Monday, September 8, 2014

Lake Michigan Trail Marathon

I had my eye on this race ever since it was announced. Yet, having already committed to Lakefront for the Fall, and not running as many races this year, I waited...like until the week before to sign up. I am so glad that I did not pass this one up.
This course is unique in the fact that it has portions of trail running through some of the Milwaukee area parks. I went in to this race treating it like a training run, so there was absolutely no pressure other than to run.

Bill was doing the announcing at the race, and he was the first person I saw right after I parked. He had agreed to take my drop bag for me, so that was convenient, and worked out well.
Participants received this bag!

I talked with Mary Flaws and Dennis right before the race, they were bib number 1 & 2 which cracked me up. As we got closer to the start of the race we moved up towards the front and were off.

The weather was humid, and it was foggy. It was kind of strange really as it limited visibility. We headed south, on paved trails that I have run on previously. Then the course took us into Seven Bridges Park. We went down stairs, over bridges, and through hiking trails. We entered another trail, which I was afraid that I was going to get lost. The trails were really well marked with yellow paint, however, there had been some rain the night before. I stopped once to look around and make sure I went the right way, and then kept going to see another yellow marking so I knew I was on the right path. 

My only complaint about this race was they could have had a few more people out on the course. The crap part about even complaining is that I know it rained the night before, I also heard from volunteers that some party-going people moved signs in the middle of the night, so that was unfortunate and completely out of the hands of the race director.

That being said, I didn't get lost physically, but I certainly did mentally. I had just finished my first week back at school. Always a bittersweet time of year, I love my job, and enjoy my summer. One of the things I didn't really get a chance to do was go back "home" for a visit. While out on the trails, I thought of back home, and being in the middle of nowhere, reconnecting with myself. At that point I had to remind myself that I was in Milwaukee, it was surreal. 
Photo by Bill Flaws Running in the USA.com

The race allowed me to naturally slow down on the trails, and pick my pace back up on the paved paths. 

It was fun coming past the finish on my way back towards the woods for a second loop, knowing that mental reprieve was coming. Coming out of the woods was a nice way to end a marathon, hitting the pavement and shifting back into cruise.

Post race deliciousness!
I was pleasantly surprised with my time, thinking the trail portion would have slowed me down a bit more. If you have ever contemplated a trail race, I would highly recommend giving this race a try. It is a very nice way to get a sample of what trail running is like, without it being the majority. I hope to recruit some people to do this with me again next year!
My results
I stuck around for a bit after catching up with some other stellar athletes, but had to head back home as my parents were coming to visit. It wasn't until I got home did I realize that this was marathon number 10 for me. Yay!

The rest of the day I hung out with my parents, hit St. Martin's Fair with my friend, and celebrated the end of summer.
Celebrating Summer!

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