RACE: The Northeast Utilities Hartford Marathon
LOCATION: Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT
DATE: Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.
LENGTH: Marathon, Half-Marathon, Marathon Relay, and 5K
RUNIT RATING: Thumbs up!
We were #RUNITREADY! Runitlikeamom represented in every racing class at the 2014 NU Hartford Marathon! We completed our training programs, ate our carbs, made sure we packed all of our running essentials, laced up our sneakers, and made our way into downtown Hartford on a rainy and cool Saturday morning. The rain did not dampen the spirits of the athletes or the spectators. Runitlikeamom even had a cheerleader as Robin came all decked out with her noisemakers, face paint, smile, and positive energy.
This is the first time I ever participated in the Hartford Marathon. I had no idea how many people were going to be there. After I waited in 10 minutes of traffic to exit the highway, the fact I found parking quickly was awesome. As I walked toward the Bushnell Theater with daylight breaking, the sight of the start line gave me chills. Some runners were already claiming their spots when the race still was not due to begin for another hour.
Bushnell Park looked like a village of tents. I would have loved to walk around and explore all the vendors, but I was on a mission to find my Runitlikeamom Relay team. After much determination, I finally found them and got my bib. After we took some photos, it was time to hurry up to get on the school bus to arrive at our respective relay check points.
Thankfully, I had a partner in crime while waiting to run my leg. Jennifer and I were in the 4th and anchor positions of the relay and we were ready to conquer the marathon course from mile # 14 through the finish line. A warm and dry yellow school bus took us to our relay check-off points, which were across the street from one another in South Windsor, CT. We were very grateful for the wonderful residents who lined up shelter tents equipped with chairs for the runners. Someone even had a fire-pit going, which felt amazing. I also am thankful to HMF staff who passed out space blankets to help keep us warm.
A little over an hour after the marathon started, we started to see the leaders of the marathon pass through. It was so amazing to witness their energy as they tackled the course with nobody ahead of them. I was feeling anxious and excited as more and more runners came by. About 2 hours into the race, Jenn got a text from Emily that Patty (who completed the full marathon) passed her relay check-point at mile 11 and was going to arrive in our area in another 30 minutes. At that point, I parted with my rain poncho as Jennifer escorted me to my relay exchange point, where Emily would send me on my 6.3 mile leg. As we were waiting with other relay team members, I looked and saw Patty running toward us, looking strong. I was so excited for her and cheered her on as loud as I could (clearly not caring if anyone thought I was crazy). Then, I saw Emily coming from the background. That was my cue to get ready for my turn to conquer my piece of the relay.
As I ran my flat, 6.3 mile, back and forth leg, I felt pretty good. I was thankful I had my hat to keep the rain off my face. I felt my pace was strong and consistent with my goals for that day. As I approached the turn-around point at mile 17, I squealed and jumped up and down for Patty as she passed me, running back in the opposite direction. After an enthusiastic spectator gave me a high-five at the turn-around point, I found my favorite Disco Biscuits song on my iPod, focused on my breathing, and ran as fast as I could to finish out my leg. When it got hard, I thought about Patty, who was ahead of our team’s pace and ran this race from mile # 1. After I passed the mile 20 mark, I sprinted toward Jenn and Emily. After I sent Jenn on her way, I was a little disappointed my phone app failed to track my pace. However, I later found out I completed this leg in 61 minutes because my new phone tracked my mileage without me realizing.
After I caught my breath, Emily and I walked our way back to the school bus to go back to downtown Hartford. We were hoping we did not miss Patty’s moment of finishing this race. As we stood close to the finish line, Emily and I saw Patty coming. I was so excited, I ran with her for about a block. Then, Emily and I found Sarah and Robin at the sidelines and we enthusiastically joined them in cheering for Patty as she headed toward the finish line. We were especially impressed with our cheerleader, Robin, because she stood outside in the cold rain for 4 hours to cheer all of us on! A little while later, we saw Jennifer, our relay team anchor, coming around the corner. As we followed her to the finish line, we heard the announcer congratulate the Runitlikeamom Relay Team! What a proud moment to witness! Our team did it!
The 2014 Runitlikeamom Hartford Marathon Relay Team
Emily, Jen G (friend to blog), Eileen, Jenn H., me
Sarah and our friend, Marcy after rocking the 13.1
Of course, the rain stopped after everyone completed their races. Given the weather was a challenge, we all achieved our goals. Patty finished her very first marathon in the pace she wanted. I ran my first 10K (plus .2, but who’s counting…). Meg ran her first 5K in a very respectable time, whether she just had a baby or not. Sarah is one half-marathon away from being a half-fanatic. The Runitlikeamom relay team finished their début race at this event.
I would like to thank all the Hartford, East Hartford, and South Windsor, CT residents; race volunteers; and event staff who made sure we had access to water, bathrooms, warmth, comfort, and shelter on race day. I am so appreciative of our friend, Marcy (and her running team) who provided us with shelter before the race. I also want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the complete strangers out there who told me how good I looked while running, especially when I felt like a drowned rat. This day also made me feel very appreciative about how beautiful New England is in the fall, even when it’s raining. I am most grateful for the quality time I was able to spend with my Runit team, their amazing families who came out in the rain to cheer us on, and the random nice guy who provided Jen and me with the perfect photo-bomb moment.
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