Monday, May 9, 2011

Race Report - Nicolet Bay 5K

I was able to race pain free last Saturday in the Nicolet Bay 5K that was apart of the Door County Half Marathon. These people sure know how to put on a nice race.

We arrived in Door County and Peninsula State Park on Friday evening for a quick drive in the park and to drive the course for Melissa to see what she would be running the next day. Peninsula State Park is a little over 3 hours drive from my home and in case you are wondering where Door County is, it is the "thumb" of Wisconsin. It is the peninsula that jets out into Lake Michigan about half way up the east side of Wisconsin. It is an absolutely beautiful place to visit and explore. It is also a very big touristy place in Wisconsin because of this but not usually in the Winter and Spring. The Door County Half Marathon is basically the kick off to the tourist season.

Packet pickup in the town of Ephraim was no problem at all and they had a small expo in case you needed any last minute things. The race offered shuttles from a lot of the hotels in the area because parking was limited in the park but I had already chosen to drive. There are no big name hotels, restaurants, etc in Door Country. They keep it this way to make it quaint and still have the small town feel. It really works up here so a lot of the local hotels scheduled shuttles which helped a lot of people since there were 1500 runner signed up in the half marathon and 500 in the 5K.

Race day come and the weather is almost perfect. Sunny and about 50F with little wind. I almost wished I was running the half marathon but Melissa wanted to run the 5K and since this would be her first "Solo" 5K, I said I would be there for her near the end. She is only 9 year old after all. The half marathon started at 10:00AM and I joined them for a bit for my warm up for the 5K. After about 2 miles warm up, I headed with Melissa to the starting area where we were told the race would be delayed 5 minutes to make sure the half marathoners were clear of the course.

I wish Melissa good luck and toward the front area. I knew this race didn't call for much in the line of competition and I didn't want to be stuck behind too many walkers and slower runners. I wanted to try to run a fast time if possible.

The horn sounds and we are off. As usual in a 5K race, about 5 to 10 little kids sprint off to the front only to be passed by about 1/4 to a half mile into the race. I try to keep my pace fast yet comfortable and by about 3/4 of a mile in, I was running alone with 8 runner ahead of me and no one near me. I hit mile 1 in 6:27, exactly the pace to reach 20:00. Mile 2 had a hill in it but not too bad and I just kept the same level of effort. There were a couple runners a bit ahead of me but not really in striking distance until I caught one of them at the mile 2 marker.

Maybe it is just me, but I found it funny to see this guy all decked out in Triathlon gear for a 5K. The whole tight bike shirt and bike shorts thing. I thought that is couldn't be the most comfortable thing for a 5K but what do I know?!?! I passed him and he stayed with me for about 10 seconds and then faded. Now there was no one close enough ahead of me to realistically catch unless they had a major meltdown. Mile 2 split was 6:50.

The last mile I ran all by myself and it show in the final results. I run the mile 3 in 6:42 and end up finishing in 7th place overall in a time of 20:46. A little slower than I would have liked, but a good time considering the week off I has for the hurt back.

Like I said before, there was little competition in this race and it shows since I took 7th out of 483 runners in a time of 20:46, not exactly a stellar 5K time for placing that high. But I was happy anyways. After a quick breather, I head back onto the course running against traffic trying to find Melissa. I see her and she is running really fast! Turns out she was walking and saw me first and didn't want to be seen walking. She runs the last 1/2 mile of her race very fast passing close to 50 runners and finishes in a time of 33:38. This is a lot slower than she is capable of running but this was her first solo 5K race and she had no one to help her pace or push her to a faster time. She will learn over time what she is capable of doing.

After a 2 mile cool down, we all head to the 5K awards and find out that I was the First Place Masters Runner! My old age got me a nice plaque and a medal for first in my age group. I wish they would have given the medal to the next runner in the age group thus allowing more runners to receive awards. I will have to suggest that to them in the future. Is it just me or do you think that is the way it should be? Top overall award winners and Masters winner should be taken out of age group awards. Makes sense to me. But is is a nice little plaque.

After a nice swim int he indoor pool at the hotel, we had to go to Wilson's, and institution in Door County and my absolute favorite Ice Cream Shop. The girls love it too! We only made it there 2 times on this trip but we are planning a return trip in early August.

If you are from Wisconsin and you have never been to Door County, you are missing out on one of the Gems of the state. It is such a beautiful place to visit and stay a few few days. There is also a lot of small (and big) races for all you runners / triathletes out there. I have now done 3 different races and maybe will do another later this year. They have the small race suck as the 5K I did or the 4th of July 5K as well. Also longer like the Door County Half Marathon and the Fall 50 in October (a 50 mile race with relays too). There is the Door County Tiathlon with sprint and half Ironman distance too. And quite a few other races. And even if you are just visiting and not wanting to race, the roads as runner friendly in the towns and very friendly in Peninsula State Park. No, I am not to the tourism board of Door County even it it sounds like it, I just enjoy the area a lot.

Across the street from Wilson's has gorgeous views of Eagle Harbor and the town of Ephraim.

The road hugs the shore line of Ephraim allowing a wonderful drive.

Ephraim is a small quaint town in Door County. Lots of shops and art galleries.

I forgot to mention one of the most astonishing things about the 5K. The over all winners! In a time of 18:44, the winner was a 10 year old kid! Holy Crap!!! He was good! And not to be outdone by a lot, the overall female winner (6th place overall) in a time of 19:44 was a 12 year old girl!!! Both of these kids ran extremely well, not just for their age, but for any age. Both were very gracious in accepting their awards. Let's hope they continue to use the running gifts they have been given.


Anonymous said...

I love Door County! How is the half-mary course? The whole area can be really hilly - is it a challenging half?

Mark said...

Congrats!!! So cool to see your Daughter running, glad your back is better