My parents and I got to the park just after 8 a.m. on Saturday morning and after meeting up with my brother, his wife and their kids, we only had to wait around for about 30 minutes before the race started. It was a little chilly out - about 35 degrees with a ton of sun and no wind - so it was a bit cold, but not to bad. We eventually headed over to the start line and I found us a spot in about the middle of the pack - ahead of a huge cluster of strollers, but it turns out it was still a bit too far back because there were a ton of walkers that I ended up having to weave through.
Before we knew it it was go time.
I really didn't have any expectations going into this race. My running hadn't been very stellar in October, but I was pretty sure I could turn in a decent time, even if it wasn't a PR. I just wanted to see what I could do.
Right out off the bat the race starts with a pretty decent downhill as we head out of the park and along the river. I was running, letting gravity pull me downhill and I saw my oldest nephew run past me. I figured my brother or his wife were right behind me. Let's just say I got a bit of a shock when I glanced to my right and saw my 60-year-old father running downhill next to me.
Uh, there's no way I'm letting my Dad beat me downhill. And I might have told him that as I took off. I didn't see him again until the finish line.
I got down hill and kept running. I knew after a short flat section along the river we'd be heading back uphill. It's not a very long incline, but it's fairly steep. And it feels long. I admit, I wasn't sure how the hill was going to feel. Even though I ran a ton of them this summer, I haven't touched a hill since Fox Cities just over a month ago. And while the hill was brutal, I made it to the top and ran every step. I did take a short walk break at the top though. I kept running after that. Through some neighborhoods and another park, past a high school and through a water stop at about 1.8 miles.
We ran through another neighborhood and before I knew it, I was rounding the corner and the western edge of the park was coming into view again. I knew it was just about a half mile and I'd be at the finish line. I picked up the pace, crossed over some railroad tracks and turned the corner. A tiny wanna-be uphill and I was turning into the park and making my way to the finish line. I picked up the pace again, and based on how I felt, I probably left a little too much in the tank before that finish chute kick.
I ended up finishing in 30:32, not a PR, but I'm pretty happy with it. And it's definitely a PR for the course (I ran this race in 2009 and turned in a time of 34:11).
I didn't pay much attention to my Garmin during the race, but I was aiming to keep my splits between 9:50-10:00 pace. I ended up turning in splits of 9:43, 10:06, 9:52 and :50. Remember Mile 1 had the uphill/downhill combination and the short walk through the water station was accounted for in Mile 2. Pretty happy with those numbers.
So I'd say it was a good day. After I got down, I helped cheer for the rest of my family as they came in. And yes, I got some compliments on my race "costume," too bad it didn't send any good vibes the Badgers' way - for the second week in a row they lost a heart breaker courtesy of a Hail Mary pass. I swear. That team is going to be the death of me.