Race #220 – Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon – Fairfield, Connecticut – 06/23/13

We chose this week to visit my daughter and her family at their house in Connecticut so we could run the Fairfield Half Marathon. Of course, we’re always excited to visit our kids and grandkids but if we can also fit a race into the visit that’s an extra bonus, and this looked like a good one. Linda also ran the half marathon and did great. It was our 34th wedding anniversary and neither of us would have dreamed 34 years ago that we’d run a half marathon at this stage of our life. Hope we can do it for our 50th anniversary too, but that’s a while away, and by that time maybe a 5k will be a challenge.

Now in its 33rd year, this is a great event. Since 1994 Runners World has listed it among the best races in the country, and it’s been host to the National Masters Championship as well as the U.S. Women’s National Half Marathon Championship.

For me personally, I loved the race and the beautiful course but my diet for the week leading up to the race was a disaster. A case could probably be made that if I’m a vegan, I’m not a very good one, and the trail of empty milkshake cups and hamburger wrappers I’ve left behind lately would be just cause for shunning by an actual card-carrying vegan. So we’ve settled the fact that I’m not perfect when it comes to eating, but for the record, I’m planning to soon get back to my habit of watching animal cruelty videos on YouTube so I can get back to eating in a way that’s more compassionate towards animals.

Speaking of disasters, my video sunglasses finally stopped short, never to go again. I was wearing them at the start of the race but in the second mile I felt an odd sensation on my face and everything looked kind of screwy. It took me a couple seconds to realize that not only had the lens that I had taped up a couple weeks ago fell out, but the frame had completely fallen apart and was being held together only by the electric wires that were still intact. I folded up what was left of the glasses and stuck them in my back pocket. The good news is that I’ve ordered some new glasses — a different brand with great reviews — and I should have them by the time I run my next race around the 4th of July. Of course that also means that I didn’t get pictures of this race, so I’m hoping that nobody will get mad because I “borrowed” the pics below from mostly the local news sources.

The men and women started at separate locations a couple blocks apart
and met up again about one mile into the race.
The race started and finished at Jennings Beach on the Long Island Sound
and the post-race party was fantastic. Lots of people took advantage of the
free beach access and the free food after the race was fantastic, including
pizza, watermelon, and more stuff than I can mention or remember.

The entire course was great but along the beach is always best.
The crowd support was possibly the best I’ve seen at any race I’ve ever
run with the exception of the New York City Marathon, but that’s a
whole different thing. 
There were water sprinklers all over the place throughout the race,
which is a good thing since the race started late (8:30 a.m.).
By the time I was halfway through the race it seemed to me that it
must have been around 85 degrees although I’m not sure about the
official temperature. Most people, including me, hit every water
sprinkler along the route.
As you can see by my pace for each mile, by the time I hit the 3rd mile
the wheels were already starting to come off. I walked about 15 times
in the race and had about as much difficulty as I did in the half marathon
in Cary a couple months ago when I was dealing with acute bronchitis.
I’m not sure if my excuses of bad diet and too much heat are legitimate
or if I’m just getting older and slower, but I was pretty disappointed
with my official time of 1:44:48. It was only the second time this year
I didn’t place in the top 3 in my age group, with the other one being the
National Championship 15k in Jacksonville FL (Gate River Run) but
you can’t win ’em all, especially when faster guys show up. Still I finished
4th in the 60-64 age group out of 56 runners and 443rd of 4,009 overall
so I should probably be happy about that, because as I get older it’s
probably not going to get any better.

Click Here for Half Marathon Race Results
Click Here for 5k Race Results
Click Here for Official Race Photos

My Stats:

Time:  1:44:48
Pace:  8:01
Age Group:  4 of  56
Overall:  443 of  4009
Average Heart Rate:  170  (higher than normal… heat related maybe??)
Maximum Heart Race:  182
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:23:59  (70.51%)


3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
5 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no (short gravel road near finish)

1 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1) (5k race only)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent (Big Bucks!)
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent (Nice Trophies!)
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

10 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
9 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

2 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!  (EXPENSIVE!)
2 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no  (nearby parking ONLY if you’re early)
2 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

2 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes

TOTAL:  110

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