Race Recap: ING Hartford Marathon 2011

Pre-race double thumbs-up fote, courtesy of Nick Galac. The opposite of the double thumbs-down I'd give him as he biked by at mile 21.

Well, this did not go as I had hoped.

I trained harder than I trained last fall for New York. I thought I was in better shape, probably even 3:35, Boston-qualifying shape. I went into the race fairly confident, and that all eroded after the first mile, when I developed a side stitch.

Why yes, I did get a stitch one mile into my 26.2-mile race. And I’ve been getting mad stiches this year. This was never a problem before. How can I fix this? Core work? I will look into it.

Anyway, things went okay for the first 10 miles or so, despite the stitch. I tried to relax and stretch it out, which kind of worked. But I had a few too-fast miles in there (a few 8:0-somethings, and at least one sub-8:00), and soon I was feeling really bad. My gels were not sitting well at all. I thought I went through the half around when I’d hoped, but the official results have me going through at 1:45:15, which is WAY TOO FAST. (I was aiming for 1:47-1:48 at the half.)

So that, plus the warm temperatures (60-65) and the sun, plus the high winds (which we ran into after the turnaround at mile 17), plus the cold I’ve had for the last week made for a rough, rough race. For the first time ever, the emergency iPod came out after mile 20. (I don’t think I had it with me at Pocono, or it would have been out then, too.)

Post-race free Harpoon IPA. Highlight.

I walked through every water stop after 18 or so, drinking at every one, because I was ungodly thirsty, and I had to stop to pee at mile 23 because I was seriously going to wet my shorts if I had to run one more step. (There was a porta potty, so I didn’t have to resort to squatting in the woods, thank goodness.) Warm-weather fast marathons: So not my jam.

My¬† goal changed mid-race from “qualify for Boston” to “just finish,” and I did manage to do that, in 3:51:33, which–to be fair–is my second-fastest marathon yet. I will take it. And that’s four states down in my 50 States Marathon project, so that’s something. The medal is nice, too, and I had a nice weekend hanging out with Jenn Merry and Nick and Alexis, who happened to be on the east coast this weekend.

I want to redeem myself at the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20. I just want to have a non-excruciating race. (Well, it can be excruciating, but preferably not until at LEAST mile 18. Mile 20 would be better.) My last two marathons have been so bad throughout that I need a good one to remind myself why I put my body and mind through this.

I had all these grand schemes as to how I could prepare and get back on track for a PR at Philly–yes, just a PR…the BQ attempt will wait until I drop my time some more. But I’m thinking that perhaps the best thing I can do is take it pretty easy for the next month. Rest (within reason) will likely do more for me than beating myself up in between two marathons that are only a month apart.

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About Meghan Loftus

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5 Responses to Race Recap: ING Hartford Marathon 2011

  1. Gen says:

    Aww, Meg, I’m sorry you didn’t do as well as you hoped! Still super admiring of you for running. My brother in law did Baltimore on Saturday in about 3:47-3:48. It was quite warm and windy here as well. He’s also doing Philly next month. Rest and recover and I will look for you kicking some major ass along the route.

    • mgloftus says:

      Thanks, Gen! You’ll have to let me know where you’ll be watching so I can look out for you. Last time I ran, the turnaround in Manayunk seemed to be a good spectator spot. A work friend was cheering there and I was able to see/high-five her pretty easily.

  2. Pingback: Under pressure | Remember the H

  3. Gen says:

    Ooh good idea! Thanks! You’ll have to let me know about what time you expect to be there so I can watch for you.

  4. Pingback: Race Recap: Philadelphia Marathon 2011 | Remember the H

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