Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hanker for a Hunka Cheese

I successfully completed my first trail 1/2 marathon!  Meaning I didn't get lost or have an incomplete course, whoop!

Key Chain! I didn't expect this!  Thought only the 50K got these!

2:40:52 for a pace of 12:17.  I was aiming for a pace of 12:30 or 3 hours.  Yeah, yeah, I know the math doesn't quite add up.  Not big on math in my head.  I figured 12:30 was a reasonable pace and 3 hours to accomplish something I've never successfully completed, somewhere I've never run, reasonable, or at least wouldn't make me a laughing stock!!  Southeastern Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine forest is beautiful and absolutely run-able, you just have to love hills or at least know how to manage them.

Just a little hilly....

Fairly representative of the course, just hilly as depicted above!
Starting out, the 9:00 a.m. race start was pushed back to 9:30 a.m. because of a mix up between the website and the eMails.  Guess this happened last year also.  I was pretty glad because I forgot my check list and realized, while sitting in the parking lot debating long sleeves or short sleeves that 38 minutes before the race was to start I left my hydration backpack in the motel. YIKES!  It was minimally 34 minutes round trip to pick up said belt, would I make it?  should I chance it?  Yes, no doubt about it.  With 5 minutes to spare my hydration pack and I made it back to the race and started to sprint across the parking lot when I heard some guy ask "Hey, does this start at 9:00 or 9:30?"  I said "The eMail I got said 9."  He said "The website says 9:30."  Huh  so I scrambled across the road thanking the guy flagging cars for his help and deposited myself in a throng of people discussing the 9 or 9:30 start.  Hmmm...  This is boding well for my nerves, quite well.  The RD announced the races start would be 9:30 due to the mix up between the eMails and the website.  Ah.  I decided to go back to my car and regroup.  The traffic guy said "Hey, quick race?"  I said "Yeah, I won, it was easy peasy."  Oh how I love Mid-westerners and our ability to talk to anyone.  I so miss that living in New England, it takes me a while adjust back to my roots where any off hand or sarcastic comment can and most often does start a conversation and not someone looking at you like you have 2 heads and me resulting back into my bashful ways.

I texted with hubb.  He was fishing with a buddy and sent a couple pictures of him and the 15" bass he caught on Watchaug Pond.    Nice fish, horrible smile, and he is taking this opportunity to not shave... Absolutely needed the distraction to calm my nerves.  I know, what is this with me and the nerves lately...  perhaps this birthday I had on Thursday is wrecking havoc with my mind?

This is why I sought some council on sleeves or no sleeves.

The wind had me a bit concerned.  Yes, it was in the forest, however there were large swaths of prairie.  Counsel (thank you Tonya and Michael) suggested sleeves I went with sleeves and did not regret it.  The sun did come out for the last 20 minutes of my run... Otherwise cloudy and windy, even in the woods, and wicked on the prairie.

There were 150 (137 completed) runners for the 1/2 marathon.  We started out at 9:30 in a fairly large glom that thinned out after the 3rd mile.  I wasn't so sure about this, however trotted along with them, mostly Badgerland Striders, discussing the terrain and we came upon the first uphill, it was slight.  One of the guys yells "HILL" and walked the hill.  A few others did this.  I wondered what the rest of the course had in store, if he was treating this hill as a walker.  I adapted to their pace and style until we all broke up.  There were some huge hills (see the pace elevation).  I do like hills and this walking up them was really an OK thing.

It was a two loop course so I took in the sights along the way thinking, I need to remember this for the second loop.  During the second loop I'd find myself thinking, did I pass through that long stretch of trees, realizing that I just had and it really wasn't that long of a stretch.  The benefits of running something twice? My second turn through I was able to see the Ultra Runners, trotting along faster than I, and walking the hills, huh.  The 50K and the 50 Milers had their own course then two or three loops partially on the 1/2 marathon trail.  Seriously to have someone who is running 2 or nearly 4 times as far as you pass you and tell YOU good job, absolutely amazing.  I had no earthly right to be as slow or as worn out as I was, or so I thought.  Hey these guys and gals have trained for this, talking with some after the race, they are truly amazing.  I aspire to 50K.

This was a really easy on the joints trail, nothing like the rocks and roots I am used to.  I kept expecting some.  The material I read said there were rocky sections.  Well, there were, but beaten into the ground pebbles and baseball sized rocks, not the big boulders, or ledge or basketball sized pieces of granite to hop from one to the other on I'm used to.

The race notes said absolutely no headphones. I obeyed, many didn't  I wonder if they were DQ for this?  I found myself getting lost in my head, not thinking of anything in particular, thinking about things, taking in the sights and the sounds and occasionally singing Greased Lightening to myself.  There really is no accounting for taste, and I own that.   About mile 9 I could have used a little of the energy the music provides me, otherwise, I was totally fine, and probably better off, without it.

At the end of the race, after fetching my phone from the car I ran into my Cousin, no really literally into her.  I looked up and thought, what the hell is this woman doing in my space and then it all clicked.  TOBI!!!!  We, the sweaty me and her had a huge hug and tears.  We always cry, what is it with us?  What is it with women being OK hugging other sweaty women?  Sheila gave me a hug after the Run Around the Block race...  hubb, oh he'll wait till after I've showered, thank you very much.  Huh...

Tobi has volunteered at this race, at one of the 50 Miler aid stations, for the better part of the last 12 or 15 years. It all started wayyy back when she was a runner!  When we discovered we were going to be in the same place, it was truly amazing.  She had fun telling people, oh you know that girl from RI, the only runner from RI, she is MY cousin!!

We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up and drinking beer.  By all rights I should be passed out asleep...

Beth, a little jazzed, maybe a little tipsy on good WI beer, and wouldn't mind a big hunk of WI cheese...


  1. "Hanker for a Hunka Cheese"...."Look a wagon Wheel".. Love it!!
    Awesome! Great job on the half!

    1. Thanks! Looking forward to your race report!