This past weekend, I ran the 2017 Door County Half Marathon for my sister’s birthday. She asked me about running it and we’d do a girls’ weekend… yes! My cousin joined in on the fun and we had a great 48 hours in Wisconsin.
We kicked off the weekend on Friday, where we hit up the packet pick up. They had a small expo, where I found a replacement for my favorite handheld water bottle and some Honey Stingers (yes, I’m the worst, and always forget the important stuff before the race).
We split a salad, pasta and french fries for our pre-race dinner and went back to the hotel pretty early. I ended up falling asleep by 10:30… and, oddly, the race wasn’t until 10 a.m.! So I was able to sleep until 7:30 a.m. before we had to catch the shuttle at 8 a.m. (we stayed at the Parkwood Lodge).
I think we got to Peninsula State Park just after 8:30 and had a good hour and half before the race started. They had SO many port-a-potties and I did not see a line deeper than three or four people the entire morning. Best ever!
After checking our bags (I know, I finally did a bag check!) we headed to the start around 9:30 a.m. It’s a pretty quick walk, and I hung out with my sister and cousin for a bit before I moved up in the corral.
At 9:50 a.m., I turned on my music — this was going to be the first race that I ran with music! And my headphones (VolumeMaker) were working like a charm, but a few minutes later, my Bluetooth decided to stop connecting and I could not get them to work! I finally gave up at 9:57 a.m. while panicking slightly and put everything away… just in time to say hi to an old friend form high school! And then we were off (a race that started on time, score!).
The first few miles were pretty flat, probably a slight uphill incline, but early in the race, it didn’t feel like anything major. I hit my first mile at a 7:30 average, and was like hmm, how does everything feel? And then I hit my second at a 7:30 average, and was still feeling pretty solid. My third slowed to a 7:34 and the fourth, a 7:44. But it was the fifth that was the real story.
This is when the hills started… an 8:40! I was figuring I would slow down a little bit, but not to that extent. The next mile, I was at an 8:02 and legit was starting to think about my retirement (which my sister thinks is hilarious, btw). I don’t know if anyone else feels this way during a race, but I always get to a point in a marathon or half marathon where I just feel like I hate it all… it hurts, the finish feels so far away and I just want to be done. So, this course was probably the worst of any that I ran, but I was legit thinking that maybe running competitively wasn’t for me and that I should just… quit.
At mile 7, I heard someone cheering for the pacers (1:45) behind me and I was SO mad, not at them because I’m sure they are nice people. But mostly because I didn’t want to fall behind them because mentally, I fall apart. At this point, I dug in and started thinking about how I needed to expand that gap.
Mile 7 – 8:07
Mile 8 – 8:14
Mile 9 – 8:01
So these are the miles where the hills were the worst, and I pretty much died. I don’t know if I’m not yet recovered from the Boston Marathon, but it literally felt like someone was pulling me backwards as I tried to get up the hills. Note to self: In the future, hill work would be a good thing.
At mile 9, I heard a woman shout “it’s downhill from here!” and I got really excited. I told myself that I have the endurance to push, that yes, my legs hurt, but from an endurance standpoint, I GOT THIS. And so, I went for it.
There was another girl who I think had a similar thought, so we were chasing each other through the downhill. I looked at my Garmin at one point and it said we were running a 6:30ish pace, whatttt. We hit a bit of a rolling uphill and she waved at me to follow her but I knew I still had another three-ish miles to go, so just smiled and waved her on.
Turns out, mile 10 was a reset –> 7:32 avg mile! I kept up the pace I was running (still downhill and flats so felt pretty good) and hit another 7:32! I knew that I was super close to a PR, so kept pushing… but a little bit of a hill in mile 12 gave me a bit of a hiccup, giving me a 7:49 mile for mile 12.
I hit the straightaway right before the finish and saw that it was about 20 seconds until my PR. I tried to kick it into the fastest gear that I had left, and was like… “no, there’s no way that I’m going to finish at the same exact PR time.” (this thought only ran through my head after I getting the old-new PR at Grandmas Marathon last year.)
Sure enough, I crossed the finish line… at 1:41.24. The same PR time I have from a half marathon in 2012. I immediately tried calling Melissa 4 times but thanks to the service, no such luck. I later saw that my time was nine seconds over my PR, and then learned that was the gun time — not the chip time. The chip time ended up being… yep, you guessed it. My PR time down to the second. For the second time in my life, I’ve managed to tie my PR for a long distance down to the second.
Luckily, that time also got me fourth in my age group. Which is an awesome feeling! My sister set an almost 30 minute PR for herself!! She ran a 2:14 and change, and my cousin, in her first half marathon, ran a 2:13!!
It was such a fun weekend, and such a great race!! I absolutely love Peninsula State Park and think it’s absolutely beautiful. I spent a lot of time here when I was a kid and it was great to be back and enjoy it once again. It was also super fun to spend the weekend with my sister… this is why I moved back to the Midwest so that I can enjoy times like this once again!
Things to know about the Door County Half Marathon
- It *does* sell out… it wasn’t until closer to race day, but yes, it does sell out. So register early!
- The shirts this year ran really small. I swear the small and medium womens’ shirts looked like they were exactly the same size!
- Even though it’s May, it is cold up in Door County! Luckily, their bag check is really easy, but the temps were in the 40s… brr! Perfect for running in my opinion 🙂
- They had a pretty cool post-race festival, but when they did awards, it was weird that they didn’t do it on the stage?! So you couldn’t really hear, it was really awkward.
- OMG, the logo. Please tell me that it looks a little bit phallic to you because some people don’t really see it… but I really wish they would change the shirt designs so I don’t feel like I’m going to make every 17-year-old boy turn red in the face. 😉
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