Sunday, October 20, 2013

100th Post - ING Hartford Half Marathon Race Recap

100 Posts! Can you believe it! 

Wow. This was supposed to be my 100th post. So I am still going to celebrate it as such! This was my first time running the ING Hartford Half Marathon. As most of you following me on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram know by now it was a huge PR for me. BY 10 MINUTES! I did not anticipate having such a phenomenal race, or having a blast doing it!

All week I-84 had these up! It's such a nice change from the normal "Delay: Exits 48-52". How pretty; It's so fantastic to see this and get pumped up!

Friday I went into work for a half day and left about 12.30pm to get to the Expo at the XL Center in Downtown Hartford. After getting lost in the parking garage I found the expo.

As you went down the escalator and walked to enter into the Expo the makeshift walls were lined with people to be inspired by. I saw my girl Kelly and had to snap a photo. She was the RD for the Hogsback Half Marathon I did at the end of September. I didn't know until reading her bio on the photo she struggled with an eating disorder. She is so perfect and sweet and nice that I guess it really is true that you don't always know someone just by looking at them. To me, she is perfect.

The Expo was nothing special. Although I appreciated the Cabot table, mmm mmm horseradish cheese. I did not like the set up and obviously had only ever been to a Disney expo so I have high expectations. I was unimpressed with the structure, including the fact I couldn't find the exit, and the variety of vendors.

After the expo I went and grabbed my baby boy from his grandparents house and brought him home to rest. After a quick grocery store run. I had my favorite pre-race meal. MEXICAN! Chicken burritos. Love love love. It's the right amount of protein and spice with the jalapeno I add. Then a rough night of sleeping... I was too excited and frankly nervous I wouldn't be able to find a spot to park.

The next morning I woke up, KT Taped my knees and got in the car. I had NO trouble finding parking and was able to end up in a free lot at the end of the street where the start line was.

Packed up my Island Boost in my Armpocket and left my warm car for the freezing air that was this morning. Although my Armpocket can usually handle the PowerBar Gels I normally carry this frustrated me a little to have the tops of the Island Boost poking out. Truthfully it was a blessing to not have to wait for water stops to take my gel though. I am in love with this stuff. (Island Boost did send me 2 of the Passion Fruit boosts in return for my views on their new chocolate flavor they are in the process of creating. Opinions are my own though :) ...that post to come!)

As soon as I saw the start line at the foot of the steps of the State Library I got goosebumps. They were still not ready for us runners yet. I had gotten here probably around 6.50am for an 8am start. I need time to stretch and get in the zone personally.

As I walked towards the back of the self seeding corrals I noticed some new friends were here to help. The NYPD had given their Saturday to come help make sure this event would be fun AND safe for runners.

And some snipers were also present at the starting area. In my honest opinion I felt no less or more safe with them there, I am fascinated by law enforcement and just love people watching at these big races. Some runners/spectators were making a big deal about seeing the snipers but I love that they are doing their job to let me be able to do what I love. 

I had arrived at the starting area so early I just kept standing where I was instead of moving. I kept seeing signs for pacing groups pass me and thought I'd be okay. More and more people started to fill in around me.

Against my gut feeling to take pictures for you all I went for the run instead. Miles flew by after a quick bathroom break at Mile .75....yes that point is placed accurately... I had to stop to pee before I had even ran a mile...fortunately that would help me the rest of the race. I took my Island Boost at Miles 3.5, 7 and 10.5 and felt amazing throughout the whole race. Island Boost is made with Coconut water so you don't need another source to add to a gel in your immediate possession  It helps the integration of the ingredients faster into your body as well. 

There were so many amazing runners around me. I felt bad for the kid in front of me who kissed the pavement about Mile 3. I was inspired by the man running with 1 leg, propelling himself with crutches. Spectators were out along the entire course. Businesses who could only have customers by foot were out in their aprons and uniforms cheering. There was music spaced out along the course, kids with blow horns cheering, just typing about it is giving me goosebumps again. Some families actually brought their couches out on the front lawn to watch. Puppies were everywhere!

My father and mother were waiting at the Mile 5 turn. I ran up kissed them both and kept running. At that time maybe .25 after seeing them the Pace Leader for the 2:45 half marathon time passed me... Talk about a boost of confidence. I. Meg. ME. I had been running faster than a 2:45 pace...holy moly! I wanted to break 3 hours this race but didn't know if I really had a chance. Seeing that I was able to maintain that for 5 miles, gave me the push I needed. Then came the half way point.

At this point all parts of my body were sufficiently in pain. My right knee has been a little touch and go since before the Princess Half, it was hurting almost from Mile 3 until Mile 7 where then my left hip and left knee started to pulse with pain. I think I was compensating too much and it backfired. At this point I was only walking from Miles 1-7 to take water or gatorade from the stops. Once I hit Mile 7 I realized I would have to take my intervals more serious. I began running 1:30 and walking 1:30. I also changed my watch to tell me my overall time instead of distance. My Nike Sportwatch was off by .25 on distance I became more concerned with my finishing time. I powered through Mile 8, Mile 9, Mile 10. We ended up running through Elizabeth Park, I have never been before. It was gorgeous. Miles 11 and 12-13.1 took you back out on the streets of Hartford. This is where I really began to see the finish line in my mind. It also helped a nice man began to yell at me in a Sargent's voice "I LOVE PAIN, I LOVE PAIN, MY GOAL IS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME, I LOVE PAIN!" Sir, I love you. Thank you for making me laugh and remembering not to take it too seriously. Truthfully Miles 12.5-13.1 were the longest of the entire half marathon. I kept a steady pace instead of sprinting. My whole body hurt and I just wanted to finish with satisfaction.

Ahhhhh the finish! These wonderful volunteers were handing out medals. I almost hugged the woman who gave me mine. As I was crossing the finish I noticed the time on the clock said 2:55 I thought. DAMN! YOU DID IT MEG!

After turning my phone off Airplane Mode the texts starting flying in. My fathers came through first. He sent me the same text I was going to receive from Runner Tracking. He was the person to announce to me my PR. There is no better feeling in the world.
Check out that gorgeous text. I PR'd my half time by 10 minutes!!! I had met my goal!!! AND I pretty much kept the same pace the entire 13.1 miles! I felt like I was on Cloud 9. A little disoriented, but elated! I was herded towards the finish line expo not realizing I would end up at the food tent aka Heaven on Earth.

I first snagged a bagel and then noticed Apple Crisp and then a wonderful man handed me a hot fresh grilled cheese and steaming cup of tomato soup. I initially skipped the cooler with chocolate milk but figured everyone else had to be doing something right by drinking it. I grabbed one and starting back to my car. I ate as I walked to not give myself any cramps from sitting down. I walked the entirety of Bushnell park including crossing over the race at one point to get back to Capital Ave where my car was parked.

Not only do I love Hartford with every piece of me but now I have a piece of it. It means so much to me to have PR'd in my hometown. 

After the race my mother and I met at Chili's and drank and ate. It was such a good time to just relax and talk with her. Afterwards I went home and celebrated with my boys. There are few better ways to spend a Saturday in my book.


  1. Horseradish cheese?! That sounds amazing. And the post-race food is awesome!

    1. ohmygosh! I loved it! you have to try it!

  2. Congrats on such a HUGE 10 min PR!!! Way to go, Meg! :D

  3. WOOT! I was so excited for you when I saw that PR on facebook! I seriously was grinning from ear to ear b/c I knew how elated you must be! Congrats, sounds like a great race!

    1. Thank you so much! It was amazing to see the tweets from you the moment I turned my phone back on! <3 It was such a great race. I now have to come up with a new goal! I didn't know if I would EVER break 3 hours. haha

  4. Congrats!!! It's was a great weekend for racing - I've already read about two PR's this morning :) I am so happy for you Meg, you did a GREAT job!

    I also have to say that the man with one leg running with crutches is amazing as well. Truly inspirational!

    1. Thank you :) It was a great weekend, I heard so many others celebrating their PR's. Thank you so much for the kind words and the encouragement!

  5. Congratulations on finishing and PR!!! :) yay!

    1. Thank you!! I'm so happy :) I really appreciate all the amazing support!

  6. Congratulations! That's an amazing feat!