Sunday, October 27, 2013

2013 Halloween Hustle Marathon Results


I try to come home to southern Wisconsin every few months to visit my folks so Salacia and I decided to head back in late October to spend the weekend enjoying the cool fall weather. About 10 days before the trip, karma told me to check the race schedule to see what might be going on. Turns out there was a marathon that weekend with a start line about 4 miles away from my parents house, so of course I signed up.

The race is still young and is trying to go with the whole run-while-in-costume schtick, and I would guess that maybe 1/3 of runners were dressed up in something resembling a costume. I found out later there were cash prizes for the costume contests. I had been hoping that my large entry fee was going to some good charity. Oh well. I have burnt plenty of money on other races, and they can't all be cheap.

The course was a little bit of everything. The first 4 miles were flat pavement out in the wide open with a little wind. Then it turned into residential roads with gentle hills and lots of turns. Then dirt trail in heavy woods. Then long hills in open farmland. Repeat. They get mad props for variety of race course.

Being late October in Wisconsin, of course it is going to be a cool morning, so it was no surprise a 7-10 mph breeze with 32 degrees met us at race start. I wore two shirts + a throwaway shirt at the start and the temps increased to low 50's and slightly higher winds as the race wore on. I tossed my throwaway shirt just before we went into the shady woods with lower temperatures. That was a mistake, but not fatal.

It is rare for my mother and my daughter to see me race, so this time being able to see both of them whilst running was cool. I first saw them at about mile 1 (they avoided the chaos of the start) and four more time throughout the race. I have run many many races and almost never get a loved one to actually cheer me on as I run by. It was nice and I even stole a few hugs from Salacia when I had a chance.

In my new method of starting slow and speeding up in an effort to meet as many people as possible during the race, this was a fun race. I met many people including a Zoology professor at UW-Madison, 2 graduate students (biology and psychology) students, a supply chain manager, a manager of a local Target, a hedge fund manager, and a nuclear medicine technician and an IT guy (that's actually what he called himself). A few of them running their first marathon (those are the most fun to talk to) and a few veterans. The last group I ran with had just shy of 200 marathons run total between the four of us. We had some fun conversations.

I carried my camera with me to take pics of people and things but I wanted to make sure I got a good quality photo of my handstand and I knew that Salacia would be at the finish line. As I approached I was looking forward trying to find her and eventually did about 30 feet before the finish line. I stopped stone cold and handed her the camera (people immediately started talking, trying to figure out why I stopped there. I walked towards the finish line while she got the shot ready asking her "Are ya ready?" When she responded in the affirmative, I turned, did my handstand to the cheering crowd, and then looked back again at her and asked 'Did ya get it?' and again she answered in the affirmative. That was cool.

There was one sad moment of the day. About 20 feet past the finish line I saw a man on the ground having CPR being performed on him. Obviously overweight, I assumed he was a recent half marathon finisher and it happened very soon before I finished as the ambulance that had been partked 1/4 mile away had not yet got to the spot. Knowing what the statistics are regarding people who have CPR performed upon them is not great, I assumed the worst. I have been checking the news and had he passed away I am sure there would have been a mention somewhere. Since there was not, it seems like her survived which is great news.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

2013 Wildlife Marathon Results (Or: A New Way to Enjoy Marathon 'Racing')

11/123 overall

This was my third time running my only 'real' (not counting my FA races) local marathon, with the starting line about 10 mile from my house and portions of the course along some of my most favorite running routes. I try to no run the same race in consecutive years as I try to keep memories of individual races separate in my head. This was the 5th running of the wildlife race, but I had run it the inaugural year and the 3rd year.

So it was a beautiful course, and the race operation is getting better, now in its 5th year. The first year, there were only 28 finishers, but now there are over 100. While there are other bigger races going on right around this time (Detroit, Grand Rapids) this race is small and full of love. It will only get bigger and better.

After my 'restart' a few months ago, I have been trying to come up with new/different things to get me motivated to run marathons, like running barefoot for example. Recently came up with a  new idea where I start out slow, find someone to chat with, and when the conversation goes stale or reaches natural end point, speed up and meet someone new and start over again. Repeat until you find a person you want to finish with or until you reach a point where catching the next person is out of the question. My local race seemed like a great place to test out the new method. As predicted I learned a lot.

I got to the race about 45 min before the start and along with standard pre-race things (bib, timing chip, emptying my bowels, etc.) but I also got to chat with many friends of mine who were also running either the full or half marathon. Since it was my local race I knew quite a few of them. All good folks.

I had been sick most of the week before, so I was trying to rest and did little running. I wanted to start out 'slow' so I planted myself about halfway back hoping that would be about the 4 hour group of people. After about 1.5 mile I realized I had already matched up with people more along the times of 3:40. There were plenty of people in that group, so that was ok.

In brief, here are a few stories I got to hear in the first ~11 miles.

- At about mile 5, the eventual 3rd and 4th place female finishers in the half marathon caught me and the group I was with (The half marathon started after the Marathon, so these ladies were cruising at about 6:45) so I decided to fly with them for a half a mile. While focused and clipping along, we still managed a short conversation about half marathons and how cool it was that 5 of the first 6 half marathoners were women.

- A brother/sister group, his 9th, her 1st marathon. They both live outside Detroit and had never been to Jackson before, and were surprised. There found we have some cool stuff here.

- A 30ish year old runner on his 14th marathon, who was interested in my state quest and asked me lots of questions (cost, time, motivation) about it. He has been 'considering' that idea for a while. I gave him plenty of pros and cons.

- Three separate teachers over different parts of the day. A college professor, a 3rd grade teacher, and a gifted/talented teacher.

- At least 5 people who I tried to strike up a conversation with who ignored me or couldn't hear me because of their earbuds. I brought my iPod but only listened to it when I was doing my 'sprints' to catch the next group of people.

At ~mile 10 I met up with a young woman who was running her first race. She wanted to run under 3:30 and I am not 100% sure she did. I ran with her for a while, trying to keep her nearest competitor (at that point about 1/2 mile ahead) close. At this point, I was on a 3:25 pace, and I thought I could catch a few more people, so I said my goodbye wishing her luck, and decided to try to catch a few more people.

I eventually caught the next runner at about mile 12 who would eventually be the first masters finisher. It was first marathon and she is a cross country/track coach so she had a huge support group. We joined up with another gentlemen on the course and the three of us stayed steady for quite a while. Her longest run before this day had been 20 miles so at mile 15 I did my best to prepare her for what was going to happen to her at mile 20. I was blunt, but tried not to scare her. She started to fade at about mile 21, but I tried hard to motivate her. doing my standard late race motivation.

It was a great race, and it gave me a huge dose of I-Love-Running motivation. As someone who is trying to get back to the love of the sport, this helped a lot.