Hartford Marathon Weekend!

14 Oct

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This weekend, I ran the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s Half Marathon – definitely one of the best small fall marathons out there

I went to the expo on Thursday evening – hoping to score some new shoes but came away empty handed- I had heard a rumor that the new Skecher Nite Owls would be out – they weren’t and the guy in the booth was a…well, not as helpful and friendly as the Skecher reps tend to be usually.  The whole event seemed kind of small to me and not much to look at that I was interested in so I only spent about a half hour there at most.

But I got the most important items — my bib  and my shirt!!

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I really wish there were separate shirts for the 5K and the half….

The plan was to get to downtown Hartford as early as possible on Saturday morning – to avoid road closures and find parking. I managed to accomplish both and parked in one of the state lots near Bushnell Park — super tiny parking spots and really crowded at 6:15 in the morning but VERY convenient!! I hung out in the car for a little while then gathered my things to start meeting up with my friends!

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As usual I was running with no belt since my shorts have pockets and I made the last minute discovery that my jacket has a HUGE pocket in the back!! Carrying my ID, a lip balm, 2 packets of GoGoSqueez applesauce, my external charger for my phone (because it dies SO FAST!) and a cord to charge. My plan was to do 30:30’s since that had worked out so well at Disneyland when I ran with Kim.

I met up with Kimberlee at the VIP area (she was the VIP not me!) and then we hunted down Pam and Diana – eventually all 4 of us were in the same spot near the start, waiting for the signal to go. I decided to hang with Pam and Diana doing 30:17 intervals and we started off with a great pace – not too fast, not too slow! Pam and I were looking at this as a training run for Marine Corps Marathon in 2 weeks so the idea was definitely not to push it since it was definitely more important to get in the miles that break any records!

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A gorgeous fall New England morning at the start line

Things were moving along smoothly til somewhere between miles 4 and 5 – this is when, of course, I felt a pull in my right calf, like someone had just reached in – very gently – and was ripping the muscle down the center.  Not quite a cramp and not a full on incapacitating muscle pull, just a bit of a strain. This slowed me down for the next mile or so but the girls stayed with winning some awesome friend points!

Then, in general, I just started slowing down – partly to compensate for my calf and partly because of my usual lack of pushing myself too hard. Around mile 9 or so, Pam decided to stay with me but Diana had things to do!!! She ran on a head and we finished up the last 4 at a little slower pace

The new half marathon course (new the last 3 years I think) is beautiful – we spend a couple of early miles winding through downtown Hartford then move out to West Hartford and at mile 9 head into Elizabeth Park and out the back side to head back into town. Something new this year was a Candy Station at the entrance to the park – and you KNOW I love this concept! Especially since right before Mile 8 my blood sugar had dropped quite a bit and I was working through my snacks (and Pam’s!) trying to get it back up – 3 gummy bears, 1 packet of Vanilla Bean GU and a pouch of applesauce steadied things out but I grabbed a caramel apple Milky Way mini just to be sure!

We finished strong and saw our friend Kimberly just as we crossed the line – she had been going for a PR but missed it by 5 minutes or so (but still kicked some serious butt!) and after getting a heat blanket, Medal, our Finisher’s water bottle (an awesome way for races to “Go Green”) and our snack back (with a reusable bag!) we found Diana – or she found us – and we headed into the Finisher Festival in Bushnell Park

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I love that they give us a water bottle!!

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And a new lunch bag with some treats!

After trying to find Kimberlee, and failing (since she wasn’t feeling great and headed home) we went to the food tent. Now, one of the places that HMF excels is the post-race festivities — the tradition is chili and apple cobbler. Over the years I’ve done this event, the menu has expanded to include holiday breads baked by local schools, fruit, cornbread, and, I think this year, mac and cheese. We didn’t see any of the mac in the tent but it was wandering around on plates!

Did our chowing down and then headed over to Mile 27. That’s right. The Harpoon Beer Garden. Because what better way to finish things up than with an ice cold beer.

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Eventually it was time to call it a day – or at least a morning!

All in all it was a great morning!! This is becoming one of my favorites!

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Nice course

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Some pretty decent splits along the way…

Up next, the Hershey Half Marathon this coming weekend!!

One Response to “Hartford Marathon Weekend!”

  1. La Chica Runs October 17, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

    Nice job. Hope you didn’t do any permanent damage.
    Also, I would have hunted down the source of that mac and cheese!

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