12 April 2010

Mt. Pleasant 1/2 Marathon

I'm not sure what took me so long to get this race report written, but it's finally done. Of course, I forgot the cord to upload some of my pics, so I guess I'll roll with what I have.

Last fall, Julie and I were talking about racing and decided that we were going to do a spring race before I head to Utah. She picked the Mt. Pleasant 1/2 Marathon in Racine or Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin. I booked a hotel room and then put the weekend thoughts away for awhile, since we had months before the actual race. Fastforward to April 1...

Julie and I have been walking together this winter. I've felt more like walking than running and I always enjoy Julie's company. Neither of us were really "training" but I wasn't worried at all about the race. I figured that it would be a fun 13.1 mile walk with a good friend. Julie got around to registering for the race and I got around to printing out directions and making plans and then it was race weekend.

Julie and I drove up to Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin on a Friday afternoon. We sort of managed to miss the Chicago traffic (thank goodness) and used all of Julie's change to pay all of the blasted tolls. We had a discussion about these tolls and whether or not they actually truly do improve the roads in Illinois. We arrived at packet pickup and Julie promptly drove us off of a small cliff in the parking lot. I think we both thought that she had ripped the undercarriage out of her cute car. We grabbed our packets and then headed to the hotel. We checked in and Julie noticed a sign in the lobby that I was the guest of the day.

This was very amusing...especially after finding out that the hotel was doing renovations and we would get to hear them during our stay on the 3rd floor, where all of the renovations were occurring. I did get some cookies though and a couple of VIP bottles of water, so I guess being the guest of the day at the Fairfield Inn does have some perks.

Julie and I headed to downtown Racine, which is actually a pretty cute town. I would consider going there for a weekend vacation. We had dinner at Salute, which is a family owned Italian restaurant, and it was fantastic! I had a log of lasagna that was probably the best lasagna I've had in a restaurant since I was in Italy. My dad makes a really mean lasagna, but this one was a close second.

After dinner, it was back to the hotel to get ready for a good nights sleep. Thankfully, the contractors were gone and it was quiet. I actually slept pretty good and woke up all ready to walk a 1/2 marathon. The race didn't start until 8am and we were literally less than 5 minutes from the start, so Julie and I got to sleep in and have breakfast at the hotel. I ate a waffle with peanut butter and I even got to make a deposit in a real bathroom at the hotel before we headed to the start.

It was a perfect race day temperature-wise, but it was SUPER WINDY. Cool at the start (around 40 F) and warming up. Julie and I headed to the back of the pack and discovered there were other walkers. That was a pleasant surprise. I think someone said "GO" and we were off. We started off by walking up and down some rollers. I was a little surprised that there were hills, but no was the beginning of the race. Oh...I should probably mention that I accidentally lied to Julie about there being food on the course. I could have sworn that I read there would be food at the aid stations. There was not. Anyways, we cruised along at about 15-16 min/mile pace and there were people behind us. We made our first turn and caught a good tailwind. I was feeling great. I was dressed perfectly and the sun was out and I was enjoying the Wisconsin country side.

We made our next turn and hit the crosswind again, along with a very foul garbage/farm smell. It was disgusting... At this point, Julie was starting to get hungry. She's a very diligent good nutrition taker when she races, unlike me, so she was feeling the lack of calories. We made another turn and it was into the headwind and uphill. This part of the race sucked. It's hard to walk uphill in a headwind. I was kinda glad that I wasn't running. Julie was super hungry at this point so I asked one of the police officers if he had snacks in his car. He said "negative." We made a turn out of the wind which was helpful and by mile 11 I was tired and ready to be done. I was done with the wind.

At the finish line, the wind was blowing so hard it was impossible to see the sign. They were out of medals and did not take pictures of us. The food was also mostly gone. Not a great finish party, but Julie and I finished in 3:33 or so. It was a fun race, but I was definitely glad it was done. I did like the course, but really wasn't digging the wind.

After the race, we headed back to the hotel to listen to painters and hammering and get ready for an afternoon in Racine. We enjoyed a delicious cheeseburger at a pub in downtown Racine and then it was determined that naptime was necessary. Julie crashed, but I got sucked into "The Lost Code" by Dan Brown. I was starving the entire weekend...and noshed on my guest of the day cookies. We had dinner at Jose's Blue Sombrero where they serve meatball tacos, and polish sausage tacos...mmm mmm mmm. I actually had a great meal and would eat there again.

Sunday morning was Julie's birthday breakfast, along with a stop for kringles and cheese. I had a blast and am totally looking forward to our next race weekend. We haven't decided where we'll meet up, but it will definitely be a fun girls weekend out!