Honestly, what a great day!
We literally could not have asked for better weather (clear skies and mid 50’s!), the entire event was well organized and best of all, I got to run my husband’s first marathon with him in his hometown – overall I’d say the race was a huge success!
Race start was at 8am, so Jason, Pat and I left my mom’s house around 6:15am, got to Hartford around 6:45am and had plenty of time to park, check our bags and make a last porta-potty stop before it was go time!
I didn’t have a specific time goal in mind, but a 10 min/mile pace sounded good, so we jumped behind the 4:20 pace group and figured we’d see how it went.
Miles 1-6 were in Hartford and weaved around the city, through some beautiful parks…
…and along the river.
Right before mile 6 we saw my mom and brother! My brother, sister and her fiancé made Jason a sign that was PERFECT for him! (If you know Jason, you know he LOVES his ice cream!)
**NOTE: Yes, I actually DO have a brother! This may be the first time he’s made an appearance on the blog. He lived overseas for awhile, but he’s back and I loved that he came down to support Jason & I for this race!**
At mile 6 we crossed the Founders Bridge into East Hartford and at around mile 9.5 we started on what would be a looooong out and back journey through residential areas of East Hartford and South Windsor.
Our half marathon split had us at a 9:56 pace, right around where we wanted to be.
At miles 14 on the “out” and 20 on the “back” we saw my mom and brother again, this time with Jason’s parents – it was definitely fun to have some spectators to look forward to!
One of the things I really liked about this race was the on course support on bikes – there were actually volunteers biking up and down the course not just as course monitors, but they had gels, medical supplies and water readily available if you needed it! At around mile 20 I asked one if he had vaseline or glide since I was chafing a bit and he said he didn’t but he’d go get some and come back – he biked away and 2 minutes later he showed back up and handed me a little packet, it was awesome!
By mile 22 I started to lose steam and have some MAJOR (and totally new) knee pain, so I threw in a short walk break at each mile marker in hopes of keeping up my energy and alleviating the pain.
Jason by the way was doing GREAT! He was knocking down those miles, chatting away and encouraging me when I was getting tired and hurting – you would have never guessed it was his first marathon!
Right after mile 25 we crossed the bridge back into downtown Hartford and knowing how close we were to 4:20 I tried to pick up the pace a little…
…unfortunately going over the bridge though I started to breathe pretty heavy and ever since I pretty much had a panic attack at track club over the summer when I pushed myself a little too much I get nervous when my breathing gets too hard, so I backed off a little and walked for a minute.
Once we were in the city with less than half a mile to go Jason encouraged me to keep going, we wouldn’t be under 4:20, but we still had a chance of being right at 4:20…
…and with the final turn into Bushnell Park we ran under the arch and towards the finish line finishing in 4:20:51 (4:20:49 for Jason!).
I was in a decent amount of pain in the picture above (damn knee!), but I have the hugest smile on my face, I was SO proud of Jason!
He ran an amazing race. He ran strong, stayed positive and even managed to encourage me when I was struggling.
The finish area of the race was amazingly well organized. As soon as we crossed the finish line we were wrapped up in heat sheets by volunteers and not 10 feet later there was “the bubbler”, which is basically a long contraption with about 20 water fountain spouts on it so you could immediately get a drink.
After a quick drink we walked around the corner and were given our medals, a reusable water bottle (already filled with water!) and a reusable bag filled with snacks.
I LOVE that they give out reusable “Finisher” water bottles instead of one time bottles, it saves SO much plastic and it’s a great piece of race swag!
Gear check was up a hill towards where the starting line was and I was not particularly looking forward to that walk – not that it was long, it was just up a hill.
Well, that Hartford Marathon had thought of that too! Right at the bottom of the hill there was a line of golf carts giving rides up the hill to bag check – seriously one of the best race day runner services I’ve ever seen!
After grabbing our bags we hit up the athletes food tent which had a pretty good spread of stuff (in addition to the stuff we already got in our bag!) – bagels, bananas, corn bread, pumpkin bread and vegetarian chili!
We spread out our heat sheets on the grass and had ourselves a little picnic before stopping at “Mile 27”, aka the beer garden!
I really can’t say enough good things about this race. The Hartford Marathon Foundation puts on a great event and offers some unique runners services like the “on-demand” course support and the rides up the hill to back check – they definitely plan with the runners in mind!
This was a perfect race for Jason’s first marathon and it being his hometown made it even more special!
Love that last photo of Jason with the ice cream truck! Amazing! Sounds like a fantastic race. I think if I lived closer, this one would be on my list for sure. It sounds like the runner amenities were fabulous. Love love love that they used a golf cart to shuttle the runners around. That is brilliant and other races should take note!
Haha, we just happened to walk by an ice cream truck on our way back to our car and we just couldn’t resist, it was just too funny! It really was a great race, I’m already thinking about doing it again in the future!
Danielle! Congratulations to you & Jason! I love how you two support each other in your running! Sounds like a fabulous race… I think I’m going to head there for the half next fall with some friends!
Thanks Jocelyn! The Hartford Marathon Foundation definitely puts on a good race! Jason and I were already looking at their race schedule for the next year – thinking about adding one of their halves this spring maybe!
Congrats guys! And I’m starting to wonder if Jason is a long lost brother….#icecreamislife
Haha, we do have quite the selection of homemade ice cream places here on Cape Cod…sometimes I wonder if it’s why Jason wanted to move here ; )
Congratulations to both of you! You totally killed it, and sounds like Jason had an amazing first marathon — how exciting for him! It must have been so cool to run this race together. Love all your pictures…the ice cream truck photo is priceless, lol.
I’m loving all the runner perks; we ran the half in 2013, and we’re still talking about the excellent post-race food, haha. 😉
Thanks, I’m sure you know how exciting it is to run a “first” race with your significant other! It really is a great race, I’m definitely already considering a return trip!
Congratulations to you and Jason! Seems like Hartford would be a great marathon to run.
Thanks! It definitely was a great race!
wow congratulations! You guys are an inspirational couple!
Awww, thanks! It’s been fun (and occasionally frustrating at times!) training together, but totally worth it, we had a great time! Looking forward to our next one already!
I think of Eddie Murphy with his ice cream routine. “Ice cream!!” Glad Jason caught the ice cream truck.
Haha, that photo op was too good to pass up : )
Congrats on your PR and to Jason on a fantastic first marathon. I bet he will be signing up for a second really soon! I love an organized race and this sounded perfect. Having bags with snacks in them is perfect. At Rock ‘n Roll Virginia Beach, we could barely carry our stuff.
Thanks Pam! Funny thing is he already is signed up for his next one – Disney in January! This one sort of came up after he was already registered for that so we were just hoping it went well enough that he wouldn’t regret already having to do another one!
And yes, the post race water bottles and bags were AWESOME!
Congrats on the finish. I still use the bag and water bottle that I got in 2012. Love the “bubbler!”
Someday I’ll get back to Hartford for another marathon. HMF does know how to do it right!
I agree, they put on a great event! I’m already looking forward to going back!
Sooooo exciting! I love that Jason did so great and that you stole away with a great PR! Also very cool of Hartford to put on their very best show for you both! CONGRATS!!! Can’t wait to see you and celebrate!
Thanks! Hope to see you before you leave for Kripalu!
Congrats to Jason! (and damn him for his making a marathon look so easy!) And congratulations to you too! Sorry you were hurting, but it seems like you still had an awesome race!
Can I get one of those golf carts to take me everywhere after the marathon?
Haha, the golf carts were such a great little perk!
Congrats to both of you!! What a great way to run a big PR for you and first marathon for Jason! (Minus the knee pain–major frowny face). Hope you rest up well and that your knee feels better for Marine Corps! I love that ice cream truck sign. That would definitely motivate me! And bike support on course? How awesome! Love when races are able to provide nice touches like that.
Thanks Karla! The race definitely have some nice touches I think runners really appreciate!
Yay!! Congrats to you both!! Sending you lots of good thoughts/vibes that your knee recovers quickly. I’m with Jason – I love me some ice cream!! What a great sign. And I love all the amenities – I think all races should have a bag at the end because it becomes so awkward to carry the goodies around.
Thanks Emily! I’m hoping my knee hurries up and gets better too! I went for a short run last night and it was NOT happy…I’m a little nervous about MCM!
Reading this recap and after running the half the same weekend makes me want to consider running the full for this one! I don’t know that I want to do it next year because I am telling myself I want to take a break from some fall marathons but I am going to add this to my list!