Executive summary: The race was well organized, the course was great, and I finished in 1:50:22- not a PR, but a good time for me.
The long version: As I said yesterday, I went into the race with low expectations. I got dressed and donned my "Halloween costume".
I was not going to hold the thing for the entire race, so I tucked it into my waist band and hoped for the best.
I got to the race start right at 7:30 when then marathoners took off. I did all the necessary pre-race rituals, reluctantly packed up my warm outer clothes, and stood around checking out the costumes and freezing for 20 minutes. There were lots of your typical devils and angels and cats, a few angry birds, a very realistic looking Flo from the Progressive ads,
and a guy who was wearing only a tiger print Speedo with a tail stuck to the back.
We lined up at about 10 till 8, and I tucked in with the 1:50 pace group. Local Team in Training celebrity Dan Tyler sang the national anthem, and we were off.
The first mile was flat through the parking lot and shopping area where the race started. My fingers and toes were numb, but it felt good to get moving. The fork bit the dust.
Miles 2 and 3 wound through the neighborhoods in Middleton. This was the hilliest part of the race, but it was actually not that bad. There's one infamous mega hill, and we avoided it (thank you, race director). All the runners were squeezed onto the shoulder of the road, and I kept getting pushed back away from the 1:50 group. There was a long downhill at the end of mile 3, and I was able to catch and pass the 1:50 pace group. I heard the pacer say the rest of the course was basically flat, and I was feeling good, so I decided to pull away.
At mile 4.5, we entered the Pheasant Branch Conservancy. It was wooded, and the course was very gently rolling. Up a little, down a little. There were a lot of boardwalk bridges that made for a nice scene but were still a bit slick from the morning frost even though the race organizers salted them. We ran on mostly asphalt but there was some crushed limestone trail mixed in, too.
Right before the mile 6 we hit the first "haunted" section of the course where local Team in Training Celebrity (of national anthem fame) Dan Tyler chased runners with a chainsaw. Miles 7, 8, and 9 blend together in my mind. Even though I looked at a course map before the race, I wasn't sure where we were and when we would start to turn back toward the finish line. I was surprised when right after mile 9, we were back where we'd seen chainsaw guy.
Mile 10 was back along the original course, but, at mile 11, rather than going back through the neighborhoods, we did a short out and back under the belt line. This was the hardest part of the race for me because I was starting to fatigue and it's hard to watch people running back past you but not be able to see the turn around. I knew I was slowing down after the turn around because that's when the 1:50 group finally caught and passed me. I was okay with that, though, because I knew the 1:50 group leader was actually trying to pace for 1:49:30, and I had a little extra time. We wound through the parking lot of the shopping center where the race started and FINALLY I saw the finish line. I managed to pick up the pace a bit right at the end and finished in 1:50:22, according to the official results.
Even though I didn't get a PR and probably didn't push myself as hard as I could have, I was happy with my results and felt like I did as well as I could have expected. All things considered I give the Haunted Hustle two thumbs up. It's definitely a better race than the Madison half and I think it's on par with the Madison Mini.
If only athletic endeavors had gone better for the Badgers and the Gators yesterday. Both teams managed to clutch defeat from the hands of victory in last minute, crappy losses to teams they shouldn't have lost to. We watched the first half of the Badger game at Buffalo Wild Wings for a friends' birthday, and left at half time, confident of at least one victory.
Now it's time to get ready to re-enter the real world tomorrow. I've got all the stuff for my *real* Halloween costume now, and I'm excited to put it together.
Are you going to dress as anything for Halloween?