This race was my fourth half marathon and my last race as a 24 year-old. Kim mentioned this race to me on one of our runs and for the price tag ($20 day of, $14 early registration) and the close proximity (a little over an hour away), I figured it was worth a shot to run as part of my scheduled 20 miler that day. Running 20 miles by yourself can be a bit, well, boring. Plus a race has other benefits such as water stations and post race snacks.
I had planned on arriving early and running 7 miles before the race, but due to bad planning, I ended up squeezing only 4 in beforehand. The start was a bit congested with no organization in terms of pace, but since I ran pretty much right up until the start I didn't mind starting near the back. According to the results, 839 people finished the race so you can imagine the crowd at the starting line. I passed and was passed by quite a few people in the first 2 miles of the race before cruising up a good-sized hill right before the mile 2 marker. By mile 3, the crowd was starting to thin out and I was finding my groove.
The race was on a part of the Oak Leaf Trail System. As we neared the turn around point the trail veered of the roads and wound through some trees. I really liked this part of the trail, but it did get a little bit crowded in some sections. Several parts of the trail were covered in water and at first I tried to run through the grass at these parts, but that ended up being a bad idea. The grass was very squishy and from then on, I just went straight through the puddles. Initially, I was worried that my feet would be cold, but my socks and shoes dried fairly quickly and my feet felt fine. Just another benefit of good running socks, and much better than the cotton option I wore for years.
Around the halfway point, I felt my energy starting to lag. I waited till the next aid station to take a Clif shot gel. That helped me get some energy back. Around this time I started running next to an older lady. She seemed like she was keeping a strong pace so I just latched on a bit to encourage myself to keep running. Once we reached about mile 10, we moved into a more open part of the course and the wind picked and my running partner fell back. I stayed strong and kept on moving. I tried to focus on passing people in front of me to keep my mind of the wind blowing straight into my face.
The downhill portion at mile 11 definitely helped pick up my pace and I kept cruising till the finish. Of course, I did pick up my pace in the last quarter mile just because it feels good to cross the finish line fast.
South Shore Half Marathon
April 7, 2013, 9 am
I spotted Kim and a few other bloggers inside after the race. After chatting with them for a few minutes and grabbing some salty snacks from the post-race food table (a nice spread from Aldi's!), I headed back out for my final 3 miles to reach 20. I followed the trail north for a while (the race went south) and weaved around till I made it 20. It was difficult to start running again after the break, but I felt fairly good (for already having 17 miles in). I had to walk a bit, but I finished the 20 miles. I had planned on taking two gels on this run, but only took one and could definitely feel that I was under-fueled by the end.
|Rachel, Jessica, me, Riyanti, Kim (photo courtesy Kim)|
After a great lunch and even better conversation, I got back on the road to head home. But I couldn't leave Wisconsin without picking up a six pack or two of my favorite New Glarus beer. In a sad twist of events, my fav Fat Squirrel was not to be found. Instead I had to settle for Two Women and another brew which I cannot recall at the moment. I did some research once I got back home and found my beloved Fat Squirrel under the "Beers We Have Known and Loved" section on the website, as in past tense, no longer available. NOOOOO! I pretty much love all the New Glarus beers but I am very sad to see my favorite go. I might have to make another trip up to the brewery soon to see if I can score some Fat Squirrel. When I was telling Kim about this, she mentioned we could do another Chicago Running Bloggers brewery run. How awesome would that be? We could even do a meet-up with some Madison bloggers! I'm off to devise the plan.
Overall, I would definitely do this race again. The smaller venue is nice and the price tag certainly doesn't hurt.