The Lake Country Half Marathon in Oconomowoc was the first of 3 races of my Labor Day weekend. The others were the Green Lake Half Marathon in Green Lake, WI, and the Labor Day 10K in Midland, MI.
This was the first year that the Lake Country Half Marathon did not fall on the same day as the Badgerland Striders Half Marathon (formerly 20K), and therefore, my first time participating.
The half marathon course starts and ends at the Crosspoint Community Church, runs along Hwy 67 for a short stretch, winds through subdivisions and does a loop around Fowler Lake. It offers decent scenery, a couple small hills, plenty of water stops and friendly volunteers.
My running buddy Dennis Hanna is doing the Fish Creek YMCA 5K in Door County, so he and I have a little wager. He's betting I will break 1:35, and I am betting he will break 25.
As is typical in the midwest, we get a sudden drop in temperatures. All week we had temperatures in the 80s, and race morning, we awake to 50 degrees and a stiff wind. Great running weather when you've had a chance to acclimate, but a tad chilly when its thrown at you at the last minute.
Huddling in the church doorway closest to the start, trying to hide from the wind, I chat a bit with Chris Ponteri of InStep, and race director of the InStep Icebreaker Indoor Marathon. We discuss our expectations, or lack there of. Both of us are a bit unsure of how well we'll be able to run, for various reasons.
We wait as long as we can before joining the field for the 7am start. My plan is
to run this one fairly hard, but still feel strong at the end. At mile 3, webmaster and husband Bill is taking pictures.
The final stretch of the course was a bit rough. After running on pavement for 13 miles, we are directed to the grass area adjacent to the parking lot. The ground is soft and the grass is long, which is great for trail running, but a bit awkward when trying to hold a 7:10 pace. It is like the various parts of your legs all start arguing with each other, and I felt like one of those wooden marionette puppets in Team America World Police.
I finished with a net time of 1:33:56, so Dennis won his bet. He ran a 24:41 at his 5K, so I won my bet. Chris Ponteri ran a 1:22:32, which was a 2 minute PR. Too bad I didn't place that bet.
The post race food was great: mini quiches, pizza, big chocolate chip cookies, strawberries and grapes, in addition to standard choices like bananas and bagels. The mini quiches and strawberries were my favorite - really hit the spot.
We hung around a bit with facebook runner friends Heather, Jackie, and Dawn. I introduced Chris to his fb runner friend Heather. I am glad to know I am not the only one with facebook runner friends that I have not met in person yet. And was glad to meet Dawn in person today.
The finisher medals for the half marathon participants were really nice. The race shirt was okay. The smallest size offered was too big, as usual. My 1:33 earned me first in my division, and I received a nice trophy.