In the days leading up to it, I obsessively put run times into pace calculators, studied the course map, and poured through my Daily Mile logs.
I came up with my goals for the race:
C Goal - Finish happy and strong, under 2:05 (9:27 pace)
B Goal - Under 2 hours (9:09 pace)
A Goal - Under 1:58 (9:00 pace)
The Wisconsin Marathon bills itself as "The Cheesiest Marathon Ever", and they even have a separate start corral for runners sporting "cheesy" outfits.
Rachel and I love to dress up for races, and because we love cheese, and the race happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo, we decided to go with a Mexican cheese theme. And it was awesome.
|Exhibits A and B: The 'stache and tiny sombrero.|
Fortunately for any small children that were spectating the race, we opted for not wearing the mustaches because they made it a little hard to breathe normally. We put them to better use after the race:
Hola, Senor Cerveza. Aiiiiiii!!!
"I've Got A Queso The Runs"
Our rufflebum panties inspired the back of the shirt:
|"Frilly con Queso"|
We arrived in Kenosha around 6am for a 7am start. We parked and walked about a half mile to find some porta-potties. By the time we got back to the car, we were drenched and FREEZING. We had a few minutes to kill before the start, so we sat in my warm car and tried to dry off a bit.
Around 6:45, it magically stopped raining and we headed for the start. We squeezed into the crowd of runners, listened to a truly beautiful national anthem, and we were off!
I planned to go out right around a 9:00-9:15 mile, and then gradually pick it up from there.
Mile 1 - 8:45
I started right at the 9:00 minute/mile pace sign, and I was passed by hundreds of people. The entire field started off super fast, and I ran faster than my planned pace and felt tired and discouraged.
Mile 2 - 9:15
Slowed down quite a bit the second mile, and was wondering how I was going to finish this thing since 9:15 felt like I was pushing it.
Miles 3-7 - 8:52, 8:47, 8:34, 8:50, 8:53
These miles I focused on getting out of my own head. I smiled at spectators, enjoyed the gorgeous lake view and few little rolling hills, and tried to tell myself that I didn't feel like crap. It worked, for the most part.
Mile 8 - 8:41
There was a turnaround around mile 8 which was a great distraction. I love looking at all of the other runners on an out-and-back, and I spent a few minutes looking for Rachel's tiny sombrero in the field of runners. She passed by only a couple of minutes behind me, and looked super strong.
Miles 9-12 - 8:40, 8:50, 8:44, 8:42
The wind was at our backs, and I knew I had a P.R. in the bag. There was another little turnaround around 12, and I got to see Rachel again, as well as Jess who was busy killing the full marathon. I battled a little nausea and cold sweats here, but I choked down a bit of Gatorade, and it passed.
Mile 13 - 8:30
We turned into a strong headwind for the final mile, and my energy was fading fast. The spectators were amazing, and I was fighting back tears as we ran through a wall of cheers.
The .1 - 7:21 pace
A flood of emotions just hit me as I thought about how far I've come since my femoral stress fracture, my months on bedrest, and the personal struggles I've had in the last year. I shed a few tears coming into the final turn, and it was the most emotional, rewarding race finish I've ever had.
Wisconsin Half Marathon
Finish time: 1:55:30
Overall Place 648 / 2411
Gender Place 222 / 1480
Division Place 46 / 282
A PR by four minutes was sweet victory, and a finish in the top 15% of women was the cherry on top for me.
|Happy, relieved, and ready for a hot shower.|
Stay tuned tomorrow for post-race pictures, drama at mile 26... and the weirdest boat name you've ever seen.