Saturday, October 15, 2011

ING Hartford Marathon

The Hartford Marathon. Connecticut has a good thing going here. We all three LOVED this marathon and would recommend it highly. And all of us did well in it, too, which of course helps with the loving. The marathon time limit is six hours, so I was shooting for six and went out slowly, hoping not to aggravate a sports hernia injury. But the expected pain didn’t appear, and I finished in about 5:42. The girls actually ran their best time in three years. This is a great day.

The ING Hartford Marathon:

What can you say? This is a grown-up marathon for grown-ups. I can’t think of any suggestions for the marathon committee. It’s all good. They had problems with excessive rain in the weeks leading up to the event, even the night before the event, but they reacted and fixed the problems. Good points:

  • Going through one park, the mud alongside the paved trail was higher than the trail! I stopped to talk to the parks superintendent (still right there), who said that it had rained hard overnight and there had been two inches of mud over the trail, but his crews got out there at daybreak and pushed the mud to the side. He had feared that someone would slip and fall, but the trail was dry and almost clean. Huzza to the parks crew!
  • Volunteers were wonderful everywhere. Spectators too. In fact, people were wonderful throughout Hartford, whether associated with the marathon or not. I like Hartford.
  • The expo was fairly large and definitely worth a visit. Of course, as with all marathons, you have to go there anyway to pick up your running number and timing chip, but we enjoyed the expo too.
  • ROADS WERE CLOSED TO TRAFFIC. I never felt nervous about vehicle traffic. That’s important.
  • Hartford is halfway into fall color. I suppose it will be better in a week, but it was pretty good today!
  • The race committee can’t do much about the weather, but if they could, they would be hard pressed to improve on today’s. Temperature was in the 50's and low 60's throughout, with alternating sun and clouds, and with a southwest wind that was more enervating than troublesome.
  • When I finished the marathon at 5:41 there was still food left. Thank you Hartford!
  • Bands played everywhere. Some just played music at extravagant levels, but many were actual musicians performing for free. In fact I’m a sucker for bagpipers, and there were two. Somehow those don’t need amplification.
  • There actually were enough porta-potties along the race course.
  • Aid stations were plentiful and well-organized.
My Marathon:
  • The day before the marathon I was interviewed by the local FOX station, here.
  • The morning of the marathon I was interviewed by the local CBS station, but I can’t find a link. Maybe someone else will find it. Also, there may be a short blurb on that station in tonight’s news (after football is over for the night).
  • In recent marathons I had been concerned about a sports hernia (which is not a “real” hernia but is cured by the same surgery). With two more marathons coming up in the next three weeks, I planned to go slow, but no pains appeared and I was able to get ahead of schedule and stay ahead. There is just a hint of pain from that area now, after the race, but that’s all.
  • According to my watch I finished in 5:41:46, but the unofficial time according to the race committee was 5:39:49, two minutes less. I don’t know how that can happen, actually. I clicked my watch at the start line and again at the finish, so my watch should be right. They might find an error in their figures. If not, then I’ll take the extra two minutes!
  • I LOVED this marathon - every single minute. I think I enjoyed it more than I used to enjoy marathons when I finished in 3:45.
  • When I interviewed with Fox on Friday morning, a local 59-year-old woman named Maggie, running her 59th marathon (!), was interviewed right before me. She brought a fistful of Hartford Marathon medals to her interview. Today we met during the race, too, at the start and then briefly around mile 24. We finished just a couple of minutes apart.
  • I like to express my gratitude to other runners who are raising money to fund cancer research and support. I got a chance to thank a lot of TNT (Team in Training) runners today - they raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) which supports research for myeloma too. Thank you TNT!
  • Several people asked about the new Team Continuum shirt (below), so I had a chance to spread the word a little.
  • Five Clif Shot gels with caffeine, maybe seven or eight salt tablets along the way. I took plenty of video again.
Splits: 12:31, 12:39, 12:23, 12:30, 25:08 (2 mi), 12:43, 13:58, 12:18, 12:25, 13:13, 25:22 (2 mi), 15:59 (porta potty), 13:07, 13:10, 13:13, 12:19, 12:47, 27:06 (2 mi), 12:48, 26:05, 14:16 (?), 13:25, 2:22 (0.22 mi), total 5:41:46 by my watch, pace 13:02 by my watch. Apparently I did slow down a little in the second half, but most of that happened when I stopped to talk to people, including especially the TNT runners. Some of them were going the other way (part of the race is an out-and-back), so I would turn around to run with them for a few seconds.

Breaking news. The chip times have been removed from the results (for now?), so everyone’s finish time is the same as their gun time. Mine is 5:46:04, up from 5:39:49. See I told ya - they goofed on my time by almost exactly 2 minutes (and maybe everyone else's), and now they’re working on it, trying to get it right. Maybe they will. It does now show that I’m third of four in my age group. Maybe.

Happy Don at about mile 22:

After the finish:

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