Today Ben and I ran for the third time the U.S. Cellular Half Marathon in the Fox Cities (Appleton, Menasha, Neenah, Kaukauna, Kimberly, etc.). We typically drive up on Saturday and spend the night in a hotel before the 8 a.m. race start on Sunday morning. It's not too far up there - about 90 miles - and spending the night in a hotel means one less thing to worry about on race day.
This morning was chilly (especially a 6 a.m., when the shuttle bus picked us up), but gorgeous, and I regretted the fact that I decided to keep on my long-sleeved running shirt for the race about 5 miles in. But really, you couldn't have asked for a nicer day. We weren't really expecting to have a great race - most of our longer runs this summer haven't been particularly good, and even our shorter runs have been frustrated by pain. We went out planning to finish and just enjoy ourselves. Well... when we were still running sub 8:45s six miles in, I realized we might be better off than we thought.
We were running really well until about mile 10, when I started to have some issues, but I hung in there and we were able to finish in a new PR: 1:56:45, shaving about a minute off last season's PR and averaging 8:55s throughout! Woo hoo! While our official places were 770 and 771 (edited 9/25: they just changed it to the chip times, and our places moved up to 764 and 765... the right direction, in my opinion), I'm still thrilled. You can see more placement information for me here. (Note: the difference between the reported time and our chip time was a minute and a half. It always amazes me how long it takes from the start gun going off until you actually get to the starting line in these fields!)
An added benefit of driving up on Saturday is the opportunity to visit Primitive Gatherings in Menasha. I certainly found lots of things to love, and if I did more applique, I'm sure it would be an even more costly visit. Here's photos of my purchases:
Several Christmas prints from the Whimsicals line Snow Wonderful:
Several lovely teal-y blues and coordinates from Brannock and Patek's Hemming House and the Collections for a Cause Heritage lines:
And finally, a number of cream and brown fat quarters for use in the Going in Circles quilt pattern by Buggy Barn (in the book Certifiably Crazy):
These creams and browns will join a variety of browns I'd already collected over the past year:
Finally, I finished shopping early enough on Saturday to work on cutting out some Christmas quilting projects while sitting in the hotel watching the Brewers game (unfortunately, they lost...).
What a great weekend!