I have always heard the Door County Half IM was a good one and a beautiful one. As we have learned by now, that's all you need to tell me. We had done the Fall 50 (put on by the same race director, Sean Ryan) in 2008 and had a fabulous time, so we were sure this would be no different. We took the opportunity to make this another race destination and make a family vacation out of it.
After two days of driving, a day in Madison with the family, dropping the kids off and another 4 hour drive to Door County, we were there! We checked in, got our numbers and scouted the course. All on a GORGEOUS Wisconsin summer day. When we checked the weather for the following day, however, not such a pretty picture. Thunderstorms predicted from 7 am - 1 pm. Oh no. OK, have raced in all sorts of elements, heat, snow, humidity, etc. Here's a new one to add to the list.
Woke up the next morning to a light rain. Waited around a little bit and went to the race. The atmosphere was really low key, in general, which was really nice. I had to kind of wrap up my bike and clothes to protect them from the impending rain.
I ran into a bunch of old friends from Green Bay, which is also always nice.Me and Ivy reuniting in the parking lot!
More GB peeps-- ready to race... or ready to get ready to race!
Ross and I were even matching today, so I had someone take a picture. We even made a new friend, Brad, who was wearing the same thing. Yes, he just moved to Madison from Denver, and so we had lots to talk about.
With the weather, there was a 30 minute delay. This came in handy for me, since I had forgotten some things in the car and had to go back to it (twice). Not really sure where my head was that morning...
Anyways, 8:30 came and the race started. I was in wave 2, which was the "elite" woman. WOAH! Now, how did I get in there? Well, I asked my friend, Alicia, about it and she said "elite is not really elite, it is just for people who like to start first". Well, I like to start first, so I signed up. Turns out, she was right. There was no qualification to get in, no special awards for the group, etc. So, it was nice to go off with a group of competent swimmers and be towards the front. I figured I'd get pummeled by the men, but I didn't either, so that was nice.
Anyways, the swim went off without a hitch. I somehow had massive issues with swimming straight. At one time, I found myself tangled in a buoy. A bunch of other times I was way off course, so I started sighting more and that helped. I got to the end and there were... STRIPPERS! No, not these kind:But, these kind:
So, it was off with the wetsuit and into transition and, boom, off on the bike.
Being towards the front, the bike was a little lonely. I am used to way more people around me and I like it. But, I guess it made me focus on my riding... probably what I should be doing instead of making friends. :) Thankfully, one rider, Brandon, came up and we leap frogged each other for awhile. I think he was impressed I was standing during the "hills" which weren't much. I really just used them to stretch my legs. I had been wanting a "flat, fast course", but really having so much flat really wore on the legs.
A little over halfway through, it started to rain again. And hard. Ugh. Then there were the winds. Ok, not my day, I thought. Just get through it.
The last couple of miles I just wanted to be done. Haven't felt that way in awhile, but I was just ready for it to be over. Brian, a friend from high school, passed me and I wished him luck on the run-- he was a hs cross country star, and I had no doubt he would bury me in the run, and he did.
And to be honest, with the weather, I wasn't sure if I would get to transition and they would have called it. With the rain, there could well have been lightning.
But, no, got to transition and the race was still on. Even though I had taken the time to protect my stuff at the beginning of the race, I somehow didn't keep it that way in T1. One of my running shoes was soaked, as were my extra pair of socks. Oh well. It's not like I haven't raced wet before-- it's just usually with sweat, not rain water.
Off on the run. Hello, legs, where are you? Are you there? Not really, they answered, we hurt. Turns out my quads were still feeling it from the marathon the weekend before. Hmm? Ok, settle in then, and just do what you can to get through 13.1 miles. Ok, they answered. And off we went.
The run was a bit more fun for me because there was more people around. The run course, too, was not flat, so that made it a bit more challenging, but I didn't mind it. There were two hills to conquer, one around mile 6 and one around mile 9.5.
Here's when you know you are at the start of the second hill.
Only, they replace that sign with this one on race day.
Add a little encouragement from the race staff about halfway up.
And recognition that you made it.
That turns out to be a cruel joke.But I ran up that second part of the hill anyways. (FYI, Ross ran up BOTH hills.)
So, once you are at the top of this hill, it is mostly flat until the end, where you descend for a half mile or so. Despite my legs being achy, I actually increased my pace. And then you are done, done, done!
I crossed the finish line to find that, yes, I actually DID beat my Kansas time by about 8 minutes. Cool. After finishing, it was no problem finding Brad, Alicia, Brian, Jon and more. It was nice to find out that everyone had a good race. Alicia had seen Ross out on the run. We did the math and he was not far behind. He crossed feeling good as well. Just wet.
By this time, the post-party was in full swing. We changed (again, matching. Just to clarify, this IS NOT common for us), hung out, listened to the band, enjoyed our final hours without children and, of course, some Wisconsin beer.
Now, it is off to some active recovery and open water swims with these little guys...
Enjoy the great Wisconsin cuisine...This is a roasted "campfire marshmallow". Approximately the size of a small fist. No lie.
And the scenery Door County has to offer...
Happy recovery for me. :)