Hartford Marathon 2014 – Race Report

Marathons: Paul #45, Leah #35, State #29 : Hartford Marathon 2014
11th October 2014, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Finish Time = 3:56:05

Saturday marathons are good in some ways and bad in others. Sometimes we’ll fly back on the Saturday after the marathon and get to sleep in our own bed Saturday night, with a long sleep into Sunday. The downside is that there’s usually not much sleep to be had on the Friday night, as we have to fly in after work.

Hartford fell into this category. Our already late enough flight got delayed and by the time we got to the hotel and into bed it was 1am, we were up again 5 hours later to start getting ready for the run.

The hotel was a mile from the start line so we slept in slightly longer than we normally would before the start of a race, got completely ready and then ran the mile to the start without having a kit bag or anything to have to check in. It worked out well, we literally got to the start line with about 10 minutes to spare before the race began. The weather however, was not co-operating. It was raining and the forecast was rain for the next few hours, right up until we were due to finish. We set off in our green eBay China ponchos (a bargain) and started running through the streets of Hartford.

I’m always impressed with the volunteers and supporters that come out when it’s cold and raining, that definitely takes commitment.

We got to 4 miles and I could feel my hip pain coming on. It was pretty depressing as I just didn’t want another repeat of Milwaukee where I had to fight through another 4 hours of miserable pain, especially in the wet. I started falling behind on pace with mid 9s. Leah was up ahead keeping the pace we were running but kept having to hang back for me to catch up.

Then at 10 miles something just happened in my mind, a bit like in Alaska. I suddenly decided to myself “screw this” (or some other more determined form), “screw this pain and this rain”. I decided I wasn’t going to let myself be a victim of the pain for the rest of the run and I blocked it out by replacing it with determination.

I hadn’t actually explained this new-found feeling to Leah though, so I had just sped up leaving her wondering what was going on. She went with it though and kept up the new pace. After a while she asked if we should be running this fast, I explained it was the only way I could get through it. The good thing was now everything was hurting which ironically is more manageable than an isolated pain. Overall pain just blends in.

On the home stretch, still raining!

On the home stretch, still raining!

We had crossed the half way mark in 2 hours 2 minutes, but with the renewed determination we didn’t slow down or waiver in the second half. We ran a 1:54 for a negative split and not a single person overtook us during the whole second half. We finished our 5th marathon in 5 weeks in the fastest time of the 5.

As we’ve done more and more of these it’s become evident that the mental aspect of marathons is as much of a factor as fitness and training. Really, it’s even more important. To a certain extent you can be down on your fitness (to a degree of course) or be injured but still power through with the mental strength. However if you have great fitness but lose the mental battle the results can be far worse.

This translates to anything in life really, not just marathons. Never overlook the importance of mentally training and preparing yourself for whatever challenge you’re undertaking.


Elevation Graph from my running watch:


The first spike must be a data error as there wasn’t a climb like that


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