Race Report: Elroy Apple Dumpling Day Races

It's been a busy week and I haven't had a chance to write about this yet, but last weekend was marathon #72 for Eric. He's hammering away on his quest for 100, and darn if he's not within firing distance at this point! He just finished up the Minocqua No Frills Marathon the week before, so this was just a tag on. As Eric says, "it's good doing marathons on consecutive weekends, because you don't have to train for the second one." 

He called me up on about Monday, "Hey, there's a marathon in Elroy I'm thinking doing, the Apple Dumpling Marathon, want to come?"

Normally I'm inclined to do stupid things like that, but I'm still trying to get into "shape" after being in Peru this summer and I didn't feel like doing a marathon yet. I have two coming up at the end of September, so a half seemed more reasonable.

"I'll do the half."

"Sounds good!"

At first the plan was for Eric to pick me up at 4 in the morning from Chippewa Falls. Marathons are so run-of-the-mill for Eric that he's inclined to wake up at 2 AM, drive all day, run, then drive home (and then work a full day). But honestly, I'm too old for that nonsense. I talked Eric into finding a place to crash closer to Elroy on Friday night and he went for it.

The plan was to eat something at Casa Mexicana before heading down, but Eric kept texting me telling me he was going to be late. I took the family to Casa anyway. "Do you want me to buy you a burrito?" I texted. He didn't give me a straight answer, so I bought him one. When Eric finally arrived at our house my kids swarmed him. I held up the burrito.  "Want this?" Eric finally admitted that he didn't and we were on our way.

We stopped at Culvers and I had some sort of chocolate fudge caramel pecan Sunday because I read an article in runner's world about how that's the best thing to eat before a race...that and a discount burrito. Then we crashed.

The next day the alarm went off and we headed down to the Elroy Apple Dumpling Day Races.  It turned out to be a pretty well run little event. The marathon is run on a paved trail, which makes it a little faster than the limestone marathons that have become so popular. Those of us doing the half watched the marathoners take off, then we were loaded onto a bus to head out to our start line. Personally, if I'd been organizing it, I would have dispensed with the buses and just had both groups do an out and back...but oh well, they did a good job.

My race went off without a hitch, although the previous day's burrito turned out not to be a good choice (that's the last time I listen to runner's world). I was running along with a couple ladies who were singing and talking the whole time. They were running the exact sub 10 minute pace that I wanted, but after a while I started to feel creepy tagging along behind them, so I went ahead (they caught up to me right at the finish line). 

I'm always hoping to do my halfs in around 2 hrs, and I was playing catch-up for most of this one. However, the first 6 miles trended uphill. We went through a cool tunnel and I could feel the course start to descend so I thought I might be able to make up time. Didn't happen though, and I finished in 2:09, 45th out of a field of 90...which was fine by me.

I hung around handing out pamphlets for the Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon and started up conversations with people. One guy remarked that Tammi's picture on the front was "inspirational" (I think so too). Eric finally trotted in, chatting with a group of people in sub 5 hrs. We had just enough time to drink a couple beers then we were back on the road. 

Days like that just take you out of your regular routine. It's like hitting "restart" on your brain. That made three straight weekends where I did a half-marathon distance, and I feel I'm at least good enough to survive the Birkie Trail marathon and Twin Cities. 

The next day, at about halftime of the Packer game, I started to get hungry. That's when I remembered that Eric left his burrito at my house. It's fine to eat those things when you're just going to sit around and drink beer the rest of the day. Seriously, don't try to run with one in your belly though...

Next up, Skull-n-Bones!


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