Missy crushed the Jankowski Family Record (by which I mean me and my little bro) today at Hartford. Conditions were near perfect, and a great time was had by all. The photoset is at Flickr. But, I’ll post most of it here.
It was kind of chilly this morning – perfect marathon weather. Dry, little to no wind, and a madhouse in Bushnell Park.
The start was a riot – tons of people just hanging around, waiting for the race to start. I jockeyed for a position near the starting line, and loved seeing the elites start. Coolest thing? They all clicked their watches at the start, just like the rest of us.
I was a bit curious about some of the runners who were seeded.
As I was leaving the start, a guy named Brian flagged me down to see if I knew where to ride along the course. Said his wife, Sara, was running her third. I said I had no clue where I was going (absolutely true), but that he could feel free to try to keep me straightened out. We stopped at the hotel to pick up his bike, and Brian ran into a guy named Nick in the garage, as well. We didn’t know each other from Adam. Nick had run the race a couple of years prior, but was injured this year, and was here to support his Sara.
We caught up with our runners about Mile 6 – We were there about 20 minutes before them. Fate was on our side – our wives were all within about 4-5 minutes of each other. Missy looked good, but as anyone who has run a marathon knows, after months of training, 6 miles is a warmup.
Mile 8 and smiling. I had on my “Cookie Monster” shirt – bright blue, with eyes, nose, and mouth from the monster with the sweet tooth. I kept getting “yeah, Cookie Monster” shouts from the runners, which was encouraging.
The course is kind of an out-and-back to South Windsor. Brian, Nick, and I paralleled the race along CT 5. Nick’s an Ironman, Brian’s a runner, and the day – man, what a treat. Perfect weather, and good runs by everyone. The ride was awesome; so good that I kind of felt guilty. Here’s the turnaround at 11.something.
And just past halfway:
We caught them at mile 16 and 20. Mile 20 was great – there was a band there, though the band was way far away in a parking lot. I don’t think many of the runners noticed it, especially as life had to really suck for them by that time. I mentioned that I kind of wished I were running on a day like today, and Nick shook his head, saying that just watching was bringing back every ounce of body-ripping pain and effort. And as soon as he mentioned it, I started having flashbacks.
Completely lucked out on where we caught them at mile 20-ish. I hadn’t realized there was a pedestrian bridge on the south side of IH-84. So, we were able to meet up with them again at between mile 22 and 23. Brian’s Sara had been FLYING after the halfway point, and, leaving just after Melissa passed us at 20-ish, we just barely caught Sara(Brian) on Main Street. Missy came by looking strong (I am so dead for posting the pic with the tongue hanging out).
Brian, Nick, and I ditched the bikes at the Hilton, shook hands on not getting lost, wished each other’s SO’s best and passed congratulations, and split. Always great to have good folks to ride or run with.
My ma had flown up for the race, and brought Jake and Nate to the finish line. The kids were having a riot on the playground and carousel, and we headed down to the finish line to wait for Missy with a little bit of chocolate milk (to make up for having to leave the playground).
We saw the two Saras finish, but didn’t see Brian or Nick again. And soon enough, Melissa came charging up the hill, looking as fresh as I’d seen her at the start.
We caught up with her as she came out of the finisher’s area, and headed for the food. A little bit of nourishment, some re-hydration, and everyone was right as rain. One thing I love about finishers – the cool sweat buildup.
So, that’s pretty much it. We went back to the hotel, cleaned up. Missy headed back to Mystic (where, amazingly enough she managed to stay up past 9). Ma, me, and the kids headed over to the Wadsworth Atheneum, where the kids were remarkably well behaved. Especially considering Jake REALLY wanted to go to the Air Museum. You can check out pictures here. The museum was great – it’s the oldest public art museum in America, and had an amazing collection. Hartford continues to surprise me.
A couple of other observations – It would have been wicked tough to keep up with the elite runners, even on bikes. Even following 4-hour-ish runners, we were pedaling pretty good to get from spot to spot. Granted, we didn’t break much of a sweat on the bikes, but anything quicker and we would have been pushing to get from spot to spot.
Also, I don’t think that I would have appreciated watching the race as much if I hadn’t run one before. Like Nick said, the hurt just keeps coming back over and over again.
Huge thanks to Brian and Nick, and congratulations to their wives (both of whom were named Sara[h?]).
And the biggest congrats of all go to Melissa, the Fastest Jankowski on two legs!