musings on running, life, and everything in between

Full Moon Half Marathon (Kohler, WI) Race Recap

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Sorry for the delay in the race recap, I’ve been wrestling with mental/physical health stuff. BUT, I think I have diagnosis–overtraining–which I’ll have to write up next.

OK, so Full Moon Half. My friends and I had signed up for this race last fall/winter. I think we had learned about the race after doing the Holy Family Marathon in Manitowoc, WI the past June. If not, I have no idea how we came across the race. Ha. Anyhow, there are a couple unique feature of this race. For one, it starts at 6 p.m. (hence the moon reference) and secondly, it’s a point-to-point from Plymouth, WI to Kohler, WI (for those uninitiated, point-to-point means you run from one point to another. No loops, no out and backs. Ideal for races, but logistically adds another point of coordination to transport runners to the start). It also sports “an overall downhill elevation,” but more on that in a bit. Initially, it was going to be me, Kirstin, Jenny, and Corinna. However, Jenny got injured forever ago and never did sign up, and Corinna realized she had promised to take her daughter to a concert the same evening (have I mentioned kids ruin everything?), so it ended up being just me and Kirstin from the original group. Another BFF runner, Alysha, signed up for it as her first half.

It’s a relatively small race. 243 people finished the half marathon and 48 people finished the 5k. None of us had realized quite how small the race was until we got there. It’s interesting, with the exception of marathons, I tend to walk rather blind into races. I’m not sure why that it is. Maybe because those aren’t my focus races?

I did end up getting made fun of most of the trip because I had expected an expo or at least a running store to be at registration/packet pick-up selling stuff. I was all out of Gu/blocks/etc. and didn’t have time to get some before I left. HA. It was like 3 people at the local high school, of which one was a 10-year-old girl. No expo.

Let me back up, though. I found myself struggling with what to pack as we were leaving so much earlier and then I didn’t want to be stuck in my wet race clothes on the ride home. We realized earlier in the week that Kohler is about 2.5 hours away. I think we had thought it was closer when we registered. I know, we’re brilliant. Packet pick-up was until 5, so we decided to leave shortly before 1 to ensure us enough time to comfortably get our packets, eat a snack, and get ready. We had gotten a few threatening emails about the bus service leaving folks behind if they weren’t ready (Remember, it’s a point-to-point, so unless you lived nearby and had someone to drop you off at the start, if you didn’t take the bus to the start, you would have to find a way back to your car after finishing. We had gotten an email stating there would be 2 buses, 1 at 4:45 and 1 at 5:15. If the buses were full or we didn’t get on them, we would be on our own getting to the start). I packed more than I needed, but then ended up forgetting a towel anyway.

The ride up was nice. I’ve only run with Alysha maybe once, but it was fun! I won’t divulge the ridiculous, raunchy conversation we had, but there was alot of laughing. What is it with women runners and conversations about body parts and functions?!

Anyhow, like I said, the packet pick-up was super small and quick. I was disappointed to see that the shirts were unisex, i.e., man-sized. Also, when the little girl said there was “free stuff” at the end of the registration table, it was deodorant. Not even a mini Clif bar. Sigh. They also asked where we were from, and when we said Chicago, they were really surprised. I guess the PGA was going on (I don’t golf or follow it, so I had no idea). Otherwise, it’s mostly a local-ish race. Kohler, WI is very pretty, though. There’s a major golf courses (hence the PGA), which someone told me costs hundreds of dollar to play, and a great spa, which a friend of mine has gone to with her mom.

We had a little bit of time to kill before the race, so I suggested a snack and Alysha suggested coffee. We split the difference and ended up at very nice cafe that was super-close, Craverie. It was fancy, and I felt a little conspicuous in my neon pink compression socks, but it had small baked goods, amazing chocolates, and coffee. Alysha ended up getting a bunch of macaroons and a coffee. Kirstin and I got some scones for before the race, and I bought a couple fancy chocolates. Gorgeous! They looked like jewels. Kirstin had planned ahead and brought a cooler, so I could stash the chocolates without them melting in the car. I was tempted by the cupcakes, especially since they were so cheap, but I’m learning more that I need to stop eating whatever I want before races, so I abstained. After eating our snack, we headed back to the high school.

I was very excited to discover that my phone had an easy-to-use timer function so I didn’t have to do a horrible selfie holding my phone. Alysha also told me the trick of flipping the phone so we could see the picture as it was counting down to take it. We are laughing hysterically in this picture because my phone had just fallen off the light fixture I’d used to prop it up.

Alysh, Kirstin, and myself  

There was alot of nervous going to the bathroom while we waited for the buses. Otherwise, we just hung out. I admired Kirstin’s very matching outfit, down to the Gu (which was actually from Alysha, who had overpacked, while Kirstin and I had under-packed–at least in that area).   On the bus to the start, we were talking about the last time we had been on a school bus. Alysha and Kirstin couldn’t remember. I realized mine was just last fall at the Des Plaines Trail Marathon (great race btw). There wasn’t enough parking at the start, so they directed folks to park off-site and take a bus to the start.
The race start at a park in Plymouth. We hung out for a bit, and then headed to the start around 5:50. It started in the park and quickly headed on to the Old Plank Road trail, which sadly was paved (I feel like there needs to be another word for a paved trail. “Trail” implies something not made from asphalt or concrete). We were a little surprised they played the national anthem before we headed to the starting area. There was no actual flag. The starting flags had an American flag print on them, which was where everyone turned, but it wasn’t really a flag. They also played it before we lined up or headed to the start, which was a little odd. I felt a little goofy looking at some posts during the anthem. 

I didn’t really have a strategy for the race. I decided I wasn’t going to go all-out for a PR, but I did need to run/race it as a half marathon race (according to the training plan). I was shooting for somewhere around 8’s. Sadly, I wouldn’t get that. Despite its claims of “overall downhill” and just “some” rolling hills, it was pretty hilly. I tried to get a picture from the top of a major climb to show you. It didn’t come out that great. 

You can see that the overall elevation IS downhill. However, I took that photo at the top of the first vertical climb around the 15 minute mark. I wasn’t ready for that. And you can see from the elevation map that ther were some sudden climbs (I know anyone outside of the Chicago area would laugh at this as a “climb,” but seriously it’s pancake flat around here). Total race elevation gained, 213 feet, total 409 ft. Snip20150812_1

For all my whining, I generally do ok with hills if they’re rolling or there are some plateaus to recover from. I passed alot of people, though, which was surprising to me. I had started in the back with the Alysha, Kirstin, and Sharon (another BFF runner we met up with), but over the course of the race made my way towards the front. I actually thought of Ragnar and the “kills” you make when you pass runners.

The course was somewhat scenic. It was a little weird because the course runs parallel to the highway, so while there is nature and wildflowers around you, you can also see the highway for most of the run. It WAS nice, though, having the temps get lower as you continued the race. The hills do seem to help break up the run a bit, and the spectators were pretty good. There weren’t alot, but I did see a grandfather and his granddaughter every possible chance–seriously, I think I saw them like 8 times. I felt pretty good most of the run. Obviously a tempo run is never quite comfortable, but I felt pretty strong. And to be honest, passing other runners is always a nice boost. I will say, though, I committed a grave runner sin at mile 10. I was coming over a hill and saw a runner just start walking. I generally don’t say anything to runners when I pass them (except at Ragnar. I will usually give encouragement then), but when I passed this guy, I thought about how close he was. Just a 5k. So I uttered those words every distance runner hates, “You’re almost there.” To the man with the very shiny, bright white basketball shorts, I am sorry.

Because I was passing so many people and my real-time pace on my watch has been wonky, I was a little disappointed by my finishing time. Depending on whether you’re going by my watch or the official time, I ran about an 8:14. I was trying to do that whole “running the tangents,” but as you can see from the 13.25 finishing distance, I was a tiny bit off. I honestly thought I had run closer to 8:10’s. I ended up 6th for my age group (only 26 seconds behind 5th! gah), and 18th out of all women.
One thing that was kind of nice about the end was that it had you finish on the high school track. I did have a brief, unpleasant flash of my speed workouts as I came around the bend. Still, it helped you punch through the end. The finish had drinks, orange slices, and Power bars. I walked the length of the track to cool down and wait for the others to finish. Everyone was pretty happy about their run. Kirstin had been worried about her ankle, but she felt pretty strong for most of the race. Alysha even had a woman she ran with for the majority of the race, which helped push them through the whole thing. The woman even came to find her after the race and take a picture with her.
I do like how shiny the medal is!
I have to say it was a bit painful getting dressed and undressed in the parking lot and car (hello Ragnar flashback again), knowing we were about to get in the car for another 2.5 hours. We had secret hopes that the high school would still be open. It wasn’t. We did stop at a Culver’s in Sheboygan to eat dinner (everything in Kohler closes early it would seem). I got home right before midnight, which was rough since I got up at 5 that morning to run.

Overall, it was a good race. And definitely one I would do if I was looking to try and place. Kirstin and I happened to catch the finishing time for 3rd place for our age group, and it was 27:?? We joked about bringing the whole BFF crew next year and sweeping. I might look at staying at a hotel afterwards too, though. Driving back so late after running for 2 hours is kind of rough.

Author: runNerdier

Marathoner. Academic. Mom of 2 ankle-biters.

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