Mission Accomplished: 2011 ING Hartford Marathon

2011 Hartford Marathon: Mile 13
Trying to finish strong after hitting the Mile 13 mark.

Excitement. Agony. Determination.

Those are just a few of the feelings I experienced in the hours prior, during and after the 2011 ING Hartford Marathon. I thought six-plus months of training for my first half marathon would have given me a good idea of what to expect.

Note to self: training runs and waving to random people at bus stops don’t compare to the atmosphere of Hartford’s marathon.

I won’t bore you with every detail, especially since parts of the morning and race are a complete blur. However, what I will always remember – and quite candidly cherish – are:

  • The countless number of supportive messages from friends and family
  • The pre-event warmup with some very special peeps
  • The enthusiasm of spectators and the kids trying to high-five runners that passed by
  • Running alongside members of the USS Hartford for a short time. Inspiring, no doubt.
  • Raising $470 for local charity Hands on Hartford
  • And of course seeing/hearing friends, family and co-workers along the race route. There are no words to put that feeling into perspective; especially when I think of one friend joining me at Mile 6 to run a couple of blocks; or the co-worker and his wife giving up a Saturday morning just to cheer me on for 15 seconds; or my “big brother” and “big sis” waiting and snapping pictures near the finish line; and of course knowing that somewhere in that sea of people in that final .1 mile were close friends and family members.

There’s no doubt that I hit a wall somewhere around Mile 9. The final few miles were as grueling mentally as they were physically. With each step, my KT tape slowly peeled off, fueling the agony and thoughts of calling it quits.

2011 Hartford Marathon: Medal
Props for my Halloween costume as an Olympic runner????

Yet, when you’re at what you think is your weakest point, the body pushes to limits you couldn’t image.

After completing 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 6 minutes, I am often asked if would I do it again? The answer is a no-brainer. I think back to the bullet points above and the feeling of accomplishment.

My response: Bring it.

Question: Did you run the ING Hartford Marathon? Do you remember your first half marathon? If so, use the comments section below to share your story!  


3 Comments Add yours

  1. George says:

    Congrats Ray! I was there in the sea of runners with you and you are right, it was a great run. Awesome spectators with bells, cheers, music and words of encouragement, great support handing out the water, Gatorade and goo’s (I had my first goo during the race, never again, I am sticking with coke bottle gummies), unbelievably good weather and all the festivities at the end were fun.

    My advice for any run is a great running partner and I need to give a shout out to mine, Dave. We ran the “long runs” on Saturdays together and were able to run the 1/2 even though it was the due date of his second child. Lucky for us his wife held off until after the race. We paced each other and talked our way through the crowds and hills until about mile 12 and tried to beat each other to the end. He made the race and the training even more enjoyable.

    Again, congratulations and hope to see you out there sometime. On to the next challenge – 26.2!

    1. Ray says:

      So awesome, George! 26.2…. we’ve got this!

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