The Hartford Marathon (and half marathon) are this weekend (October 11th), and once again some of the finest runners in the area will be converging on the area to make a run as some dough or even an OTQ. The New England’s Finest program offered by New England Runner has a lot to do with depth of the field that will be there on race day, and to get a preview of some of the talented runners you can find a piece on their website. Featured runners are:
All four already have their OTQ. Matty P earned his while on his honeymoon in Iceland. He was just going out for a run. Dionne and Jesseman have had some great battles going head to head in the past and this weekend should be no different.
Another runner not mentioned there is Tyler Andrews. In case you don’t remember, Tyler had a huge spring in 2014, with such accomplishments as:
- set an unofficial world record of 1:07:18 for a half marathon on the treadmill.
- ran his debut marathon at the Boston Marathon (2:21:33, finished 29th place)
- winning the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon only weeks later in 2:20:27
We got a few questions out to Tyler ahead of the race to see what he had planned for the big day:
After a huge spring, what have you been up to? Are you living back in the states now?
It’s been a great summer/early fall! Right after I won the Vermont City Marathon in May, I headed South to Peru where I was working for STRIVE - leading groups of high school and college runners in community service programs in the rural towns of the Andes Mountains. It was another amazing summer - lots of miles up at 9000 ft and really great to be surrounded by so many great young runners who were learning about this new culture and doing service work.
I came back in August and have since been living in Medford, MA with my girlfriend who has a job in Boston. I’ve been training here and still working for STRIVE doing promo and administrative work. Luckily, the weather hasn’t turned too foul yet, so I’m still enjoying it.
What’s the goal this weekend? Win? OTQ? Faster?
The big goal is just to be up front and compete for the win. My workouts have been targeting around 64’30 pace (just under the 65’00 Olympic Trials Qualifier). I think if the weather cooperates, that’s a possibility at this race, but the Hartford course is no pancake - it’s actually quite rolling - so I think it will prove tough. So, for now, the goal is just to go in and compete for the win and I think if I can do that then the time will take care of itself.
Do you feel like having the marathon experience under your belt will help you out in a ‘short’ race like the half now?
Yeah, I think that running my first marathon this spring gave me a lot of confidence in my training and my ability. I think it was more the preparation - the really big, long workouts and high volume - that gave me the confidence that I could compete well over these longer distances. And then being able to translate that preparation into a great result on race day was obviously really exciting for me.
This is really a half marathon in a marathon training block for me (I’m running the California International Marathon on December 7th - eight weeks away), so I’m really dipping down to run this. I’ve done a lot of long workouts already, so I have a lot of faith in my ability to grind out a long race, but I don’t feel like I’d be super fast over anything much shorter than this.
Why race the half here and not the full?
The short answer is timing. Working for STRIVE over the summer is a ton of fun and actually involves a fair amount of running, but it doesn’t give me the time to really train and recover well the way that I’d want to for marathon training. So, my summer running was very relaxed and unstructured. I did some very good long runs (40km at 6’20 pace at 9000 ft of altitude sticks out in my mind), but no real workouts to speak of. I came back and ran the Falmouth Road Race basically just off of those 7 weeks of moderate running and it wasn’t until after that that I really felt I was able to start focusing on training.
So, when my coach and I put the schedule together, we started looking for a very late full marathon and a half sometime in the middle of the fall. Hartford has this great New England’s Finest elite field program and the races have been super accommodating, so we decided to target this half in prep for CIM.
As we got closer to the race, I felt like I was getting really fit (I did 10x mile @ 4’50 back in September, which was a great indicator) and so we decided to target this race a bit more since we felt like I was in shape to run a really good half. We did a few more half-specific workouts and tapered a bit more, so I’m feeling really good going into it.
Was there one workout that you can recall that made you realize that you’re ready for this race?
I did a “special block” about 2.5 weeks ago:
8am: 8 miles at 4’55.7/mile 11:30am: 13.5 miles with 6 miles moderate (5’40/mile), 7.5 miles at marathon pace (5’10/mile)
If successful, how will you celebrate?
I’ll probably be too tired in the immediate aftermath to do anything fun, but I think I’d be able to enjoy the rest of the long weekend a whole lot more! I’ve got a few friends racing on Sunday, so it’ll be a lot of fun to be able to follow them and have my race out of the way. Honestly, though, if it goes really well, I’ll just be really amped to race the marathon in 8 weeks, so I’ll be excited to get back to work. I’m sure I could find time for a trip to Anna’s Taqueria though…