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!

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