It’s two fairly straightforward loops (with a couple of “rolling hills” thrown in to keep it interesting) around the Reservoir followed by a great post race party, some delicious home baked goodies, and a great raffle. I ran the race last year and signed up for it again because as the tagline of the race states “You Should Race Other Distances”.
The Groundhog had predicted a pretty early winter and we have been blessed with pretty temperate weather in Connecticut. However – this past week the weather was all over the place. What started out as a forecast that included sun and moderate temperatures at the start of the race, ended up being the complete opposite of that. By Friday evening the temperature was supposed to be pretty warm (mid-40s) but it was supposed to rain all morning and as the weatherman said “possibly heavy at times.
Great! So not knowing what to expect (and still not believing the weathermen) I loaded the car with a variety of clothing options and headed over super early so I would not have to take the shuttle bus offered from UCONN. My thoughts were that if it was going to be wet and rainy I did not want to wait for a shuttle bus, in the rain, after the race.
As soon as I parked – it started to rain, and although it let up a bit, I know it was going to be a wet one and I would have to “embrace the suck”. I left my car to do my warm up and came back to change shoes, my shirt and pin on my number.
I added a garbage bag (I know very fashion forward) to stay as dry as I could until the start. A couple of other runners had the same idea as we all huddled together waiting for the start. I chatted about a few other runners about how crazy we all were but when I told them my husband was golfing – they thought he was crazier!
I also saw my coach before the race – that was a great spirit lifter. He asked what my goals were (run sub 8s for the entire race and have evenish splits) and reminded me to run the “rolling hills” by effort and not speed.
Before I knew it a sudden downpour began (which did not matter to me as I was already soaked at that point) but I did not have time to register it as we were off.
The race is limited to 600 runners which was great so I never felt crowded or had to jockey for position. The course itself is lovely – I love running here during my easy training runs.
The first loop was great – the miles ticked off and I was keeping a pretty consistent pace.
Through the start/finish I started the second loop and it was at this point I started getting a bit fatigued. I had to really focus on effort as I kept thinking that I was slowing down. It was also at this point that I realized that my shoe was coming untied. So I decided to pull over at mile 4.5 to gather myself (catch my breath – I was really working hard), and tie my shoe. That cost me some time (that mile ended up being and 8:45) but I regrouped and pushed on.
It was after I passed the second lake that I knew I was done with “rolling hills” and I could coast and try and put on some speed as I headed to the finish.
Crossing the finish was (and always is) the best. After I caught my breath and grabbed some oranges (the best post race food EVER) I heard someone say over the loud speaker that they were going to mail the age group awards out, so we should grab some food and not worry about waiting around.
The volunteers (they were the best!!!), whom all had smiles on their faces from the start to the finish of the race, helped the runners grab food and provided numerous zip lock backs so that we could take our treats home. I chatted with some friends and then hightailed it home for a hot shower and coffee.
The rest of the afternoon was spent recovering – stretching, icing and eating. I have not raced this distance since last year so my body is taking some time to adjust (meaning I was really sore as the afternoon wore on).
Today as I write this I am feeling much better due in large part I believe how I handled myself post race. Stretching and compression calf sleeves worked wonders!
The Quarter Marathon was another great race by the Hartford Track Club. Their next race is the Summer Solstice 5k. It is also at the West Hartford Reservoir and although I have never run it – I am seriously considering signing up for it. I mean how bad can only one loop be!
So – what do I take away from this race
- Hartford Track Club – rain or shine puts on a great race. From the long sleeve shirts to the great post race food (oranges and other homemade goodies) to the charities they support, their races are ones that I have no problem plunking my money down for.
- Always bring a chance of “outfits” to a race. I started out thinking I was going to run in a short-sleeved shirt and light jacket but after my warm up mile I was soaked. Then I thought I could just run in short sleeves but the temps dropped. Luckily I had a third option – a light long sleeve shirt. It kept my arms warm and did not weigh me down like the jacket and
- Hills should be run based on effort and not pace – until this race I had never really put this into practice. At this race, however, I did and it helped me not get frustrated when I “thought” I was not running up the hill as fast as I wanted.
- My endurance has a ways to go to be half marathon ready. This race was a good test of where I am in training (and under not really ideal conditions) and what I need to work on to continue to improve
- In years past my “pre race” meal has consisted of a salad of some sort BUT the night before this race I had the below pictured meal (and an extra half scoop of couscous) AND you know what it sat really well for me. Healthy fats and healthy carbs – this might become my go-to pre race meal.
- Hot showers and hot coffee (not at the same time) after a cold and wet race are two of the best things ever.