Race Recap: Nicolet Bay 5K

It was Friday afternoon, and my husband and I were about to leave for Door County for the Nicolet Bay 5K on Saturday. I had been signed up with my running buddy to do the half marathon but couldn’t risk it on the ankle of doom.

He must have been mapping our driving route, because he texted me, “Hey. Why are we driving 3.5 hours for you to run a 5K?”

Ouch. “Think of it as more of a getaway!” I responded. There are no refunds. I could do a short race, and we could spend time with friends and cheer on my running buddy!

Our lodging (Pine Grove Lodge) was classic “Up North” Wisconsin; the doors still had actual keys, and the rooms were shabby and spectacularly out of date, but it was clean, cheap, and a short distance from the race.

Me outside PGL.

The logistics of race day were a bit much; there were pages of notes, maps, times, and details.

My running buddy and I stared at the maps in our hotel room, blank looks on our faces. She has two Master’s Degrees! We had to figure out our own plan and leave the guys to wing the spectating. (Dangerous.)

On race day we took a shuttle into Peninsula State Park; it was prompt and festive (a trolley).  It took us to a staging ground, where there was packet pickup, gear check, and SO MANY TOILETS! I peed at least five times, just because I could. This was by far the best toilet situation I’ve ever encountered at a race. So much peeing!

Because the shuttle pickup was mandatory at 8 a.m., we had quite a bit of time to stand around, pee, and take unfortunate photos. Races started at 10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.

The starting lines were a hike from the staging corral, but there were signs. And lots of little flies trying to get into our mouths.

My running buddy took off for the half, and I meandered back to the 5K start. Our theory, after looking at last year’s 5K results, was it would be comprised of mainly non-running spouses, locals, injured people, and kids.

I think we were right. It wasn’t a super competitive race, judging by my 1st place age group and 6th female overall standing, with a 23:15 time.

Look out kiddos, here comes TARA!


After my beauty trot, as I nicknamed it, the husbands and I tried to find my friend along the course (she gave the race and course rave reviews, btw). We had a map but since none of the roads in the park are marked and our progress was slow with two kiddos and sloshy, full beers in the stroller cup holders, we only caught her once.

Running buddy, where areeeee youuuuu?!

As mentioned, our lack of direction did not prevent the husbands from finding their way to the beer tent several times.

This was a big perk, IMO—if you’re going to drag a spouse to a musty hotel 3.5 hours away from home, enforce an early Friday night bedtime, and require them to spend half the weekend spectating “the worst parade ever,” they can at least have some fun. Ours certainly did.

So much so that my husband is already looking for lodging for next year… I’d say that’s a win for all.



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