Saturday, October 30, 2010

Haunted Hustle Half Marathon 2010 Report

Saturday, October 30, 2010
Middleton, WI

On Saturday I ran the Haunted Hustle Half Marathon in Middleton, WI, which is a suburb of Madison. I only had to drive 15 minutes to the start, which was super convenient. This was an inaugural event that included a marathon, half marathon and 10K. It was advertised as a "Ghost Tour" and Halloween race. People were encouraged to dress up in costume. I can't say that I'll ever get into the whole costume thing.

A little background: I ran 3 half marathons this summer:

Madison Half Marathon. Finish time 2:30, a personal worst. Hot, hot, hot. The race actually ended up getting canceled and runners pulled from the course due to the extreme heat.

DWD Devil's Lake Trail Half Marathon. Finish time 3:19. -2500 / +2500 elevation loss/gain.

Madison Mini Marathon. Finish time 2:23. Humid. Like running through soup.

Summer left me frustrated and upset. I churned out a decent 5K in the middle of all that, so I knew the speed was there. I just needed to put some pieces together. My plan for this race was to start out slowly and pick it up from there. I knew the first few miles had some hills and the rest was fairly flat. Starting temperature was in the 40s. My goal was to PR (sub-2:20), which was pretty much a given. My next goal was to go sub-2:15.
I started out nice and easy. We were running through some neighborhoods and I was just enjoying the atmosphere. We climbed a few decent sized hills. I bombed the downhills like I was out running the trails. It felt good.

Running through the neighborhood.

The next few miles took us on a crowded bike path, as it was an out and back. Suddenly we were all squished together as half the runners were running toward the turn around and the others were running back. I had to pull back a little here as it was difficult to pass. But I did see Anne at this point in the race and I think I said something super motivating like, "ANNE! Hey! How are you?!" Good going, Mandy.

Once we were out of the congested bike path, we hit an open section and it felt good to get around the slower people. After walking through a water station and sucking down a GU, I pulled out my iPod and cranked up the music a little after mile 6. It gave me a nice boost. I was feeling good at this point, so I figured it was time to pick it up.

Some time during the middle of the race.

Saw Anne again on another out and back and exchanged high fives. This whole race went by quickly for me. Before I knew it, I was at mile 10 and still feeling great. I knew my PR was in the bag, but I wasn't sure by how much because I missed a few of my splits. The last mile or two we were running into the wind. I kept hoping that we would turn a corner and I would have the wind at my back, but it seemed like it was blowing at me from every direction. Finally we're nearing the finish and I could hear the loudspeaker. A little detour on a bike path and I see that we only have to crest a small hill and then it's downhill to the finish line. I sprint past a few people who are ambling along and literally jump for joy over the finish line as I know that I have smashed my goal.


Mile 1 - 10:39
Mile 2 - 10:31
Mile 3 - 10:39
Mile 4 - 10:07
Mile 5 - 10:24
Mile 6 - 10:30
Mile 7 - 10:15
Mile 8 - 10:15
Mile 9 - 10:11
Mile 10 - 9:58
Mile 11 - 9:52
Mile 12 - 10:01
Mile 13 - 9:33

Official finish time 2:12:02. Almost a 10 minute PR!

Actually hopping over the finish line.

Quite possibly one of my funniest finish line pictures.

Finally I got my damn half marathon PR! I'd been waiting too long for this. Judging from my splits, I need to work on my pacing. I also finished with some energy to spare and my legs didn't really even hurt afterward. I have said repeatedly that I am no good at racing and it's true. I probably could have run this faster. My problem is that I don't have the drive or desire to push it as hard as I should to be a good road racer. I love being out there. I love running. I love running fast, but not fast enough that I'm hurting too much. So where does that lead me?

After 5 half marathons and countless shorter races, I have hit a point where I feel the need to do something different. I've absolutely fallen in love with the trails in the past year. I have no desire to run a road marathon, but a trail marathon? Let's just say that I may already have one picked out. In 2011 I plan on running as many trails as possible while prepping for a fall marathon. After 3 years of running, I think it's finally time!

T-shirt and medal from the race.

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