I’m so proud of myself. The race was last week (October 11th) and it was an amazing experience. One I will be repeating. To recap:
I woke up bright and early (4:30) because I’m a dork and also terribly excited and nervous. I was also super nauseous. I made the same breakfast I always eat before a long run – oatmeal with banana and peanut butter. I could barely choke it down. I had my bag packed and everything ready to go; even Bob was up and out by 5:45. Fun fact: we saw a herd of deer at the end of our road as we were leaving. Cool!
The trip to Hartford was uneventful, other than my queasy stomach and nerves. It was still dark out and the only other cars on the road were also going to the race. How do I know? All the 13.1 and 26.2 stickers. That, and there were supposed to be, like 19,000 people there, so the odds were good we all were going to the same place.
Once we got into Hartford, Bob scored us a great parking spot – easy in and out, and close to the start/finish line. Since we arrived super early we had no trouble at all.
It was cold, dark, and starting to rain as we walked up to the Capitol to meet my friend and our pace group. All of that stuff went surprisingly smooth considering there were a crap ton of people there. But everyone was pretty friendly and excited. There was great energy buzzing around despite the worsening weather. We ended up standing around for a good half hour before we lined up to start, and I was ready to go already!! Or throw up in anticipation…
Our pace group (2:40) lined up in the back and waited. There were announcements, the National Anthem, all of that got us amped up, then they fired the starting gun and we were off, slowly.
Starting line with the Hartford Capitol building in the background
I used MapMyRun (I love that app) because I wanted to add this run to my weekly miles, plus I just wanted my own record of it. The time and everything isn’t completely accurate because I started it too early (before I went over the starting line), and I forgot to turn it off at the end. But that’s ok. That’s what the chip timer is for.
The course was great. Plenty of variety – through parts of the city, into various neighborhoods (the Brazilian restaurant smelled so divine!), past all kinds of cool landmarks: the Wadsworth Antheneum, Mark Twain’s House, and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s House, plus a pretty park, and UConn. There were a few good hills (and by good I mean bad), but nothing I couldn’t handle!!
The pace group was a great choice. We lost them at the beginning, but connected with them somewhere in the middle. The pace leader was great – super friendly and encouraging. She would say things like “we’re almost to the park, and I think of that as the last leg of the run” (we were nowhere near the park at that point). And “this is the last hill” (it wasn’t). And “we’re in the home stretch now (with a good 3 miles to go). She was great because I believed her and just kept going, thinking that we were almost done when we had quite a bit left to do. It was a clever strategy. Somehow she was able to keep my spirits up despite the constant rain and chill.
The rain sucked. No lie. I was soaked and freezing by the end (hell, by the beginning!!), but I was not miserable at all. Right before I went into the chute to the finish line, I saw Bobby. He snapped a photo of me. I was so happy to see him. Hell, I was just so happy I was almost done! But to see him cheering for me, freezing his ass off, and to know I was so close to the finish, I almost started to cry. My goal, my dream to complete a half marathon, to do my best, it had come true. And it was as wonderful as I could have imagined. I’m so glad that Bob was there with me to support me and cheer for me. That made the moment even more special.
Feeling the endorphins!
Bob keeps calling me an athlete. I like the sound of that.