After a DNF at the VT 50, I lost a little steam in my running. In the two weeks between VT and Hartford I ran a total of 28 miles. Basically I had one good workout: a 7 miler at 7:08 pace. The rest of the miles were pretty much just going through the motions. So after two weeks of existing in a junk food eating apathetic state, I wasn't quite sure what to expect in the Hartford Marathon.
Race morning I woke up and felt great. The low key two weeks resulted in me feeling rested and ailment free. While getting ready for the race, I made only one normal routine visit to the bathroom and all things were solid. Looked like there would be no poo issues for me today! Yee haawww!!
I met up with Keith, David (Keith’s brother who was running the half), Mark, and Amy (Mark’s wife who was running her first half). We never did see my cousin Kasia who was running the full. But I did see Steve Nelson (running the half) in the crowd at the start. The weather was incredible. Clear blue skies and temps in the mid 50’s. Perfect race weather!! The race got underway and Mark and I discussed our plan during the first few minutes. We would shoot for a 3:15 finish. So 7:26 pace was our goal. We agreed to keep things under control in the 1st half to conserve and be strong at the end. We weren’t going to go out too fast. First mile was 8:18. Good deal. Mark was concerned we were going to slow. He pushed us a bit for the 2nd mile: 6:56. Ok, let’s throttle back. Mile 3 split was 7:12. As we tried to settle in on our pace, this girl Becky joined us around mile 4. She said she had been running the same pace so she figured she’d join us. It was cool to run and chat with her. In our conversing, Mark and I told Becky how we do ultramarathons. She then told us how her husband is a 2:18 marathoner, Olympic trials qualifier and is going for the world record for the most distance in 24 hrs on a treadmill. All righty then. Sooo maybe we're not as cool as we thought. Ha ha… :)
At mile 9 it was fun to see my kids. They came to watch the race with my parents. (Shannon was waiting for me at the end of the race.) Ciara wanted to give me a hug as I ran by. I couldn’t stop to give her one, so she got upset and cried. Ha ha…
We hit the halfway point at 1:36:32. Right on track. Do the same or faster in the second half and it would be a PR and a BQ!
Miles 14 to 19 were steady, with our pace locked in on 7:22. Mile 20 took 7:35. The first sign of things getting harder. A 7:23 21st mile righted the ship. But then a 7:32 22nd mile brought us back to reality. Mile 23 was hard. It was painful to complete it in 7:36. There would be no more sub 7:30 miles for me from here on in. During mile 24, Becky and I faded back from Mark. He was hanging tough. I was starting to tighten up and could feel the cramps coming. I knew if I slowed it would hurt even more to get going. So I battled as best I could and hung on. I ran the last 3 miles in: 8:04, 7:51 and 8:09. I crossed the finish line in 3:15:28. Not a PR (3:14:46) but a BQ!!! I’ll take it! 139th place out of 1,942 runners.
Note: Mark PR’d with a 3:12:44. Mike finished just under 4 hrs. Kasia finished just over 4 hrs. Keith endured a groin injury and finished just under 5 hrs. Steve smoked the half in 1:25. David finished the half in 2 ½ hours and Amy finished her first half marathon in 3 hrs. Congrats to all!!