Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! It’s one of my favorite holidays because I have a very sweet tooth, I love seeing cool costumes, and fall is my favorite season. I ran a Halloween-themed race last year, but didn’t run one this year. It was challenging enough running in a pretty weak Batman costume last year, so I give a lot of credit to those who run in full or elaborate costumes! It’s probably a very good thing I went with a Batman costume last year instead of the Lt. J. Dangle (from Reno 911!) costume I had considered, haha. I even saw a guy run a half marathon in a full Spiderman costume (including the face mask) in July, when temperatures were between 77 and 85 degrees during the race. Wow.

In my Batman costume, posing with my prize from the 2010 "Run Like Hell" 5K. It was pretty warm that day, and it would've been rough wearing one of the old school plastic masks.

I’ve had some pretty good runs lately including a six-miler with my wife; a four-miler between 10K and half marathon pace; a long run with a small group where I threw in a couple of fast miles in the middle because I stopped to try a couple of Gu Chomps energy chews and wanted to catch up with my running partners before they picked up the pace toward the end of the run; and six-and-a-half miles today a little slower than 10K pace. I’d never tried an energy chew during a run before – I rarely eat before running, let alone during a run, because I’m afraid of having stomach issues while I’m running. Luckily, I had no problems at all with the Gu Chomps and will likely try them (or a similar product from a company like Hammer Nutrition) on future long runs. I’ve also been experimenting with drinking a sports drink during some of my longer runs, and that has been going well so far. In the past, I’ve had very little to drink during races, if anything at all. I know it can help to have some kind of energy gel or chew and take liquids during races, and I hope my stomach will get used to eating and drinking during training runs so I won’t have any problems when I try that during a race.

Speaking of races, I’m seriously considering running my first full marathon next year. I was leaning toward a fall marathon so I’ll be able to run enough training miles outside leading up to the race. However, I’m feeling a little impatient and considering a spring marathon. My biggest concern is that I won’t be able to run enough quality miles outside leading up to a spring marathon. But there are some places nearby where I should be able to get in some decent outdoor mileage during the winter, even if it’s not always convenient to drive to those places or get in as much mileage as I’d really like to run. In other words, if I really want to do it, I should be able to find a way to get in enough training during the cold months so that I won’t have to do much catching up on outside mileage during however many weeks of warmer weather we have before the spring races. I’m still undecided on whether I should try a spring marathon or wait until the fall, but if I run in the spring one of the races I’m considering is the Kalamazoo Marathon. My first half marathon was the Borgess Run for the Health of It Half Marathon (part of the same festival of races as the Kalamazoo Marathon) last year. I’ve also heard good things about the Bayshore Marathon and the Martian Marathon, and there are some other spring marathons to consider so I shouldn’t have a problem finding a marathon if I decide to try one in the spring.

In the shorter term, my wife and I have decided to run the Jingle Bell Run/Walk 10K in November, and we might also sign up for another shorter race or two in the next few weeks. It has been almost three months since my last 10K race, but it seems like it has been even longer because I spent several weeks training for a half marathon, and most of my training runs around the 10K distance were supposed to be closer to my half marathon pace than to my 10K race pace. I’m looking forward to running a 10K and finding out if my recent half marathon training will help me at the shorter distance. On another note, I picked up a couple pairs of very cheap gloves at Hansons Running Shop to add to my rotation so I’ll be better prepared to log more miles outside this winter. They won’t be my go-to gloves when I’m running in bitter cold weather, but they should come in handy on training runs at or above freezing and for shorter winter races like 5Ks and 10Ks.

Running gloves from Hansons Running Shop

Did you run a Halloween-themed race? If so, how did it go and did you wear a costume during the race?

If you run outside during the winter, what special gear do you wear to stay warm?

Are you planning to run any holiday-themed races in November and/or December?

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4 Responses to Happy Halloween!

  1. Sven Gustafson says:

    I ran Bayshore last year. I’m totally gonna do a spring marathon again next time, because the training presents a nice excuse to get outdoors in the gloomy late winter months, and I actually think it’s easier to train in the cold than through the dog days of summer. Even though fall is probably the best time of year for running.

    • Matt says:

      Do you think Bayshore would be a good choice for one’s first full marathon (based on things like overall event experience, organization, size, course difficulty, etc.)?

      I agree that it can be easier to train in cold weather than in really hot weather. Not that running in frigid temperatures is fun, but my biggest concern is when the surfaces are icy or covered with snow and I have to worry about slipping or adjusting my stride. I’m also curious how the shorter days will impact my ability to get in a lot of miles outdoors – I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities to try my new headlamp soon. I might look into a spring marathon that also offers a half and allows registrants to drop down, just in case I have an issue with training and don’t think I’ll be ready to run a full early in the year.

  2. Sven Gustafson says:

    Well, I actually love running on (in?) snow, so traction wasn’t really a concern for me (though I recall one fairly painful wipeout I took rounding an icy corner that year). If it is for you, you could always buy a pair of those spike soles they sell that you can stretch over your outsoles. I usually just run in trail shoes when there’s snow out — the bigger lugs grip well on packed snow on the roads, I’ve found.

    As for Bayshore, it’s a pretty nice race and you are in view of the lake the entire way. Although this is also my one complaint about it — it’s an out-and-back course, which I think makes a long event like a marathon really tough. You tend to know exactly where you are and how much further you have to go, especially since they tend to place mile markers at every mile after the halfway point, if memory serves. That was a tremendous psychological disadvantage for me. I’d be more inclined to run it again if it veered inland and took in some of the more hilly vineyards and orchards for the route.

    • Matt says:

      I don’t mind running on/in certain types of snow, but I had some close calls last winter where there was ice under a thin layer of snow. I should look into the spike soles and see how they feel for me. Otherwise, I’ll probably try to log most of my winter miles on plowed streets and park paths. Things like finding the right equipment and layering options can definitely keep it interesting in the winter.

      Thanks for the Bayshore info. I’ve run a few out-and-back 10Ks, but the half marathons I’ve run have been loops (fortunately). An out-and-back race more than four times longer than the other out-and-backs I’ve run would probably be pretty rough for me. I’m used to seeing mile markers at every mile from the half marathons I’ve run, but knowing exactly where I am on the way back would likely be a disadvantage for me, too, until I get to the last few miles. I could hope that the scenery would distract me enough to make it less of a problem.

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