Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wisconsin Marathon

The Mario Recap, Marathon #17:
Hot day. Boring course. Tired legs. Kept running. Great medal. Brats!

The Full Recap, Marathon #17:
I am not sure what happened since I believe I checked the weather the night before (things were looking about the same as California -- low in the high 40's, high in the mid 60's). When I deplaned in Chicago I was overcome by HEAT and MUGGINESS!? It was the same feeling I used to get when I'd get off the plane in Hawaii when traveling home for Christmas from NYC. I thought maybe they had turned on the heat in the little walkway. But no. That was the weather. Great.

The race started at 7:00 am and I had wanted to leave Chicago by 5:00 am to give myself enough time to drive up to Kenosha (I stayed with my sister who lives in Chicago). I figured after leaving the hotel at 3:45 am the week before for the Big Sur Marathon, 5:00 am was nothing! Of course, with the time difference, it was like leaving at 3:00 am. Bleh.

When I woke up at 4:00 am the temperature in Kenosha was 60 degrees. 60 DEGREES at 4:00 AM!!! Once again, my ideal marathoning weather is 44 degrees at the finish. This was going to be a pretty miserable day.

I did go Cheese Out with Outfit A! I also figured out how to get the mouse and cheese pin securely onto my hat. In Kenosha I emerged from my car and felt like a total dork when everyone else was dressed in decidedly non-cheesy clothes. Oh, well. I guess you could tell who the tourist runners were.

I got tons of comments and cheers for my hat. Lots of fun!

I got to the All-Cheese corral and took my place way at the front of the pack. In fact, we were right by the start line next to a "6:30 pace" sign. The race directors were smart enough to have the Cheese Corral to one side of the chute so faster racers could have a clear avenue to get their pace on. However this didn't mean we didn't clog things up a bit for some people which made me feel bad. They could probably organize that a little better.

Standing in the All Cheese Corral

The race course consists of basically two huge out and backs. The first one we ran with the half marathoners and the second one was for those doing the full marathon. I hate out and backs. In fact, there were some parts of the course I passed three times. Bleh. Overall, I found the course to be utterly uninspiring (probably not helped by the fact I ran the most gorgeous course 6 days prior).

I am assuming this area was considered "Downtown Kenosha"

The first half did a lot of running alongside Lake Michigan.

The first half also had your typical out-and-back where you could see people going out as you were coming back in. Hands down my least favorite part of the course. The first half was not helped much by the fact that the sun was out in full force and the temps were climbing.

The first half had a bunch of rolling hills (which due to the nature of the course you ran over twice). None of them were Big Sur-esque, but I would definitely not describe the first half as flat.

For more than a few miles I got caught running next to Annoying Garmin Lady. The Garmin has a feature you can use where you set a pace you'd like to keep up and it will sound an alert to let you know if you're going too fast or too slow. I sometimes use this feature when I am doing interval workouts of a mile or less. It is a nice way to get feedback without having to look down too often when you are pushing hard. This runner, though, had apparently set this feature up for a marathon. I don't know if she was going too fast or too slow (in my irritated brain I imagined she had bombed and was going much slower than she had hoped) but that damned Garmin was beeping alerts every minute or so.

I don't know if it is because I know that sound from training which usually ticks me off since I am off pace, but it is not a friendly sort of chime. It is sort of panic inducing. I shot her dirty looks (which she sadly probably couldn't see with my sunglasses) every time the thing went off. I almost wanted to say something to her. Can you imagine running 26 miles next to someone with their watch beeping like that?! And seriously, there are LOTS of ways to program a Garmin to let you know if you are on or off pace without having to resort to that audible chime. And during a marathon, once you are off pace (either for better or worse) the chances of you going back to your predetermined zone is pretty slim. AUGHGUGH! I am not sure if I pulled ahead or if she pulled ahead, but luckily I lost that sound the last 10 miles of the race.

We got rid of the pesky half marathoners around mile 11. That is when I realized that the second out and back was not along the lake in the opposite direction, but instead was taking us out into the boonies.

Fellow runners were sort of sparse the second half, which I am learning is the way I actually prefer things. The nice thing about the second out and back was that it was not run on the same road the whole way. There were portions you could see people heading in the opposite direction, but much of it was run on parallel roads so you couldn't see everyone else. Also, the way I like it.

Some parts were on an upaved road that had a lot of loose rocks. I kept thinking I'd roll my left ankle which I've easily accomplished in the past on much more stable surfaces. I was especially worried about this in later miles when I felt my feet were dragging more. Luckily, nothing of the sort happened.

You'll notice in this photo, the previous photo, and the next photo that the cloud cover rolled in which was a total godsend. I would probably still be out there in a puddly mess if not for the clouds. It was still warm but not unbearably so.

So how was I feeling? I was averaging a sub-10:00 pace for about the first 14 miles which is always pretty good for me. I could definitely tell my legs were tired, though. Things were pretty tough the second half of the course. I walked through the water stops and drank a lot of water since it was warm out. I kept counting off the miles in 2 mile segments. "Get to mile 16 and there will be a water stop to walk through..." "Get to mile 18 and there will be another water stop..."

This photo was taken at the turnaround shortly before mile 19. You know that feeling when you are doing an out-and-back run and you get to the turnaround. And then the rest of the run you feel lighter because you're headed home? Well, that was this point in the race.

I was feeling sort of drained and really wanted to walk. I was still only walking at water stops. I remember telling myself that once I got to mile 23 I could take a walk break even if there was no water stop. Amazingly, one magically appeared right before mile 23. The fact I didn't have to take a non-water stop walking break really buoyed my spirits. I thought I'd take a quick walk break at mile 24. But once I got there, decided I would just keep on running to the finish line.

For most of the second half of the race I didn't have any extra gears. I had two to pick from: A) Walk or B) Run. There was no C) Run Faster or even a D) Run Slower, for that matter. I just kept moving along at a comfortable pace. From Oakland I sort of recognize this as my body's response to doing marathons so close together. It was really more of a mental battle to just keep running.

With one mile left I did manage to kick up the speed just a little (more to get the thing over with). I wasn't near any sort of time turnover which would inspire me to move quicker. I was passing many walking people the last few miles but there didn't seem to be anyone really running my pace by me. I was pretty much all alone that last mile. I had the entire finish line dash to myself which was sort of neat. The announcer made a comment about my cheese hat as I crossed.

Finish time: 4:33:xx

They had free beer and brats at the finish for runners. Yummy. Strangely with all of the cheese hype, there was NO cheese to be found at the finish.

Hello, Cheese medals!

Lake Michigan

The final stretch to the finish line

Overall, I'd recommend this race if you're local to the event. I don't think I'd recommend traveling solely for this event. The course is not that awesome. The crowd support was just okay. There were some nice people who were outside of their houses cheering, but nothing that inspired me the way Austin people did. The race was very well run, though! Great organization. Even with the rolling hills the first half, it is a fairly fast course if you want to race it as well.

And I LOVE this medal. It is even better than I thought it would be.


Marilyn @ Lipgloss and Spandex said...

Congrats on finishing! I also get a little annoyed with people's beeping Garmins/watches... >:(

Marlene said...

Congrats!! 4:30-ish is excellent. Sweet looking medal too!

Virtuous said...

Yeah it was totally worth the medal!!

And the whole cheese thing is a myth. I was born and raised in Racine (right next door to Kenosha) so if I am home during that time I will do it, but like you said not worth the special trip (gosh that course was terrible)

Anonymous said...

Love the hat!

Mica said...

AH, I had an annoying Garmin lady run next to me during the Half. She had hers set for run/walk intervals, and as I was running next to her, her watch started beeping down the five seconds until she had to start running again. She sounded like she had a bomb attached to her, and I almost snarkily said, "Are you going to blow up?" Because I'm kind of not nice.

Seriously, I know what you mean though.

Bummer that the race isn't very good. Congratulations on another marathon in the books though!

bunnygirl said...

I'm sorry it wasn't a more interesting course, but I love the cheese hat, and even better is Cheesy Mario!

Rabbits' Guy said...

I think that is under a 10 1/2 min mile pace - not bad at all! Especially with the hat not being too streamlined!

No cheese? Gheese ............

I always wonder a little how those people there train for marathons - I mean for about 6 months out of the year it is icy, snowy, cold, windy .... actually I wonder why they even live there!

Xavi Garcia said...

Great race report...and nice pics...but not too well organized after your comments!

Cheers from Hong Kong!

"XTB" Xavi.

EndorphinBuzz said...

Congrats on another great race.

Hey, I've been that annoying Garmin guy before at a half marathon before. I'd only allow it to beep once before speeding up. I always told myself I would turn it off at the 3rd beep in a row.

I can't believe those people ran the whole race with the cheese hats, that's insane!

Lisa said...

LOVE the cheese/mouse hat!

Sorry you didn't really enjoy the course, but congrats on getting another marathon under your belt!

Alisa said...

The all-cheese corral---that is just AWESOME!

Sorry about the weather, it's been unseasonably cold and rainy (even hailing) here. BOO!

cheese medal is awesome too!

That race seems like one of those races that would be cool if it were your hometown race but not neccessarily if you're an out of towner. I'd never even heard of it until you mentioned it.

Way to pull in another great race time despite your legs feeling ALL the previous marathons.

Jim Balcom said...

congrats on your race! I ran the full marathon also (I grew up in Kenosha and live in NYC). Agree with your race report (I was searching for info about a woman I heard collapsed (unconfirmed) with a 107 temperature and your blog came up). It was too hot, humid, sunny, and windy. Also, I was definitely saying to myself (and sometimes out loud) "FLAT COURSE, yeah right!!!". It was definitely not flat for the first half. My friend was dealing with an ankle injury and had the same thoughts about the gravel road...

I wrote a race report at http://jimbalcomrunning.blogspot.com/

good luck in your next marathon.

aron said...

woooo! well congrats on running a marathon SIX days after big sur! yikes... you looked adorable and the medal is pretty awesome, so thats a good thing :) one more down!!!

Steve said...

I ran this year as my first full, and did the half last year. After training outside since January, was about 2 mile into it thinking, "God it's hot out here." Fun race besides that.

I think that medal would be a LOT cooler (and more functional) if it were a bottle opener too.

Running Diva Mom said...

I'm from wisconsin and love this! Thanks for the report -- congratulations!

Jo Lynn said...

I'm sorry, but the cheese on top of the bunny's head made me laugh out loud, in a good way. So cute!!! ;)

ShirleyPerly said...

Yep, it'd be pretty tough for any marathon's scenery to top that of Big Sur's. But that medal sure is unique and you did awesome to finish even faster only 6 days after another tough marathon. SUPER JOB, Sandra!!!

Yuri said...

I have a client who just ran this marathon as well. She said it was tough for her but I think, like you, it was incredible just to complete a marathon! Great stuff and the pics are great.

Interval Training Man

Sarah Woulfin said...

the brat looks delish :P The part of the course around the Lake seems nice. GRRREAT race!!

Julianne said...

Great job Sandra finishing YET another marathon!!! Wow, you are amazing. And your finish times totally rock. I am so impressed!!!!!

X-Country2 said...

Thanks for the race report!

Awesome job on the race. You're right though, so strange to have no cheese for the hotdogs.

Marathon Maritza said...

Great job, girl, you are a marathon MACHINE!!!!

Love love love the hat, how cute and way to get in the spirit! Cute medal too!!!