|Near the start line|
|Start/Finish Chute pre-race|
The race was soon underway and off we went. I fell behind the pace group right away. The start was crowded and hard to get through. I wasn't going to waste energy weaving so I just did my thing and caught up a couple hundred yards later. About a half mile in we already shot up our first hill and I was hoping I'd be able to hang on. By mile 2 I was ahead of the 1:59 pace group and separating. I was feeling decent and decided to go with it. I definitely made sure to walk through water stations to get every last drop though. The area around the mile 4 marker was just nuts. You drop 50 feet in a quarter mile then make a sharp turn. I tried to just go with gravity on the downhill portions, but this section was too steep and my quads are feeling it today.
The course and elevation map for the race - http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/fullscreen/250551525/
After mile 4 we wound up on a trail going up and down the Fox River which was pretty nice. Most the course was actually shaded which helped a ton. Things were nice and easy on the path and I picked up the pace a little bit. We left the trail around mile 6.5 and thus began a series of climbs through side streets and a neighborhood. Some of these were monsters. We finally stopped climbing around mile 9.5. I spent the next mile and a half cruising and letting my legs recover. We re-entered a path around mile 11 and I settled behind a guy and his g/f and he seemed to be coaching her along letting her know what a great job she was doing. They picked up the pace and I let them lead the way for me. The 12th mile featured a net 100 foot drop so that made for a quick mile. I stopped for water shortly after the 12 mile marker and had trouble getting my legs going again after that. My energy was finally spent, maybe I should of taken the gu they were offering at mile 8. I willed my way through the final mile. The mile 13 marker is at the beginning of a bridge so the finish is a bridge, a street crossing, then the finishing chute which was kind of neat. I looked down at my watch and saw 1:55:43. That's exactly 6:30 slower than my PR, but far faster than some of my halfs. I call it a victory after being sick and tired all week. Its really a victory considering the hills on the course and the fact that the temperature was about 80 when I finished.
|Finishing chute during race|
|Post race party|
The post race atmosphere was just as great. There was a tent set up with pizza, pop, water, gatorade, pretzels, granola bars, oranges, and bananas. It was a help yourself free for all. There was also a tent with all the Sam Adams you could drink. There wasn't a beer ticket to cash it, just have a runner's bib? Ok here's your beer. I refrained from drinking though, given the drive home I had after. I settled for Dr. Pepper and pizza. I walked around a bit, and then found a spot in the shade and just soaked in the atmosphere. The medals for the finishers were also pretty cool.