A couple weeks ago I registered for the Sweetest Day Half Marathon, a small local-ish race on trails near Oconomowoc. I did some long runs on trails, and structured hill repeat workouts to get ready for it. I’m so glad I did some homework for this event!
The event had a 5K, 10K and a half marathon. We all started at the same time on the same loop. The half marathoners did two loops, and then in the middle of the third loop turned right for a shorter last loop. There were only mile markers for the first four miles.
My first loop felt strong. It was hillier than I expected and I was so happy that I did those hill repeats! The second loop I could tell I was petering out a little, but when it felt hard I’d remind myself to be grateful for life, living and breathing. I had a friend who I was thinking about out there.
I continued charging up the hills. This course was beautiful too, I’d go as far to say it’s the most beautiful half marathon course I’ve ever been on. Bright yellow and orange trees splattered throughout. Some parts of the trails were covered in yellow leaves. It was such a joy to be out there, until the last 5K, but even then it was so beautiful!
The last 5K was the most challenging last 5K I’ve ever experienced. I’d shoot up a long hill, turn a corner only to find that the hill kept going. It was like a roller coaster of hills. There was one corner I turned and faced basically a dirt wall. There were some hikers going up it and I didn’t want them to hear how heavy my breathing was. I sprinted up it, and even when I got to the top, it wasn’t the top and kept going up.
When I finally finished, doing airplane arms down the chute, I knew my finish time was too quick for how that last 5K went. Unfortunately this beautiful half marathon course was only 12.7 miles. I asked other runners, they all had the same mileage on their GPS watches.
My other gripe about this awesome event is that they used my USAT age for ranking. The reason they use USAT is that this run is part of a series, so this keeps it fair for to those participating in the series. I’m 34 years old right now, they ranked me as a 35 year old because that’s how old I’ll be at the end of the year. If I had been ranked as my actual age right now I would have placed third. Third in the 30-34 age group finished five minutes behind me. That’s frustrating.
On the bright side, my speedy husband finished first in his age group, and third overall! Wow. Beast!
I’m happy with my solid effort and deserving a third place medal. So happy that I registered for a full marathon on November 6th! Let’s keep the fall running love going!