The Last Call Half Marathon is kind of a neat event put on by the fine folks at Silver Circle Events.
This Half is an out and back and, as the name indicates, one of the last races of the Fall season in Wisconsin. It also follows the same course as the First Call Half Marathon, which is one of the first Half Marathons in SE WI in the Spring.
Mostly, I signed up for this race to gauge where my fitness would be at post both Chicago and NYC. On a familiar course, with a good amount of speed, it was a good time. It was also a good opportunity to try a new brand of gel I bought.
The forecast for race morning called for mid 30s and rain. Cool. Fortunately, there is an indoor shelter, with indoor bathrooms, for runners before and after the race. We were supposed to start at 9, but the start got pushed to 9:10, which just meant more time for a last minute bathroom stop and time in the warmth inside.
As we got going on a short downhill, a lot of runners got out bananas. If there’s one thing frequently racing has helped me with, it’s that I’ve gotten good at letting those people go. When we hit the quarter mile in about a 6:10, I knew I had to scale back quickly, and that those in front of me would come back.
I cleared the first mile in 6:34, which was a little quicker than I had planned, but I felt strong so why not go with it. In mile 2, I passed a handful of runners who tried to stick with the lead pack, all of which I never saw again. I cleared Mile 2 in a 6:35 and Mile 3 in another 6:34. Remarkably consistent.
The course gains a little over 200 feet, and that’s mostly all through Mile 4 to 6.5. I latched onto two other runners who were fading a bit in these miles, but I was fading a little as well. I came through these, in order, in 6:44, 7:02, and 7 flat.
On this particular race, I was really looking forward to the turnaround. Not because we got a downhill spot from 6.5-8, but because I thought the turn was a great time to try my new gel.
Admittedly, I took a little too much time to take the gel at the turn, but that’s fine. This gel was described in Runner’s World as having the texture of the inside of a gummy bear. Yup. It does.
Coming back, I felt like a new man after taking the gel, although my pace didn’t really indicate that. Mile 7 logged a 7:15 (like I said…I took way too long with the gel), Mile 8 a 6:48, and Mile 9 was another 7 flat.
Around Mile 9 was when the rain was coming down at it’s hardest. Admittedly, this made the pavement a little slick, especially in parts where leaves were still down. And the bridges. As unpleasant as the rain was, we were fortunate that the trail was mostly sheltered from the heaviest of rain and the wind…thanks trees!
Around Mile 10 (6:46) I got blown past by an older dude who was on his way to negative splitting a 1:28 finish, dude was flying, and pulled me a long for a little as well. I slowed a little in Mile 11, down to a 7:06, and I neared my longest run post NYC.
After grabbing a water, I noticed I was reeling in another runner, which helped drag me along the last couple miles. I came through 12 in a 6:57 and 13 in a 6:46.
I was able to come through the finish in a 1:30:04, which was better than I expected for my fitness after NYC. Although I’ll admit it bugs me since I should have been under 1:30…oh well. More so, I think my fitness was better than this, but mentally I wasn’t ready to put together an entire 13.1.
All in all, I grabbed 14th and 2nd in my age group, which wasn’t too bad. More importantly, there was beer at the finish. Oh, and it was my best Half of 2018 which I was pleased with.
Do you have any more races in 2018? If so, what are you running?