Saturday, March 30, 2013

Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon

Today, Seth and I drove to West Hartford Connecticut to take part in the Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon. Seth had made a New Year's Resolution to run a 10K (6.2 miles) this year. We decided to do the 1/4 marathon for his resolution. At 6.55 miles, it was just over the 10K length.

The race was with the Hartford Track Club, which was the group I had done my Half Marathon with. I had been impressed with how organized and fun that race was and thought this would be a good first time experience for Seth. Plus, the race was only $25 each and included a tech shirt and finishers medal, a nice bonus, especially for a significant race.

I started off the day by having a pre-race breakfast of watermelon and toast with nut butter. I decided to try my toast with the Wild Squirrel almond butter I had received in my Kona Kase. The almond butter was chocolate sunflower seed flavored, and very interesting. There was a very strong sunflower seed taste and just a hint of cocoa. It was quite pleasant, although I wish that the sunflower seeds weren't so overpowering. The nut butter did do a great job filling me up for the run.

After breakfast, we headed out of the house and towards Connecticut. We arrived at the UConn Health Center around an hour before the 10:00 a.m. race start time. We had to park our car at the Health Center and were then bused over to the MDC Reservoir, where the race was to take place. Everything was very well organized, and we were able to immediately get on a bus and take the five minute drive to the reservoir.

The race volunteers had everything very well set-up. We were quickly able to check-in and get our bibs and shirts.

In addition to having a quick check-in, the race organizers very intelligently had a bag check. This was especially helpful because we had parked so far away. The day was lovely and sunny with only a mild breeze and temperatures in the upper 40s. Because of the bag check, I was able to keep on my very warm Nike Slouchy Sphere Hoodie (which I'm basically obsessed with) until the race started.

I was very excited for this race for a couple of reasons. First was that this would be the first long run in my new Altra sneakers.

More than that, I was very excited that this was going to be Seth's longest run ever. I had planned with Seth prior to the race to run the entire race with him. I was hoping to help keep him feeling motivated and upbeat during the race.

At around 9:55 a.m., we congregated at the starting line for the race. We planned to do 10:1 run to walk intervals during the race and keep a moderate pace, so we started more towards the back of the pack.

After some brief announcements, we were off! The 1/4 marathon course took us on a loop course. The course took us along a bike path that went through the forest and along the reservoirs. We ran the loop twice to complete the 6.55 miles, so we got to see the course twice. The run featured some gently rolling hills. Most of the run was paved, but there were a couple of spots where they were doing a bit of maintenance work and we had to run on a little bit of dirt. 

I have to commend the Hartford Track Club. As with the course for the Half Marathon, this course was very picturesque. We didn't really have to worry about traffic (except bikes). It was lovely to see the reservoirs and forest.

Seth and I averaged a 12:00 minute mile for the race. I had a wonderful time running the race with him. The pace was slower than my standard 10K pace, so I was really able to enjoy the race on a different level. I got to appreciate the scenery even more and have fun watching other racers and listening to my music. I had thought that I might not like doing a course where you have to run the same loop twice, but it was good to do the course once and then do it again knowing what was coming up. We continued around until at 1:18, we crossed the finish line.

Seth did a great job finishing strong. He had a great race and was very excited at the end. Running 6.55 miles for the first time was such an amazing accomplishment -- I'm so proud of him.

After the race, we met up with Dad, Lisa, and Greg and had a lovely lunch at Dad's house. We then headed back to Amherst tired from our busy day out. Lily helped us unpack. (She was very helpful.)

We continued to celebrate Seth's longest run by trying another sample from the Kona Kase, Tcho Chocolates. There were two milk chocolate ones and two dark chocolate ones. The dark chocolate ones were probably my favorites, although one of the milk chocolate ones (the blue one) tasted almost exactly like Cadbury. 

We had an entirely wonderful day. I definitely think we'll do the Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon again again in 2-14. Our next race will be a 5K held the last Sunday in April. It's the Daffodil Fun Run and is going to be in Amherst. Stay tuned!

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