Saturday, September 13, 2014

No Frills Marathon Recap!

I write this post with a HUGE smile on my face. This was one of those races in which I still cannot stop smiling. I fell in love with the marathon all over again.

On August 31st, I ran the No Frills Marathon in Minoqua, Wisconsin. The course is a mostly flat course on the Bear Skin trail that goes from Nokomis, WI. to Minoqua. The race entry fee is $35 and you really get more than your money's worth with this race. First, the course itself was BEAUTIFUL! The first 6 miles are on some back roads near Nokomis. Once you get on the trail the scenery is true northern Wisconsin beauty. It is a tree lined trail with wooden bridges sporadically along the coarse. The bridges were one of my favorite parts, I loved hearing my feet pound the wooden planks, There are water stops along the coarse where you will find spectators cheering. Otherwise, you are running along the trail in quiet solitude. The final stretch to the finish line is an old wooden bridge and then you are in Minoqua. This is definitely a race I want to do every year.

My race went really well! I have to admit I went into this race really unsure of my training. I had pieced together my own training plan loosely based off the Grandma's marathon training plan(you can find it online on the website). It had higher mileage on it and very few rest days. The higher mileage seems to work for me, but I did add in a few rest days to give me recovery time. Looking back I realized I actually had a really good base built up due to the last one being cancelled.

The morning of the race Dan and I got up around 5am. I made my staple of an English muffin with PB&J. The start line was only about 20 minutes from the cabin, so we got there with plenty of time to spare. It was about 50 degrees and foggy, perfect weather in my opinion. I got my race bib and made a stop at the restroom, then headed to the start.
Pre-race selfie
Me and about 120 other runners took off when then gun went off. I took it easy the first few miles so I could get into a rhythm. I chatted with a few runners as I past them, pacing with them for a short while. I have read that being sure to fuel early is key to keep your energy up, so I took half a banana at mile 5 and Hammer Gel at mile 7 along with a big cup of water. After the mile 7 water stop there was not going to be another until almost mile 13, here I did wish I had carried some water with me. The rest of the miles clicked along, I was averaging about a 7:45 min/mile pace. I did question if I could hold the pace between mile 9 and 13. I took a Root beer GU gel at mile 13, and felt a HUGE boost. I felt strong the rest of the race. Took a Cherry Lime GU Gel around mile 20. Here I started to wonder when I would hit the wall? What was awesome, is that I never felt like I did! (Okay, at mile 25, I just wanted to be done, but told myself just a few more minutes). Finish time was 3:26:12, a new PR!
The Finish Line!

There were so many great things about this race! I will definitely be back for this one. One of the best things was seeing this guy at pretty much every water stop.
My parents brought the kids out. Seeing there smiling faces around mile 20 helped push me to the finish.It was so great having my parents there cheering as well. Reminded me of all those years of cross country.
Post race ice bath in the lake!
Next up: Recovery, a half marathon in October, and preparing for Boston!