2012-04-05 / Sports

Boston-bound duo

Katy and Chuck Hazzard of Freeport set to run in Boston Marathon
BY GEORGE ALMASI Times Record Staff

FREEPORT — It appears that a couple who runs and blogs together can also have some fun along the way.

And that fun will take them to the 116th annual Boston Marathon, scheduled to be held April 16.

Chuck and Katy Hazzard of Freeport, married nearly nine years, will be among a handful of Mid-coast region runners competing in the legendary event, which takes competitors from Hopkinton, Mass., through Wellesley, Heartbreak Hill and to the finish line on Boylston Street in front of the Boston Public Library,

Chuck, 51, qualified for the first wave, while Katy, 39, is in the second wave. Every other year or so, Chuck runs alongside his bride, while in other years he will go out alone for a stronger time/finish.

These are their stories:

Swimmer, gymnast

Katy was always somewhat of an athlete, but her path to marathoning came following a diving career at Denison College in Granville, Ohio.

Katy and Chuck Hazzard of Freeport are scheduled to run in the 116th annual Boston Marathon on April 16.  (George Almasi / The Times Record)Katy and Chuck Hazzard of Freeport are scheduled to run in the 116th annual Boston Marathon on April 16. (George Almasi / The Times Record)“Marathoning for me came about in 2004, and I was originally a gymnast,” said Katy, a veterinarian. “When I went to college, I learned to be a diver. But in my junior and senior years, I realized that I wanted to be able to do something else for the rest of my life.”

Katy typically ran two-four times a week, probably 15 miles or so, just to keep active.

Out of the blue, a colleague from Massachusetts called and said, “Hey, Katy, I’m running a marathon.

“I was like, ‘nahhh ... I don’t know if I want to compete and make it something serious,” Katy recalled with a chuckle. “I wanted something that was fun, will keep me lean and happy.”

But as time went on, her friend was able to “cajole” Katy into agreeing to run, and the rest is history.

The plan was to run Mount Desert Island in 2004, but a couple of months before the event, the friend called and said stress fractures would keep her on the sideline.

And, Katy was also banged up with a hip injury and needed physical training. “But, during my training I got the bug. And he (Chuck) was a cyclist at the time.”

She eventually healed and had been watching the Boston Marathon races on television, further boosting her designs on the sport.

“I was born in Boston, and I just had this crazy idea that I had to run the Boston Marathon.”

Her first marathon attempt came at MDI in October of 2005, and it was “Fun. And, I think it was important to have a goal like that and not knowing what I could do. In the back of my mind I also wanted to run Boston some day, and I wanted to do it by earning my way there.”

She has competed in 13 marathons and says, “every one is exciting. You don’t know what the weather conditions are going to be like, and I also tried a bunch of different training plans.”

In the weeks leading up to the Boston Marathon, Katy doesn’t think there will be much in the way of strategy, i.e., diet, miles.

“I’m not changing my current diet, but I’ll be careful not to do things to excess. We love pasta, so the day before we usually get Italian.”

She will also taper her training the closer to a race, possibly eschewing long runs in favor of one-mile repeats. She’ll run 25 miles or so this week with some speed work. Last week she put in 40 miles.

The Hazzards will stay outside of Boston the day before and take the bus to Hopkington with all the other runners.

The time waiting to run, with thousands of runners milling about, can be exhilarating, she said. “I love it ... I love seeing all the different sizes and shapes, and the abilities of all these different runners from all around the country and the world. Some people are running for charity and some are running for the first time. Firefighters running in their full uniforms!”

Katy, who has a personalbest 3:36.14 and has done a 3:40.20 in Boston, tries to spend extra attention to her heart rate, especially for the first 20 miles to gauge when she can “let loose” over the final six miles or so.

However, last year that was not the case. “I didn’t watch the heart rate. I just went with feel. I was having a really great race and when I crested Heartbreak, it was like ‘OK I can open up’ and I started sprinting. I eventually had to slow down, but I did pre-qualify.”

And after the race? “I’m pretty exhilarated for a day or two. And, afterwards we’ll have a great meal, some wine, dessert, whatever we want.”

“We just enjoy running together, and I run better when he’s with me.”

Cyclist at heart

Chuck, a Senior Product Manager at FairPoint Communications, wasn’t really considered an athlete, but did a lot of cycling while growing up in Readfield.

A University of Maine graduate, Chuck ran cross country at Kents Hill (Maranacook Community School didn’t exist at the time) and also did some rock and ice climbing. He was a recreational runner at UMO and played intramural ice hockey, so there were some athletic roots.

Later, while working for IBM in Vermont, he tried to stay in shape. “But, nothing too serious.”

For a few years he basically just did winter skiing, but upon his return to Readfield, he joined some local high school kids for some mountain biking. “And, I was just so bad out of shape. It scared the crap out of me ... a midlife crises at 35.”

Little by little he got back into shape and even got some studs for his bike tires so he could ride throughout the winter months. The times they were a-changin.

That continued until he met Katy and he knew she wanted to run in a marathon.

“I said, ‘I’m a cyclist and I really don’t like running. You didn’t go anywhere any time fast.’ But she convinced me to sign up for the MDI Marathon.”

Of course, Chuck went out too fast in his initial endeavor and really hadn’t done any long runs to speak of because of knee woes.

And, of course, he faltered, and around mile 16 along the Eastern shore of Somes Sound he told Katy to go ahead and leave him to his own devices.

“I just couldn’t run anymore. I finished in like 4:35 and walked from mile 18 in the pouring rain. I had hypothermia and I wanted to run to warm up, but I couldn’t. And, I told her afterwards that I would never run another marathon again!

“Two weeks later we were signed up for Big Sur (International Marathon in California).”

Though he likes running with Katy, who oft time suffers from asthma attacks, he also likes to challenge himself and surge out on his own.

“This year I will be dropping back to run with Katy. I tend to run with her every other year, so this year is hers.

“We also ran together in the Green Mountain in 2006 and she qualified for Boston in 2007. I was eight minutes short of qualifying, but she ran Boston and right after that I ran in the Sugarloaf and finally qualified for Boston.

“The next year, her second and my first, I wanted to run alone to see how fast I could run. And I requalified, not by a large margin, but I was happy.”

Running marathons for Chuck is much different than for his wife.

“At first, it was sort of an accomplishment. I think I’m less interested now, although some of them are really pretty. Big Sur is drop-dead gorgeous right there out on the West Coast. Green Mountain ( west shore of South Hero and Grand Isle 20 miles from Burlington, Vt.) we’ve run twice and that’s pretty.

“I guess I’m less interested in running marathons now just for the sake of running them. Even with Boston, the granddaddy of marathons, I don’t get that excited ... I’d rather run trail races and that kind of stuff.”

With Chuck, the game plan is pretty basic.

“I don’t follow any plan ... before Boston I didn’t do a lot of mileage and I did a lot of snowshoe racing. I mean, my average mileage per week was 30 miles and I still ran a 3:10.

“But, it depends on the marathon. Like everybody, sometimes you make mistakes, like you get talking with somebody. At least in Boston, with the crowd you are in, you’ll know how fast people are going to be running.

“Last year at Boston I intentionally dropped back to the second wave. And it was nice. I guess some of the people didn’t show up and the road was wide open, like running in a small marathon. I was running with people who qualified with like 3:40s. So, I ran with those people and they were probably going out too fast which was probably too slow for me so it was like a natural throttle.”

Still, he savors running Boston.

“There’s not one inch of that course that doesn’t have tremendous crowd support. There are people lining that course all the way from Hopkinton to the finish, which is amazing because very few marathons have that.”

And, unlike Katy, Chuck doesn’t breath in that starting line atmosphere. “I get impatient. I just want to start running, get under way and get it done. Normally, I don’t go with a plan, although I tend to go out too fast.”

Of Heartbreak Hill, he said, “it’s not a big hill ... reasonably steep, kind of long, but not really. It’s just where it happens on the course. Boston is downhill and pretty flat until you get into Newton. And then you hit Heartbreak and one (hill) after that.”

One final note from Chuck?

“I think that anyone who can run a marathon, either for charity or by qualifying, it’s certainly something you should do at least once in your life.”

And, oh yeah, they do blog! “We do not blog often, but you may find some other useful information,” said Chuck.

For you marathoners out there, go to http:// barefoottc. blogspot.com

Mid-coast region runners in Boston

 Bib Name Age Hometown
457 Robert S. Ashby 43 Brunswick
23855 Melissa L. Casey 31 Lisbon
5503 Greg Denke 35 Phippsburg
9117 David W. Edwards 52 Pownal
9156 Reshanna Green 38 Westport Island
6019 Chuck Hazzard 51 Freeport
15434 Katy Hazzard 39 Freeport
2808 Joe Heathco 44 Freeport
13867 Karin C. Knudson 24 Freeport
8604 Connie Lizotte 34 Freeport
13891 Kathryn L. Morrison 42 Freeport
21860 Scott A. Mullen 30 Brunswick
9848 Stephen D. Reed 64 Wiscasset
7216 Rick Shea 44 Brunswick
7489 Tom Trytek 56 Harpswell
25875 Benjamin Willwauer 35 Freeport
105 Josh Zolla 25 Freeport

George Almasi is the Times Record sports editor. He can be reached at galmasi@timesrecord.com

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