|One big smile and two thumbs up!|
If you couldn't tell from my previous couple of posts, I had a tremendous amount of doubt going into this race. My training was a far cry from what it should have been. The winter killed not only my desire to run but also the safety of the sidewalks and roads in which I would be running on (snow and ice removal is nonexistent here in podunk-ville where we live). Add in two foot "injuries" and all of a sudden half my training schedule disappeared.
I was definitely going into this race undertrained. Or well rested. Yeah, we'll go with well rested.
On Friday after work, I drove up to Kenosha for packet pickup. It was a pretty low key event- I walked into the back of the Best Western where a table of bibs and race shirts were set up. There were a couple of other tables set up, just your standard race and chiropractic advertisements, and one table selling those huge headbands women wear that say things like "will run for wine" and crap like that.
Since we're less than a half hour from Kenosha, race morning didn't come too early for me. I was on the road and arrived pretty quickly. I thought parking would be an issue, but there's a ton of street parking available (albeit a fair distance from the start/finish) and the Race Director made it abundantly clear where we could and could not park. Parking was a cinch. (that .70 mile walk back to the car after the marathon would be the death of me though…)
At the starting area, porta-potties were in abundance with relatively short lines, and runners were huddled together in a large tent to escape the cold wind. About 15 minutes before the race started we headed over to the starting corral, listened to a pretty decent rendition of the Star Spangled Banner (high praise coming from a military musician) and were off.
The course was very beautiful and scenic. The full and half were together for the first 11 or so miles. We ran a few miles south along the water, then back a few miles north along the water… every time we crossed the central point of the course (where the starting line was) the crowd support was great.
What wasn't so great was the wind. But to be honest, I was expecting much worse. I've been training along Lake Michigan for the past month and in my training, I seemed to only hit headwind at the end of my long runs. While I cursed it then, I'm sure glad I had the added 'resistance' training.
After the halfers broke off, the atmosphere changed completely. There were over 2000 runners in the half, but less than 850 in the full. The course went from a dense high energy to a sort of calm, focused no-nonsense feeling.
The second half of the course meandered south of Kenosha through residential neighborhoods, some rural, dirt road communities, and back up a water front road. The wind was relentless on the open road sections next to the water, but otherwise it wasn't too bad. It was sunny, which felt bizarre since we haven't seen the sun up here in almost a week. I actually got sunburned, which hasn't happened in, oh, 10 months? ::white people problems::
For the entire race, I had that sickly feeling in my stomach that at any moment, I was going to crash and burn and feel like absolute trash. I was bracing for it. I kept repeating that age old saying, "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." I took two cups of water at every aid station, drank from my Gatorade camelbak religiously, and stayed on top of fueling (Gu at mile 7, 14, 20 choked down a piece of Snickers bar and a few bites of a PB&J around 22).
The result? The first 24 miles actually felt pretty good. Well, good for a marathon. The last 2 miles were everything you could expect from a marathon ;)
|Because I have no modesty I share this photo with you...|
|I chose the men's shirt because the women's was LSU coloring… gag|
|commence the passing out...|
Regardless, I still consider my finish time a personal victory: 4:45
The post race party was about as lackluster as I've seen, with the exception of the Polka-holics band. Bless their hearts, they did their best to entertain the crowd, but not many people wanted to stick around with the gusty cold wind.
Unsurprisingly, there was very little left of the post-race goodies by the time I crossed the finish line. I guess having 2500 runners finish before you will do that. Though as a fellow marathoner said as I sat down next to her, "plenty of refreshments were available when the fast people finished." Thanks, lady!
David came to cheer me on at the finish, so I gave him the brat that accompanied the food voucher on my bib. The only beer they had left when I finished was Miller Lite, and let's be honest- that can hardly be considered beer (sorry, Dad). There was a cheese tent set up, but the idea of eating fancy stinky cheese after almost 5 hours of running made me want to vomit profusely. Guess I'm not a true mid-westerner ;)
Despite these short comings, this was actually a really great race. I'd recommend it to anybody and if we're here this time next year, I would not hesitate to sign up for the full again!
|Here, let me rearrange this for you!|