Fly, Run, Eat having a little Hart (ford)…
Connecticut was the state most recently placed on the completed list as of 10/10/15. We travel via 73SD up to Hartford, CT to show our love once again for the northeast states. As usual, we departed Louisburg, NC and made the 3.5 hour trip up the east coast with a stop in Maryland. In hindsight, the stop was unnecessary since the prevailing winds were pushing us at close to 200mph, making the trip seem even shorter. The weather was par for the course with partly cloudy skies until we made a right at JFK in New York. After making that right, we could see the weather was deteriorating and we were likely to get a little rain just prior to landing. Into instrument conditions, we made the brief approach into Hartford-Brainard Airport where we met up with our friends and fellow 50 state crazies, James and LaRee. The thing we enjoy most about the smaller airports is the service we get for the plane and the relative closeness to the city compared to their larger commercial brothers. We hopped in the car and were ready for the fun to begin. James and LaRee had secured the hotel so we went to the room for a quick superman-like change and then descended onto the city. First order of business, and what seems to be a revolving theme with all of our trips is the need for food. Nicole made a quick search and settled on the carb-rich local Italian restaurant Salute. Sorry, we have no photos of food as we were all starving and enjoying the company too much to break out the cell phones for some low quality photos. I can say the food was delicious and the portion was at least two servings (except James’s plate:) ). It was clearly one portion and man that guy can eat! Normally, I could have followed suit with James. However, my coach wanted to try the full meal plan that I will use leading into Kiawah and I don’t think I had been hungry for two straight days. The plan is pretty much carbs, carbs, carbs and did I mention carbs? After we had sufficiently set ourselves up for a carb coma, we waddled our way back to the hotel at about 7:30p and decided it was time for bed. We are all early to bed before a race kinda people! In our defense though, we are all early risers in our everyday lives also.
Race morning was very low humidity and 48 degrees with a forecasted high of 64. This is very different from the North Carolina high humidity upper 70’s and 80’s that we are still living through. The race hosted 3 levels of entry that included a 10K, half marathon, and marathon. All started at the same location, but after 1.5 miles would diverge to their own courses entirely. We all had different goals for this race so a couple minutes prior to the start we all said our good lucks and headed to our starting points. The starting line had a beautiful backdrop of the Capitol building and masses of the family and friends of racers. The race start had several beautiful views of the city sky line but quickly made its way out of town. The race traversed through a few areas of the riverside park but I did feel like it was mostly through rural communities and sleepy neighborhoods. I’m guessing to keep us off the crowded streets as much as possible and limit the need of road closures. On the course map, there were music notes about every 3-4 miles. These notes coincided with locals that volunteered their time and talent in the form of music. The music selection was eclectic ranging from funk band to DJ’s with beat boxes to 1970’s christoff gypsy band (I feel sorry for anyone that had to stand next to that one). The race organizers did a great job keeping us safe and had police at every possible intersection that we may encounter our sometimes less than friendly metal automobile counterparts. The race was supported with aid stations that seemed a little too spaced out but all were employed with excited and eager to assist volunteers who are the blood of any race. The aid stations were stocked with water, gatorade and assorted gels and I never ran across a station that was out of supplies. They even had random cyclists on the course passing out gels to anyone in need. The marathon course was largely an out and back while the half marathon was a loop. The finish line for both was a mum lined street that led under the Soldiers and Sailor Memorial Arch. This arch honors the 4,000 Hartford residents that fought in the American civil war and the 4oo that paid the ultimate price of war. It was a beautiful finish line! The Soldiers and Sailor arch was also the inspiration behind the finisher medal. It was my first visit to Hartford, so I have nothing to compare it to, but the city seemed rich with history. I am not sure, however, that the marathon really took you on a tour of that history versus a tour of the rural backdrop of the city. I would say that I would probably not do this race a second time. But, if you are needing CT for your 50 states, it is not a bad race and the medal is cool since it mimics the Soldiers and Sailor arch.
My goal for the day, as prescribed by my coach, was to run the first 20miles at Z1 which is a heart rate of 146-156 for me. Then, if I felt ok at mile 20, I could let my heart rate creep up into Z2 156-166. As a disclosure, these zones are different for everyone so don’t go out there and try to run my heart rates because they may be too slow or too fast for you. Also, like I said, we were trying out the race nutrition plan that I will use in Kiawah. Again, this is different for everyone. The ONE product that is new to me, and fairly new to the market, is a salt supplement called Base Salt. This may not seem like much, but usually by the end of a marathon, I am craving salt and looking for anything salty I can possibly get my hands on. When I finished this race, I felt normal with no cravings. This is HUGE! The Base Salt has sodium chloride (who are they kidding? that is salt!), calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The process you use to take it in, however, is a little different and I did end up showering myself with the Base Salt once like a bad Miley Cyrus video. Despite this, my overall nutrition plan worked flawlessly and I felt better than I ever have after a marathon. I crossed the line ready for a massage, a beer, and a day old bagel with a banana. Ok, maybe not the bagel but that seems like what most races have at the end. This race actually had some real food options, including homemade pumpkin bread, vegetarian 3 bean chili, and a corn muffin. I was not sure after 4 gels and a handful of shot blocks that 3 bean chili would be my friend or foe, so I decide to forgo the chili and stick with the banana (I feel like my own clique). Off to the massage tent I went for a free rub down and then back to the hotel for a much needed shower.
Nicole located us a little post-race entertainment in the form of a comedy club. The Brew HaHa club was in the basement of the City Steam Brewery Cafe and Restaurant. We enjoyed a post-race burger and laughs from the extremely politically incorrect comedians. After the show, we took a short walk to the arc for some night pictures and then back to the hotel to retire for the evening. Sunday morning, we headed to the airport around 10am for the trip back to North Carolina. The flight plan was filed and the winds were calm with clear skies and unlimited visibility. Our trip home gave us views of NYC, Jersey shore, Atlantic City and Roanoke.
This was our last marathon until we toe the line in December at Kiawah Marathon in South Carolina. Hopefully, after Kiawah, we can add Massachusetts to the 2017 list.
Thanks for reading. Now go run!