Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hartford Marathon 2014

Saturday, October 12, 2014

NuHartford Marathon

2:57:35.  54th overall of 2,408.  1st (of 144) in age group.  Full results here.

Goals for Marathon #17:  A) sub-2:50, B) PR [2:51:55], C) sub-3:00.  (That "C" goal saved the day!  I need a wider band of goals next time.)

Way back in mid-summer, Tommy convinced Mike B and I to join him in running the Hartford Marathon.  Fast forward a few months to the fall, and we had an injured FiveK serving as spectator and crew support to Mike B, Shara, and I.

This was Mike and Shara's debut marathon, and accordingly, we had all put in some group long runs together.  Chris even joined us for one or two, and I was hoping we could pull him into the marathon "fun", but he ended up joining the Tommy 5K Injured Athlete bandwagon.

Marathon eve:  Friday after work (yeah, I'm back to being a work stiff again), Mike and I made the trek up to Hartford.  At the expo, we saw lifesize posters of running notables Matt Pelletier (eventual marathon winner), Galoob (whatever happened to him?), Katie Edwards (Surftown winner), etc.  Packet pickup was a breeze.  We ran into a few other runners we know, including Don Weller, and were off to a dinner of shrimp scampi to get our carbo load fix. Great dinner.  Mike even talked them into giving us 20% off, because, well, because we're awesome.  Back to the hotel where a final weather check confirmed that the entire long weekend forecast was awesome except for the exact time we would be running the marathon.  Figures!  We laid out 87 different outfits, from singlets to long sleeves to jackets for post-marathon to garbage bags.
Start of the road trip.  Notice it's not raining!
(Photo by Julie Boumenot)

Tried to get a decent night's sleep.

Marathon morning:  Breakfast buffet at the hotel.  You could tell the runners from the spectators based on what they had on their breakfast plates (oatmeal, bagels, and fruit for the runners, and sausage and bacon and deep fried unidentifiables for the spectators).  Dropped our dry clothes at the bag drop, and shuffled off to the seeded corral where we met up with Shara and her entourage (parents, friend, and this FiveK character).  I settled towards the 2nd or 3rd row of the seeded section (which is just behind elite corral), and awaited the gun.
The gang awaiting the start.  We opted for the latest fashion by Hefty garbage bags.
(Photo by Tom)

Miles 0 - 10:  We wound our way through the streets and bike paths of Hartford.  In the first mile, Stan Mickus of Mystic flew by me and tapped me on the shoulder.  Another day of battling him I thought until I learned he was "only" running the half.  Next I heard my name called out by BAA's speedster Sam Alexander cheering from the side, and then the support thinned out quickly.  I really enjoyed the bike paths along the river.  I maintained a fairly consistent pace for the first ten miles with an average mile split of 6:18.
Mile 4 - along the Connecticut River, and two of Tom's fingers

Mile 6 - had the whole expressway to myself crossing over to East Hartford
(photo by Tom)

 Miles 11 - 20:  After crossing over the Connecticut River into East Hartford, there is about an 8-mile out and back section through a pretty quiet neighborhood.  The police did an awesome job with closing down traffic.  I passed through the Half split in 1:24:12, probably my fastest half split in a marathon ever, but obviously a long ways to go.  After the 17-mile turnaround, at least I'm on my way back and can look for a few familiar faces in the running crowd:  Jeff V, B and Shara running together, then Don.  I slowed a bit in these 10 miles, but still managed an average of 6:27/mile.

Mile 13
Photo by Beth


Mile 20:
Great shot by Beth before I start my decline
Miles 21 - 26:  This is where the wheels came off the cart. I did the math in my head and figured if I could even hold to a 6:45 pace, I'd have a shot at a PR, but today wasn't to be.  The rain picked up, my clothes were plastered to me, my arms felt heavy, and I was getting cold.  Mile 21 was my last sub-7 mile, and I just wanted it over.  Each mile got progressively slower until a pedestrian 8:08 final mile; I just couldn't will myself to go faster.  I talked to Jeff V after, and he had the exact same experience.  What a welcome sight that finish line was!
Nice etched-glass age group award for my efforts

Post-marathon:  I watched Shara (3:16) and Mike (3:22) finish great first marathons in less than ideal conditions, but by then I was shaking and shivering, and asked Mike if he minded if we leave.  Off to the baggage pickup for a coat and dry shirt, but it really didn't help much as I was shivering for the next hour until after we got food, picked up my award, and ambled back to the hotel for a hot shower.  I'm happy with my overall time and thrilled to win my age group, but not happy with the rapidly declining paces that I took to get the finish.  I'm sure I'll be analyzing this for a while.  Did I go out at too fast a pace?  Entirely likely.  But I do also feel the weather had some play in this.  Did I underdress by just wearing a singlet (and of course short-shorts)?  Not sure on that one.  Yes, I had much more exposed to the weather and cold rain, but anything I wore would have been soaked.  Overall, a great experience and thanks especially to Mike for the company on the road trip, but it does leave me feeling a tad anti-climatic now and that I now long to run a marathon in cool temperatures and DRY weather.


  1. Stop analyzing (Jonny) – enjoy your achievement, you ran a great race in horrible conditions

  2. Jeff you ran a great race in sub optimal conditions. I stand by my "animal" comment. Considering your BQ is 3:30 you blew that out of the water, this alone should be proof of your superior athletic abilities (Galoob and Pelletier aside - oh wait they are children). Be proud of what you accomplished in horrible conditions. I was not surprised you were in your usual running outfit. Ummmm what other random thoughts can I throw in here??? Pat yourself on the back (or at least let the rest of us), pour a single malt and put your feet up!

  3. Yeah...what she^^ said. Oh yeah, and keep wearing really short shorts. It's what all the fast guys (and gazelles) do!

  4. Nice job on the age group win! And I saw that you got a mention on Level Renner. Great work out there!

  5. You ran a great race! Those conditions looked rough, and you should be commended for toughing it out and getting in sub-30! Excellent job out there.

  6. Outstanding job Jeff, and congratulations on your division win! Old dudes rule!