Pre race: Friday night was pretty uneventful..other than a mad dash to the EXPO only to find out it was open until 7PM not 6:30 like I thought. Also I got lost trying to find my way to Constitution Plaza, what a mess. In any case I met up with Claire, Cranky and Sir Angry and we hit this somewhat swanky joint, in which Claire and I were definitely under dressed. Also as Angry kept scoping out the newly minted young female professionals dining behind us Claire would chime back with chorus of "Skanks"and what defined their Skankiness/skankhood. Anyway after getting a set of directions from Angry I got back to my car, drove back to Wolcott and got my shit crammed into my little Orange bag for the 26.2 mile hammer fest.
After a restless night of sleep, I got up showered, cussed to myself that I forgot to pick up milk, and made my way out to Hartford insanely early. I parked by Union station literally a block away from the race ( also got anally raped with the Parking fee $12 to park my car...ugg!) anyway it was 5:30 when I got there went to the bus station to take care of business shot the shit with a first time marathoner, made my way over to Bushnell park and forgot that I left my cell in the car got it and then made my way back. Called Claire because she and the Angry one were running late and confirmed the rendezvous point. I met up with Cranky at about 6:45 after applying poor man's blisterblock ( med tape) to my insteps and heels. Claire and Angry showed up about 7:15 after a quick reconfimation of where to meet post race. Crankys and I dropped out bags off at the gear truck, I bumped into Al (Waterbury's Ironman) and shot the shit real quick , Also bumped into Vin from HEAT as Cranky slipped into the crowd then Claire and I cut inthrough the elite corral. IT WAS CROWDED! but luckily we were up front so we wouldn't be running through traffic the entire race. After endless annoucements speeches by politicians, who's idea of a marathon was the legislature's last session, things were finally ready to go.
After the quick commands of "Runners Ready..Set." the Air Horn went off and the caution tape dropped, and immediately everyone was off. The first couple of miles were tough as everyone jockeyed for space, I used my bike etiqute for a second shouting out "On your left!" as I would attempt to pass at one really congested corner. I wasn't able to get a split at the first mile but by the two mile mark, things had settled down a tad we were averaging slightly over 7 min miles...I got an official split at 3 miles of roughly 5k 21:21 just over 7 min. miles..shit I'm taking it out too hard I thought to myself. It was about this time the 3:10 ( my Boston Qualifying time) pace team came along I decided to ride the "train to Boston" as long as I could as it wasn't putting me in difficultly. I was still able to talk and struck up a conversation with one guy who was looking to do a 3:15. When I mentioned I was looking to break 3:45 that was when the "Oh shit ,you're definitely going out too hard conversation started. I decided that I would start conserving pace at about the 10 mile mark or whenever my calves started chiming up. 4 miles in 28:26 a 7:05 mile..this pace was cooking 5 miles 35:36 after 7:09 still keeping that 3:10 red vest infront of me and taking gatorade everyother aid station mile 6 I hit in about 43 min. at a 7:02 but I accidently hit stop instead of split on my watch, it was about this point I let the 3:10 pace train mussle ahead along with a guy I met pre race, he was 30 trying to get to Boston and his pace group was only 300 meters up the road. I began to slow the pace it was then I realized that I ha stopped my watch, I refired it but the screwed up the split timing as well as my overall estimates. Regardless I was feeling alright took a hammer gel to get some fuel in the tank granted it felt like it was going to come up at any second, so I threw some water in wash it down. the mile 7 came up at 58:09 after a 7:45 mile, I started talking to a chick on a bike that came along side it was helping to steady my pace. My hip was starting to hurt I knew I had to pee so at the next aid station I stopped used the facilities, got back into it. I hit the 8 mile mark at 1:06 after an 8:30 mile including the pee break. I saw the leaders coming down from the turn around, among them one of my high school teammates Jay Shiel, ( apparently another one of my high school team mates was right on his heels as they both flew pulling 2:57's) mile 9 came at 1:14 after a 7:52 mile I was finding I was getting back to my comfort zone. Mile 10 came at 1:22 after 7:50 mile, at mile 11 we hit the turn around. I looked at the groups coming up the scattered rnners, the 3:30 pace team, the 3:35 pace team, the 3:45 pace team..and then "the party crowd" the 4:00 pace team complete with their leader holding a sign on a pole. I couldn't see Claire, and hoped she didn't drop out. I took my splitat mile 12 1:30.16 a 7:54 mile. I started talking to my friend on the bike again as I saw some of the slower runners coming up. Some people limping along others doing the run walk, preping themseleves for a long day of 5-6 hours of running. I was swallowed up by the 3:20 pace team and a bunch of guys in M-dot visors. I started talking to one of them Kurt as I held on to the pace train for about 1 miles and then was spit out the back a 1:38 13 mile split after a 7:48 mile about this time Cranky along side and would begin work as my pacer..for the next 12 miles. and so it began a conversation to keep the pace and our minds off the collective pain the race directors had in store. I apologized for seeming annoying for talking but after a quick "If it takes your mind off the pain don't worry about it." and so the miles clicked by hovering between 7:45 and 8:30. At some of the aid sations Cranky would stop get a drink because if his words "He didn't want to be wearing his water." As for me I went with the more tradtional method of drinking and dousing myself on the fly. I would tend to get a couple of minutes ahead and then he'd come back helping me to push the pace. We finally got back into Town a with Cranky acting as my Yoda continued at a good clip although the race directors threw a bunch hills in the last 6 miles. My pace began to drop as the latic started creeping from my calves to the knees. After a passing of the 20 mile marker and some encouragement from Cranky, I made myself determined not to walk. But around us we were starting to see those who had gone out too hard strating to drop and those who had been saving surging forward. We ended up on a riverfront shaded trail and it was heaven until it started going up hill.We went trhough the center of Hartford Angry came along side for a little bit giving some encouragement , then he dropped back to wait for Claire.We ended up passing the Jimmy Buffet themed aid station at about mile 22 complete with Santa in a red Hawaiian shirt and wooly pants raking spent paper cups. After Cranky caught up we made our back into on to the rail trail and caught a kid in a UMass shirt at about mile 23 or on the "you've gotta to be shitting me hill." we held steady for about 2 miles still passing runners and at the 25 mile mark the pain in my calves was becoming too much, Cranky and Umass guy pulled away as I began slipping back. One guy came by and commented on my Blazeman Tech shirt..."Fighting Lou Gerhig's disease..Good job man!" "Technically I'm raising money for research.." trying to make the running thing seem less dramatic..."Hey good job none the less dude!" I could already tell my mile pace was dropping way off, my legs felt like lead weights as we came back into the business district, after a quick turn back toward the park a young tri geek decked in his Orca suit was coming along side, I heard somebody scream go Josh and as he pulled along side he started doing the "skip of death and shouting "cramp Cramp, shit shit" as I got back around. We headed toward the park and I was greeted with a cruel sight the line of Portolets...man we have to go the long way round....As we hit the cruve and the arch came into sight I had that emotional moment as I high-fived two kids..I dug in deep Orca boy was toast. I got around him and sprinted to the line some 40 year-old was looking over his shoulder probably thankful I didn't have another 200 meters to the line..because I was closing fast. I crossed with my fist in the air. 3:26:44 a PR by 24 minutes.
The Post Race:
Cranky and I walked to a grassy patch, he went for the food tent as I took some time to stretch out. The massage line and the beer line were huge so no go for me. Plus if I had anything right after the race I would have puked. I laid out on the foil blanket and stretched out. Untaped my feet and put on my trainers...Cranky came back and I made my way to the food tent and loaded up. Claire came by with Angry, she had broken 4 hours and had been barely edged out by "sign man" from the 4 hour pace team. Cranky had qualified for Boston and Angry did better than he hoped in the 5k so I officially won $1 for guessing his time.
Not a bad day at the office. I could go on about post race, Angry trying to get me to hit on MILF in Yoga pants... all the young co-eds/profeesionals coming after 4+ hours but I was too sore to move...
The Lactic Acid is slowly draining