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

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

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Nice job Matt and Allison! Matt with a wise move not to try to pass her at the end. It would have been bad to win and even worse if she kicked into soccer gear and out-sprinted you at the end! : )

  2. […] plenty of passing room. This meant there was virtually no bottle-necking (a major problem at our last race) – but it also meant running through some sections of loose sand. And a few horse droppings. […]


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