This race weekend has had me nervous for several months. Not knowing how my body would hold up for two marathons in two days has been on the front of my mind. I had met a set of Marathon Maniacs through Facebook earlier this year and we put together our Mitten Challenge team, but until this weekend I had only met one of them. (Brian had travelled with me to the Little Rock Marathon) Brian and I flew into Chicago from Birmingham on Friday morning where we sat and waited for Shannon’s flight to get in from Rhode Island. Once there we were all picked up by Aaron, who lives in Chicago, and drove to Kenosha for packet pickup. You may be able to call this an expo, but it was mostly get your packet and take a picture with a backdrop. There was a line for pictures and I was getting hungry so I decided to pass on it. We were given a pair of Mittens with our bibs in Wisconsin, a nice addition to the race packets for those completing the challenge.
After a rainy travel day on Friday the weather cleared and gave us a beautiful Saturday morning along the bank of Lake Michigan for race day. The start line was cool and windy, but as the sun started to come out it quickly warmed up. Being from Mississippi I always a fan of a little warmer temperature. Before the race started I met up with the Marathon Maniacs for a picture and then I found my friend Jeni! I met Jeni last year during the Dumbo Double Dare Weekend. I haven’t seen her since then, but she’s a local in the greater Milwaukee area and I had been talking to her the last couple of weeks as I was working out travel arrangements.
The race started heading south along the lake into a residential area for the first few miles before doubling back around and heading north again. By mile 5 we were passing back by the starting area and the packet pickup hotel. We ran north along the bank and through a park area, running mainly through parking lot areas as we made our way to the turnaround point at Mile 8 on the campus of Carthage College. I have never heard of this school, but the support for runners was abundant on the campus and the school’s mascot was out on the street. How cool is this guy? I never pass up the opportunity for a character photo! He seemed very confused as to why I had stopped running to take a picture though.
The Race course doubled back on itself and as we came to Mile 13 we were back along the first few miles of residential area before continuing south out of town for the back loop of the course. The back half dipped in and around various neighborhoods. The roads here created a few problems for me. They were in poor shape and had a lot of holes to dip and dodge around. There was even a portion that was along a dirt road featuring fresh mud from the rain the day before. At Mile 22 I felt my heart rate reach higher and I decided to cut back the exertion level to keep some energy in the tank for Kalamazoo the next day. I went through a 5 minute to 1 minute run/walk ration the for the last 5k of the race and crossed the finish line in 3:57:39! Marathon state 12 was completed! Finishing the race in under 4 hours was a great confidence booster to get me into Sunday’s race. 3 people in our group finished right around the 4 hour mark so we took off and went back to the hotel before we had to check out. After stretching out and taking a shower we went back to the finish area just as the 5th person of our group finished up the marathon.
It was time to get on the road to Michigan, but first we decided to make a stop and visit the premier attraction of Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Finish time 3:57:39
Overall 268 / 847
Men 187 / 463
Division 22 / 47