Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Off the Couch Marathon

Today was the Hartford Marathon.

Unfortunately, I was not signed up for the race. Someone asked me if I was running it, and I said that I only race when I am in peak condition. Well, I haven't been running much lately, so I didn't even consider running this year.

Hartford is the first marathon I ran many years ago and I've completed it 4-5 times. I've also run the 1/2 marathon twice and watched my ex, Tammie, run it once. I also watched Dawn finish the marathon last year. So, the race has been a big part of my life.

Today, Dawn was running the 5K and Tammie was doing the half marathon. In a way, I was very proud because I think I helped them both make running a significant part of their lives. I am happy for them.

So, I really wanted to get out for a big run this weekend because I haven't run long in awhile. I thought it would be cool to try to do at least 20 miles and perhaps do a marathon-like distance of 24-26 miles to try to somehow include ourselves in the marathon weekend. The Goat called to make plans for our regular weekend run at the reservoir and I told him we were running a marathon.

The Goat is usually up for any challenge and today was no different. We met at the reservoir at 8AM and the Goat had his Garmin GPS watch. I thought, "OK, no backing out of this one now". We carried water for the first time in quite awhile. As we ran, I realized that we hadn't done any runs of longer than 10 miles all summer long. In fact, this would be our longest run since the Stonecat Ale 50 miler last November. Wow!

Nevertheless, the miles clicked by and we were moving well. I had mentally layed out a course in my mind that included a run to Heublein Tower. We were near the 9 mile mark when we reached the tower and the views were incredible with all the autumn colors. We elected to head down the other side of the mountain and then back up to the tower to add another 2.5-3 miles to this loop. People hiking the trail joked with us that we were in the Hartford Marathon. Little did they know that we were doing a longer, more grueling run.

When we reached the tower the second time, we realized that we had completed all the major climbing and that the return trip to the cars was fairly flat. By our estimation, it would be close to 20 miles when we reached the cars. Our plan was to refuel and then hit the trail for 6 more miles.

By the time we reached the cars, we were both hurting a bit, and the Goat seemed to be dragging. I knew he would make it though as he has no quit in his body. After some food and drink, we headed back on the trail for one last push. By this point, there was a fair amount of walking happening, but we were enjoying the views and the conversation. I thought to myself that we may be the only people in the state of CT running a marathon distance today other than those folks running the Hartford Marathon.

As we finished, Goat mentioned that we had completed 26.94 miles in 5 hours. This may not seem fast by road marathon standards, but we covered some very difficult terrain and some decent vertical gain, and had to carry our own supplies. Yeah, we were pleased!

It felt so good to be running again. The tempo of the run felt good, and I felt like I could have run longer. I don't know if I have any real races in the near future, but it was nice to get out and put down some miles. Thanks Goat for a great run!

Congrats to all the folks that ran Hartford today. I'm sure it was a wonderful experience.