Race recap: We got a freakishly cold day in Hartford. In fact, according to the local news it was the coldest October 13th on record (~35 degrees at the start). After a brisk warm-up we were rearing to go, if anything just to warm up. The race was extremely well organized and the lead sponsor ING did a great job throughout (setup at the state capital, crowd support stations through the race and a good after party). The first two miles were a bit faster than we planned but we enjoyed running through the heart of the city. Once the marathoners peeled off (we never saw them again after we split) we ran through several neighborhoods in Hartford and West Hartford. We chatted for a bit with some fellow runners, and were focused on having a good time and trying to conserve a little something for our half in New Port the next day. Around mile 6 we ran along the scenic Trout Brook River for a few miles. Somewhere near mile 7 we passed an ING cheer zone and the volunteers tossed me an orange cowbell. At mile 8 Kristin needed a bathroom break and I was more than happy to use the facilities myself. As we stopped I heard a little boy complaining that he was cold and tired, so I gave him my cowbell and watched his eyes just light up. After a brief run through Elizabeth Park we headed back towards the city. Our legs were tiring a bit, but we stayed strong through the finish and were shocked that despite a bathroom break we had run a 1:47!
Highlight: The final ¼ mile was absolutely awesome. The crowds were 2-3 people deep and just before the finish line we ran through the famous Memorial Arch (the first war permanent memorial in the US). We really liked the finish.
Day 1 (Friday):
After a pretty drive from New Port through the fall foliage we arrived in Hartford for a tour of Mark Twain’s house. Luckily we arrived just in time to tag along on the last tour of the day (4:30pm). The tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable and was able to provide a back-story for literally everything little decoration or nuance in the house. It was quite a contract to see the Breakers in New Port in the morning and the Twain home in the afternoon. Both had their own distinct appeal, but where the Breakers didn’t cut any corners or save any costs, the Twain home used several interesting techniques to make the interior of their home appear more expensive than it was (for example, the wood paneling in the front room was painted white in places to mimic ivory inlay). The Twain museum, located next door, was pretty small but provided some interesting tid-bits about Mark Twain, his family and his multitude of failed financial investments.
Downtown Hartford was hopping on Friday night! Traffic was crazy and there were people everywhere. While we may have been able to find a restaurant downtown I really wanted to try Piccolo Arancio, which bills itself as a fusion of Latin, Italian and Seafood. We decided to split the veal meatballs and homemade gnocchi. The meat had just a hint of spicy and the gnocchi was extremely fresh. Unfortunately, the veal didn’t sit too well in our stomachs on race day though.
Day 2 (Saturday - Race Day):
We decided to take a different route back to New Port with a stop near the coast in Old Saybrook, CT for breakfast. Don’t be fooled by the façade at JAMSS, it may look unassuming from the outside and even from the mix-match coffee mugs but this is seriously gourmet quality food served directly to your table by the owner/chef. We both had the brie, apple and walnut omelet (I added bacon) and it was expertly prepared and I devoured every last bite. Extremely good food, worth the drive.
We continued our weekend festivities in New Port Rhode Island for our second ever "Double Dip" half marathon weekend. Check it out here: Rhode Island.
Connecticut Half Marathon Medals
October 13, 2012: Hartford Half Marathon