Howdy, folks! Sorry for the delay in providing an update on the weekend's events - the daylight savings change appears to have wrecked havoc with my internal clock; I found myself falling asleep on Sunday night at around 8:00pm, and I was extremely busy with work yesterday, so I'm just getting a chance to update the 'ole blog now (during my lunch hour).
Not much to report other than I ran another half-marathon on Saturday and then went on an awesome bike ride with a co-worker on Sunday. No fish fry updates - I've been working with a nutritionist to help level-out my diet a bit, and as such am on a rather strict and structured plan through Thanksgiving. So far, so good - not many cravings, added a few calories, and am seeing some subtle improvements with recovery and body composition.
So, about that half-marathon. I was really nervous heading into it because my legs have been so sore, especially for the last five-to-six weeks. I had cut-down on my long runs in an effort to help recover, and while it probably helped my legs, it made me a little uneasy about the race... I'd normally like to be averaging 45-50 miles per week going into a half-marathon; I think I was closer to around 35 miles per week. But, they say it's better to be slightly "undertrained" than "overtrained," so I took my chances.
The half-marathon was held in Lake Mills, and was managed by the Tyranena Brewery. For those who are paying attention to my online diary, you'll no doubt recognize that name - they hosted an awesome bike ride a few weeks ago and have also become one of my favorite local breweries.
Truth be told, I wasn't much of a fan of Tyranena's beverages until just a few years ago. And quite honestly, I never really enjoyed beer at all until around 2007 - for some reason I hated the taste, the smell, and everything else about it. I'm not sure what changed, but I slowly grew to "tolerate" a lite beer every so often... and then I got into appreciating the more complex beers: bocks, dopplebocks, cask-conditioned ales, Scottish ales, and eventually (gasp!) imperial pale ales. Somewhere along the line, I rediscovered Tyranena's offerings and really took a shine to their Rocky's Revenge and some of their speciality/seasonal offerings (Oktoberfest, Shaggin' in the Woods, and "Spank Me Baby" (odd name, fantastic beverage)).
So it turns out that Tyranena not only crafts some fine beverages, they also know a thing or two about sponsoring and hosting athletic events. The bike race, as mentioned earlier, was absolutely stellar, and this weekend's foot race was no different - it was superbly managed in every respect. Rob, Stacey, and the rest of the Tyranena crew definitely deserve a massive round of applause for their hard work on these events!
I loaded-up the car on Saturday morning and made my way to Lake Mills, where I was shocked to find cars lined-up on the Interstate's exit ramp - all of them were waiting to exit the Interstate and make their way to the brewery. Apparently the 1700 participants (900 in the half-marathon, 800 in the one-sixth-marathon) all planned on arriving to the race about an hour early, just like me. :-)
Rather than take the prescribed route to the brewery, I snuck my way down some side streets and scored a good parking spot while dodging most of that long line of cars. I grabbed my registration packet, adorned my race bib and timing chip, and did some light stretching. The weather was cool - about 40F, but sunny, and there was just a slight breeze.
The brewery had an excellent DJ on-site; he was playing great pre-race music, and folks really seemed to be enjoying themselves. The pre-race atmosphere was calm and relaxed - there wasn't any confusion or uncertainty; another testament to Tyranena's organizational skills.
The starting horn sounded at 11:30am and I, along with about 900 other half-marathoners, took off for our 13.1-mile trek around Lake Mills. We headed down Mulberry street to the town square, then headed west toward the north side of Rock Lake. I started about mid-pack and chuckled to myself for the first 4 miles or so... I was getting passed by a bunch of folks, whom I could only assume had no idea about the hills that awaited them...
We exited North Shore park and made our way into Shorewood Hills, which is an upscale neighborhood on the northwest side of Rock Lake and features some respectable hills - 4 large rollers, to be exact. I passed about 150 people in those hills - the very same folks who raced past me just a few miles earlier. :-)
I was averaging about an 8:30 mile and was feeling good. My legs were doing well, which was a pleasant surprise.
We left Shorewood Hills by way of Korth park, then made our way to the Glacial Drumlin trail. The trail took us past the south end of Rock Lake and dumped us out on the southeast side of town, near the industrial park. We weaved around the industrial park for a bit before heading east on Highway B. From Highway B, we turned onto Tyranena Road (Highway V) for about 1.5 miles, which brought us back to the brewery.
I finished in 1 hours and 54 minutes - good for #309 out of 859 finishers. I averaged 8:43 per mile - not great, but not awful. I had really hoped to stick closer to my 8:30 target, but considering how I had been feeling for the previous few weeks, I was content with the result.
Post-race conditions are usually what define the success or failure of an event for me, and here's where Tyranena excels - they know how to take care of the participants after an event. As we crossed the finish line we were guided into a "recovery tent," which featured tons of post-race-friendly food options, mylar heat blankets, Gatorade, water, and our finisher medals. It was such a smooth operation!
Here's the inside of the tent, just as I entered it:
Here's one of the food/snack tables:
And the ever popular peanut butter sandwich and cookies table (of which I didn't partake!):
I regret to report that I didn't induldge in any of the post-race offerings, other than a bottle of water and the finisher's medal. I had planned to consume a recovery drink following the race (Hammer Nutrition's Recoverite), and then I was going to meet-up with the Topels for some dinner, so I passed on the goodies. Here I am with my medal and my Recoverite:
As I made my way out of the tent, I was tempted by the thought of walking over to the general public tent, which featured a lasagna dinner and complimentary Tyranena beers, but alas, I was determined to stick with my nutrition plan. It was especially difficult to pass up the post-race meal because the DJ was playing tunes and people were obviously having a good time. Here's a quick shot of the crowd as I made my way to the exit:
When I got to my car, I snapped a quick customary "post race" photo of my race bib and gear. You'll note the bags of pet food beneath my stuff - the Tyranena race also served to benefit both the Jefferson County Humane Society and the Lake Mills Food Pantry. The brewery requested that in addition to paying the entry fee that participants donate a few food items for the Food Pantry - which I did - but I also decided to donate a few bags of pet food to the Humane Society, too. You've got to take care of the homeless dogs and cats!
After leaving the brewery, I went to Dan's shop where I worked on my car (oil change, transmission fluid flush, tire rotation, and so on), and then joined Dan for dinner at the local Mexican restaurant. Dan was on wrecker duty that evening, so we called it an early night and I headed back to Madison.
For Sunday, I had vowed to follow a "proper" recovery plan after the half-marathon and do nothing but rest and maybe "enjoy" an ice bath, but with the weather being as nice as it was (65F, sunny, mild breeze), I couldn't pass up the opportunity to sneak-in a final bike ride with my co-worker Dan (not the same Dan from Lake Mills). We had planned to do a ride the previous weekend, but things didn't work out... thankfully we were able to get together this weekend!
Dan had heard about a bike trail that ran from Madison to Monroe and included a journey through a train tunnel. It sounded odd but intriguing, so we met-up at Dan's house at around 1pm and hit the trail, headed south.
After riding about 18 miles south of Madison, we arrived at the tunnel's entrance:
It was pretty interesting - the temperature outside of the tunnel was a solid 10-degrees lower than it had been on the previous portion of the trail. Granted, it was shady in the area, but it was odd that the temperature was so drastically different.
We turned on our lights (and phones for extra light) and proceeded through the 1200-foot long tunnel, which was absolutely pitch black inside. It was cool and a little eery.
Here we are making our way to the other side of the tunnel:
I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect on the ride - I wasn't sure why Dan was so excited to go see the tunnel, but after visiting it I'll be the first to admit that the tunnel was extremely neat. Dan read that the tunnel was built in the mid-1800s, which made things even more cool. I'd love to go back through there with better lighting so that we could see what the inside looked like. With our minimalist lighting, we didn't get to see much other than a small patch of gravel directly in front of our tires. The sound of pigeons cooing around us was a bit unnerving because we didn't realize they were pigeons until after the fact. They sounded a bit like ghosts... :-)
Here we are on the other side of the tunnel - you may recognize Dan from previous photos/entries - he also did the Tyranena Bike Ride with us (back in October):
With daylight fading quickly, we decided to turn around and head back to Madison; when all was said and done, we had covered just over 35 miles - not bad for a final ride of the season, and definitely not bad for an early November! Not what I had planned for a "restful kickoff to recovery," but it was definitely worth it.
When I got home, I donned my compression recovery gear, had dinner, and went to bed extremely early. Not a bad weekend, and even though I didn't do a fish fry, I didn't really miss it too much (nor did I crave it). ;-) I'll do my best to catch-up on some fish frys over the winter, but I really want to focus on good nutrition during the off season, so the reviews might not be as frequent as they were last year.
Enjoy your week - I'll check-in again soon. I'm looking forward to a quiet week (light exercise only (swimming, lifting) - no running until Friday).