Journey’s Half Marathon Race Preview

This weekend I will be running my third half marathon in 4 weeks.  I’ll be traveling to Eagle River, WI to run Journey’s half marathon.  I am actually going to head up to Park Falls on Friday afternoon and spend the night at my cousin’s house.  His wife, Rachel, is going to run the full marathon.  We will have to leave at 0-dark-thirty on Saturday morning to drive the 90 minutes to the high school where packet pick-up will be held before the race.

The course is a point to point.  From the packet pick up area, they will bus the full marathoners to their start line at 6:45 for an 8:00 start.  At 8:30 am the bus for the half marathoners will take us to our start line.  We end up running the last half of the marathon course and our race starts at 9:15.  I fully expect that Rachel will pass me at some point before the finish.  She is crazy-fast! 

Since we will be arriving at packet pick up around 6:00, and my bus doesn’t leave until 8:30, I plan to bring my homework along and use that time to study for the two big tests I have on Monday. 

I am a little concerned about my pre-race fueling.  I’ll probably be waking up around 4:00, getting to the race area around 6:00 and not starting the race until 9:15.  That means that I will be awake for 5 hours before the race starts.  That never happens.  Usually, two hours is more like normal.  I am going to have to think about how to handle this situation.  I typically have a bowl of white rice as my go-to prerace meal, but if I eat that when I get up, it will be long gone by the time the race starts.

Check out the elevation chart.  This is for the full marathon, so I will only be running the last half of it.  I love a downhill race!

Eagle River is a small town and I know better than to expect a lot of crowd support.  That seems to be par for the course for most of the events I do.  But, I’ve also heard that the course is very scenic.  I know that the Northwoods can be pretty.  We have had a very late spring this year, so I’m not sure that the trees will have leaves on them yet.

Since this is my fourth race (and third half marathon) in four weeks, I should probably be a bit more modest with my goals.  I have no desire to run another sub-2:00 half marathon at this race (or possibly, ever again).  🙂  But, since I can’t go into a race without a goal, here is what I have in mind:

C Goal: Finish strong.  I want to get to the end and be able to finish the last couple miles well.  That means I need to start out conservatively.  I tend to get carried away in the excitement of the starting line.  Ideally, I would run a negative split.

B Goal:  Considering I did better than I expected at the Pine Line Half Marathon two weeks ago, I think I can probably pull of something between a 2:05-2:10 (depending on the weather). 

A Goal:  Earlier this week, one of my facebook friends (someone I went to college with) mentioned me in one of her posts.  She said that I had inspired her when she was out running.  I don’t think that I am qualified to inspire anyone!  However, I am going to do everything in my power to be an encouragement to everyone during this race.  I’m going to cheer on other runners.  I’ll give high fives to spectators.  I’ll profusely thank all the volunteers (something everyone should do).  I’ll stick around at the finish line and cheer for people who are finishing, instead of getting so caught up in getting my medal and a bottle of water.  And, I am going to try to do all of this with a smile on my face.  I don’t know why, but when I read her facebook post, it just inspired me to work harder to be the type of person who can inspire others.

As a side note, if you are looking for someone to inspire you, read this article from Runner’s World about Bret and how he is using running to overcome some significant challenges.  He is going to be at Journey’s on Saturday, running the full marathon.  I hope that I get a chance to cheer for him as he finishes.

Of course, there are still weather concerns.  After all, it is Wisconsin.  You’d think that by this part of May we wouldn’t have to worry so much about the weather. 

Still cold.  The rain won’t bother me as much as the wind.  Although if it is coming from the north, it should be at our backs for most of the time.

Is anyone else racing this weekend?  I hope you have good weather.  I’ll be back next week with a race recap.

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