Sunday, May 13. 2012
The first race of the season is over. It was a lot warmer & hillier than I remembered, but I ended up with a new (and unexpected) PR, so I’m happy.
The course starts in Conover, WI and meanders it’s way down several country roads which probably don’t see much traffic other than fishermen and the few local residents who live out in the boonies.
Josh and I and around 400 other half-marathoners were bussed to the starting line, which was literally a line spray painted on the road. The road wasn’t closed to traffic, so every time a car had to go through, somebody would yell Car! and people would move to either side of the road to make a path through. I’m pretty sure the parting of the Red Sea happened the same way. Surprisingly, for that many people milling about, we never had to wait more than a few minutes for a porta-potty. I think we have the trees to thank for that.
The course is pretty quiet and desolate.
The county was doing some ditch work, so that just added to the post-apocalyptic vibe.
This turkey was also out doing some course checks.
The very small Eagle River, WI airport had some activity when we drove by, but it was quiet on race day.
We got to do some off-roading on the final stretch to the finish line.
The finish line at Riverside Park.
Race day weather was sunny and warm. The course didn’t have much shade so by the mid-way point, I was feeling pretty toasty and eventually ended up with a zorched nose & shoulders.
Even though this was my third time doing this event, I’d completely forgotten how hilly it was. There’s a couple of larger extended hills around miles 7-9, but the rest of the course is full of rollers that didn’t seem like much of a bother, until I hit mile 10 and wondered why my quads felt so trashed. However, I will proudly admit that all the hill training I did this winter paid off because while most people where walking up those larger hills, I was zipping up them without any problems. I guess I’ll just have to remind myself of this achievement during this summer’s hill sessions when I’m doubled over at the top, gasping for breath and feeling like I’m about to toss my cookies.
The last mile is through a residential area and lots of people were out offering encouraging advice, which was nice, but I swear, if I heard You’re almost done! Keep going! The finish is just around the corner! one more time I was going to have to kill someone. One lady told me that I had a quarter mile to the corner, then a few more corners and I was done. It’s really funny now, but then? Not so much. Anyway, I finished feeling pretty wasted, and I had absolutely no clue what my time was. Of the twelve different fields I have on my gps watch, I didn’t think to set one of them to elapsed time. Pretty smart. Fortunately, my watch does have a history and I was shocked to find that it read 2:17:45. That’s a completely unexpected 2 minute PR for me, so I was very pleased.
I slammed a couple cups of Gatorade, crammed a few bananas into my mouth then headed back up course to find Josh. He had about three-quarters of a mile to go when I found him. I didn’t want to confuse the finish volunteers by coming through a second time, so I stayed with him as long as I could, then ran ahead and met him at the finish line. It was pretty awesome to see him cross. He put a lot of work into his training and has improved quite a bit in the short time he’s been at it. He laments about how slow he thinks he is, but I predict that before long it’ll be me struggling to keep up with him. Good job, Josh!
Looking forward, I’m planning on taking a short running break for the next week, maybe two, to tackle some projects around the house and possibly spend some quality time with my road bike. We’re registered for the Fox Cities Half Marathon in Appleton, WI in mid-September and are contemplating doing the Canal Run in mid-July, but that’s about it. I’m glad to be done with training!
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