As Keith tackled his 100 miler this weekend, it took eight Fast Trackers to match his distance in Fairfield, CT at the Fairfield 1/2 Marathon (http://www.fairfieldhalf.org/home.htm).
What a beautiful day to run with views of the beach and towns as the shade kept us cool. The hills were numerous from miles 2 - 11 and challenged us all to keep a consistent pace during those miles.
Our road trip started on Saturday with a car pool from Valley Forge Middle School to Fairfield. The traffic in NJ and NY and CT made our trip a little longer than ideal but with the company of other Fast Trackers, we made the most of the time together.
We arrived at the hotel amidst the elite runners from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Russia getting their directions and tshirts for the race the next day. We were even fortunate to tail them for the first part of their personalized tour of the race course. We were down at the beach and enjoyed the silence and solace of the Long Island Sound. We engaged in conversation with the elite runners as best as we could and was able to get some photographs with them during the tour (will be posted soon to the website!) The woman from Russia has won the Philadelphia Marathon and came in second twice in the last three years. We told her we were the ones who sponsor the 10 mile waterstop and she was very pleased with meeting us.
Our dinner on Saturday night was in Westpost, CT at a very nice Italian restaurant called Seminara's where we all carbo-loaded to get ready for race day. We were joined by a past Fast Tracker, Haewon Uhm, who now lives in CT and was in contact with Bobbi Kisebach and will be running the race the next morning. We finished the night off with a stop at Trader Joes to get our breakfast food for the next morning.
Race morning started early. Terry (my wife) and I left at 6:15 to get Terry's 1/2 marathon walk off at a reasonable hour. The rest of the team got the start around 7:20, picked up their numbers, dropped off bags, warmed up, and was ready for the 8:30 am start. About 1800 runners in the 1/2 marathon and 600 in the 5k were ready to tackle the scenic and hilly course (5k started 10 minutes after 1/2 marathon).
As the race ended, refreshments & music was hosted on the beach where we met runners from all over CT, NY, NJ. As some of our group walked back to the hotel, they walked back with a few of the top winners and graciously carried their trophies for them (again, pictures coming soon). They invited us to VA Beach 12/ on Labor Day and exchanged emails with our group. One gentleman trains in Valley Forge Park in the mornings so we'll be on the lookout for him.
We had lunch at Pepe's, a local pizza place that had huge pizzas that we thoroughly enjoyed. Our car pool left for the trip home and arrived in the early evening.
A couple of lessons learned from the trip:
1. Be careful when you walk on the beach before a race - the sand can and will get in your shoes and socks.
2. Hydration - one of our team members had a bout with dehydration at the end and had a visit to the medic tent for a good dose of liquids and a close eye. Fortunately, runners, her husband, and medics were able to treat her well and get her back on her feet.
Special thanks to Bobbi Kisebach who spawned this trip and invited us all on her '1/2 in 1/2 the states' journey.
Following are the results of our team in the race:
Tom Chaves: 1:43:05
Donna Radl: 1:46:11
Beth Proffit: 1:49:49
Harry Rimmer: 1:56:00 (a PR!)
Tracy Tesfaye: 1:59:18
Stacy Antonidas: 2:00:33
Bobbi Kisebach: 2:06:45
Haewon Uhm (Former Fast Tracker): 2:13:25
Terry Clopper-Chaves (walked): 3:49:57
The Fairfield 1/2 Marathon team after the race
Front Row (Left to Right): Stacy Antonidas, Terry Chaves, Bobbi, Kisebach, Beth Proffitt
Back Row (Left to Right): Tom Chaves, Harry Rimmer, Tracy Tesfaye, Donna Radl