Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The land of my family, beer, cheese, the Brewers, and the Fonz. Why wouldn’t I want to spend Spring Break 2013 here? And hey!-a half marathon is happening in neighboring Waukesha? I’ll do that!….
On Saturday, April 6th, I competed in The Trailbreaker Half Marathon in Waukesha, Wisconsin. No, I did not fly back home solely for this race. I was actually home on my own for Spring Break visiting friends and family and I was suppose to be leaving in the morning of April 6th. Air Canada, however, got rid of the morning flight from Milwaukee to Toronto shoutout to the MKE to YYZ!. I don’t blame them for removing this flight, as it is hardly ever 1/2 full during the week and is usually just business travelers. So when they changed my flight, I got moved to the evening 7:15 pm flight, thus allowing me to register for a race! It worked out in the end anyway!
As hard as it is to believe, this would actually be the first race of mine that my mom would be witnessing. Since my high school track days at least! Before this race, I had completed 13 full and half marathons, about 3 ten kilometer races, and handfuls of 5 kilometers. . I did not hold a grudge against my mom for not coming to these races—I knew it would involve travel (she hates driving) and would be boring for her. But with the spirit of this year, I was very happy to be able to register and complete a race with her watching! (She will be down in Disney during marathon weekend with me, so this was a very mini-preview!)
The race started at 9:30 am in downtown Waukesha at the Schuetze Recreation Center. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous the days leading up to the race. When I go home to Wisconsin for a week, I eat and drink like a stereotypical Wisconsinite. This means my pre-week training regime was a two mile and a five mile run, plus plethoras of Bloody Mary’s, craft beer, cheese, rich food, and fried food. I did eat some solid salads through the week, but I did not quite know what to expect come race day.
About 600 people competed in the half marathon. The day started out cloudy and overcast with a slight breeze. The breeze was nothing to me, as I am used to Lethbridge-style winds! While it is not summer, there is a greater humidity down in Wisconsin than what I am used to in Alberta. With the overcast day and on-and-off sprinkles, I think I fared well considering my concern of weather variants. One huge plus that aided me in doing well (despite my Wisconsin diet regime the week prior) was the drastic change in elevation! The elevation in Lethbridge, according to Wikipedia, is 2,990 ft. I know some spots in the coulees increases and decreases this approximately +/- 200 feet. In Waukesha, however, the elevation is 873 ft! Big difference here! Hopefully my higher elevation running the past 4 years will make a difference….
Since the course was an out-and-back number, I was not going to make my mom drive and park along the way to find me. That would have stressed her out. What stressed me out is when I tell her a ballpark time to be near the finish. It puts pressure on me not to suck! Well, I started off strong! Too strong!. At the end of this entry, I will put my split times that I got from my Nike+ SportWatch because I need some advice on how to get more consistent. This has been an issue of mine since doing road races after high school. I go out way to fast, and half the time, I hit a wall at some point. The other half is a mixture of being inconsistent the whole race or somehow miraculously mustering through. But anyone who has done a road race of any distance knows how hard it is to NOT go out too fast! Your adrenaline is pumping and you feel invincible
Mile 6 & 7 was where my dramatic increase to my splits occurred, adding +0’25” and +0’12”, respectively. This was on a part of the Glacial Drumlins Trail and people had begun to become more spread out. I did not have anyone directly in front of me within catchable distance. I started to sluff off.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I don’t listen to music when I run. This race was nothing different. It is times like these, when I notice my lag occurring, that I begin talking to myself in my head, and calculating my pace requirements for the remainder of the race so I can finish where I needed to be. In my head, I knew I wanted to be under 2 hours. With my over-consumption of Milwaukee beer all week (oh, Milwaukee Brewing Company, you did me in, I figured this was a good goal. Under 1:55 would have been great, and beating my PR of 1:54:19 from May 2010 would have been spectacular.
I knew I’d I made it to mile 10 under my PR pace time, I could actually get that goal. At mile 10, I was still in good shape, and I had to just keep it up. Thankfully, the last two miles of the course looped back downtown Waukesha and past more supporters in general. People started to get bunched up more, and the adrenaline got going again. My legs were feeling pretty heavy, but I kept my short stumps trucking. At mile 12, a guy who had been running with his friend came up to me and asked how I was feeling. I told him I was on pace to break my PR, but my legs were starting to give. He literally screamed with excitement at me that I totally had this and to just keep pushing. . Thank you unnamed man in the visor and orange/grey shirt, because I kept looking ahead where I could faintly see the finish line and pushed on.
I wore my bright orange Lulu Lemon jacket so my mom could see me—she was able to snap those photos as I pushed across to the finish line!. I had done it! I actually beat my old PR from almost 3 years ago! And my mom got to witness it! She told me after that at the start of the race she started crying when the gun went off. Needless to say, she is going to be a mess of tears come Disney Marathon Weekend!
I actually did not feel too horrendous after the race, though the strain on my face may say otherwise! It felt great to run back home in Wisconsin! And in true Wisconsin fashion, Miller Lite was served after the race (might as well continue my beer consumption huh?)
I am very glad my mom was able to come see me at this race—I know it had to be a bit tough to watch, as this is the first running event of mine she has witnessed without my dad. He was the one with binoculars at the track meets in high school–he loved it all. Yes, I ran my best half marathon time today to date, but what I am more happy about is that not only my mom got to see me run today back in the homeland, but my dad watched me with her as well.