Wednesday, October 25, 2017

2017 Hartford Marathon

Two weeks have passed since the Eversource Hartford Marathon. This may sound odd but marathons are becoming easier. That doesn't mean I'm getting better, but to prep and run them is in the category of "just another race". For most runners including myself, marathons are life events that take tons of training. Even though this was my 12th it still required tons of training but I'm used to that. My body is used to that.
The Run 169 Towns pre race group shot
Throughout the summer I worked hard on the roads and greatly reduced my trail runs. While reviewing past marathons I noticed my training was not as intense or thorough. Especially last year. No 20 milers and only a handful of 15+ milers. No speed work at all. Therefore 2017 resulted in more work and better quality runs. I did four 20+ training runs, weeks that included real speed work, and all road. At 63 years old I could coast through a race but needed to beat the 5 hour mark. That is a new limit I have set for myself. Keep it at 5 or under and I'm a happy guy.

On race day I finally have a good food routine. Coffee with a light breakfast of cereal, one slice of bread, and a banana at least 2.5 hours before the race. I made two bottles of Tailwind drink. One before the race and the other during the race. I was well hydrated and carb loaded from Thursday and Friday meals. This routine has me ready at start time and basically no bathroom issues during the race.

During the race my goal pace was 10:45. As usual I had to struggle to keep it slower that 10:30. The crowds and excitement translate into fast running. I have learned over the years that controlling it early helps the endurance later. I drank plenty of water at each water stop. My Tailwind consumption started after 10 miles so as to have energy in the second half. At about 10 miles I felt good. So good that I picked up the pace a bit. Then that long South Windsor stretch was beginning. It's always the tough part of Hartford for me. This year it wasn't bad. I tried not to think about or look for the turn around. I just ran and the time flew by. 18, 19, 20 miles and I still felt great. The wall was anticipated and accepted which hit me hard before 21. I struggled to maintain a decent pace but kept going on. A few walk breaks were needed but short distances.

As always the adrenaline kicked in after passing the Old State House. I headed around the corner towards the arch. Crowd cheering here is always the best and a real motivator. It's at this point the personal reward for all the training is received. I heard the announcer say my name and sprinted to the finish. Number 12 was in the books! Finish time was 4:53 which is OK for me at this point. Sub 5:00.
Marathon #12 is in the books
One added feature this year was I participated in the Quinnipiac Marathon study. Several days of blood and lab work, heart monitoring, weigh ins, etc. Glad to help out. I was the only "old guy" and repeat lab rat this year.
Lab Rat for Quinnipiac

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