Saturday, March 23, 2019

Savin Rock Marathon

March 23, 2019 8:00 AM
West Haven, Connecticut

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen 4:39:03 10:39 M40-44 13/15 ? 104/157 557

Written by Owen:

Thursday (Charlotte to NYC to Milford, CT):

We had booked our flight for Thursday after work, arriving at LaGuardia at 10:30pm, where we would rent a car and drive to our hotel near West Haven, Connecticut.  We had hoped we'd be in our beds shortly after midnight.  Thursday afternoon, we got notified our flight would be delayed by an hour, then another hour, then another 15 minutes.

So we didn't get to LaGuardia until almost midnight.  Then the shuttle to the Hertz building took about 30 minutes to arrive, and another 15 to get to Hertz.  We finally were in our rental at about 1:00am.  It was dark, raining, I was really tired, there was construction everywhere and I was driving an unfamiliar (although REALLY nice) Chevrolet Impala.  So getting out of the airport, onto I95, and to the hotel was very stressful.  We finally were in our beds at a nice Holiday Inn Express in Milford, CT at 2:30 am.

Waiting for the shuttle at LaGuardia (to take us to Hertz shuttle)
Friday (Milford, Orange, New Haven, & West Haven, CT):
We knew the free (included) breakfast only went until 9:30am, and I wasn't about to set an alarm after our 2:30am arrival.  We woke up after 10:00am, so we showered and picked Cracker Barrel for our first meal of the trip, that way we could still eat breakfast.

In the hotel in Milford, CT

Cracker Barrel in Milford, CT
After brunch, our first stop was the Pez museum, featuring history, trivia & memorabilia related to the classic candy & dispensers. It was fun, we each bought our own Pez dispenser and lots of candy.

Pez visitor center in Orange, CT

The board just inside the visitor center featuring 100's of classic Pez dispensers.

Ali demonstrating the human Pez dispenser
My next choice to take the family was "It Adventures Ropes Course" in New Haven, CT.  I didn't show the kids their website or tell them much about it, so their expectations were pretty low.  We walked in there, the first attraction they saw was the small children's section, but then they saw everything else and were suddenly VERY excited.  All three of them had a blast climbing the rope obstacles, ziplining back and forth, jumping down, and climbing up.

Next, we drove to West Haven to pick up my bib/shirt.  The start, finish, packet pickup, pre-race meeting area, everything was at the Savin Rock Conference Center.

Just outside the conference center is a beach with more seashells then I've ever seen in one place.

After packet pickup, we drove to Target to get some supplies (most importantly, hand warmers).  The temps were in the 30's, with very strong cold winds.  Then we drove back to the hotel where the kids swam while Malissa and I relaxed.

For dinner, we originally picked a local seafood place, but when we arrived we realized it was a seasonal restaurant and was closed for the season.  So we decided on Olive Garden and had a great "carb up" meal.

Michael and Yoshi blessing the food
We drove back to the hotel and got ready for marathon morning.

Saturday (Same cities in Connecticut):

Because it is still so cold in Connecticut in March, the race start time was 8:00am, which is pretty unusually late for a marathon.  It was really nice, though, because it made it so we could enjoy the breakfast at our hotel.  We woke up at 6:00am, had breakfast at 6:30am, and headed to the start around 7:30am.  

It was very cold and windy, but no chance for rain, so I was happy.  We waited together inside the conference center until just before the start.

For years this was only a half-marathon, then they decided to let marathoners in on the fun, they simply run two loops of the same course.  That is definitely not ideal, but oh well.  It does make it easy for the spectators.  All Malissa and the kids had to do was watch me at the start, walk across the street to see me at mile 4, then back to the start to see me at mile 13.1, then back across the street for mile 17, then back for the finish.

Before the race

1.5 miles (x2) was on this path next to the beach

Pre-race hug
Because I was not anywhere near my ideal weight (+50 lbs, working on that), and because I wanted to be able to walk Sunday and Monday in New York, I set a goal of 4:30 which is a 10:18 pace.  For the entire first loop I was just under that, but I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain it for the second loop.  The hills at miles 7-9 were really steep.  I knew I'd face those same hills at mile 20-22 and decided that I would walk up them on the second loop to save myself.

When I saw the finish line at mile 13.1, I decided to run around it.  Mentally I didn't want to cross under a finish line when I was only halfway done.  As I did that, the race director on the megaphone said I had to cross it for the timing mat.  I told him "no way".  After the race, my results were not listed.  I thought he had been petty and dq'd me for not crossing the halfway mat.  Turns out, they had me listed in the half and were able to fix the results for me.

It's a good thing, too, because my watch's battery didn't make it and didn't save ANY of the data.  I made the mistake of asking it to do too much for too long.  It was playing music, broadcasting my location to my family, and logging my run via Strava, for over 4 hours. Yet another reason to get in shape and get my time down.

The plan to walk up the hills on the second loop worked really well.  I still had energy to run the flat parts and only cost myself nine minutes.  I finished and went into the conference center for post-race food.  They had "pre-race" food as the post-race food.  Bagels and bananas, that's it.  YUCK.  That was disappointing.  I couldn't force myself to eat that, so we left to go to my favorite post-marathon place: FIVE GUYS!

It was a fun race with excellent course support on a very cold day.  The negatives were 1) the fact that most of the race was run on a shoulder of very busy roads with only the protection of a cone every 100 yards or so, 2) having to do the same thing twice, and 3) awful post-race food.

State # 36 is in the books! It felt like the vacation/trip was over, and it had been fun.  Then I realized the part I was looking most forward to (NYC) was still to come!

Just before the gun

Waiting after the start

Me giving Kyle my sweatshirt at mile 4

Just before mile 13

Mile 13

Mile 17

Mile 17

Mile 17

Mile 26

Mile 26

Mile 26


Ali hates this tradition, but I love it!
After eating lunch at Five Guys, we went back to the hotel where I showered, and relaxed.  Then we went back to New Haven to visit Yale University.  It is a beautiful campus with some amazing architecture.



For dinner we went to a place called "Seven Seas Restaurant".  It in an Irish Pub, a really tiny place, but had great reviews that went on and on about their lobster roll.  That's what I had, it was so good.  It was on a delicious bun and had a ton of lobster meat.  That's it, no celery, no mayonnaise, who needs that stuff?  That's what Ali, Mike, and I got.  Malissa had some delicious clam chowder.  Kyle had the buffalo wings.

Lobster roll

Clam Chowder
Sunday (Woke up in CT, but drove to NYC very early):
We had such a busy day ahead of us, that I had tried to cram as much NYC touristy things in as I could, so we had to wake up at 5am and get on the road.

First stop was Hertz, back at LaGuardia, to return the car.  We then caught a Lyft to the closest subway station.  We took the subway to our hotel, the Crowne Plaza in Times Square.  It was way too early to check in, but they held our bags for us so we didn't have to lug them around the city.

We walked to a bagel place "Liberty Bagels" for breakfast.

Cream cheese varieties

Bagels, bagels, bagels.

We got there just before the rush

Malissa's blueberry bagel, egg, sausage, hashbrowns, and cheese.  I got the same thing, but on an "Everything" bagel
After breakfast, we took the subway to the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge so we could walk back across it to Manhattan.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Michael: What is this?

Ali: Where is the screen?
We hadn't planned on going to 9/11 memorial and World Trade Center because we did that last time, but we were way ahead of schedule, so we walked to it.
One World Trade Center

So emotional...

The entrance to the mall at World Trade Center.
We then took a short subway trip to Battery Park where we went through security, and boarded the ferry to Liberty Island.

While on the ferry, we were struggling to take a group photo where the entire family was in it, with the Statue of Liberty in the background.  A lady offered to take the picture for us.  It wasn't until way later we realized something was wrong...

What's wrong with this picture?

I liked how the ferry circled around Liberty Island so you can see it from all 360°

We had lunch at the Statue of Liberty gift shop/cafeteria, then headed to the statue.

The stairway up to the crown, on the inside.
I had made reservations back in January, so we were able to get Crown access.  The stairway was "normal" at first, but then we had to go up the tightest, most cramped, spiral staircase I've ever been on.  Anyone with any level of claustrophobia should definitely not do this.  It was tough, the day after a marathon, but very much worth it.  You can't really tell from the picture, but there is an "up" and a "down" intertwined together. You couldn't see more than a couple feet in either direction.

On the way down Ali and I walked backwards

After we left Liberty Island, the ferry had a stop at Ellis Island.  We were all too tired to get off the ferry, but I did snap one picture.

Ellis Island, from the ferry
Once the ferry returned us to Battery Park, we took a subway back to Times Square and checked into our hotel.  After I checked in, we started to get on the elevator when Ali, who doesn't like elevators said "No way, I'm taking the escalator."  I laughed and told her the escalators don't go up to the 33rd floor.  She rode the elevator.

The view of Times Square from our hotel on the 33rd floor.
We relaxed in the room while we waited for them to bring us our bags.  We all got showered and headed to dinner at Hard Rock Cafe.

After dinner we walked around Times Square, headed toward Adidas for Kyle to get some clothes he wanted, then walked to Rockefeller Plaza where Mike and Ali skated while Malissa, Kyle, and I watched.  Malissa wanted to skate, but her foot injury had seriously flared up from all of the walking we've been doing.

We took a Lyft from Rockefeller Center to Serendipity for some delicious dessert.

Monday (NYC):

Monday morning we slept in a bit and got checked out of the hotel by checkout (11am).  We took the subway to Washington Square Park so we could check out the fountain from the intro to the TV show "Friends".

Then we walked a few blocks and joined the tourists taking pictures of the building from "Friends".

The "Friends" apartment building where the fictional "Central Perk" was, is actually a restaurant.
Then we walked a few more blocks and had some delicious ice cream at "Big Gay Ice Cream Shop".  Our friends, the Allreds, recently went to NYC and their son posted a picture in front of Big Gay Ice Cream.  When I asked everyone what they wanted to do while in NYC, both Michael and Kyle wanted to do that as well.

We still had plenty of time before our 5pm flight, so we took the subway to Central Park and took some great pictures.

We walked up 5th Avenue to go to the Nike store for Michael and stopped for some pictures in front of a couple of famous buildings. 

Nobody wanted to be in the "Trump Tower" picture with me :)

Malissa in front of Tiffany's
We took a subway back to the station nearest LaGuardia, took a Lyft to the airport, had dinner at the airport, and had a great flight back to Charlotte.  While on the plane, I must have looked through the pictures we took on the trip 20 times.  We made so many priceless memories.

During the car ride home in Charlotte, I asked everyone their favorite meal, and their favorite thing we did.  Here are the answers:

Meal: Ribeye Steak at Hard Rock Cafe (lobster roll was close second)
Activity: Statue of Liberty

Meal: Clam Chowder at Seven Seas Restaurant
Activity: Statue of Liberty

Meal: Steak and Fettuccine Alfredo w/ Parmesan crusted Zucchini at Olive Garden
Activity: Statue of Liberty

Meal: Grilled Chicken Sandwich at Hard Rock Cafe
Activity: Big Gay Ice Cream

Meal: Shrimp and Fettuccine Alfredo at Olive Garden
Activity: Ropes in New Haven, CT