I don’t think this is the official name for this half marathon but I never really know what to call it. I think it’s actually like the Thedacare Half Marathon sponsored by blah, blah, blah… I don’t know but in my head, it’s always the Fox Cities Half Marathon! In year’s past, this has always been a perfect weather weekend and one of the best weekends of the year for me but for some reason, this year, the weather was complete crap and I just was not that excited to run for once.
We headed to Appleton on Saturday afternoon to go to the expo and get my bib but I failed to notice that last year, when I did not do the race, they switched the race expo location… oops. So we drove out to the Fox Valley Technical College campus only to realize it was actually at the UW-Fox Valley campus. So we drove across town and then got where we needed to go.
I got my bib picked up and spent way too much money on some new medal holders before we called it quits at the expo.
We went for dinner at GingerRootz which is where we went two years ago when we did this race. I really like this place and they have such good food!
I had sushi and wine plus the most delicious mochi ice cream balls for dessert!
I had a really hard time falling asleep on Saturday night because I was kind of dreading running in the morning… I didn’t think things were going to turn out too well and I also was not looking forward to the rain. I finally fell asleep and then my alarm went off way too early and it was time to get ready to run 13.1.
I wanted to get to the start line early to have time to run one extra mile (per my Dopey plan) and also have time to find my friend running with My Team Triumph but the traffic for this race was HORRIBLE this year… I never remember having any traffic problems but this year was a mess from the get-g0. We finally got parked and it was already after 6:30 which gave me just enough time to run my .9 miles and wait in the long porto-potty line. Yikes!
Right at 7am the gun went off and we were off. But not too quickly because Mile 1 was SO CROWDED! I probably also started back a little too far in my corral but I don’t remember ever having such a problem running this first mile. I don’t know why it was such a hot mess this year but it felt so packed!
Mile 2 I was still feeling zero interest in running fast and was having a hard time getting around people. We had like a four lane road but still felt totally packed in and it was feeling hot because of all the body heat in such a small area. I took a clif block at mile 2 and kept moving along.
Right before Mile 3 (I think?) the marathoners went straight when the half turned right and finally it started to feel like you had room to breathe again. It was also around this time I saw a man with a Wicked umbrella! I was super jealous of this and want one!
Mile 4 I was still not liking running very much and was wondering why I was even here today. The rain was never super bad throughout my run but it would do this cold misty thing every once and awhile and it was just obnoxious. I also started looking for my spectating crew in the spots they normally were but didn’t see them so I started to worry maybe my chip was not working and they thought I was having a horrible race but it turned out the traffic was just not working for them.
Mile 5 I took a Gu and that’s when things kind of started to come around in my head a little bit. I was still feeling good about running (i.e. nothing hurt, just crappy in my head) but my paces were not horrible and I felt like I would at least finish today.
Mile 6 I finally saw the gang and that was nice but I didn’t take time to stop because I knew if I did, I would never start again…
Mile 7 I took another Clif shot block and drank some water and tried to just zone out. I also was really wishing I had my music with me at this point.
Mile 8 I almost yelled at a lady on the side-lines who keps saying “You’re almost there!” Um, NO. Not even almost. The last FIVE miles are usually the hardest miles of any half marathon. And five miles does not constitute “almost” to me, nope, not at all.
Mile 9 I almost got taken down by a lady darting for water right in front of me. Come on people, check behind you before you dart backwards and sideways and all around! I also took a Gu at this point and got it all over my hand but luckily there was a sprinkler set up so I got my hand wet and then wiped it off. Why is all the Gu stuff so sticky!
Mile 10 I started to gain on the 2:00 pace “group” aka about three people by that point and thought about hanging with them but then I was actually feeling like their pace was not fast enough for what groove I was in. It was at this point I started to realize that maybe, just maybe I was going to finish under two hours and freaked out a little bit. It’s one thing to be with the pace team at mile three when anything can still happen but at mile ten, I felt like chances were much better I could make it.
Mile 11 I saw the cheer group again but my pup was so confused. I don’t think his distance vision is very good anymore so I don’t think he could see me :( Poor guy! He still loves coming along with the family to watch races though!
Mile 12 things started to feel really challenging! And yet I knew I was almost there and had plenty of time to finish sub-2 and then this dude came up behind me and started SINGING OUT LOUD! NO! He had the most horrible voice as well, totally out of tune and off key. No one wants to hear that! And then he proceeded to start a serious of disgusting sounding belches. Eww, get away. I thought about running ahead of him but my legs were not having it so I let him get ahead of me because I knew I still had 13 ish minutes for this mile.
Mile 13 I turned that last corner in the park where I knew the finish line was close and I just kept trying to keep going! It was really hard and I had zero gas left in the tank to sprint to the finish so I just tried to keep moving forward! It was so hard though!
Mile 13.1 FINISH LINE!!!! And as I am booking it to the finish and cross the line, someone stops completely right in front of me and almost takes me out again. I think I might have hit her with my cheering arm, actually. That was two close calls in 13 miles!? What the heck, people?
After I crossed the finish line, I realized my spectators had MISSED IT! NO!!! I finished under two-hours and no one was there! I later found out they got stuck waiting for a stupid drawbridge for 15 minutes – WHAT?! I also didn’t run with my phone and realized I might never find them again in the crowd since I missed them at the finish but about 10 or so minutes later, I saw my sister and pup walking toward me.
I still cannot believe I finished under two hours! 1:57:29 to be precise! I did have the realization that fast running is not as much fun though, because you have to try too hard – ha!! But all in all, I am glad to have this goal completed and now I can just proceed to run halfs any old speed and just enjoy them :)
It still feels a little surreal. I’ve been shooting for this goal for a few years and really didn’t think it was going to happen today until about mile 10. Now I don’t even know if I bother running fast or just go back to running as slow as I please since I am not PRing anything during the Dopey ;)
A few years of disappointment but FINALLY! SUB-2!