Race Recap: ING Hartford Half Marathon

Its been 12 days now and I am finally getting around to writing my race recap. I was waiting for photographic proof that I ran but the pictures arrived yesterday and none are worth posting. Hartford was a rough race for me. Overall, nothing was wrong, I just could not find my groove. I started off too fast and then I couldn’t find a pace that I was happy comfortable with. I ended up walking, a lot.

It was not my best race but then again, it was not my worst race either.

Race day started off nice and chilly – perfect running temperatures. My aunt cousin and I would be walking to the start line from our Hotel about a mile away.

For a race as large as the ING Hartford Marathon, the start line was kind of a cluster. The gear check and port-a-potty lines were ridiculously long. And there were no corrals. The full and half, started together and we ran out just over a mile before the course split. Another thing I noticed were people running the 5k out on the marathon course. I heard later that they should have started in a completely different direction. I just think that more instruction and organization would go a longggg way.

Mile 1 – 9:41

Mile 2 – 9:50

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that this pace is not my pace. I might be able to hang tough for a 5k distance but I knew I had to slow things down.

And I had no choice, I found myself wanting to walk. I felt dehydrated and tired. Not a good feeling 2 miles into a 13 mile race. I had missed the first water stop because I thought it was on both sides of the road and realized all too late that it was not.

Mile 3 – 10:54

This is where I met Sheila and we ended up running together for 6 miles. I truly believe I would have done worse if it had not been for her. And it was only her FIRST half marathon. And she had just turned 50!

She helped me by telling me I was helping her. We were aiming for an 11:00 – 11:30 pace and we together, we did alright.

Mile 4 – 10:50

Mile 5 – 11:21

Mile 6 – 11:32

Mile 7 – 11:23

Mile 8 – 11:45

I had the Garmin so she was relying on me to keep us at a steady pace. This really helped me concentrate and pulled me through those miles. Still, I just wasn’t feeling this run.

I started to fall back but Sheila stayed with me. She slowed her pace while I took walk breaks. I kept telling her to go and she wouldn’t. I started feeling guilty that I was slowing her down.

At one point, she said “I’d rather run slowly with you then not run with you at all.” A women next to us told her she was a really good friend and we both replied that we had just met at mile 3.

Mile 9 – 12:11

Sheila’s longest run had been 10 miles, typical for half marathon training. She was nervous that she would need the support for the last 5k of the race. I was still holding her back at this point and finally convinced her to run ahead. I told her if I ended up catching up to her then I would help her finish.

The next few miles were tough. I just wanted to be done. I was really happy that I had decided not to run the full that day (I had dropped down a few weeks prior). I knew my training was not there to back up a 26.2 mile run. My intention was to run a GREAT half rather than a terrible full.

Mile 10 – 12:57

Mile 11 – 13:52

Mile 12 – 14:44

Towards the end of the race, I met Dan. He ran up to me as I was walking and asked if I could just run a couple of steps with him. We ended up running the remaining 1/2 mile together. Thanks Dan!

Mile 13 – 13:24

0.34 – 3:19 (avg pace 9:45) my garmin always seems to be off by ~0.2

I crossed the finish line, happy to be done but not as disappointed with my time as I thought I would be. I know I am not *fast* and I know that finishing is a huge accomplishment in itself. Not every race will be a PR. As runners, we take the good with the bad. We move on and grow from the experience.

As I was grabbing a sip of water from the row of “bubblahs” (aka water fountains), I heard my name. I didn’t think it was me, after all,  Jess is a common name and I would be finishing before my aunt (3 hr half) and cousin (running the full).

But it was! My mom, sister and 4-year-old had taken the hour+ ride to come see me! I was so happy to see them. It was such a wonderful surprise.

After sweaty hugs over the barriers, I continued down to get my medal.

hartford medal

We were able to see my aunt finish and then headed back for the hotel to shower before check out. We would have to make it back to see my cousin cross the finish line of her third Full Marathon. Her goal was around 5 hours and with the assistance of text message alerts, we were able to see her at mile 26 and then met up with her at the finish.

Mile 26 was a great experience. There were a group of people cheering and playing instruments. We were also able to cheer on many runners as they ran the final stretch of a race distance that only 1% of people will ever run. Many people pushing over 5 hours of running. Truly incredible.

We saw Jen and then cut across to the finish to meet up with her. We snapped this pic after allowing her to get food and then we headed back to our cars to head home. It had been a long day.

My mom, me, my aunt and cousin.
My mom, me, my aunt and cousin.

While walking back, we again found ourselves around the 26 mile marker. At this point, runners were over the 6 hour mark. They were beginning to open the roads back up and runners were having to wait at red lights. It was tough to watch. I wish there was something I could have done but instead I just continued to cheer for them.

Pros of the race: Great course support(up to 3hrs for the 1/2 and 6 for the full), nice finishers center, free Harpoon IPA beer, food tent.

Cons: unorganized start, hillier then expected

Half Marathon #6

State #4

Overall Time – 2:37:45

Avg. Pace – 11:50



8 thoughts on “Race Recap: ING Hartford Half Marathon

  1. Jess, hooray! You did it! A win is a win, you finished and that is important , you put it all in perspective, they all won’t be PRs, and as you realize, training is very difficult with little ones, and a job that keeps you awake all night long. Good job and nice write up, always enjoy your recaps.

  2. Great job, Jessica! And how great that your family was there to surprise you! Since I live just outside Hartford I REALLY want to run that race next year. I have my 3rd half in just under 2 weeks and am starting to get nervous!!

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