Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Getting race ready!

We’re coming into the home stretch, with about two and half weeks until Eversource Hartford Marathon & Half Marathon race day.  We are hearing from runners in training groups, on the HMF Events Running Group page and at events about how they’re preparing in these final weeks – avoiding injury and staying healthy are key!

Check our Training Tips page for some words of advice from Select Physical Therapy on addressing tightness or pain before it leads to other issues.  We don’t want you side-lined by injury!  It's taper time, one of the most important aspects of the marathon training cycle but difficult for many to implement - check out some pointers here.

Getting ready for race day takes physical and mental preparation, finding the right balance to get you to the finish line is different for everyone.  We checked in with the team of runners from United Bank - a group that includes everyone from experienced marathon runners to first time 5K participants. They shared some of their strategies for getting race ready below, please share in comments any tips and strategies you have.

Samantha ParĂ© – 5K
I’ve never been much of a runner and haven’t been very physically active for a couple years, since becoming a mom.  Six weeks ago I started running 3 times a week using a couch to 5k app, it starts you off at an easy level and gradually increases in difficulty. It has been rewarding to see my distance grow after each run.

Diane Lipes – Eversource Half Marathon
I am following the training suggested by the Hartford Marathon Group. I also run with the group on most Saturday mornings from the Glastonbury Center. Believing in myself that I can do it is my mental preparation!

Dena Hall – Eversource Half Marathon
Fitting this training schedule into work, home, kids, volunteer commitments and fall sports is a mental exercise in creating my balance! I spend time each week planning out my schedule and various commitments and figuring out how and where to fit my runs.

Katie Mascolo – Eversource Half Marathon
Aside from running I have been staying active in other ways including hiking, walking my dog and light lifting. I have also found the importance of staying hydrated and stretching!

Please continue to follow us here and check your email for important race updates delivered in weekly Eversource Hartford e-News.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Course previews, mile-by-mile

While there aren’t significant changes to the courses of the Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon or the 5K this year, we do have some great new resources to help you prepare for your race on October 10.

Whether you’ve run with us in Hartford before or this is your first, take a few minutes to watch the mile-by-mile video:

Half Marathon video

Marathon video (and relay course)

You can also find printable course maps with elevation chart, route description and mile markers through those links. While we don’t have video of the 5K, you can get all 5K course details here.

For water station locations and to see where Carb Boom! energy gels will be available on the half and full courses, check the amenities list here.  Did you know we have a Candy Stand on Mile 22?  Volunteers will be cheering and handing out a host of mini-sized sugary delights for race participants to munch on as they head toward the finish line. Flat cola and orange soda will also be on tap.  

The Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon are both qualifiers for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.  We are also a Boston qualifier, please see details on our FAQs page – you’ll learn some other really important stuff there too!

As always, the courses are all USA Track & Field Certified This is a very precise process, courses are measured by a standard bicycle fitted with a calibrated mechanical counter on the front wheel.  A legit certified certifier follows their 100-page manual of rules to ensure the precise, exact course measure is achieved.

Any questions about the race course, there’s sure to be an answer on our Web site, use the menu tabs on the left side to help direct you.  Put all of this information at your finger tips with our mobile app, download it for iPhone or Android today!

If you’re really stumped, contact us on Facebook.com/HMFevents or send us a Tweet at @runHMF

Friday, September 11, 2015

Meet Team HMF at Surftown

The Surftown Half Marathon & 5K has become a fan favorite amongst the HMF running community, including many members of Team HMF. Meet some of the team heading down to Surftown this weekend, and be sure to say hello!

Matthew Cieslowski

Hometown: Manchester CT
Occupation: High School social studies teacher
How long have you been running competitively? 3 years      
What is your favorite distance to race? Half Marathon
What is your favorite HMF race and why? I love the Surftown Half because it is held at the perfect time of year for a half, the course is breathtaking, and when it is over you can put your feet right into the ocean. It's the best. I've run it every year and hope to do so for the next 50 years. 
What was your single most memorable race day experience? Finishing my 5th marathon in Maine was the best because after many attempts and what seemed like endless training I finally was able to feel proud of not only finishing but also achieving a time that made me proud.   
Why do you run? I enjoy the sport because during the solo training runs and races I can feel totally alone and independent yet there is such a wonderfully supportive community of folks in the running world. The festive atmosphere before and after races is one of camaraderie that I enjoy immensely. Many races are held to support great causes and it feels good to do something for others while doing something for my fitness and myself.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone running his or her first race this year? Remember to relax and enjoy the experience, even though it is a competition you are ultimately out there in competition with yourself.

John Coppola

Hometown: Middletown, CT
Occupation: Account Manager
How long have you been running competitively? 6 years      
What is your favorite distance to race? Half Marathon          
What is your favorite HMF race and why? I really liked the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon. The course was challenging and fun. It was fun to race on the same roads I train on          
What was your single most memorable race day experience? My first 5k. A friend had suggested I try running a race with him. I mostly ran on a treadmill and had just transitioned to the road. I ended up finishing 3rd in my age group. I was hooked on racing after that day.             
Why do you run? There are almost too many reasons to list why I run. I find that it's a great stress reliever for me. I never feel anxiety during a run. It's really the only time I don't worry about anything. It frees my mind from all the burdens of everyday life. It gives me a great feeling of freedom.        
What one piece of advice would you give to someone running his or her first race this year? Just have fun. Don't worry if you're not fast or that anyone will make fun of you. Runners are very supportive of everyone who's out there on the course giving it their best. Don't forget to stretch after every run. 

Scott Hollister

Hometown: Glastonbury, CT
Occupation: Life Skills Teacher
How long have you been running competitively?   My first triathlon was at age 10 however, I did not enjoy the self-gratification in running until long after college. So 15 years, give or take.
What is your favorite distance to race?  Right now, I’m really enjoying half marathons. 5k’s and I have a love hate relationship.
What is your favorite HMF race and why? The Riverfront Scramble series are my fav. I love not knowing what each race will be in terms of the course and distance until just before the gun. It makes most competitive runners crazy and therefore you get a wonderful group of runners who are more focussed on having a good time rather than racing for time.
What was your single most memorable race day experience? This year was running half marathon shoulder to shoulder with my 68 year old father and both breaking our PR’s.
What's your "Go To" Post race meal?  I love nachos and pizza and if the race was long enough, I’d order both and consume together.
Why do you run?   I was once told “Health, Wealth and Happiness you can pick two” Running has given me two of the three and I’m extremely grateful for this decision.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone running his or her first race this year?  Enjoy the moment; take it all in. You’re going to PR no matter when you finish so leave some room for improvement and finish feeling strong.

Lanham Miller

Hometown: Glastonbury, CT
Occupation: Youth Program Manager at the Connecticut Forum
How long have you been running competitively? 6 years      
What is your favorite distance to race? Half Marathon
What is your favorite HMF race and why? The Hartford Half Marathon. I love how much hype and pride the marathon produces for the city of Hartford. The organization of the event and crowd support throughout the course is unbelievably awesome. This year will be the 9th year that I've run the half marathon and being a Team HMF athlete has given me a boost of confidence that I can train hard and shoot for a PR! That is what makes me love HMF events so much; the spirit of these races is contagious and thrilling.   
What was your single most memorable race day experience? I don't remember a whole lot from races. I love cheering other runners on, giving high-fives to cheering crowds. Of course, the moment I cross the finish line is always pure joy. My husband is usually waiting at the finish line--- so that definitely gives me something to look forward to.                 
Why do you run? Running is my therapy. I have yet to find something that is so freeing, exciting and instantly gratifying.       
What one piece of advice would you give to someone running his or her first race this year? You're going to be nervous. But know that being nervous before a race is GOLD! My experience has been that my heart races, my throat gets a little tight, and my body just can't wait to get moving (and moving fast). Once the race starts, just take it all in, embrace the jitters and enjoy the ride. A race is something you CHOSE to do, so have fun doing it.

Eric Pouliot

Hometown: Sturbridge, MA
Occupation: Outdoor Sports retailer
How long have you been running competitively?  4 years
What is your favorite distance to race? Half Marathon
What is your favorite HMF race and why? It's hard to choose since all the HMF events venues each have fantastic organization and unique venues, but favorite would be the Surftown Half Marathon. Although Mystic was a pretty close second, both have coastal locations and fast courses so it hard to chose but Surftown wins.
What's your "Go to" pre race meal? I wish this wasn't true but strawberry pop tarts with some additional raw honey on top are usually my good luck charms!
Why do you run? The main reason I run is the fulfillment I get by covering distances with my own two feet! Running has enabled me to enjoy meeting new friends and traveling to new places all while taking in the beautiful scenery. Running also enables me to escape the ability to just slap on some shoes and just go gives me a feeling of freedom that I don't get from any other sport!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone running his or her first race this year? Have fun and don't get stressed out, you're out the to have fun and see what you capable of. Just go out there give it your all and know that you’re probably going to want to sign up for your next race by the time you get home!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bandits - one more reminder

We’ve discussed bandits here on the blog in the past and hear the conversation brewing right before or after races like Amica Iron Horse or Old Wethersfield.  With the sold-out Surftown Half Marathon and 5K this Sunday, we want to make sure the policy – and the reasoning behind the policy – is clear.

Bandits make a race dangerous – we don’t know who you are so if injury occurs, we’ve got major safety concerns.  Let me remind you, I’ve personally had too many conversations (any one conversation is too many) with family members of runners transported by medical.  Making family contact immediately is necessary on many levels to ensure the best possible physical and emotional care for the runner.  There’s nothing more important than keeping everyone safe. 

We’re also not planning on extra bodies on the course so increased traffic causes safety concern that can negatively affect other runners; you know, the people who paid to participate.  

There are areas of concern on virtually every course, this includes anything from potential bottleneck areas to traffic hazards or community impact points (say a church is letting out of mass or another event is happening nearby).  Our job is to lessen the impact of those areas on participants and on the community.  We can’t do our job well if an unanticipated crowd of extra bodies jumps in for even a few miles to help a friend along.  While the intentions may be great to help a buddy with their goal, there are other, safer and more practical ways to support that runner without breaking the rules.

Lots of people think if they’re not eating or drinking anything, they’re not stealing.  I don’t think we have to address again that bandits are absolutely stealing – water, portalets, medical services, police attention, road crew resources and all the other expenses of the race that they’re not contributing to. 

One more important point…Our permits allow only the number of people set by course limits to run.  Bandits are jeopardizing the continuation of the race by breaking our permit.  Please don’t do it.  Please discourage others from doing it. 

Questions?  Just ask us.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Freedom Point - Share your thanks

The dome-shaped tent in Bushnell Park drew lots of eyes on race day last October.  The new Freedom Point military hospitality venue provided comfortable seating, refreshments and private portalets for active duty military, Reserve, National Guard, and veterans and their families. 

With the generous support of Bank of America, the complimentary service will be available again at the Eversource Hartford Marathon, but with an added attraction – a Freedom Point gratitude wall to include thoughts and thank you’s from the HMF community. Whether a general message of appreciation, a memory in honor of a loved one or a photograph of someone you know that should be recognized for their service – the gratitude wall is all about what you want to share.

We’ll be collecting messages and photos in comments here, via email to runhmfsocial@gmail.com and on our Facebook page or via Twitter and Instagram through Patriot Day, September 11.  If sharing a photo for the wall, include the name and service information of the person pictured as well as your information (or info for the person submitting). 

For every message or photo that includes #TroopThanks, Bank of America will donate $1, up to $1 million, to Wounded Warrior Project. which helps veterans transition back to civilian life.

Thanks also to Bank of America for providing comp entry to four eligible service members to run Eversource Hartford.  For more details or to register for the Eversource Hartford Marathon & Half Marathon, visit www.hartfordmarathon.com