Haute Volée Caitlin Comfort is coming off of an amazing marathon debut this past June at Grandma's Marathon with a time of 2:35.29. She spends most of her time in Verona, Wisconsin and then part of the year in Flagstaff where she trains under Stephanie Bruce. We've given you a glimpse into her time in Flagstaff and now Caitlin gives you an idea of what fall training looks like in Wisconsin and why she loves her neck of the woods!
For those of you who follow me on social media, a lot of you know that I spend some time out of the year training in Flagstaff, Arizona with my awesome coach-friend and runner-mom extraordinaire, Steph Rothstein. When I’m not at 7,000 feet above sea level, you can find me in Verona, Wisconsin doing a tempo on one of the many country roads or an easy base run on Military Ridge Trail, a beautiful 40 mile dirt path with fantastic views of Wisconsin’s rolling landscape. Another one of my favorite spots to blow off some steam is the Ice Age Trail which is a single track hiking trail that winds for more than 1,000 miles along the edge of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin. I’ve been all over the country, and I’ve been fortunate to see some beautiful places, but I truly feel that I currently live in a runner’s paradise (winters don’t really count, right?). The only luxury I don’t have is a training partner.
With the exception of my altitude stints in Arizona, I have been training alone for nearly two years. Some days are more difficult than others, but then there are moments where I actually welcome the solitude. While I would love to have someone who could help push me through tough workouts, I think training solo has forced me to become hardier and less inclined to wallow in self pity. On some base mornings and long tempos, Tom, my wonderful boyfriend will make my day and accompany me on his bike. Those days are my favorite. Running alone has also encouraged me to work on developing an intuitive relationship with my body. I’m urged to look at the beauty around me, listen to the cadence of my breath, and feel any aches, pains or changes in my stride. It took two injuries within 9 months of each other, but I’ve learned the importance of PT/preventative exercises, which I now do every day along with hurdle drills and core work. I’m a member of the YMCA, so I will typically go there to get my weights in or run on the treadmill if the weather’s nasty. In addition, I see a massage therapist once a week and I’ve found that those visits are absolutely crucial to my recovery.
Despite how this blog might make it seem, I do, in fact, have a life outside of my sport! Tom and I are mega frisbee nerds, so wherever we go, we have that simple circular disk in tow. We also love to go on hikes, cook together, forage for berries at a local secret spot, and spend time with his adorable daughter, Stella. I also love to read and make occasional trips back home to Peoria, IL to see my family with whom I’m very close. My father owns a fabulous steakhouse right down the road from where I grew up, so I consume a sufficient amount of red meat when I visit. Tom really lucked out there!
Last month, I competed in the US 20k Championships in New Haven, Connecticut. Although I fell short of my goal to crack the top ten, I was proud of the fight I put up, especially during the last two miles when I really started to crumble. I was not as fast or fit as eleven other women that day, but that is a fact that won’t break or discourage me. Rather, I will use it as fuel to help push me through these few months of training. I'm aiming at racing in November, but after that, the focus will be on training for the Olympic Trials Marathon in February. On that note, I want to thank everyone who sends me love and support before and after each race. Your comments never go unnoticed and they always put a smile on my face! Here's to a great fall of training and racing for all of you too!