So it’s been nearly 5 months since I’ve written a blog post. Life has a funny way of getting in the way of blogging. And sometimes life gets in the way of running, too. May was a rough month. A work conference in Orlando in May with late nights and early mornings led to some time off to recover from a sinus infections. I PR’ed the Oakley Women’s 10k in June but struggled with the humidity a bit. Luckily it was a nice summer for training and my plan was only a bit derailed by some more travel-related illness in August.
On Labor Day (Monday, September 1st) I ran the New Haven 20k race. My training schedule called for a 26 mile training run that weekend. I ran on Saturday and made it to 16 miles before stopping. I just wasn’t feeling great and I knew I had 12.4 miles ahead of me on Monday.
Labor Day weather reports called for a hot and humid race. Unfortunately some unexpected changes in my on-call schedule meant that I was taking emergency phone calls the night before the race until nearly midnight.
The drive to New Haven was easy and the parking garage was only a few blocks from the race. The starting area had tons of port-a-potties. The day started with children’s races, the 20k, and a 5k. There were no official corrals but some signs with suggested race paces. I was planning a slow run/walk so started all the way in the back of the pack.
After the National Anthem was sung, we were off! Using 30/30 run/walk intervals I quickly found myself at the very back of the pack. While this was somewhat discouraging, I figured with the heat and humidity I wouldn’t be all the way in the back for long. One thing that was immediately apparent and surprising to me was how many locals were sitting outside to cheer for us. There were also several bands playing starting by mile 2. These were clearly local bands but they were very inspiring and enjoyable.
There were many water stops along the course with local groups and families handed out beverages. I tried to take water from the smallest child I could find at each stop. There were locals with sprinklers set up to cool us off because the weather was brutal. The starting temperature was 71F with 90% humidity. Yuck!
I can’t emphasize enough the cheer and support we got from the residents. It was really fun to see people hanging out on their lawns and offering support to the runners. I will say that around mile 6 I wasn’t feeling great. The heat and humidity were getting to me. I’m definitely NOT a hot weather runner. But the atmosphere was so positive that I powered through.
Around mile 9-10 was a lovely, shaded downhill that lasted quite a long while. That really lifted my spirits and helped carry me to the finish. I saw some people really struggling towards the end but I was able to power through. While my finish time of 2:31:08 (12:19 pace) isn’t going to win any awards, it was a rewarding experience. The long-sleeved tech shirt is great and the medal was lovely.
After the finish there was plenty of food, even for the back of the packers. The entry fee included 2 free beers at the finish but the kegs were starting to kick by the time the later finishers got there. The after party was definitely a nice event and probably worth the entry fee alone.
This race is definitely a good event. Unfortunately Labor Day weather in Connecticut is usually quite warm so I’m not sure I would do this race again.
Next up on my race calendar is the Hartford Marathon in October….