Half Marathon #57
Connecticut was one of those states that I struggled to fit into my schedule. Hartford had actually always been my goal race for the state, but it didn’t work out so when I found a race in New Haven, I decided that’s what I would do.
Rich and I flew into Bradley Airport (Hartford) on Saturday morning. We decided to drive to Mystic (an hour from the airport) to check out the town before driving an hour to New Haven. We, of course, had to stop at Mystic Pizza for lunch. We didn’t stay too long before heading on to New Haven. We checked in to our hotel and then walked around downtown, Yales Campus and to packet pickup (no expo at all and first come, first serve on race shirts).
Sunday we slept in, went for a run, went to Church, grabbed lunch and then chilled in the hotel until it was time for dinner. Mary was super nice to include us in her pre-race dinner/party and had a chance to meet other runners in the area.
The race didn’t start until 8:30 on Monday, so we actually slept in until 7am and took our time getting ready. Our hotel was a few blocks from the start and we walked down a little after 8 and went straight to line up. The 20K and half marathon started together, but I never saw any of the elites (this was the 20K championship race and pulled in a lot of big names- Galen Rupp, Jordan Hassay, Stephanie Bruce, Sarah Hall to name a few).I asked Coach how to approach this race and he decided to give me a workout. I didn’t get a break in my marathon training for this one- I ran for 2 hours on Friday and did a 10k at MGP on Sunday so I didn’t exactly have fresh legs. The goal was to start at 8:00 pace and take 5 seconds off at each mile, working my way down with a nice, long challenging progression run.The goal would be to finish with a 1:38:xx so I lined up behind the 1:40 pacer. It was a crowded start line, and before long, we were off.
The first mile was easy peasy. I made sure not to get caught up and held myself back. Since each mile had a goal, it was a nice distraction from the run being an actual race. The weather had warmed up a bit from Sunday and the sun was out- it was mid 60’s or so at the start but there was a nice breeze. The miles clicked by and I was right on track, a little fast for some and maybe a little slow for others but it was evening out.
There was a LOT of local crowd support- everyone seemed to be outside and the race kinda reminded me of the Peachtree in that sense, you could tell the entire town embraced the race and looked forward to it. There was also live entertainment every few miles.
I didn’t really know the area and because of the turns it was hard to tell where exactly we were in the city, which again, was a nice distraction. I took my huma gel at mile 5 and had my first experience of Generation U-CAN on a race course (not too bad, not too great). We had our first noticeable hill at this point.
Mary had warned me the back half of the race was harder than the beginning but I didn’t really know what to expect. I just continued to watch my pace and pick out people to try and catch with each 5 second progression.
My legs were getting pretty tired and we had a challenging climb. THIS is what Mary mentioned. I had my next Huma gel a little earlier than usual just to be safe and see if it would help with my energy.
I started to fall off of Coach’s plan but kept pushing, determined to keep this a strong mental race. When we hit East Rock Park, we hit a nice downhill with lots of shade. This might have been my favorite part of the course.At mile 10.5 or so the course split from the 20K and the half marathon course did an out and back with the back having an uphill climb. I knew after that it should be a straight shot with little hills (Rich and I ran this part the day before).
I did my best to kick it into gear and managed to drop a bit on the last mile and a half or so. The crowds thickened at this point, making it easier to do so with their cheers!Race Results
145 out of 1221 overall
11 out of 152 F30-39
I was doing okay, a little fast in some miles, but definitely struggled at miles 9 and 10 where it was a little more hilly. Post Race
I grabbed my medal and water and went to the finishers chute to cheer for Rich. When we finished we grabbed some food at the finish area, walked around a bit and then headed back to the hotel to get ready to head back home. Bling
The throwback design of this shirt, medal and race theme was so fun! The back of the medal says half marathon finisher on it (the medals were the same for the 20K and half). Travel Tips
- Stay downtown for ease of walking purposes. We stayed at the Courtyard for Marriott points purposes and for the location. We walked everywhere on Saturday and Sunday.
- Walk around Yale, the campus is gorgeous.
- You can fly into Bradley or JFK, but Bradley is easier.
- Don’t expect a lot of tourist type things to do in New Haven. Drive to other CT towns if you have time.
- Great local support, volunteers, aid stations
- Post race party (free beer, good food, live music, kid entertainment)
Not So Much
- The later start. That’s the only thing I would change about the race.
We enjoyed our time in Connecticut, but I don’t see it on a repeat state list for me. The race was great and well done and it checked the box for me. I would recommend this race for those racing the states but there are a few other options. I had heard Hartford (the city) isn’t great which is another reason I didn’t do that one but the race itself seems to be popular. I just read in Runner’s World that there is a race in Mystic in May and that would be one I would check out, too.
It’s SO hard to believe I have three states left.