I kind of forgot I was running this race… I mean I knew I was doing it but the end of August totally snuck up on me and all month I have been focusing on other races (I have a problem, I know) so this one was not top on my mind. I was so not even thinking about it that I forgot to wash my workout clothes so my favorite long-run stuff was clean for it oops! I found something that would work in my dresser and tried to remember everything else I needed to pack the morning of the race. Normally I am a little more organized and have my stuff assembled a day or two in advance but this race was not one I was prepared for at all. I left a little later than I planned because I realized I had no idea where I was going at 5:30 in the morning and had to try to find some directions that would get me where I wanted to go! The drive there was about 45 minutes but uneventful. I realized it was a little ways past where I used to go for acupuncture so the first 35 minutes of it, I knew I was headed the right way! As I was getting closer to Oconomowoc, I kind of thought I was lost for awhile but I was following a bunch of runner cars so I figured I was actually on the right track after all!
The pre-race bit is held at Crosspoint Community Church in Oconomowoc which was very nice! Parking right by the start/finish line, real bathrooms, food and stuff in the fellowship hall before we started, this race was really excellent! I got to the church around 6:25 and got my packet picked up in like 5 seconds (good thing I didn’t try to drive out there for packet pickup the day before, it’s a long drive!) and then waited through the bathroom line (WHY is the women’s bathroom line always 5,000 people longer than the men’s?). I dropped my stuff off in my car and then waited through the line again and by that point, it was about 6:55 so I figured it was time to line up!
A few minutes after 7, someone sang the National Anthem and then we were off! Since I didn’t really think about this race much, I also did not plan any huge goals in my head for it. I mean, I know someday I want to run under 2 hours but I figured 100% humidity and 75 degrees was probably not going to be that day. The weather was also iffy on if it was going to rain/storm or what so I didn’t have much hope this was going to be a good race. So my first three miles were kind of all over the place.
Did I want to run fast? (not happening), did I want to be really lazy and run slow? (Not particularly)… finally around mile three I decided 9:35 minute pace was what I was going to shoot for. Don’t ask me why but that just seemed like a good number. So I tried to keep that pace for as many miles as possible.
The course was so pretty and ran around Lac La Belle and through Oconomowoc and some neighborhoods.
The first five or so miles were on a semi-private road around the lake and a golf course (side note: I kept thinking how awesome it would be to live on a lake and be able to practice lake swimming all the days!!!).
Around mile six we moved out on to the sidewalk and ran along a busier road in Oconomowoc so that was a little more annoying because then you had to try to pass people on a one lane sidewalk. But I guess that was a good problem to have because it meant I was actually passing people after mile six!
All the miles after six at a half-marathon really start to blur together for me except for that I know I hate miles eight and nine always. But this race ended up not being terrible and both those miles passed without any death-march feelings setting in. I tried to really concentrate on not letting my brain go to a negative place and I think that really helped. Some minutes of running felt fine and some felt really bad but I tried to just stay calm and not get all freaked out about anything. I also fueled with a Clif shot block at mile 2, 7, 8, 9, 12 and 12.5 and took a Gu at miles 5 and 10. I felt like I was sweating a ton so the salt in the margarita Clif shot blocks really seemed to help my side cramp go away when it would start acting up.
Miles 10, 11 and 12 started to be REALLY painful and felt really long. Somewhere around mile 10 I realized it was possible to get a PR if I picked up the pace… but that just did not happen. Mile 10 and 11 I tried but then Mile 12 just felt horrible. The sun was really beating down and the hills were really rolling at this point and I just wanted to walk SO bad and I just could not make my legs move any faster. I also kept saying to myself “Almost there, almost there, almost there” because I was really SO CLOSE at that point but it just felt like the mile was endless. I finally turned the corner to go back into the church parking lot and I was so freaking happy to be done!
I was incredibly thirsty, my legs hurt and it was hot. So I just grabbed water, say down and tried to get feeling like I was alive again. It took me about 10 minutes or so before I was functional enough to look up my time and whomp, whomp, whomp, missed a PR by 75 seconds! Grrr. But I don’t feel too bad about that because it still means I finished my fastest half-marathon since October 2011! And that’s something to be happy about! My net finish time was 2:05:07 and considering the heat and the couple of hills, I think that’s a pretty respectable time for not having a specific plan. And also, my average pace ended up being 9:34 so I guess picking that number at mile three ended up working out for me!
My garmin was also finally spot on for the miles at this race… up until mile six. And then they started being off again but still being under so I know it was not because of me weaving all over but I wonder if it might have been the course that was off? I can’t tell because in the end my garmin ended up spot on again… and mile 12 felt like it lasted 4 hours. So I really can’t tell what is going on with my watch.
I sat around for awhile and got some fruit and more water, stretched and tried to find a nice place to take a picture of my medal :)
All in all, this race was really well organized and really great! I hope to be able to do the Green Bay Triathlon put on by the same company next year! They really get around with races in the Fox Cities area, Madison area and Milwaukee area. I will have to keep an eye on their future events because I really enjoyed this one! Well done, DuTriRun, well done!