Search This Blog

Monday, April 22, 2013

Race Recap: Oshkosh Half Marathon

Lakefront Brewing Wisconsinite
Seriously delicious!
We drove up to Oshkosh on Saturday afternoon, checked in to our hotel and grabbed a drink at the bar before meeting up with Brenda, Alex & Kristi for dinner.  For all of the races I've completed in Oshkosh we've always had our pre-race dinner at Gardina's Wine Bar and they never disappoint.  The service is top notch and the food is to die for... I shared a fig flatbread with Alex as an appetizer had a salmon/beet salad for my entree and shared a blackberry cobbler with Dan for dessert.  That was quite possibly the best pre-race meal EVER.  It was so good that I ate it before I even thought to get a photo.

After dinner we went back to the hotel to get some solid hours of sleep.  Unfortunately, there were some clowns in our hotel who had decided we didn't need good sleep.  Generally the night before a race I don't sleep well anyway and end up waking up every hour or so but this was worse because there was a lot of noise which made falling back to sleep a problem.  I think I finally fell asleep around 3 am and was startled awake at 5 am.  I felt awful and dreaded even getting out of bed.  My throat was really sore, I was tired (from the lack of sleep) and I was worried that I hadn't packed the right clothing for the weather.  Regardless, I got up, put peanut butter on my bread and tried to figure out what combination of clothing I could put together that would be warm enough.  Dang, Wisconsin is cold.

Once dressed, we headed out to the start line.  Have I mentioned that I love these types of races (small town) because you can park really close to the start and you can get there about 20 minutes before the start of the race?  Perfect!  Especially on a cold April morning!  I hit the bathroom one last time and went out in search of the 2:20:00 pacer (who I'd planned to follow for at least the first half of the race).  We listened to a group of Boston Marathoners speak to the crowd, we sang the National Anthem and I thanked Dan (who ran the 5K like a champion!) for being a fabulous and supportive husband.  He left to go find the back of the crowd to line up for the 5K and then we were off.

My running pose around mile 13
The beginning of the Oshkosh race is crowded because the 5K and the Half Marathon start at the same time.  I tried to stay close to the pacer for fear of getting too far behind and getting discouraged.  The pace was great and the pacer and group I was running with seemed friendly which definitely helped.  I sort of wanted to run faster but I was afraid of wasting energy so I just stuck with the pacer.

Mile:   1-10:46
Mile:   2-10:45
Mile:   3-10:31
Mile:   4-10:35

Around mile 5 as we left the Wiowash trail I pulled ahead a little bit so that I could walk while I took my first chews and water.  My hands were really cold and it took me longer to get my chews out and open than it should have but I finally did and then I was back running.

Mile:   5-10:28
Mile:   6-10:39

I'd decided to take 2 chews every 2 miles - it was easy to remember plus it gave me something to look forward to - as in - I only have to run 2 more miles and then I get a little walk break and a snack!  I'd fallen behind the pacer after mile 7 and was trying to catch up but it seemed like I couldn't quite get there and decided to just keep on the pace I was running and try to keep them in my sights.  I saw Dan around mile 8.5 and that was a huge boost to my ego.  We traded water bottles (so I had fresh Nuun) and I told him I was tired (which I was) but I kept on running.

Mile:   7-10:24
Mile:   8-10:20

Getting closer to the finish line
As we went into mile 9ish we ran into South Park and I got a little discouraged because as I was entering the park I saw the pacer coming out of the park.  I just couldn't seem to find the energy to speed up to catch them so I just tried to keep running with only short walk breaks to take more chews and water.

Mile:   9-11:25
Mile: 10-11:37

I'd been thanking people along the course all morning.  Both volunteers, people cheering and police officers who were directing traffic.  The event is spectacularly organized and I loved all the course support.  I was walking briskly and I was trying to run as much as I could but I was slowing down.  I called Dan to tell him that I was moving slowly and I was behind the 2:20 pacer (I couldn't even see him anymore) so that he wouldn't be worried when he saw the group come in without me.  When I realized there was about 3/4 of a mile to go I started running, albeit slowly, but I was running.  I felt tired and my legs were hurting but I knew I needed to run.

New Hardware - Oh HELL YES!
As I came up to the bridge I saw a Police Officer directing traffic.  I ran towards him and asked him if I could get some knucks.  He held up his hands and gave me the much needed attitude boost that I needed.  I ran over the bridge and hopped onto the path towards the finish.  I saw Dan and stopped to pose for a picture!  It was only a split second and then I was running again.  As I made the final turn my legs started moving faster than I thought possible.  I saw Dan running towards the finish and just before I entered the finishing chute I saw Brenda, Alex and Kristi cheering for me.  I pushed hard to the finish and when I saw the clock I choked back tears, crossed my hands over my heart and proudly crossed the finish line.

Mile:  11-12:59
Mile:  12-13:48
Mile:  13-12:15

Official time:  2:28:24.40

Who else raced this weekend?  How did it feel?


  1. Congrats! It was not a very nice day to run but you did great! I might have to run the half next year. :)

    1. You really should! It is a ton of fun... I can't wait to do it again. I also can't believe I just said that. HAHA

  2. Congrats! I love the medal :). I usually get terrible sleep the night before a race too. That's what coffee and adrenaline are for, lol!

    1. So true... the adrenaline took me through the beginning of the race I think. The Honey Stinger chews helped after mile 7!! :)

  3. I did this race too! It was cold and SO windy at parts! I saw the 2:20 guy pass me, so you must have come past me! I finished in 2:30:50 and had a sparkle skirt on!

    1. I was a little surprised by the weather and hadn't packed the long sleeve shirt I usually wear to run. It was almost an after thought that I even grabbed the pink jacket that I ended up wearing! Yikes! Those springtime races/runs can really catch a girl off guard, huh?

      I remember passing one sparkle skirt... someone wearing that with long black pants underneath. Maybe it was you? What a small world! Maybe next year we can meet up?

    2. I didn't see any other ones around! My friend walked with one, but I don't think you would have passed her so it must have been me! I was definitely hoping for something warmer!

    3. I don't think that I saw others around either ... I ran the 5K last year and it was the most beautiful day. A lot of sun but still cool so I was really hoping for that weather again. Oops! Guess you can't predict Wisconsin weather! Oh well - it was still an awesome day.

    4. WOW! I was looking through photos and saw the sparkle skirt! Were you bib 866?

    5. Yep that's me! Where are the pictures? I wish I would have tried to keep up with you!

    6. The photos are here:

      Let me know if you're running other area races - maybe we can run together sometime. You can email me at mcelroy (dot) jen (at) gmail (dot) com

    7. Oh, those two are not very good. :( I'm in Chicagoland and do lots of my longer runs in Wheaton.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Congratulations on an incredible achievement! I only dream of someday finishing sub-2:30. (Right now, I'm in a panic fighting for sub-3!) Be proud and enjoy your success.

    1. Thank you! I am definitely enjoying what I've done and realizing how far I've come. It also makes me look forward to what might be next - there is always room to improve (at least in my mind!)