 2017)
  • Team 26.2 marathon relay – Updates to make being part of relay easier and one big party
  • Charity 5K – Still great for competitive athletes, the race will be more welcoming to walkers and groups
We’ll continue to offer runner services to take good care of you on race day, including:
  • Expansive medical support on course, at the finish and as needed
  • Safe, accurate, entertaining and well-supported courses
  • Experienced team of safety and security professionals
  • Fresh food, including gluten-free options and lots of locally sourced selections
  • Unique finisher medal, long-sleeve technical shirt, custom water bottle and healthy snack bag
  • Harpoon Beer Garden, now with sampling of Barefoot Wine, and Qdoba burritos for purchase
  • Live entertainment on the course and in Bushnell Park
  • 50th state recognition (just email us by September 8 to let us know and we’ll provide an impressive keepsake of your milestone)
Extra perks to provide enhanced comfort:
  • PRE Perks – indoor heated pre-race experience, plus personalized race bib if ordered by August 28 (for purchase)
  • Frequent Miler Village – available to all eligible HMF Frequent Milers, provided by Barnum Financial Group
  • Freedom Point – Military hospitality venue in Bushnell Park, presented by Bank of America
  • Charity Village – Volunteer hospitality area in the park for Official Charities
If you work for or own a business that wants to be a part of the action on race day, we’re making it easier than ever, with the added benefit of supporting local charity.  The new "Community Partner" program allows companies to dedicate a smaller investment to have visibility on race day - plus, a $500 donation is made to charity and 2 free registrations to the Charity 5K are provided.  Contact us at for details.

We’ll keep giving you reasons to come back to the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon and hope to see you on October 14!


Monday, July 10, 2017

What's Your It?

We want to know what makes you lace up your shoes day-in and day-out.  We are so inspired witnessing your dedication to get to the finish line, we want to hear more - we want to know why you do it.  And, we want to celebrate you for it.

This year at the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon, we will be honoring and celebrating runners as part of the Aiello Inspiration Team who answer the question What's Your It? 

Now through July 15, we'll be collecting stories and photos on our Facebook page and via Instagram, just tag us and use #runHartford to share your motivation to run. Not on social? You can email us at too. 

Up to 10 runners will be selected to represent this year's Aiello Inspiration Team and be provided free race registration and a VIP runner experience package at the October 14th Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon.

Family? Health? Peace & Quiet? Competition? 
What's the IT that keeps you going on rainy days, in blistering heat or frigid temps? Why do you get out of bed early or cram that extra hour somewhere in your day to log training miles?  

We can't wait to hear from you!  Questions?  Hit us up on social or via email.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer running - it's on!

Officially, summer may be another week away, but it feels like we’re in the thick of it this week.  Our friends at Fleet Feet West Hartford are ready to help you through it!

The sun is out and New England runners want to take advantage of all the sun-kissed runs our short summers have to offer.  This excitement can lead many to head out the door without thinking about the affects of the sun. Here are some tips to sun-protected runs to help you enjoy these wonderful summer trots safely.

Hats:  Providing shade for your face and helping to protect your scalp for dangerous radiant heat, hats can also help wick away sweat that may potentially land in your eyes. However, make sure you wear a hat that is full mesh so that air can pass through and look for hats with a dark colored under-bill since they reduce glare and won't make your eyes squint so much. Consider mimicking Olympic marathoners and stuff some ice inside your hat before you put it on (or mid-run) to help keep your cool.

Sunglasses: As we prepare for summer runs, we think about protecting our skin but often overlook the need for eye protection. UV rays can be harmful to our eyes and those UV rays are most powerful between 8am to 10am and 2pm to 4pm. Sunny conditions also cause us to squint which wastes valuable energy and can lead to a post-run headache. Lots of reason to don those shades!

Shirts: For men, it’s all too common to step out, notice how hot it is and automatically take off your shirt for a run. You could really be doing some harm - skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. A light moisture-wicking shirt can help protect bodies from the detrimental effects of prolonged sun exposure. Most performance running apparel has 30-50 UPF sun protection yet still feels light and airy on. 

Hydration: Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Hydration is one of the most important elements of successful running this time of year. Don't just hydrate with water, be sure to take in some electrolytes as they are essential to fluid and nutrient absorption. Excellent options include Nuun, UCAN Hydrate, Gu Roctane Energy Drink, Tailwind and Scratch. We love Hydraflask stainless steel insulated bottles to keep iced beverages cold for up to 24 hours (even when stored in a hot car)!

Run early or later in the day: For early birds, first thing in the morning is one of the best times to run. Before the sun is at its highest peak, temperatures are cooler and typically less humid. But, for those who can’t make an early morning, waiting until the sun sets and things cool off a bit is best in weeks like this.

Enjoying the sun also means protecting yourself from it. With all the health benefits associated with running, we don’t want our runs detrimentally affecting our health.