The night before the race, I went out to my very first beer tent EVER. Probably not the smartest idea ever. I had one drink with some friends, had fun people watching and headed out around 10:30. I had my clothes laid out for the race already and tried to head to sleep. I got about 5.5 hours of sleep when the alarm went off at 5 am on Saturday morning. I got dressed, applied my makeup (shocker!) and downed a greek yogurt, banana and Refuel energy bar. I downed a bottle of water and a Diet Mountain Dew during my solo 45 minute drive to Fort Atkinson. Packet pick up was located near the start line at a neighborhood school. I parked easily on a side street around 6:15 and the race started at 7:00. I went to pick up my packet and there were about a dozen people doing the same. Packet pick up was easy, the race was chip timed, but they ran out of several sizes of the technical tops (said they would mail me my medium). I used a porta-potty (only sole in line) and headed back to the Marathon Mommy Minivan to affix my timing chip and race bib.
I sent a text to my cousin who ran the race last year, was going to spectate, and I had hoped to meet up with her. But, she decided not to come out. So, I headed towards the start line after downing another banana and then headed to the growing porta-potty line. I started chatting a bit with a dude behind me that ran the IceBreaker Indoor Half Marathon that I was supposed to have run in January. I used the porta potty and walked across the lawn to the start line. It was kind of weird being by myself at a race again while others have their "support crews" of their spouses and children or were there with their running buddies. So, I stood in an open area, near a cute lady in a fun pink top. She smiled at me and lit up as she said "Hi, I'm Margaret ... Are you Jamie?! I stalk your blog". I couldn't believe what I was hearing!! That made my morning, as I was feeling lonely. We chatted a bit about the Prairie du Chien Half Marathon that she did and I was supposed to do in May. She said that her family had drove today's course the day prior and it was SUPER hilly. I was shocked, because I had heard it was scenic and flat. Oh man ... I didn't know what was in store for me. Although, I don't know if I would've even glanced at the course elevation map (HERE), that I would've been able to make head or tails from it honestly?!?! We chatted a bit and then we were off ....
Margaret (HERE) and I at the start line (apparently a little bit shocked that there were cameras at the start line?!?!).
The first few miles we were heading through residential neighborhoods. A lot of the families were out spectating and several were hosing us off with sprinklers. Then the country hills started ..... one after another ... until mile 7. I don't know exactly how many gigantic hills there were (about ten?) ... because honestly ... I lost count. It was insane! I could not believe it and was NOT prepared (nor were my legs). It was pretty much country roads and there were quite a few spectators out that I saw a few times, so it must have been easy enough to cheer people on. I took lemon-lime Gatorade at every aid station and used my handheld water bottle during the entire race. It was warm, humid and the sun was shining down hard on me. I could feel my face getting red. Around every corner there were well marked signs (along with the volunteers) that told us where to go and even said if there was water up ahead. It was really helpful. We headed into town and through the downtown area, including the farmer's market. I was feeling better after the ridiculous hills were behind me. We headed out through an industrial area and one last gigantic hill, past the cemetery and then finished out on a running path towards the finish line.
I stopped my watch, received my sweet medal and grabbed an orange slice and a bottle of water. I believe they also had chocolate milk, bagels and bananas. I found Margaret and her pink shirt in the crowd with her family. She had taken off in front of at the start of the race and I believe was hoping to run 1:48-1:52. She ended up running 1:55 and some change and complained about the hills, too. Her husband snapped a FEW quick photos of us before I headed home to shower and pick up Little Diva and Little Dude.
(technical tee & race towel not pictured)
14/52 age group