Race Report: DWD Devil’s Lake Half Marathon

On Saturday, Allison and I awoke at 3:30am for the two hour drive to Devil’s Lake State Park. We had signed up to run the Dances with Dirt half marathon together – with Allison setting the pace and me tagging along as the photographer/time-keeper/live entertainment.

Allison by the trophy platform

The race began at 7:00am, and quickly funneled the 600-or-so runners onto single-track. This was the only significant downside to the race. Thanks to bottlenecking, we were forced to walk many of the uphill sections during the first several miles.

Trying to keep up with the blistering pace

Section 1: The initial 4.2 miles of the course featured 1290 feet of elevation change – most of it uphill. We followed the Ice Age Trail through large sections of forest…

Speeding through one of the flat sections

…before emerging onto some grassland for a couple more miles of rolling hills.

Some scenic terrain

Hi there

By the time we reached the first aid station, the crowd was finally beginning to thin out. We grabbed some water and GU gels, then proceeded to the next section of trail.

Section 2: This 4.7 mile loop took us along some of the scenic bluffs overlooking the park. It offered another 1360 feet of elevation change, including a few sections like this:

One of the trickier descents

So needless to say, we finished the race feeling like we’d just run 13.1 miles on a StairMaster.

Aid station #2

Section 3: The final 4.2 miles had us retracing our steps back to the start/finish line. So another 1290 feet of elevation change – this time mostly downhill.

Charging downhill, alongside another (practically naked) runner

Attacked by an Ent!

To give an idea of how challenging the course was, we trotted across the finish line with official times of 2:38:49 and 2:38:50. And yes, Allison beat me. I wasn’t going to be the jerky husband who darts in front at the very end.

For comparison, Allison normally finishes her training runs of 13.1 miles in about 2:10:00, going at a sub-maximal pace. My 13.1 mile training runs are typically under 1:50:00.

Approaching the finish line

Published in: on July 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm  Comments (2)  

Family Fun

A couple of weeks ago Matt and I headed out to Lake Pleasant, New York in the Adirondacks for a Christian family camp.  We met Matt’s family at Camp of the Woods for a week of fellowship and adventure on and around the lake.  Since this blog has been about documenting Matt and I’s outdoor experiences, we thought we would include a little of what we did at the camp, since this camp lended itself to adventure of that nature.

Upon arrival, Matt immediately decided he was going to participate in the camp’s triathlon – a 2 mile canoe race, a 1.1 mile swim across the lake, and a 5k.  The canoe race took place on Monday, and Matt was paired with another participant. The swim took place on Wednesday, and for that he was required to have 2 spotters in a canoe paddle alongside him (his dad and I got nominated for that job). Finally the 5k took place on Friday and both Matt and I ran it.  Below are pictures of the three events:

Matt and his canoeing partner at the finish.

Matt and his fellow swimmers getting ready to start.

Matt and I at the start of the 5k.

The girls in the family decided to take a canoe, hiking, and cliff jumping day trip on Tuesday.  And on Wednesday morning, Matt’s dad, sister, and I took a sunrise canoe trip out to a lake.

Meredith, Caroline, and I (Matt’s mom is taking the picture at the front of the canoe).

Cliff jumping!

Steve, Caroline, and I at 6 AM out on the river. (I can’t believe no one wanted to get up and go with us)

The family also spent a considerable time on the beach, eating ice cream, and playing putt-putt, shuffleboard, basketball, soccer, frisbee, softball, real golf, and tennis (they had various camp tournaments for most of these events, in addition to just playing them for fun).  Matt and I even managed an evening kayaking trip, which was my first time in a kayak.

Eating ice cream on the beach.

Matt always managed to beat me at putt-putt. (Can’t you tell I’m furtively watching his stroke to determine his secret?)

The boys playing basketball.

Finally, on the way home from New York, Matt and I decided to make a stop at Niagara Falls, Canada to check out the beautiful falls we had heard so much about. We took a Maid of the Mist tour in addition to just walking along the shore and taking in the view.

American Falls at Niagara Falls.

Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls.

Rainbow as we stood on top of Horseshoe Falls.

Published in: on July 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm  Comments (1)