Thursday, September 29, 2016

Waconia Nickle Dickle 10K/5K/Half Mile Tickle 2016 (Badger Pride)


Waconia Nickle Dickle 10K/5K/Half Mile Tickle (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 12:18/mile

Disclaimer: As I said in my previous post, I am incredibly behind in race recaps right now.  So ... that means I will probably forget many major details on these next few recaps and just end up glossing through them.  Sorry! 


Waconia's Nickle Dickle has been on my radar for several years.  Being the fall festival of a neighboring community, I've always thought to myself "I should really go to that".  But, for whatever reason, every year I've ended up with a conflict. 

Imagine my surprise, then, when I happened to hear Nickle Dickle was on September 17th in 2016, and ... I was free to attend!

How that happened, I don't know.  But so be it! 

Not wanting to be outdone anymore, apparently my husband decided he wanted to join in, too.  So on race morning, away the three of us went to Waconia to run the 5K!


Upon arriving to race check in, I could tell that this race has been a well oiled machine for some time.  Not only was check in incredibly well organized AND staffed, I was fully impressed to discover after receiving my bib that the race was chipped timed ... via our bibs.  No chip to wear around my ankle or tie to my shoe?!  Score!

The high level of organization surprised me quite a bit, as trying to find registration information for this race online was ... seedy, at best.  Even as I type this blog, there are still several links out on Google that reference the Nickle Dickle race and community festivities, many of which link to old sites (IE the 2014 race page, etc).  Hopefully the race organizers can work to improve that issue for future races.

Regardless, despite the confusion online about where to access race day information, everything else leading up to race day was exceptional - email information regarding pre-race process, check in, etc.  I was even pleasantly surprised at how friendly the staff was when I checked in.  Even more so when you consider it was a Badger game day, so I was wearing Wisconsin gear ... at a race taking place in Minnesota ... which was being staffed by U of M and Iowa alumni. 

Of course, they couldn't let me leave check-in without a few friendly barbs.  I think the exact quote from the Iowa guy was "Maybe you should just take this bib here and ... uh ... pin it over that badger, no?  Might make the shirt look a little better."

Haha - well played.

Since check in went so smoothly, I ended up with a bit of time to kill pre-race.  Luckily, a regular student of mine from the gym ran into me (who recently had a baby herself), so we compared baby notes and such until just before gun time.  I'm sure that was a little boring for my husband, but whatever - he and I had an entire 5K together to come, so ...

About 5-10 minutes pre gun, my friend and I ended up parting ways in order for both of us to make a few last minute preparations.  And at roughly the same time, the 10K runners lined up, the national anthem was played, and then the 10K runners had their gun.

After that first crowd of runners and spectators cleared out, since the 10K was on their way, my husband and I moseyed over to the start line in preparation for the 5K group.  Unfortunately though, my husband was a bit insistent about us staying to the back (since we had the stroller).  That meant that when it was finally our gun time, we spent the first few minutes either waiting for the crowd to thin out or being stuck behind various walkers.  Arg.

Fortunately, the good news was that the first stretch of the race was on a city street with the entire street blocked off to traffic, so we had lots of space to work around the inevitable groups who insisted on walking 5 wide, etc. And finally, at about a quarter of a mile in, we settled into our rhythm.  We even found a fellow stroller runner keeping a similar pace that we could tuck behind.  Convenient for us, but maybe not so loved by a few teenaged kids who passed us by, saying under their breath "What is this?  A frickin' stroller parade?"


While we were being snarked at for our strollers, the race course took us down hill and into a park.  When there, we merged onto a walking trail.  At this point, I happened to also overhear a woman slightly ahead of me talking about this transition.  She said something to her running partner about how the course didn't go this way last year, that she didn't like the new course thus far, and that she thought the transition onto the park trail was weird (which I had to agree with, as we went from having the entire width of a city street down to a trail barely wide enough to accommodate 2-3 runners wide, so there was a giant bottle neck at this point in the race).  After hearing her comment, I began to wonder if they would follow the same route again in 2017 based on this issue.  I guess time will tell.


Our goal for the day, as you can see in the above pace chart, was to run at least 1 mile continuous, and then see how the rest of the run went.  That meant that at the 1 mile mark, we took a well earned walk break and then took off again. 

The announcer pre-gun had made us a little nervous talking about the "big hills" on course, so after the first mile we set a conservative pace goal.  Originally we were shooting for another half or full mile continuous run ... until we hit the water stop.  LOL - figures.  Overall, the second mile was mostly a continuous run, with a couple of minor breaks/water stops included.

By the time we hit mile three, though, as you can see above ... well, I had pretty much had it.  First of all, my endurance right now is almost nothing.  Second, the course at that point had fed into an active road where we were to run in the shoulder, with little more than a white stripe insulating us from traffic.  Third, we finally hit the "big hill" the announcer mentioned pre-race.  When those three points intersected I kind of went "F IT!" and just decided to walk.

I think my husband was secretly disappointed that I checked out, since the rest of our run had gone surprisingly well. But sometimes your brain just wins, and that was one of those days.  At least all was not lost though, because when we finally leveled back out to a flat course, we took off for one last run around the block ... and then there it was - the finish line!

Thankfully, we made it through another family race - hooray! 

After clearing the finish line, we buzzed over to the treat table where there were bananas, bags of pretzels, bottles of water, and my husband's favorite find - mini nut rolls.  After enjoying a brief moment of rest and a quick snack, we headed back to the car ... and then as fast as we could we cleaned up at home so I could go get a NEW car.


**Footnote: many thanks to the race photographers who provided the above photos free of charge.  Also, if you are wondering what the shirt was for this race, just check out any people above wearing a white performance shirt with the race logo on it.


And that's the story of how race bib #75 joined my collection.  Here's to another race soon ... which is technically the last of 3 race recaps I'm past due on.  I'm trying to get caught up, I promise!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lake Run 5K 2016 (Racing Cars)

Lake Run 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 11:20/mile

Disclaimer: I am incredibly behind in race recaps right now, and this one is already 2+ weeks overdue.  So ... that means I will probably forget many major details on these next few recaps and just end up glossing through them.  Sorry! 


The year 2016 marks my 6th year competing in the Shell Lake "Lake Run" 5K.  My history with this race started back in 2011 (when I placed first in my age category), continued on in 2012, and then began being featured on this blog with reports in 2013, 2014, and 2015

And - FUN FACT: if you revisit my 2015 post, you may see a hint of me saying I was pregnant at this race and knew it ... without officially saying I was pregnant.  If you've ever experienced morning sickness, go back and re-read that blog - you'll know what I'm talking about.  Officially, though, I didn't announce my pregnancy until some weeks later.  Sneaky, right?

Ooof.  I DO NOT miss morning sickness. 


Well now that I think of it - this was officially my first race after I found out I was for sure pregnant.  So I guess it seems appropriate that it was my first race as a full family unit, too, huh?


Hooray for a family of runners!  :-)

Oh ... and sorry to my little boy for the face full of sun in that selfie.  HA!  I guess you can see from the photo, then, that on a pleasantly cool and sunny morning the THREE of us packed up from the cabin and took off to Shell Lake's coffee hot spot - The Potter's Shed - to prepare for our first ever family 5K race. 

Since this race is on the smaller side, check in for pre-registered runners is fairly fast and efficient.  Within in a few minutes of arriving, I had my husband and my swag and bibs set to go.

Hm ... wait a minute.  After pinning on our bibs, it dawned on me that this race allows free registration for children and I didn't pick up my son's bib.  Back to the check in table.

Since children are free, it took a little bit of checking to find Quinn's bib (as he didn't have an accompanying "swag bag").  Eventually we realized his bib was in a "kids only" pile, with a note attached stating a kid's shirt is $10 if desired. 

I joked with the woman at check in that unless they had onesies, I wasn't interested, pointing at my husband and the stroller in the distance.  Seeing what I meant, she chuckled and handed me the bib.

Then, with just a little bit more work, we were finally all bibbed up and ready to go.


Now, as I have mentioned the last few years I've recapped this race, this hasn't been my favorite 5K in the past.  But, being that I had some new company on course to help me celebrate the day ... my attitude regarding this year's run changed a little.  Even lining up in the scatter-goose crowd pre gun was tolerable (this race is typically challenged with walkers lining up towards the front line, ahead of many runners).

And for as long as I can remember at this race - so I guess you can say as per "the usual" - the race has been pre-gamed with a local musician preforming the national anthem.  This year it was a young girl playing solo - impressive!  When she finished the song, with hardly a pause after her completion, the gun was fired and we were off!

Away we go!


As I've said before, the course for this race is pretty basic: a flat out and back that follows along the road that services those who live on the lake.  My husband, having heard me talk about not loving this course in years past, started goading me as soon as we rounded the first bend and turned towards a view of the lake. 

Him: "What are you talking about?!  This is a nice course - look!  We will be able to see the lake for the whole run!"

Me: "Yeah, that slice right there is the only view you're going to get of the lake, and we're barely a quarter of a mile in, so you better enjoy it.  Once we merge on to that road up there, all you'll see is lake cabins."

Him: " ... oh ... "


Hahaha.  I say this, but in the end it doesn't really matter.  I run this race for the workout.  The view isn't really a deal breaker.  And on the plus side, many of the people who own cabins along the course sit out and cheer for the runners, so that makes things a little more fun too.

Well, the cheering ... and listening to the conversations happening via the runners around you helps pass the time, too.

6 year old girl to dad: "We're going to have to run faster to win!"
Dad: "It doesn't matter if we win.  Let's just focus on running and staying out of traffic."
**Car drives by in opposite shoulder**
Girl: "I bet I know who's going to win - that car!"
Me: holding back snickers and giving my husband the side eye

Since this was my husband's first 5K race in ages and he hadn't been training (I began running over 5-6 years ago, and he only joined me at one race way back then), we decided to approach this run using the 2/1 interval I've mentioned in my last few race recaps.  Running for 2 minutes followed by walking for recovery 1 minute has served me well in my current undertrained state, so it seemed like a no brainer that he'd be able to maintain that as well - especially since I was taking on the "handicap" of pushing the running stroller.  Sure enough, it did!

Secretly, as we ran, I also wondered if my husband has been closet training.  I was sucking air trying to keep pace with him while he was smoking down the road.  LOL! 

I suppose it helps that he's 6'2", while I'm 5'8" and stuck with a stroller.

Before I knew it, we were already at the turn around point and water stop!  Time to head on back!

Feeling tired and undertrained, the second half of the run became more of a personal challenge to myself to (1) finish - obviously and (2) not let my husband upstage me in running.  As you can tell, I'm a tad competitive for totally unnecessary reasons.  But whatever, my childish ways served me well at this race, since it gave me the motivation I needed to finish out the run.  Especially when we were within 1/10 of a mile from the finish line, with people gaining on our heels.  Not wanting to be beat to the finish by anyone else I just said "LET'S PUSH" to my husband and took off.

Bing-bang-boom.  The three of us crossed the finish line and that was that.

I'm still trying to figure out, though, how my son finished a good 30+ seconds ahead of me ... when I was pushing the stroller he was in. 

That's a real head scratcher that he was apparently quite excited about.

If you look at the official race results some time you will see what I mean.  And in case you're wondering, yes - I took his official results for the time noted at the top of this recap.  I was pushing him after all.

Back on topic.

Keeping my competitive side sharp, despite finishing well towards the back of the pack, I insisted on hanging around at the finish line post race.  Much to my husband's dismay, I wanted to see age grade awards distributed.  Thankfully, there were bananas and bagels to help fill his mouth (as opposed to filling his mouth with protesting) ... though nothing provided post race helped cover his eye rolls at me when the awards ceremony started a predictable 30 minutes later than promised.  Oh well.

Unfortunately, staying late for the 5K awards bit us - we had wanted to try and hit up the pancake breakfast at the local airport post race, but it was PACKED by the time we got there at about 9:45-10ish.  Rather than spend another 1-2 hours out, we decided to bag it and just head home to let our little boy nap and model our new race t's instead.


And that's the story of how race bib #74 joined my collection.  Here's to another race soon ... which is technically already 2 races past due.  I'm trying to get caught up, I promise!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016