After an hour and a half ride with some slightly crazy directions from the Hartford Track Club, we arrived at Goodwin Dam, the starting location for the race. It was absolutely gorgeous!
The run was a negative / flat course and was very lovely. The entire run took us through Riverton, Pleasant Valley, Hartland and Colebrook. The race took us along and across the Farmington River and past many state parks and camping grounds. Towards the end, we ran through Peoples State Forest.
In training, the longest run I had done was 11 miles. I decided to mentally prepare for the half marathon by dividing us the distance in my mind as I ran. I would run 5 miles. Okay, I can do that. Then I would run another 5 miles. Great, now I only have 5K left! It wasn't quite as easy as that, but things went well.
We started the race by running down hill for around two miles. We took a right turn, the only one of the race, and ran through a cute down town. After that, we began to run through state forest and along rivers. It was a lot of scenic woods. The weather was comfortably cool, in the mid-50s when we started and in the upper 60s when I ended. Running through many wooded areas kept the sun off me, and I felt pretty comfortable temperature-wise the whole way. After the woods, around mid-way through the race, we again reached a slightly populated area. It was nice to run along some country roads with houses. I passed some very nice houses and did my normal House Hunter-while-running thing. I went across a bridge that crossed over the Farmington River and was back again in state forest area. The balance of the run was again along the water and through state forests.
I had fuel and water with me, but there were water stops every two miles to keep me motivated and on track. There were markers every mile that helped me pace myself and feel like I was making good progress towards the finish line.
I found the first nine miles of the run went relatively easily. Around mile nine I started to get tired. I was able to mentally motivate myself and get from mile nine to ten where I was able to re-energize; after all, now I only had 5K left. I was excited and ready to go and finish this thing! I ran along with energy closely matching the middle sections of the race. I went along pretty successfully until mile twelve. The last mile was hard. I was exhausted. I could barely convince myself to run after my brief walk breaks, but I did it. The last half mile turned out to be a bit of a hill. In my normal runs, this hill would have been no problem, as it wasn't too different from what I might tackle in the somewhat hilly area around my house. After over two hours and 12.5 miles of running this was a different story. I struggled up that hill absolutely spent.
Finally, at the top of the hill I was greeted by a welcome sight -- a sign for the dam. Now all I had to do was run the last 300 meters or so, and I was done!
After the race, I relaxed and had some great snacks provided by the Hartford Track Club, which did an amazing job organizing the race. I was also able to see some excellent videos of the area where the race started and finished, Goodwin Dam. Seth took these videos while I was out running, and I think it gives a really good idea of what the area was like. This is a lovely part of Connecticut.