Gopher to Badger Half Marathon: Recap

Official Time: 2:44:36 (Garmin distance 13.32, so 12:22 pace)

I had to run all the way to Wisconsin to get a picture with Goldy!

I had to run all the way to Wisconsin to get a picture with Goldy!

I have many, MANY thoughts about my second half marathon in three months, but I will save those for a reflection post. I’ll keep this post to just the recap.

I signed up for this race back in February. The premise of the race seemed like a lot of fun: start the race in Stillwater, MN and finish in Hudson, WI. There aren’t many running races that cross state lines, and I wanted to be a part of something this unique. There was also a 5K with the same concept of starting in Minnesota and finishing on the same finish line in Wisconsin.

My morning started at 4am with a bowl of instant oatmeal and a glass of Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte. On the way to the race I stopped and bought an oatmeal raisin Clif bar. Note: NEVER buy that flavor. It was awful and I threw it away after two bites.

I wandered around the finish line area in Hudson for a while, waiting for the busses to take us to the start line. The conversations on the ride were so much fun to listen to! People asking each other if they were Gophers, Badgers, or something else. People discussing attempts to qualify for Boston. People joking that they drove 90 miles away from their hometown, despite their hometown having a race that same day but wanting to do a race with less hills.

Kind of an anti-climactic start line!

Kind of an anti-climactic start line!

At the start line I used the bathroom a few times and just sort of meandered around. This ended up being a bad idea. The start line was at the Washington County Fairgrounds, which was mostly grass and gravel. I wandered around in the dew-filled grass while it gently sprinkled, which got my shoes and socks wet. They weren’t “squishy” wet, but wet enough to feel uncomfortable. Not a great way to start.

I lined up with the 2:30 pacer, knowing I wouldn’t finish with her, but hoping to stick with her for at least half the race. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

The race started and I felt … OK. And I stayed feeling that way through the entire thing. I never felt OMGFANTASTIC and I never felt OMGKILLME. I just felt OK consistently throughout.

There were a decent amount of rolling hills, and a stretch of about 1.5-2 miles that was a gentle, consistent uphill. That stretch was HARD. There were a LOT of downhill portions, some quite steep. Those were fun to relax and stretch out and feel like I knew how to run fast.

The course was really pretty, going through some residential areas as well as along boring, main roads. The coolest part was going underneath I-94 before running alongside it to cross the border. Of the millions of times I’ve crossed that bridge I’ve never gone across it on foot, underneath it, or even knew there were homes right there on the river under that bridge!

The worst part of the race was right near the end. There was some construction on the paved paths in the park, so the course was redirected, forcing the runners to run up stairs!! Granted there were only four or five stairs, but it was right near the end and just enough to make it hurt!

I always get super happy when I see my people at my races!

I always get super happy when I see my people at my races!

The the finish line, the announcer called everyone out by name! It was awesome to hear my name called out (pronounced correctly, too!) as I ran to the finish! There were tons of drinks and goodies at the end, including cups of fish crackers that the kids ran straight towards! The main sponsor was a physical therapy organization, and they were giving free mini-treatments to the runners after the race. I should have gotten one on my back but just wanted to walk for a while and stretch out on my own.

Don't mess with us!

Don’t mess with us!

After getting some pictures with Goldy (go Gophers!!) we headed home so I could demolish my traditional post race/long run meal: a Chipotle burrito bowl.

Overall the race was a lot of fun! The weather ended up being perfect, with the clouds hanging around the whole time and the heat and humidity holding off all morning. There were water stops about every 2 miles, including one about a half mile from the end. The race ended up being over 2/10th of a mile long, which I guess is consistent with past reviews I’ve read of this race.

G2B Goodies

Every racer got to choose if they wanted a maroon “Gopher” bib (for the Minnesotans), a red “Badger” bib (for the Wisconsinites), or a bib with both to represent those from other states.

The shirt is really comfy, lightweight, and a stylish cut, but SUPER see-through!! And my medal actually has a “5K finisher” ribbon. They ran out of half marathon finisher ribbons really early, so those who didn’t get one the day of will get one in the mail. Ribbon aside, the medal is actually really fun! It will look great in my collection!

I’ll make another post for later this week with some reflections on how this race went on a personal level. As you can see, I ran it 5 minutes slower than my last half marathon, so expect lots of discussion on that.

And on that note, I am happy to announce I am DONE with half marathons …. at least until next spring!


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