On Saturday August 20, I (Sue) ran the Cheesehead Run Half Marathon in Hilbert, WI. Clearly I was in Wisconsin Packer and cheese country.
My husband and I made the 3.5 hour drive to Appleton on Friday. We did a little shopping and I was able to meet up with a good friend that I have not seen in ages. My short visit with Jill flew by and I was sad to say goodbye, but we promised to be in contact more frequently. After dinner, we went back to our hotel and I got my stuff together for the race in the morning. Weather predictions were not favorable – RAIN – so I tried to keep my gear as simple as possible; including a cap, rain poncho, and of course the trusty Gore-Tex shoes. I didn’t sleep well due to an unbelievably loud AC unit in our room and a wedding party staying on the same floor, but I got up and ready in my normal fashion early Saturday morning, paying close attention to applying Body Glide and petroleum jelly on most every surface to hopefully ward off chafing.
I arrived in downtown Hilbert in time for packet pickup and a quick trip back to my car to drop off the goodies I’d received. I partook of the ceremonial port-a-pottie line and made my way to the start in time to warm up a little and listen to a beautiful performance of the National Anthem.
Somewhere around mile 3, I heard a friendly voice from the other side of the road ask, “What intervals are you doing?”
“2:00/:30 run/walk,” I replied, “how about you?”
“2:30/:30, but I can take it down a notch.”
And a running friendship was born. Jen and I ran the rest of the race together visiting, sharing our stories, and helping each other get through the rough spots. She recently completed her first full marathon and has done a couple Ultras. How can you not be in awe of someone who runs a 50 mile race? Along the way, we started leapfrogging with a couple other ladies who were also run/walking intervals. It was so much fun to have the camaraderie that day. What a great bunch of women! Julie and Becca kept us laughing and shared Philippians 4:13 wristbands with us – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Yet again, when I mentioned I am running to raise funds for ALS research, Becca responded with two individuals she knew who had the disease. Every single race, I am reminded how far reaching ALS is and how devastating it is that no cure or effective treatment exist at this point.
I estimate the rain started approximately a half mile in. And it never really let up. Oh, it got worse. A lot worse. It would ease up too, but then start all over. A few times it was coming down hard enough to sting. The sloshing, schwumping, and squish-squish sounds were almost comical. Even my Gore-Tex shoes succumbed to the wet toward the end and my feet were soaked like everyone else’s. When the lightning hit loud and hard around mile 8, we were afraid we’d be pulled off the course. And after what we’d already been through, that was the last thing any of us wanted.
Despite the ridiculously wet weather that had everyone soaked to the bone, I truly enjoyed this race. It is run on county roads in beautiful farmland. The entire course is closed to traffic, it is well planned and marked and the volunteers were abundant and wonderful. I would love to do it again in dryer conditions. Maybe then I would even stick around for the cheesy buffet at the end. As it was, all I wanted to do was get back to my room and peel off the remainder of my sopping clothes and get in a hot shower. Which I did before heading home that afternoon.