Saturday, October 13, 2001

RR Hartford Marathon

Hartford Marathon
Hartford, CT

The trip started out early and ugly on Friday 10/12/01 since we had to get up at 3:30am to drive to Tampa by 5:30am for a 7:30am flight. But we did arrive on time in Hartord, CT and made our way to our friends, Drs. Dick and Sue in Hamden, CT. Dr Dick is a charter member of the BBR - that informal running group in Dallas that I have written about previously. Since Jason only has a one-bedroom apartment we decided to stay with Dick and Sue whom have a big empty house in Hamden - about 15 minutes from Jason's apt in New Haven. Jason met us at Dr Dick's and we all went out for our pasta feed since the marathon was on Saturday. On Saturday morning Dr Dick and I drove into Hartford for the start of the marathon at Bushnell Park. The weather was great; cloudy and unseasonably warm - 56 degrees at the 8am start and 73 degrees when we finished. The course starts at Bushnell Park and proceeds across the Connecticut River into East Hartford. Most of the first 20 miles are in the rural suburbs of E Hartford - flat with some rolling hills and lots of fall colors with the changing of the leaves. Dr Dick and I had decided to run the race together since he claimed that he was not in great shape ( he is younger and stronger than the Maddog). Since we were just doing a pleasant run we shot the breeze for the first 20 miles and caught each other up on the latest gossip. Thus we were surprised when the miles kept clicking off at an 8 minute/mile pace. We commented that this euphoria probably couldn't/wouldn't last and we were right! At 20 miles I did the customary gut check and decided that I would probably run into trouble on the last 10K if we maintained that 8 minute pace so I tried to back off. The problem was that Dr Dick was much stonger at that point and kept dragging my tired and sorry ass over the next 4 miles of rolling hills at a much faster pace that I wanted to or would have run had I been by myself. Finally at 24 miles, as we were turning back towards Bushnell Park I checked my watch (3:16) and commented to Dr Dick "Hell, I have decided that I will have to hurt a little more if we want to be sure to break 3:35"! So I dropped the pace to 8 minute- miles over the last 2 1/4 miles. And sure enough - it did hurt - but any fool can hurt for a mere 17 minutes! And besides, the pain faded quickly as we approached the finish line and saw/heard my sports manager and son cheering us on. Dr Dick crossed the finish line in 3:33:13 and I was 1 second behind. I was not surprised to learn that my time of 3:33:14 was not good enough to place in the age group on such a fast course.(5th place). I was happy with my time but somewhat surprised and disappointed that I had only run 30 seconds faster than my last race in Montana where the course was at least five times more difficult? And I felt much stronger and better all through the race in MT? I should have easily broke 3:30 on this course - but it obviously was not one of those 'feel good' days! But heck, the race was done and now it was time to enjoy the rest of the weekend. On Saturday evening, Dr Jason's girlfriend (another doctor) came up from NYC to join us and we all went out for dinner but then the tired old Maddog had to retire early to recuperate for the next day. On Sunday the four of us toured along the coast of CT enjoying the fall colors and coastline. Dr Jason was on call (pediatrics)so we could not venture too far from the hospital and much to his chagrin we got to see him in action as he had to respond to numerous pages/phone calls. So although the trip was a last-minute, unplanned visit we were very happy that we had squeezed it in as we really enjoyed the time with our son and our friends. But now we have to rush to prepare for the next trip - two weeks in Europe - 5 countries and two marathons. Fortunately I have only one trip/marathon planned in Nov as my right hamstring/leg is a tight bundle of knots and needs some rest?

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