So, when I last left you I had just finished running a 10k in Canterbury. My legs felt fine after the race and for the rest of the day I took it easy – stretching, icing, hydrating – recovering because over the winter I had also signed up for Hartford Marathon Foundation’s CT Fastrack 15k AND had also registered to volunteer.
For a split second I had thought about just not showing up – I mean I already had my bib and would the organizers not let me run the race if I did not show up. But then a voice in the back of my head (thanks mom!) reminded me of all those races I have run, and the all the volunteers that were there to make sure I could run the best race I could.
CT Fastrak 15k
So at 6am I was up and out the door. My plan was to park in Hartford, take the Fastrack to New Britain, volunteer, and run back to my car.
Side note – there was free parking available to runners provided by HMF but you had to park by the Capitol – I know I should not be complaining but because I was lazy (and not really awake) ended up parking in a lot. I spent $5.00 but had piece of mind that I would not come back to a possibly towed car.
I admit – this was my first time riding the Fastrack, which picked me up in front of Black Eyed Sally’s, and brought me (and several other volunteers) to the start. I had stressed a bit about whether the busses would be running that early and often, but no sooner had I pulled up to the bus stop then one appeared out of no where.
Hartford Marathon Foundation has their races down to a science and although this was only the second year for the Fastrack, one would not know it. It is a well oiled machine. I check in at my assignment (Registration) and for the next 2 hours proceed to help runner sign up or check in. It was actually a lot of fun and great to see some runner friends.
With 15 minutes to the start, I was relieved of my duties, headed to drop off my bag and stand in the port a potty line. It was standing in this line that I realized that this was one of the few races I had signed up for where I was not planning on racing it. As those around me freaked out about not getting to the start on time, I did not.
It was a strange and wonderful feeling, there was no pressure on me and my only goal, besides finishing, was to run the entire course without stopping.
It was also literally the only time where I walked to the start and basically started from the back. The course was wide enough where I did not have to worry about weaving around walkers.
As with the day before it was a gorgeous morning for a run and with music blaring (and my Garmin synced) I headed out at what I felt was a comfortable pace.
I settled into a great grove, as I made my way to Hartford. Admittedly the course it self is boring, but it was cool to run on a bus route (and not get run over) and see how my tax dollars have inevitable been spent. However there were several bands (and water stations) on the course so it helped to break up the monotony.
One thing I did not account for was – the sun. This fair skinned gal, whom has been covered up all winter, had her fist exposure to the warm sun for an extended period of time. Whoops – I ended up a bit red (although not burnt). Guess I will have to break out the SPF.
I pushed it when I saw the finish line and was rewarded with a sweet bus medal for my participation.
I picked up my bag and grabbed some water and grabbed a seat along Asylum Street to watch some of the remaining runners come through, cheering them on. They might not have been as fast as me (relatively speaking) but they still covered the same distance, and that is an accomplishment.
I also made it safely back to my car, something that might not have been said if I had not parked in a lot
So – what do I take away from the CT Fastrack 15k
- It’s important to give back. Volunteers are so vital to races, and now having been involved in this capacity, I will definitely do it again.
- Although I hate to admit it – I can sign up for a race and not “race” it. For many years I always let the adrenaline kick in and let other people propel me to race, sometimes when I should not have. It totally removed any type of race pressure.
- Cheers to smart training and a training plan!I was really happy with my pace. My normal easy runs have been in the 9:10-9:20 range but I pulled off an 8:21 pace.
- Running 18 miles over 2 days did do a number on my legs. This is the first heavy mileage weekend I have had in a while and my legs are screaming. So, I believe that a massage is in my very near future.
- Always bring post race nutrition with you. I waited too long after I finished the CT Fastrack 15k and I paid for it. The line for food was enormous and did not seem to quit. I was starving when I got back to my car. Lesson learned.
- There are no two ways around it the Fastrack is a boring route.