Sunday, June 5, 2011

Casper Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Casper, WY
Sunday, June 5
Half Marathon #34
State #29/50
Weather - Sunny, H.O.T.

There aren't too many races in Wyoming. Shocking, I know. We picked the Casper Half because it was close and fell on a weekend when there wasn't much else happening. So there you have it.

We had to drive up the day before since it WAS a four hour drive, and the race started at 6:45 am. Arrived in Casper to pick up our race packets around 7:30. We discovered that purely by accident that we were staying in the hotel RIGHT NEXT TO the host hotel. Things couldn't have worked out better.

Can you recognize what I had for my pre-race carb load?

If you guessed the three cheese chicken penne pasta from Applebee's, you would be correct! Also had to make a quick run to the grocery store. We forgot our morning bagels! I know, we should be professionals by now. At least we didn't forget our running gear... Got our stuff ready for morning and we were in bed by 10:00.

Alarm was set for 5:05. That would give us about a half hour to get ready, then all we had to do was walk next door and catch the shuttle. They would be running until 6:00 so that would give us plenty of time. While waiting for the bus I checked the weather. It was going to be heating up FAST.

I know, you are probably thinking, upper 50s, that's not too bad. Well, I know better. We were dropped off at the Casper Events Center where we had INDOOR BATHROOMS, and about 30 minutes to kill until the race started. Two of the first people that we saw were Marathon Maniacs that we saw in CHINA. I swear, running is a small world... (As another aside, there were 29 Maniacs registered, which was probably more than 10% of the number of people running the marathon). If this is any indication of the size of the race, this is the vehicle holding all the drop bags:

The marathon started at 6:30, the half was starting at 6:45. It was already sunny and much warmer than when we had arrived at the start. We are actually in the middle of the pack. Exciting start line?

There was an actual gun to start the race, nearly sent me into cardiac arrest. So. About this race. I decided to run this race more like I run a full marathon. Just run it easy and see how it goes. I was a bit concerned about the impending heat and the aid stations being two miles apart, but wanted to go into it with a better attitude. So I started off slowish. Apparently "slowish" meant finishing the first mile in just over 9 minutes. Not so slow for me. Hot already. Look at that sun!

First aid station was just over a mile in, I walked through the aid station and we made a right turn. This is just before a gradual uphill that I swear lasted a half mile. My Garmin disagrees and claims it was flat.

Right around 2 miles, the course makes a turn heading back into the city. I thought this helicopter was sorta neat:

And here is a view of Casper and the surrounding mountains. This is also the only real downhill of the entire course. I was feeling GREAT at this point. Of course a). it is still very early in the race, and b). I *am* running downhill.

At the base of the hill there is another turn and we are running on trail or path of some kind. There was an aid station, which must have been right around mile 3.5. I saw a port-o-potty about a quarter mile down the road and decided that since my stomach is still feeling off that I better stop. False alarm, but still took a minute. This part of the course was actually shaded in some points, but it was definitely feeling hot.

There was another big incline just before hitting mile 5. That's when it went DOWNHILL for me. I swear I literally just started falling apart. I suddenly felt super hot and my legs seemed to go defective. But why...

Anyway, we started running by the river, and that's when the real fun started. All the gnats. I had to be careful about my breathing because I didn't want to inhale them. I'm guessing I normally run with my mouth at least semi-open, because I had to start concentrating about keeping my mouth closed. And my eyes. Wasn't too fun.

The river is running really fast and high. Parts of the course were partially flooded:

Just before mile 6, we ran right by the finish line. Sigh. I hate it when races do that. It's always discouraging. Shortly after passing the finish line, the course turned again. This is a view of a street heading into Casper. What a hoppin' town.

Just before mile 7 there was this random tower. (Notice the lack of clouds? SUPER HOT by now). There was another bathroom and I stopped again. I had trouble trying to lock the door, but definitely needed the stop. Sigh.

The aid station around mile 7.5 had the coldest water ever. It was awesome with how hot it was. The course then split and half marathoners went one way, the marathon the others. We were due to run about a 5k loop around the Three Crown golf course.

At the mile 10 marker, I started talking to one of the women I had been chasing. She said I had been pacing her really well, and she was happy when she had passed me. Then she started to tire out and we parted ways. I was feeling a little better by this time. Until I got back to the aid station with the cold water. I stopped to fill up my water bottle, then headed out for the last few miles. I noticed this random fisherman statue in the river. Oh, Wyoming.

I struggled through the last few miles. Hot and I had separated from the runners. There was no one in front of me, which ALWAYS spells disaster for me. I walked here and there throughout the last few miles.

Crossing the finish line of this race was pretty special. This race bumped me up to the SUN level with Half Fanatics. I suppose all that really means is I'm super crazy, but I don't do anything halfway, so it was important to me to make it ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP...

Garmin Distance - 12.97 miles
Garmin Time - 2:15:54
Garmin Pace - 10:28
Mile 1 - 9:08
Mile 2 - 9:37
Mile 3 - 9:17
Mile 4 - 10:25 (bathroom)
Mile 5 - 10:47
Mile 6 - 10:39
Mile 7 - 11:06 (bathroom)
Mile 8 - 11:39
Mile 9 - 10:41
Mile 10 - 10:51
Mile 11 - 10:17
Mile 12 - 11:06
Mile 13 - 10:41
Mile 13.1 - 9:20

The center part of the medal SPINS!
Overall, how do I feel about this race? It was pretty good. Well organized. Well supported. Different flavors of Gatorade at every aid station and water, got GU at two stops. And... the best post-race food EVER. Fruit (berries, melons, citrus), Vegetables (carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes), nuts, crackers, cookies (snickerdoodle, M&M, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, frosted), Pizza Hut (supreme, vegetable, cheese, ham), Blimpie Subs, Beer (at least 5 kinds), Soda, Juice, V8, Gatorade...

So. If you are looking for a smaller race (very minimal crowd support) with good food, awesome medal, and friendly volunteers, then this is the race for you.


  1. That looks like it was actually a nice race, especially the food :) but the course looks pretty, too. But I doubt I'll ever find myself in Wyoming!

  2. May have to but this on my list, not too far for me to travel to. Thanks for the report! P.S. Your stamina is incredible, so may races in so many places..... love it!

  3. Wow, tasty post race refreshments for such a small race!
    Congratulations on the new level of Half Fanatics...that's a lot of running!

  4. Congrats again on your sun level. I know what you mean about the gnats- got 2 in my eye the other day- painful.
    Wyomming is super sparse on races, so maybe I'll do this one next year??

    Glad the post race food was so **AWESOME**

  5. Aside from the heat, that sounds pretty awesome! And I guess it makes sense that it got hot since you achieved your sun level!


    .... and seriously - what a fantastic post-race spread of food. Wow!

  6. Excellent pictures and re-cap of the race! Thank you!
    Casper, Wyoming

  7. Totally agree with you on this race. I ran it in 2014 and I thought it was super well organized and I really enjoyed the race. Also, their post race spread of food was worth the trip and admission price. I am trying to do the 50 states thing, but I'd make an exception and run this one again because I had such a good time. Thanks for the cool pictures and write-up.

  8. I hope it has grown since 2011. I plan on doing this one in June :)

  9. I hope it has grown since 2011. I plan on doing this one in June :)


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