Wisconsin Half Marathon Race Report 2016

By , May 9, 2016 6:23 am

Yay! After a few crummy years, I finally had a good race at the Wisconsin Half Marathon!

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Although, if you look at my splits, you wouldn’t think that…

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Um, what the heck is going on there?

Ha. Well… we had some wind on the course. Which, truthfully, was better for me than sun and heat, which had been forecasted earlier in the week. I may have finished with the same time in the sun and heat, but would have been miserable. Surprisingly, I wasn’t miserable with the 17 mph constant winds from the north and (felt like constant) 33 mph gusts. I thought it was funny. And I just laughed. Laughed, laughed, laughed.

I laughed in the first mile, when I tried to start out slow. My plan was to run an 8:30 mile and see if I wanted to speed up or slow down from there. I kept trying to slow down but the wind was pushing me forward. Okay then. Guess we’ll go with it (8:10 first mile?!?!) and have some ugly splits. There was so much wind at my back and none in my face, that I started to get too hot – my sunglasses fogged over from touching my face. Yuck! It was still warm when we started – 67°. It dropped to 52° by the time I finished, though – yay!

This course starts by going south for 2.5 miles, then turns north for the five middle miles (in to the wind) to a turn around, back south for 4.5 miles, then north for the last mile or so. I thought as soon as we turned north, I’d feel the wind that was pushing me forward in my face. Not entirely! The downtown residences and buildings blocked some of that. Cool! (What did not block any of it? People. I was trying to get in a pack for some protection, but always seemed to be running with no one right in front of me. Oops. But I suppose this is the only time I’d want that!)

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Where’d we have to go to really feel the wind? To the lake. Oh my gosh, it was nuts there. Sand was blowing off the beach and all over everyone (ha ha, I took a hot bath when I got home and there was sand all over in the tub when I was done!). There were times I didn’t feel like I wasn’t moving. But, it made me barely notice the inclines on the course this year! Score!

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Here’s a photo I tried to take of the sand blowing all over – you can see the wind created some dunes that aren’t usually there! I also tried to take a photo of the caps on the wave, but my photo is crap, ha ha. Note the blown over course marker cone – A LOT of the mile markers were blown over. Craziness. 

So you can probably guess which miles were going north in the screenshot above – 6, 7, 8 and 13. I felt like I was keeping the same effort in to the wind as I was with it at my back, but I decided NOT to push it more than that, just to keep the same pace, and feel like death for the last miles of the race – it was a huge goal of mine NOT to finish with a death march.

When people got to the turnaround to go back south, with the wind at their backs, they smiled. I did too. I thought, “Finally!” But I didn’t feel it at first. What the heck? Did the wind stop all of a sudden?! Oh no it didn’t! There it is, pushing me up this hill! Wheeeeee!!!!

I ran three decent miles (9-11), and was happy that the out and back portion didn’t get to me as much as the past years. I was pleasantly surprised to see two friends from Efit around mile 11 and that pumped me up!

Then in the the last mile and a half my body was like, “meh.” I stopped at mile 12 to fill up my water bottle (hence that slower mile). And then we headed north for the last mile and my body was like, “SUPA meh.” Ha! So I ran another slow, not feeling like I was moving mile. And I definitely dropped the effort on that one.

I tried to have a decent finish though, and not look like death when I crossed the finish like. Success?

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Note: Steven got a lot of pics of me making concentrative running faces. Of course, I am only sharing the smiley (read: flattering) ones.

I finished in 1:53:07, which is a second fastest half marathon time for me. Cool!

And even though my splits were HELLA crazy, I am proud of this race. I kept a steady effort until those last one and a half miles. I enjoyed the race despite the nutso wind, and the race itself went by really fast! I saw a lot of people running, and saw a lot of people I knew spectating. And had a good time.

But… I am happy it’s over! This is not the race for me to try to PR, which I write every year, yet, I still think I will train and PR it, when spring is a really hard time of year for me (with the weather shift to warmer and more daylight, I get a bit depressed and put on weight). So. Let’s see if I say I am going to try to PR it again next year. SOMEONE TELL ME NO!

Next up running-wise – I want to train for a 5K in October. That’s it for now! I’ll keep my mileage going and see what I can do with any fitness gained from 5K training.

Other tidbits:

  • Rachel got her PR! I am so proud of her. She ran a fantastic, even race on this stupid windy day. YAY!!! (This was especially important to me (WAY more important to me than my race), because I wrote her training plan and was highly invested in it – we’ve been chatting most days about her runs since January.)

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Anne, Rachel and me! Anne ran the 5K!

  • Brian’s (my boss at Efit) son, Sam, completed his first half marathon, in a push chair! A team of people (including his mom, brother, a few relatives, an Efit trainer and Efit classmate) all took turns pushing him on the course! How cool! I was so stoked to see them during their race and kept wondering when I would! I love this picture of Sam smiling!

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  • I am so grateful Steven comes and takes pics at my races! I am sad I forgot to get a picture of us together though. Wah.
  • Steven was getting set up at his first photo spot (mile 1) when he heard the race start. He said as soon as he heard the horn blow to start, the wind picked up. What wonderful timing. At about that time, I said to Rachel as we were standing waiting to start, “they were right about one thing – the wind!” She actually saw lightening before we started! Eek! But nothing happened. No rain. Just some nice clouds covering the sun for some of the race!
  • Major props to the volunteers this year. Dealing with that wind must have been a nightmare. I saw someone trying to pick up cups as they were blowing every which way! Eek!
  • I can’t imagine doing the full marathon in that wind, either – I think their last eight or so miles would have been in to it. Props to them, too.
  • This is my eighth year running this race! I’ve run every year since the inaugural. So I feel like I have to keep doing it, even though I am finding out I am kind of… not so interested in it anymore. Maybe I will stop at ten years. Ha.
  • I had a KILLER headache on Friday – most likely from the huge weather shift we had. Highs in the 50s Thursday, then 80s Friday. Then back to the 60s, Saturday. Ha ha. No wonder it was so windy. I’m happy the headache went away cause it was baaaaad.
  • I love how the race medal has a cape!

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  • I carried my own water, but took some of theirs on course, too. I did stop twice to drink their cups, and at mile 12 (MILE 12 HA HA!) to fill up my water bottle (I was soooo thirsty). I took a gel at 4, 8 and mile 11.5 (was hoping it would help – not so much… just made me soooo thirsty).
  • I ended up with 13.18 miles, which is pretty good. I tried really hard to run the tangents!
  • Edited to add: my knee didn’t bug me during the race, yay!
  • Edited to add, II: the wind made it a big problematic for spitters like me. Eek.

60 Responses to “Wisconsin Half Marathon Race Report 2016”

  1. Shelley B says:

    I’m so happy for how you feel about this race! Wind is rough to run in but you slayed it…way to beat the weather!

    • kilax says:

      Thanks! The wind has really made me miserable on training runs and I am proud it didn’t at the race! 🙂

  2. Congrats!! It was windy here in MKE on Saturday and I remember thinking of you all down in Kenosha and feeling really bad because I knew it would probably be worse down there. Congrats to Rachel on her PR, that’s seriously impressive!

    I don’t know what it is about that weekend but there always seems to be gnarly weather for this race (except in 2014 when I ran it as my first half – cool cloudy and misty!). I was sad about breaking my streak but like you, I am feeling kinda over it. It’s a nice race and all, but, not sure it’s worth the drive and the money every year, especially if I’m just going by myself.

    • kilax says:

      Thanks! It was SO bad by the lake! Oh well though, whatcha gonna do, right? 🙂 I am so happy Rachel still hit her goal!!!!!! And she PR’d by quite a bit! I think she wanted to come in under 1:57 but ran just under 1:55!

      Spring is just… so unpredictable. Well, as is most of the time in the midwest, but there does seem to be something about this weekend, right?!

  3. Anne says:

    That wind! That was NUTS! I thought I might blow into the lake while I was walking back to the hotel, it was ridiculous. BUT I did think about all of the crappy, windy runs I had all winter and spring, so that definitely helped! No wonder it didn’t get you down either!

    I think this being your second fastest HM is pretty awesome all things considered. And you looked strong and awesome at the end – I was so glad I got to see you finish! 🙂

    • kilax says:

      It was crazy how bad the wind was JUST TRYING TO WALK! Crazy crazy crazy town. Rachel said she saw lots of people lose their hats! But yes – we run in that all the time… unfortunately. Ha ha 🙂

      Thanks! I am happy you were there too! And Steven said he enjoyed your company while he was taking pics!

      • Anne says:

        Yeah a woman right in front of me in the 5k pulled her hat off because it was so windy. I considered it, but my bangs flapping around in the breeze would have annoyed me more than my hat potentially flying off.

        I was so happy to bump into Steven! I had about half an hour left to wait for you guys, which wasn’t super fun by myself (especially as I was really tempted to just go back to the hotel for a hot shower). I’m sorry Terry didn’t come so they could find a cool playground to hang out at ha ha ha 🙂

        • kilax says:

          Oh yeah. I have had days where I’ve run sans headband, and the wind pushing my hair in to my face drives me nuts! Better to risk it with the hat 😉

          Aww, it worked out perfectly then! Maybe there will be a cool playground at the Zion 5K in Oct?! Ha!

  4. Christina says:

    Glad you had a good race!! Love you snist!

  5. Marcia says:

    Congrats on a strong race Kim! You just answered my question about the ridiculous wind. I cannot imagine how the marathoners handled it….oh wait yes I can….NYCM 2014 and they epic headwind almost all the way in. You’re right you just have to laugh and go with it. Congrats to Rachel!!!

    • kilax says:

      OMG. I just CANNOT imagine running a marathon in that. Just, ugh!!!

      I am so stoked for Rachel! She made me very proud 🙂

  6. You are awesome! My friend Sean ran the full and he said the wind was beyond terrible. To run such a great time on a day like that is really something to be proud of! Love your smiles and Sam’s, too!

    • kilax says:

      Thanks! It makes me feel so much better to hear how horrible EVERYONE thought the wind was, you know? Ha ha.

      I hope Sam really enjoyed it! I need to find out from his team!

  7. WOO HOO!!! Great job and way to push through on a day when the winds and other conditions were CRAZY!!! The picture of the makeshift sand dunes and the blown-over cone just says it all. Yikes on all the sand in your tub post-race. I’ve gotten sand blown into my contact lenses while running and it is the worst feeling. That is amazing that you’ve run this race for 8 straight years – you really are the perfect ambassador! You look SUPER strong in all of your photos. Many congrats to Rachel!!!

    • kilax says:

      Gah, I was so happy I had glasses on to keep the sand out of my eyes! I felt bad for people who didn’t 🙂

      Thanks 🙂

  8. Kiersten says:

    I don’t know what I hate more, wind or heat! But at least it got cooler as the race progressed- how often does that happen? You did such a good job keeping a positive attitude with the wind. I love the cape on the medal- so cute! I go back and forth on the timing of my big races- I don’t know if it is better to train in the winter and race in like March. You get better race weather, but have to train through ice and snow. Or to try and race in May/June. You get better training weather, but could get a hot race.

    • kilax says:

      There have been a few years where this race has gotten cooler as it’s gone on (and some years where it’s the first really humid day and you die on the course, ha). Nuts!

      I don’t want to be negative, but it’s all such a crapshoot cause you just don’t know what you’ll get on race day! I’ve had good luck training in the fall for an early December marathon – but both years the marathon has been on the warmer (for me) side and kinda humid.

      • Kiersten says:

        Ha! I don’t know why I’ve never tried a December race- I’ve only been running for like 15 years and it never occurred to me!

        • kilax says:

          LOL! They’re even so hit or miss though! Really… at this point… I think I will just keep my mileage up and check the weather and register 10 days before (even though the weather will change a ton). That is what I did for my last marathon and it worked! Ha ha.

  9. Karen says:

    Congrats on a great finish!!
    Wind is tough stuff and you pushed out your second best, that is strong 🙂
    Congrats to Rachel.
    I know I am not supposed to notice, but you are looking super fit!
    I keep trying have my “happy” runs right now, Ia m so glad my feet are cooperating…I know that last good run is looming lol I am trying to brace myself.
    The super cheese is really cute!

    • kilax says:

      Thanks! 🙂

      LOL. Thanks for saying I look fit. I only posted the “nice” photos. I am not in very good shape right now. Ha ha.

      What do you mean last good run?!?!?!?!?

      • Karen says:

        The last run before I get the summer shuffle because I feel 30 pounds heavier… LOL Last year it was taking me 66 to 68 minutes to run a 10K, when typically I can run one in about an hour.
        I enjoyed this morning, but who knows it could have been last decent run for awhile lol

  10. Congratulations on not marching to your death 😉 The photo of the sand looks insane!

  11. Well done!! The wind…espec the mini sandstorm would have drove me nuts. I’m glad you enjoyed it. WEird but awesome that the temperatures droped towards the end

    • kilax says:

      Thanks!

      Yeah, we have weird weather shifts like that here – a really hot day before then a storm comes in so the am is warmer than the pm!

  12. Rachel says:

    Aww thanks for the kind words! I couldn’t have done it without you!

    I was really happy that you had a strong race. Nice job staying positive!!!!

    I’m so happy the wind didn’t get to either of us because I know it demoralized a LOT of runners out there. I was getting pissed at these guys near me that kept bitching about the wind and hills. SHUT UP!

    I wonder if knowing the course so well was an advantage? I knew when the turnaround was coming so I knew it would get SO MUCH BETTER at that point. So I just had to tell myself to ‘hang on’ until mile 7-8. Then having the wind at my back was so glorious for the next 4 miles. That last mile almost broke me though. Hahah. Thank god it was mile 13!

    I laughed and laughed at the sand storm too. How freaking ridiculous was that?

    • kilax says:

      You’re welcome 🙂 And thanks for having me as your coach!!! 🙂 I enjoy(ed) it!

      Thanks!

      Gosh, I am happy I didn’t hear anyone bitching about the wind. I made a joke to one guy going in to it, about how awesome it was (and how great the turnaround would be) and I mentioned it being nice at our backs to one other lady… but that was it. Bitching about the weather during the race just makes me cranky!

      Oooo, you are so right – I bet it did help us to know when the turn was coming (and really, when it ISN’T – cause it’s hard to tell since the course winds). I wonder if any first timers to the course will come back :-/

      Wouldn’t it have been horrible if you were going for a PR on South Shore and had this weather with the wind in your face for the entire second half?! Thank heavens we had it for those four miles going back. And a reminder in the last mile of the deal we made to get those four miles. Ha.

      Ha ha, when we were running by the sand, on the way back, I wanted to say to someone “What are we running on, Tatooine?” But I didn’t think anyone would get it. I should have tried. Ha. Your comment just reminded me I was thinking that! 🙂

      • Rachel says:

        What if the person had responded, “Actually it feels more like we are running on Jakku!”???!?!?!?

  13. Staci says:

    Great job! I knew a couple people running in it and they said the wind sucked. One of them ran the Earn your Mittens challenge and did the full. She said it was killing her the last few miles. ugh.
    I don’t like running in the wind much, well, unless its at my back but all things considered I think you did an excellent job!

  14. Alyssa says:

    Great race! You really never know what the weather is going to be like in the spring! Well, that probably goes for every season but it will most likely be HOT during summer!
    I’m glad you had a positive race with no death-marching. I’ve thought about doing this race for several years but I can’t get it together to train for a spring race.

    • kilax says:

      Yeah, living out here, every season is up in the air, but especially spring!

      Are you doing any running only events this year? 🙂

      • Alyssa says:

        I haven’t signed up for anything but triathlons yet but we will see. I’d like to do a half marathon or something just to give myself some variety in training! Or even a 5k and then just running extra later!

        • kilax says:

          Cool! Same tris as before, or new ones?!

          I hope you find a race you’d like to do! 🙂

          • Alyssa says:

            Repeats! Door County and Ironman Wisconsin. This does remind me that I do not race very much during Ironman training! It’s hard to miss long training rides for short races!

  15. Lesley says:

    Great job! Wind can be rough, but I don’t do well in heat. You look like you had a good time.

  16. Kristina says:

    Love that first picture of you! The others are great too, but there is so much joy – and laughter! Also, I think that your splits look pretty good. Sometimes, it’s nice to not focus on that “what are my splits” and just a run the race that you can. And I’m with you on the “Spring is crazy” weather-wise. I’m not ready for the heat of summer, but I’m ready for the random snowstorms to be over!

    • kilax says:

      Thanks 🙂

      My splits had naturally been negative during so many of my training runs I was hoping that would transfer to race day! But yeah, not with wind like this, and it really doesn’t matter, since I don’t feel like I blew up, and ran the race I could 😉

      Man! You guys get snow until June, right? That reminds me that I dreamed last night that it snowed here!!!

  17. Amy says:

    Woo hoo! Congratulations!!! And it seems like the wind helped you more than it hurt you, so that was good. And that sand – gawd!

    Great pictures – good job, Steven!

  18. Heather says:

    I’m so happy that you had such a strong race! Wind can be really brutal but finishing so strong is awesome!

  19. Pete B says:

    Congrats on your 2nd fastest PR! I like your attitude about laughing when you run into strong headwinds. If the wind weren’t so strong do you think you would’ve PR’d? I’m with you that I’d much rather have the conditions you had than sun and heat. I’m currently loving my cool and rainy morning runs. Fingers crossed that it lasts a little longer! Congrats again! 🙂

    • kilax says:

      Thanks! 🙂 I think I would have had a slight PR (probably around 1:50) if it hadn’t been so windy. 🙂 Oh well!

      Yes! I am loving the rain and cool. People keep complaining to me about it. Ha ha ha.

      • Pete B says:

        Yeah, no one else I know likes this type of weather except for you! Thank goodness I can go to your blog to find someone of the same mindset! 🙂

        • kilax says:

          Likewise! It’s so nice to have someone who gets it! I don’t hate the sun, but I do enjoy some gloomy, cool days 🙂

  20. Mica says:

    Yay, I’m glad this race treated you well finally! Or maybe I should say, I’m glad you have a good feeling about this race experience, despite some crazy wind. I cringed at the “dunes” photo, imagining you getting sandblasted along the lake.

    So what has been your best year for this race?

    • kilax says:

      Thank you! I think my best year was the first year I ran it (2009), when it was my first half. I felt fantastic after, like I could have kept running forever!

  21. Kayla says:

    Congrats on a great race!! Way to battle the winds, sounds like it was crazy! Love the cape on the medal!:)

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