Hartford was everything I hoped it would be. I accomplished my goal, and left the race encouraged and hopeful for the future. And so happy to have finally put a good race together from start to finish.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the New England’s Finest program, so we got to stay in Hartford on Friday evening, eat dinner at the hotel, and just relax. I had to attend a quick technical meeting, but besides that we were able to just talk with the other athletes, get a glass of wine from the bar, and just enjoy ourselves. It was a very nice change of pace (versus wrangling two toddlers the night before a big race). Must remember this for the future.
We walked to the elite tent with Erin and Allie on race morning, which was directly next to the finish line. So nice not to have to worry about finding friends and family after the race (looking at you, Boston Marathon). Race organizers were top notch, and they thought of everything, It really cut down on stress and allowed us to focus on our races.
My goal was to go out easy for the first 5k (suggestion from my friend Mary), and then settle into my goal pace (around 6:30/mile). Since it was humid, and the course has quite a few hills, I knew I was going to have to be flexible on my pace and just monitor how I was feeling and adjust accordingly. Luckily I was able to settle in with a group of ladies for a few miles, and then fell into a group with one other woman and her teammate for a good chunk of the middle of the race. I fell off the pace a little bit at the turnaround (around mile 17), or so I thought. I decided not to look at my watch and just run.
Besides breaking 3 hours, my other goal was to run negative splits. So when I got dropped and saw the girl ahead of my pull farther and farther away, I was definitely worried that I was slowing down. But I remembered something from a podcast episode I had listened to awhile ago, that when you are feeling bad in a race and want to quit you’re really only at 30% of your capacity. I misremembered the number (thought it was 20%) so I kept telling myself to suck it up and that I still had 80% left to give. That worked pretty well. And then I started to do the math on the race clocks at each mile marker and realized that I hadn’t slowed down at all and was on pace to run well under 3 hours. That carried me through to the finish: first half 1:27, second half 1:26:32, final time 2:53:32. (My splits are on Strava if you want to see those).
I’ve been taking it pretty easy the past two weeks or so. I took 6 days off completely and then since then I’ve just been running when I feel like it. After following structured training for several months it’s nice to get back to just running for the love of it. And recently I have realized that I need to do a better job of keeping my body in balance, so I’ve been seeing a massage therapist, keeping up with Pilates mat classes twice per week, and doing Jasyoga videos each day to address any areas that need extra attention. I joined the Jasyoga challenge, which started yesterday; anyone can join, and all you have to do is 5 minutes of yoga per day for the month of November. I’m such a big fan of those 5 minute videos.
Logically I think I have a good chance of eventually getting closer to the Olympic Trials standard of 2:45, but I don’t want to make that my main focus right now. I really just want to continue to enjoy races, work on getting stronger, and keep having fun. I will be running the Honolulu Marathon in a month, just for fun. I won a trip to Honolulu with Run Gum and I’ll be taking Pete along for a fun getaway. After that I’ll probably take some down time and pick a goal race for the spring. If you have any suggestions for a good spring half marathon or full marathon, I’d love to hear it! (preferably flat, fast!)