beige_alert: (tree)
Saturday was the third running of the Summerfest "Rock 'n Sole" race in Milwaukee. They had a 5k, the rather unusual distance of a quarter-marathon (10.55km), and a half marathon. I was in the half. The day started with cold rain, which wasn't super encouraging, but by race start at 7 in the morning it had diminished to a sort of cool intermittent drizzle, and the rain pretty much stopped an hour or so into the race. The roads were wet but not to a particularly dangerous or even unpleasant degree. It was surely not such a pleasant morning for the roughly 1023 volunteers (or so it appears, there were many of them and they were awesome!) to stand around in, but it was a good temperature for a long foot race.

In past years I didn't take this event very seriously as a race but mostly wanted to enjoy the very rare chance to see the city from up on the Hoan bridge, part of Interstate 794 where normally enjoyment of the view is prohibited, only driving fast in a car is allowed. This year I wasn't sure if I was really in shape to set a new personal best, but I was taking it seriously enough to not bring a camera along to waste time getting photographs (plus it was raining). I had the virtual pace in my Garmin set to my previous best, last year in Madison. When I first looked at that screen, somewhere between a quarter and a third of the way into the race, I was over a minute ahead of that pace, which seemed quite encouraging. Throughout the race I maintained a pace faster than my PB pace, I felt pretty good, and I seemed to be pretty fast on the downhill segments.

The race was super-organized (totally unlike the fiasco the first year, when a different company was running the event), the vast number of awesome volunteers ran the aid stations smoothly, and in the end I set a new personal best, 1:40:29, 3:37 faster than my previous best last August in Madison. I finished 278th of the 3583 people running the half marathon, 229th of the 1508 men (as usual in running, there were more women than men, 58%. It seems hard to imagine that not that long ago they wouldn't let women even enter races, when now everyone knows women are supposed to be more than half the participants), and 20th of 174 men age 40-44. When you are in around 300th place it doesn't exactly look like you are near the front, but I did notice when we turned around at the south end of the Hoan bridge and headed back that there were kilometers of people trailed out behind us. Keep in mind that before getting anywhere near the turnaround we saw the actual leaders headed past us on the other side, already kilometers ahead of us normal people.

I had another thought at the packet pickup / expo on Friday, which I'll just repost from Facebook:

I did buy a few items at the expo while picking up my race packet for the half marathon tomorrow, and vendors attempted to sell me even more things. As I passed the vendor of aloe vera based creme, a woman working there told me I had to try their product, asked me to hold up my hand, and squirted on a bit of their creme and then held my hand and did a thorough job of rubbing the lotion onto my skin while explaining, at length, the many benefits of their fine product. Speaking as a straight dude, I'll agree that this is a fairly effective way to encourage straight dudes to hang around and listen to your sales pitch. The other thought I immediately had, having some experience with the way many men often behave, is that this woman has got to be on the receiving end of an *immense* quantity of that sort of thing that women get all too often from all too many men. Dudes! She's selling moisturizing lotion! If you were thinking of saying, well, *anything* not directly related to a lotion-purchasing business transaction, just don't. Seriously. Don't.


Gloriously detailed Garmin GPS and heart rate data
beige_alert: (Bike)
I ran in the Summerfest Rock 'n Sole half marathon on Sunday July 10. This was, yes, the race that ran out of water at some of the aid stations at some points in the run on a beautiful hot humid July day, with some number of runners ending up hospitalized. That said, with over five thousand runners, some people had better or worse experiences than others, and my run went just fine. I finished in 2:08:11, 964th place out of 2995, 599th of 1356 men, 79th of 183 men age 35-39. Considering the warm weather, some amount of delay getting water at each station, and the fact that I deliberately wasted a bit of time taking photographs while running the race, that's a reasonable time for me. My real goal for the event wasn't the time but the chance to run on the bridge. I figured I'd do the longer run instead of the 10k since I've run the full 21.1km a number of times by myself and occasionally do my 14km-each-way commute to work running, so I was prepared to run the full distance.

long... )

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