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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lake Mills, WI Tyranena Beer Run recap

I have to say that I run a ton of races in Wisconsin.  They usually have lower entry fees, they are always on a course that I don’t train on, the people seem to be nicer (sorry Chicagoans) and less pushy, and I enjoy making a weekend out of a race.

That said, I ran the Tyranena Half-Barrel Beer Run on Saturday – here’s my recap:

Registration: I had heard that this race sells out quickly so I made it a point to stalk the registration page around the time that they said it would open up and I’m pretty sure I registered on the first day.  I signed up for the half-marathon distance and signed my husband up for the shorter race. It was through so there were some irritating fees, but it went smoothly. I think it was something like $58+fees.

The weekend: The race gets you a discount at a motel somewhere nearby but I thought it would be more fun to stay at a B&B so I found a really nice one walking distance from the brewery and from downtown Lake Mills. We drove up on Friday night – it takes about 2 hours – checked inot the B&B and headed into town for a fish fry. Usually I’d be adverse to eating somewhat greasy dinner, but the race had a late start so I wasn’t too concerned.

Race morning: There was another couple staying at the B&B who were running the race and the B&B owners made a special carb-load breakfast that was just perfect – a baked pancake: pancake batter poured over chopped breakfast ham into a baking dish and then sprinkled with shredded cheese on top. Served hot with maple syrup it was DELICIOUS. Plenty of coffee, water, orange juice and whole wheat bagels completed the offering.

Packet-pick-up: They started at 9:30am so we opted to drive over about 9:45. We were early enough to snag a parking place in what can only be described as a VIP lot – the closest parking to the race site. Originally we had thought of driving to get the packet, driving back to the B&B and changing into running clothes and then walking back, but our primo space and the lack of gear check changed our plans. We opted to leave the car after pick-up and walk back to the B&B (10 min. at most), change and then walk back. Since just about everyone drives to this event they don’t have a gear check – people just leave their stuff in their cars. It was cold enough that I knew I’d want my heavy coat and a pair of sweatpants after the race so it made sense to leave the car there so we could leave warm clothes in it.  
Pre-race: There were about 900 runners for the half (which started an hour before the shorter race) and the line up was orderly and not too crowded.  We actually started about a minute early by my Garmin which was fine.

The course: Very nice – but a little hilly.  The first half of the race went mostly around Rock Lake which was very scenic: pretty lake, nice colors on the trees, beautiful lake houses. This was the hilly portion of the race – nothing absolutely brutal but it did slow me down a little. The second half of the race was mostly on the Glacial Drumlin Path and it was almost totally flat and very shady which made it kind of cold. My second half was way better than my first – my first 10K split was something like 59:02 which is kinda sucky until I factored in the hills.  I finished in 2:02 so I was pretty happy – if it had been a flat course I might have squeaked under 2 hours! There were four water/porta-potty stops on the course stocked with water and Gatorade, but no gel was given out – a fact that was mentioned in their e-mails so I assume most runners planned for that and if not a local running store had a tent up selling last minute supplies – gloves, hats, gels, etc.

Post race: after crossing the timing mats you were directed to a tent where you were blanketed with a mylar wrap (the first race I’ve had this and it was really great) and went through a food line with bananas, peanut butter sandwiches, packets of cheese, cookies, water and Gatorade and then a volunteer handed you your medal .

Post race party: this is why you do this race.  2 beer tickets for a Tyrenea brew of your choice – I had a Rocky’s Revenge and a Sheep Shagger and both were delicious.  You also got a lasagna lunch: salad (mostly iceberg – but that’s pretty common in Wisconsin), meat or béchamel sauce lasagna, and a garlic breadstick. The lines were very well managed – beers were being pre-poured from the taps and put by variety on banquet tables and then a volunteer would retrieve the beer of your choice.  The lunch line was equally efficient with self-serve salad and volunteers dishing out squares of lasagna and a breadstick. The lunch was held inside a huge tent with rows of banquet tables and chairs and while it was a little chilly hundreds of hot runners managed to bring the air up to a reasonably warm temperature.

Additional festivities: Tyranena had a booth with beer specials – a flat $7 for six-packs of their regular beers or four-packs of their specialty beers – that’s a pretty good deal.  They also had specials on their logo apparel.

I’m absolutely going to put this race on my calendar for next year – I had a great time and it was a really nice getaway weekend.

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