The 2013 Oshkosh Half Marathon Experience

Ariplane Stretch
I don’t know why this guy was stretching like this for 10 minutes but I know if made me laugh

So yesterday was a fun day. I was scheduled to run the Oshkosh half marathon for the fourth time. The half marathon is my favorite race distance, long enough to be a decent challenge but short enough that I can still function the next day. The same is not true of the marathon distance. The Oshkosh Half Marathon is one of my favorite races because it is large enough (1,200ish for the half alone) that you are always running with people around you and has been consistently well organized. Just for the fun of it here are the races that I have enjoyed running in the most:

  • Chicago Marathon – Absolutely amazing. The only other races I can imagine being as good would be Boston and New York.
  • Point Bock Run 5 mile (Stevens Point) – It is local, 2500ish runners, and a huge party after the run that people have to be chased away from.
  • Oshkosh Half Marathon – Reasons stated before.
  • Frostbite 10 mile run (Stevens Point) – It is local and you never know what’s going to happen weather-wise – really I’ve run it in everything from mid-50s weather and 4″ of snow coming down.

Anyhow here’s how my day went yesterday. I left home at 4:30 am to make it to Oshkosh in time for the 7 am race start. At 5 am I clipped my very first deer. I don’t mean my first deer in Wisconsin. I mean my first deer ever. Stupid thing ran out in front of me on a two-lane highway when I was going 55 mph. I literally screamed. I’ve heard stories of deer totaling vehicles and hurting drivers. I was sure it was going to be bad. Turns out it wasn’t that bad at all. Scratched some paint off the bumper of Fred the Sentra but that is no big deal because I hope to paint her this Summer. I think the deer probably made it away from our encounter with nothing more than a slight bruise on its hind quarter. I make it to Oshkosh with adrenaline in my system but really none the worse otherwise.

So then I ran the race. I haven’t run much since doing the Whistlestop Marathon in October. In fact, I haven’t run a distance longer than 7 miles since then and with all the snow and cold temps we’ve had this Winter I’ve only been running around 10-15 miles per week. So my plan for the Oshkosh Half Marathon was for it to be part of my prep for running as things warm up. My goal is to set a new personal best (PB) for the half marathon this year. Right now my PB is 1:58:40 and I am convince I can get it down to at least 1:57 perhaps sub-1:55. The Oshkosh Half was just going to be a training run. I started running with the 2:20 pace group hoping to finish at around 2:17ish. I figured at that pace I could run the half and still felt good enough to still set up for Tapestry that evening. I started off and felt great so I pushed it a little bit. The weather was supposed to be horrible. It wasn’t and that helped. Instead of being cold, overcast, and windy, with rain, sleet, and snow it was just cold, overcast, and windy with just a few spittings of snow. Not bad. Ended up finishing in 2:09:47. I’m pretty pleased with that. I was also a little confused when I crossed the finish line because I saw the person 10 spots in front of me get a medal and then everyone suddenly looked confused. There were no more medals. That’s right they ran out of medals. Marathon and half marathon medals are part of the fun and you only get to wear them without looking like an idiot immediately after the race. They said they would send me a medal through the mail but I can’t really wear it anywhere when I get it.  Oh well. So I found my car and started to head back to Plover.

Everything was going swimmingly. I was driving through a snow storm but it wasn’t accumulating and I was thankful for that. I also felt good after the race. I was almost home, about 18 miles out, when my driver’s side front tire blew out on Highway 10. The good news? The Sentra handles great with a front tire blow out. The bad news? Well I found that out when I tried to change my tire. The spare was great, which I had check when I bought Fred from Eric. What I didn’t check was if Fred had a jack. She didn’t. I pulled out the spare and waited for AAA to bring me a jack. That took about 45 minutes to complete something I could have finished in 5 minutes by myself. Anyhow that was the end of my journey. I still think the Oshkosh Half Marathon is a great race. Now I need to register for another race.

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