Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tyranena Beer Run Recap

My hubby thinks I'm a dork for
posting pictures of the race
medals.  But this is what it's all about!
Well, I did it.  My fifth half marathon of the year is in the books, and now I feel I can officially rest for a bit.  So, how did it go?  It was a blast!

In the days leading up to the event, I wasn't exactly enthused.  In fact, I was feeling kind of burned out.  I had decided that I would just see how I felt on race day to decide if I would go through with the half, wimp out and do the 4-mile event, or completely wimp out and just head to the beer tent to start using up my beer tickets.  Well, sometimes I think I am all bark and no bite, because I almost never wimp out on anything.  So, even though I wasn't that excited to be running yet another long distance event this year, I did it anyway.

Mentally, Saturday, I was definitely not in the game.  However, having rested both Thursday and Friday, my body at least felt ready to try to take this on.  So, I did what I said I would.  I plugged in my music, got out there and just determined to enjoy the scenery.

(One thing I will say about not being in the game mentally is that there are no pre-race jitters that way.  With nothing to lose, there is nothing to fret about, and that is kind of nice.)

Saturday morning's 11:30 a.m. event started a bit earlier for us, as we had to meet our running club's bus at 8 a.m.  This is the second bus trip for the year that the club has put on and, strangely, they both have had to do with beer.  Go figure.  We got to the running store where we were to meet the bus, grabbed our gear and the coolers we had promised to bring the bus trip organizers, and waited.  The bus was a few minutes late, but that just gave us more time to chat with friends and wake up a bit.

Once the bus got there, we loaded up, grabbed some coffee and bagels that the club had been kind enough to get for us, and then sat back and enjoyed our hour and a half drive down to the race.  The bus trip was uneventful, but enjoyable.  I always bring a book, magazine, or crossword puzzles to do on these things, and Andy thinks I am nuts.  Rightfully so, apparently, because I rarely do them.  Mostly, I talk.  And I talk.  And I talk.

Getting to the event, we were allowed to park our bus within spitting distance of the event tent.  We took a quick group photo, and then it was off to packet pickup.

So, the event....

What's to say?  It was great.  Really well organized and thought out.  Packet pickup was a breeze, although I was required to show ID.  A short-sleeved cotton t-shirt was almost an oddity given the wave of technical shirts I have received lately, but who cares when you have food and drink tickets in your packet.  I was really excited to try the Tyranena Beer after the race as I had never really had it before.  With names like Bitter Woman IPA, Sheep Shagger Scottish Ale, and Hop Whore (whatever it was), I wasn't sure what to think.  Either these folks are extremely irreverent, or they have an incredible sense of humor.  In either case, the beer would have to wait until after the run.

In a previous blog, I had bemoaned the elevation chart for the race, and - as it turns out - with good reason.  The course was hilly!  The half marathon starts out wending its way through Lake Mills' scenic streets and residential areas, past small farms, up some rolling and not-so-rolling (read: significant) hills, before making its way around Rock Lake.  Views of the lake are pleasant and there are a ton of trees with leaves still falling along the streets.  Somewhere around mile 5 or 6, the course veers onto the Glacial Drumlin State Trail, a crushed rock trail that follows an old train track for several miles.  The scenery there is fantastic as the trail goes through trees, over a neck of Rock Lake, and past fields.  This part is relatively flat and easy to enjoy.  Coming off the trail around mile 10, you enter what is arguably the least exciting part of the course, as you make your way past business parks and along busier city streets to the finish.

Overall, I really liked the course and the race.  The hills were challenging but I tried to take them on anyway.  I won some; I lost some.  The steeper ones I mostly ran up about halfway and then had to walk to the top.  I don't feel too bad about that, because they were steep.  The lower-grade hills I ran, so I am happy about that.  I stumbled once when we got on the trail.  Failing to take off my sunglasses going through a tunnel proved to be a mistake, as I misstepped into a shallow depression turning my ankle a bit. That didn't prove detrimental, though, so I got over it.

There was great support on the course.  A lot of spectators cheering us on.  Four water stations along the route had Gatorade, water, and smiling volunteers.  Each water station had porta-potties.  Signage along the course was excellent with every corner being marked with clear directions on where to go.  The only downside was that there wasn't a lot of traffic control along the course.  Most roads were not busy, but a couple of crossings could have used an official of some sort.  As it was, though, the drivers seemed polite and no one (as far as I know) got run over.

For myself, I decided I would not do my run/walk this race.  Why?  I don't know.  I just didn't feel like it.  I started out with the intention of doing it.  I thought I would follow my plan for my PR half marathon a month and a half ago: run three miles and then go to the run/walk until the finish where I could see how I felt.  But, as it turns out, I was really feeling pretty good, so I thought I would just see what I could do.  Of course, I did end up walking a bit here and there.  I walked through the water stations, up the last half of some hills, and towards the end when I pooped out.  I crossed the finish line in 2:08:35 - almost two minutes slower than my PR.  I am really excited about that time, though.  It's still faster than my next best time after the PR and on a hilly course, too!  What befuddles me, though, is that the run/walk race was faster than this.  So, I do wonder why should I bother just trying to run an event if the run/walk goes faster for me... I'll have to think about that.

Crossing the finish line, I was really happy to see my husband waiting for me to see me finish.  (He finished in 1:31.)  After heading to the bus to change clothes and gather my food and drink tickets, it was off to the tent.

Andy in the beer tent before the race.
The tent was huge - and heated!
A plate of vegetable lasagna and bread sticks and a couple of beers later, and I was a happy camper.  I had found my husband and running friends at a table near the beer - big surprise there! - and we had a good time talking and enjoying the after party.  By 4 p.m. it was time to get back on the bus and head out.  So, all in all, a great event.  Would I do it again?  Yes, definitely.  Especially if someone else drives....


  1. Great job on the race - especially a hilly race! I'm glad I dropped by your blog. :)

  2. Tiff, thanks for stopping by! Looked at your blog, and I see why this posting must have caught your eye! :) For the record, my favorite Tyranena beer was the Sheep Shagger Scottish Ale - very flavorful and smooth.