Monday, July 7, 2014

Sheboygan Freedom Run 5 Miler

Sheboygan, WI, the so-called "Bratwurst Capital of the World", is located on Lake Michigan about an hour north of Milwaukee. I was staying there over the 4th of July weekend and as luck would have it, there just happened to be a race - The Freedom Run 2 and 5 Miler - taking place down the street from my hotel on the morning of the 4th.

Pre-Race
So, of course I had to run it! I left the hotel at about 7:15 and walked 5 minutes down the hill for the 7:30 am race start.  I had been sick all week and hadn't run a single mile for six days prior to the race. I had little expectations and no race plan except to start slow and finish fast. I also did not know how hilly the course would be, so I thought my strategy would work well if it was hilly.
Waiting for the start of the race
The Race
The race got started with a simple "Go" from the announcer and we were off!

Mile 1: I had chosen a spot about 30 yards back from the starting line, because I thought I would give the 2 mile runners a little breathing room since they would be pushing the pace early. However, that was a big mistake as I found myself in a sea of 8 to 9 minute milers with lots of kids and adults in jeans rocking cassette Walkmen which meant that I had to do lots of weaving right off of the bat. So much for trying to be nice! Oh well, it helped to hold my pace back a little. We headed up a gradual incline with great views of Lake Michigan. 6:57/mile.
Course Map. Note that about half of the course had views of the lake.
(entirely course was on city streets)
Mile 2: After the first mile, I was able to get by all of the slower runners and stop weaving. Right at the turnaround for the 2 milers, there was a giant hill. We shook the 2 milers and started our ascent. I purposely dropped the pace up the hill and focused on staying relaxed. There was no need to push the pace with four whole miles left to race. Once I crested the hill, I enjoyed the view of the lake from high atop the bluff.  Then I started to pick up my pace. 6:45/mile.

Mile 3: This mile was mostly a nondescript jaunt through some residential streets. There was a hairpin turn-around to begin the trip back over the same course. 6:32/mile.

Mile 4: What goes up, must come down, so there were some nice gradual downhills here. I was nervous about picking up the pace too much and getting shin-splints like I've done in other downhill race situations. 6:21/mile.

Mile 5: We made our way down the big hill, and in order to prevent leg pain, I held back until the last portion of the hill. Then I turned on the jets for the remainder of the race, trying to pick off as many fading runners as I could. I guess not running for six days gave me some fresh legs, because I really slammed down the hammer (my last recorded pace for this mile was 4:25/mile!) 6:08/mile.

Results:

Total time: 33:12 (6:31/mile) Instant PR!
Age Group: 1 out of 14
Overall: 21 out of 271

Analysis:
I am quite happy with the result considering I was sick the entire week leading up to the race. I also had no idea how hilly the course was going into the race. I train on pretty much flat land, so to beat other runners who probably train on this terrain on a daily basis was cool. I credit the stair stepper at the gym! Anyway, I simply run best when I run negative splits, and I ran a pretty good race in that regard. On top of all that it was my first 5 miler ever, so I got an instant PR!

Post-Race:
I collected my AG medal with a red white and blue ribbon and walked 20 yards to the lake for some post race pictures:

Relaxing by the beach post race
The "Big Bang" Celebration in Sheboygan is sponsored by
Then it was time to have a double brat on a Sheboygan bun for a late breakfast!

Summary:
Fantastic, well-organized race run on city streets for only $12 - that is almost the same amount as the "convenience charge" for a Chicago race!


Saw this giant guy in the parade after the race.
Next Up:
Rock n' Roll Half Marathon Chicago (my favorite half marathon course in the world)!

24 comments:

  1. Wow! What a fabulous race! Congrats on the PR and the 1st in AG!!!! I hope you are feeling recovered from being sick now.

    And $12?! Schweet!

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    1. Thanks and thanks! I am mostly better, just waiting for my sinuses to clear. It will be nice for me (and on-lookers) when I don't have to "snot rocket" so much while running. Yes, at those prices, I couldn't afford not to run! :)

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  2. Hey there! Great 5 miler!! And I'll be there at RNR!

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    1. Thanks! Cool that you'll be at the RnR! We need to get a blogger pic under the starting line sign this year. :)

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  3. Nice! I love finding races when you're staying somewhere on vacation! Sounds like a good small one too.

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    1. Thanks! I love running races while on vacation as well. They are usually the high points of my trips. Yes, it was small and manageable. If you include the 2 milers it was probably over 500 runners, but luckily all street running, so you could get separation after mile 1.

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  4. Are you kidding? A PR on hills after being sick and not running? Awesome! In the bratwurst capitol too--kudos!

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    1. Thanks. I probably could have waited another day or two to make sure I was completely healthy, but I couldn't resist running the race. :) Yup, the brats were actually really good.

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  5. Wow that is fast!! Were all the cheeseheads mad that the flatlander took the AG prize? Great job!

    Wendy@TakingtheLongWayHome

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    1. Thanks. I spoke to one "cheesehead" who got 2nd in my AG. He said he saw me pass him and he knew I was in his age group (?), however he could not keep up with me!

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  6. Awesome work! I love these automatic PR races :) and I also enjoy randomly finding a race somewhere when I'm traveling. Kudos all around! Excited to see you blaze RNR Chicago :)

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    1. Yes, always nice to get an automatic PR! Here's hoping I can eke out a sub 1:30 at the RnR. If I can or not will mainly weather dependent. :)

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  7. That's awesome, Pete! And 4:25 mile pace! That's insane.

    See ya at RnR Chicago, although I'll be somewhere in the back this year :)

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    1. Thanks Mo! Yes, I am glad I left something in the tank for the finish. Feels good to fly to the finish line. See you at RnR Chicago! :)

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  8. Holy smokes, unplanned race is always a nice surprise. But holy fast-PR-winning-your-age-group! Congrats!!

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  9. You just blew my mind! A PR and you won your age group with hills and after being sick?! You are on a roll this year! My husband is from Sheboygan and LOVES bratwurst. We should try to run this race next year. Good luck running RNR next weekend!

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    1. Thanks! Hey, I might run it again next year, so we could all race then eat some bratwurst! :)

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  10. I'm a little late to the party but CONGRATS on the PR and AG win! And Dayum! Those negative splits were impressive. Sounds like an amazing race for $12!!!

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    1. Thanks. Yes, what a deal for $12!

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