2018 Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon Recap – Even Running “For Fun” Can Be Work

Greater Quarter MarathonSpring is “supposedly” here – although I think you will be hard-pressed to find runners in Connecticut (or New England for that matter) that truly believes that to be fact. At a time when I should be breaking out capris, a lightweight jacket and gloves, I am still “suiting up” in thermal tops, fleece tights, and a hat.

BUT I am making the best of this ever-changing weather.

After a week of solid running – almost 40 miles – I could not ignore the “niggle” that had started to develop in my right knee. It had been “bothering” me for a couple of weeks and although I had gone to my orthopedic to confirm my self-diagnosis (Runner’s Knee) AND had been doing at home PT – it just would not subside. It’s like my right side started to compensation due to some imbalance with my left side.

I finally told Mark and James who (both) promptly told me to “shut it down” for 48 hours.  Runner’s knee is no joke – I have had it before and it SUCKS!  

I was told that if I did what I was told (rest, heat, PT exercises, and ice) for 48 hours I could participate in the Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon BUT in my trainers and without a watch. 

So I did what I was told and by Saturday morning I felt better.

Even though there was no workout planned for the Greater HartfordQuarter Marathon- I still did “quick” warm up to check and see how I was feeling. Not sure if it was sitting in the car for a bit or if I was just being hyper-sensitive but I did not feel 100%.

However – after a quick return to my car (to add another layer),I headed to the porta potties (always a line) and then to the start.

I have run this 2 loop race several times.  It is a pretty course, with some nice Connecticut “rolling hills” thrown in, and a nice downhill to the finish where oranges and tons of delicious home-baked goods await.

The gun went off, I started my watch (I know but I am one of those runners who likes to keep track of my mileage), quickly covered it and headed out.

With some good tunes, I tried to find my groove, not push it, and enjoy my surroundings.

Without keeping track of my pace I had to rely on myself – which I admit I am horrible at doing. So much so that when I came through the “finish” after the first loop and figured out my split (8:09) I realized that I was definitely not running easy. I also understood at that point why I was sweating and breathing a bit heavy.

The second loop felt a bit harder and I even (admittedly) walked up part of the hill around mile 4ish, which was the same point my hands stopped being numb.

Finishing with a smile on my face (I have the worst race photos), I grabbed my medal, an orange and checked my race time where……

I was pleasantly surprised to have placed in my age group – an added bonus.

And the best part – during the Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon – my knee felt great, no pain, soreness or discomfort. It’s so strange.

Not wanting to jinx anything and thinking I was “better” I took Sunday off and will start this week “easy”.

During a portion of the race – I had fleeting thoughts of last years race – especially where I was fitness wise. It was a couple of days after the start of my hip problems. Earlier that week, I had strained my left hip flexor WHICH during the NJ marathon would turn into a tear.  According to my journal I stated ” Last rep – not so hot, my hip flexors were feeling it (and you can tell that by my cadence that also dropped). Have a massage tonight, thank god!”.  If I only knew of the things to come!

So although I might be a bit slower (endurance wise) than last year I am in far better shape (hip wise heading toward the rest of the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Thanks to the Hartford Track Club for another great race!  It was a pleasure to run it and I can’t wait for Edition XIII of the Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon in 2019!

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