Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Bellin's Women Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
This year on top of becoming a Double Agent (Half Fanatic and Marathon Maniac), I also set a goal to race in all 50 states. The Bellin's Women Half Marathon (http://www.bellinwomenshalf.com/) had the privilege of being my race for Wisconsin. The theme of the of the race is to empower and inspire women to be their best. While this is not my first women's theme race, it is the best one I have participated in and here's why--
While I do not live in WI, I was glad that the race offered twice weekly training sessions leading up to the race. Training helps all participants, from the newbie to the seasoned runner. It also helps participants to track how close the race is so they can prep for race day. Since I am training for the NYC Marathon, I wrapped this training right in with my weekly runs.
The expo was located at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay, WI on Friday October 7th. Packet pick up was a breeze. The expo was small, but had some unique vendors. I got a cute shirt and somehow avoided buying another Bondiband. Our swag for the race was nice. We got a hooded shirt and a drawstring bag that had the painting for the race printed on it. The back of the bag was signed FEARLESS. While I am not a fan of drawstring bags, this one by far is my favorite. We also received a Bellin's Women Half Marathon printed Bondiband.
Women's Inspiration Dinner
Later that evening there was an Inspiration Dinner with a pasta buffet. This year's speaker was Sarah Reinersten, an awesome Ironman Finisher. She shared her story of overcoming adversity and how she doesn't let her disability stand in her way of achieving her dreams. The dinner atmosphere almost (I do mean almost) made me want to sign up for an Ironman, but the cookies brought me back to the task of running the half marathon the next day. I also had a chance to connect with other runners. There is nothing like a good meal to end a night.
Only one word can sum up race day "COLD." It was 39 degrees when I woke up that morning. Thankfully I packed winter running wear, but I was not prepared to run at that temperature. We parked at the finish and the race provided buses to the start. Once we arrived at the start, we were able to go into a shelter to get relief from the cold. Eventually we had to leave the shelter and head the start line.
The course was residential near a lake. It wasn't too hilly and it was scenic. I saw my first apple tree! There were spectators along the way and pockets of cheer tunnels along the route. The race had the best Gatorade I have ever had in any race. That alone was worth the entry fee. With 1,300 people the race was not too crowded and everyone was really encouraging. My lungs started getting upset at mile 4 and from that point on, I felt like I running in a deep freezer.
I used my NYC training intervals (3 min run/30 s walk) and I finished in 2:32. We received a medallion finisher necklace.
I finished upright, but I felt like I was coming down with a cold. Thankfully, one dose of medicine took care of that issue.
The race ended with a post-race party with tons of food. We had chocolate, chips, drinks, brownies, veggie wraps, and strawberry shortcake.
The ceremony was held later that night at a restaurant by the river. I wasn't feel well and it was so cold that I didn't stay for all the awards. I did have a chance to talk to Sarah Reinersten about the NYC Marathon.
The only improvement for the race would be to choose a weekend in which the Packers are not playing. It made my hotel much more expensive.
Overall it was a great race. It was my 15th half marathon and I can official put a stamp on WI for my 50 states journey.