My brain is the key that sets me free – Harry Houdini
After a successful race last year, RunAway Shoes brought back the Houdini 10k again! Since we all loved this race last year, it was a no brainer that we signed up again! 6.2 miles, starting downtown Appleton, winding through Lawrence University and along the riverfront trail, plus uber cool medals and great food at the end! Jenny offered to pick up my packet when she went down with her daughter on Friday night, so I didn’t even have to worry about that!!
It was a perfect morning for a run! With the mild (perfect) fall temps that we have been having, I knew it was going to be a good morning! The sun was shining, the air was crisp (but not nearly as cold as it was last year for this race). Jenny and I opted to park near the finish line so that we would not have to worry about walking 3/4 of a mile back to the start line area to get to the car after. This meant that we were able to enjoy the peaceful quiet of the neighborhood as we walked from the finish line (Right near Houdin’s Gastropub) to the Houdini Plaza in the heart of downtown. As we walked across the bridge, we both pretty much stopped at the same time when we caught the view over the river.
We stopped in Copper Rock Coffee to use the restrooms and grab something to drink (well at least Jenny did) and we ran into a bunch of friends. Since packet pickup was in the meeting room attached to the coffee shop, this was the natural gathering place for everyone as they arrived at the start line. After chatting with several friends, it was time to head out to the start line area. Cool thing about this event is that they have street performers wandering the crowd – magicians, knife jugglers, Houdini impersonators and more! how fun is that?!?! We also ran into Lisa and Emily again, and, of course, I had to get the customary pre-race selfie and then it was go time!
This is only the 2nd annual Houdini 10k and I like the fact that they limit registration so that they don’t grow too quickly and can make sure that the race runs smoothly! Once again, this race sold out! I do believe that they increased the number of entrants this compared to what they had last year. Slow growth = successful growth!
When the race starts out, you head out over the bridge (the same bridge that we walked over just an hour before) and then head down and around, through some residential areas. I have heard that some people don’t like that the first few miles are through the residential areas, but I really can’t complain! There is no shortage of crown support out there! We saw many people in their driveways cheering on runners!
After about mile 3 I realized that I had been playing leap frog with the same gentleman. At one point, he caught up to me and we ended up chatting. He told me that his goal was to keep up with me, that he figured his chances of a decent finish were better. I laughed and told him I had been thinking the same thing. Jeff and I ended up running the entire second half of the race together, sharing stories about races we’ve run (he’s run IronMan WI a few times!), we realized that we both ran Warrior Dash WI together the last few years, chatted about races we would like to do and more. We both were running about the same place and took walk breaks as we needed – those pesky hills kept popping up on us, but we tackled them together.
One of my favorite parts of this course is when we hit the trail by the river. I wish I would have taken the time to actually take a picture this year, but once again, I forgot. One side of the trail is lined with trees, most of which were still hanging onto at least some of their bright red and orange leaves. The other side winds along the riverbank before it heads up the hill, where the course jumps back onto the road.
The next thing we knew, we were climbing the last big hill… we were determined to run up the entire thing, but after about 80% of the way, it kicked us. We walked the last little bit and then it was time to finish strong. Just a few more turns and we were at the finish line. As we rounded that last corner, I knew that Jeff was still right behind me and just before the finish line, he was right beside me and we ended up finishing together! Another awesome race and I ended up with a new friend! Thanks Jeff for a fun morning! Hope to see you again out on the race course!
Post race for the Houdini run is always fun. More street performers, a DJ, free beer (or soda) plus awesome food, prepared by the chefs at Houdini’s Gastropub! Last year, because the line was so long, we actually skipped the food. It was AFTER we left that we found out that we missed out on some amazing vegetarian chili. The chili was back this year, so there was no way that I missing it again! I was a little bummed that they had run out of the granola balls by the time I got there, and the chili was almost gone, but I was able to get myself a bowl of the yummy deliciousness this year! Unfortunately, by the time that Jenny finished, even the chili and homemade potato chips were gone. There were some of the turkey wraps left, but that was it. The restaurant did apologize and have has already made notes to make sure that next year is better!
Once again, it was a perfect morning to run! I was so excited to see so many old friends on the course, as well as make a few new ones! Anytime I can get out and run in November, wearing a runnign skirt and tank top, it a huge win in my book. (it was head to toe Skirt Sports today!!) We all know what is coming, so you better believe that I will enjoy each and every day like this one!