Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Congrats to Challenge finishers in Hartford!

Thousands of runners take on the Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, Team 26.2 Relay and Charity 5K as a stand-alone challenge, but many participants will check off the last event in a multi-race Sam Adams Challenge Series on October 12.

The Progressive Series and Connecticut Triple challenges wrap up in Hartford, where participants will earn an additional, well-deserved medal to commemorate months of hard work. If you’re completing one of these challenges, visit the Bling Ring in Bushnell Park after your epic finish! 

We’ve been following along with Katy Bramley, United Bank employee, who took on the Progressive Series in April at the Middletown 3.5 Mile, kept the momentum going through May at the Mystic 10K and will now take on the Eversource Hartford Half Marathon. 

We’re grateful to partners like United Bank that encourage their employees to challenge themselves to go further and accomplish physical and mental feats.

Read about Katy’s journey as she works toward her final challenge at the Eversource Hartford Half Marathon on October 12. 

Katy Bramley, United Bank 

Mystic 10K to Eversource Hartford Half Marathon, October 12 
Here we are, making our last preparations for the finish- both the end of the year and the end of our training for the big event: the Eversource Hartford Half Marathon. I was thinking about this year’s journey while enjoying the fall weather driving along the road last night. This was a particularly hilly road, which made me remember the beginning of my Progressive Series challenge and “hammering the hills” at the Middletown 3.5 Mile. The weather reminded me of the same beautiful breeze on the morning of the Mystic 10K. I’ve been asked if I’m excited for the half marathon coming up. I can say without a doubt that I’m extremely excited. However, in talking to others about my training and the upcoming event, I had a eureka moment. I realized that what excites me even more than the race is DOING IT ALL AGAIN. In the future there will be new goals and accomplishments, and a new set of challenges. I think for most of us, the excitement we find in life is about what comes next. On race day I will be ecstatic and proud to accept my medal in the “Bling Ring” once I cross the finish line. I will be even more enthusiastic to think about what’s to come next year. I want to congratulate all my fellow runners and supporters and all the work we’ve done to get here. Smile, cry, laugh, breathe, or embrace. Whatever you do, be sure to celebrate. You earned it.

Middletown 3.5 Mile, April 7 to Mystic 10K, May 19 Setbacks sounds like steps-back, as in going backward. And running, in general, means moving forward right? Well, that’s the idea, but life doesn’t always work that way. I’ve been athletic all my life, and fortunate enough to only have a few sprained ankles or minor injuries along the way. It’s ironic that now, when I’m most enthusiastic about sharing my story with others, is when strange injuries decide to come along.

For the first time ever, I completed the Eversource Hartford Half Marathon last year. I had never run anything over 6 miles before that. Completing it literally brought tears to my eyes. It was an accomplishment that was unfathomable just 10 months beforehand, 40 lbs heavier and barely able to finish a single mile. The feeling was infectious and I could think about nothing else but how next year I would run the full marathon.

All was going according to plan until a few months ago my running sessions were cut short. Each run was more and more agonizing, to the point I was in crippling pain and getting questions when limping around my co-workers. It would be easy to forget my plans for running the full marathon and go back to my life before running. It took me a few days and some time nursing my emotions to come to a conclusion. I just had to adjust. I had to find a new goal that would make me proud just the same. That’s what lead me to my new mission. My new goal is to complete the Hartford Marathon Foundation's Progressive Challenge series. Just a few weeks ago I completed the Legends 3.5 at the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown 10 Mile, the first race since my injury, and next up is the Mystic 10K. I’m excited to say that I’m on track in my training to be able to run the entire course at my 5K pace!

Along with the training plan I’ve been following, I’ve also been practicing a skill that perhaps plagues some of us now and again. That skill is self control. Naturally, I just want get to running 100% as soon as possible and ignore when I’m in pain. I half convince myself that “it’s fine, it will go away”, as we all do when we don’t necessarily face the fact it might be more serious. Over the past few months I’ve had to take the time to stretch longer than normal, warm up more than I care to, and follow pre- and post-run recovery routines that I never had in the past. I’ve done those tasks, along with physical therapy for those cranky muscles that are causing the pain. I equate it to “paying the bills.” I ran up my credit too high and am paying down what I owe my body. It’s funny, I never would have guessed it turns out those 6 and 7 mile runs on the 10K training plan weren’t the “real work” it takes to be a runner. It’s the tedious little chores I now do to take care of my body long term.
Speaking of the little things, that’s what keeps me motivated. I have a great time when I run with my 11 pound Papillon. He’s got a ton of energy and is a fast little guy, it makes me forget that I’m even running. It’s the tiny butterflies I feel when I get out of bed the morning of a long run. I think about how I enjoy the pounding on the pavement and how exhilarating it feels to be finished.

What I love about this sport is how amazing and unifying it is that everyone can have a different goal, but running towards the same goal all at once. It’s the same course and same finish line, but a completely different journey for everyone. It reminds me, I once had a t-shirt given to me that read “Success is a journey, not a destination.” In my case, it’s never felt more appropriate than now.


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