About 2.5 months ago, I started training for my 2nd ever half marathon. The first one I did was back in 2009 at the inaugural Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half, which was great. But for some reason, I never got around to doing it again—too busy, too daunting, etc. etc. Silly, really!
Finally, I got over it and signed up for the Wisconsin Half Marathon 2014. I set a few goals back in February. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself to hit a specific time so basically said I wanted to give it my best effort. (Although in my head, I had a few goals, in order: run the whole thing, beat my 2:14 record, and hit a sub 2 hour half marathon.) I did the training and got in the long runs, albeit via the treadmill mostly, and found Pure Barre classes to help tone, build up my core and improve my flexibility/posture.
After a particularly successful 10k PR in April, I knew I might have a shot but I just wanted to see how I was feeling that day. I had an early wakeup time (4:30am) so I could eat breakfast and just wake up my body.
I picked up my packet the day before, and was greeted by Erin, one of the smiling, super helpful volunteers!
Then the hubs and I made the drive over the border into Kenosha. I was so glad this race was local…nothing like a short drive on race day and being able to sleep in your own bed the night before!
We got there around 6:15 (race started at 7am) and easily found a parking spot. We headed over to the race start and I headed to the Port-a-Potties. Lines were super long, but luckily Kim, the Wisconsin Half veteran, pointed out the additional set of bathrooms on the other side, which had way shorter lines. By the time I was done waiting in lines, it was 5 minutes till start time, so I ran over to the corral, listened to the national anthem, and then we were off!
The first mile was pretty packed, and I found myself weaving in and out of people. It was also my slowest mile.
Each time I hit a mile marker, I would check my watch and I noticed my pace at sub 9 minute miles. After the first 5 or so miles, I realized that if I could keep it up, I might run a sub 2 hour race! I was feeling good, so I kept going for it.
And the sun came out and warmed me up just enough that I didn’t overheat, which was ideal…and there were tons of people along the course- and the cheering and excitement just pushed me on…it is so motivating! I saw the top marathon/half marathon on the out & back and clapped for them as they passed by and that really got me going too!
And I spotted a couple of amazing race photographers–my husband and Kim’s husband, Steven. Steven rented some high quality lenses and gave my husband lessons so they could take some sweet shots…like these:
The course was beautiful, and I loved the out-and-back by Carthage College right along Lake Michigan. It got sunny once we started, and I loved the scenery, and seeing a few other racers along the way (congrats to Kim, Bobbi, Chris and Anne—great job ladies)!
A few gentle hills and several twists and turns kept the race interesting, and before I knew it- I was at the finish line!
My official time was 1:53:11, a PR for me by 21 minutes! I had a fantastic time and despite a little soreness, I feel great and am definitely on that runner’s high! Now I want to do another one, but I know I am not waiting another 5 years for it…which one to do…hmmm! In the meantime, I’m just going to keep smiling, because I am SO happy that I finally got around to doing another 13.1! WOO HOO!
Kim and I…she was a huge help in doing some long runs with me…outside. A couple of these were definitely “character building” with the cold, wind, snow, rain, etc!
Hope to see you again, Wisconsin Half! Here’s to a successful 13.1 for 2014 in the books!