Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Madison Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Madison, WI
Sunday, May 29
Half Marathon #33
State #28/50
Weather - Upper 50s, foggy, HUMID

Signing up for the Madison half marathon was a no brainer. My aging grandma lives in Madison, and with the race happening on a long holiday weekend, it was the perfect race for Wisconsin. I actually drove out to Madison with A and my parents, so I spent a thousand miles in the car on Thursday and Friday to arrive there. Packet pick-up was on Saturday morning at Monona Terrace (the same place we had to go for W's Ironman last fall). While we were picking up our gear, we signed up both girls (A and H) for the Kids' 1K race, and my Dad decided to do the Quarter marathon. Normally this weekend we would all be doing the Bolder Boulder back home, but I was pretty happy to be skipping it this year.

The forecast for race day had been saying anything from low 70s to mid 80s for the high over the last week, and by the time race day rolled around, I was pretty ecstatic for it to be foggy and a bit chilly. I knew we would be roasting later in the day with the nasty humidity.

With all of us racing, we would need someone to watch the kids... that meant my mom got to join us. We got up early and drove downtown and parked a few blocks away, arriving just before 6:30. Our race started at 7:12 (what kind of start time IS that??), so we had a little time to use the bathrooms. The line was long, and once it got close to 7:00, we were letting the full marathoners cut in line since their race started before ours.

We found the starting area but couldn't even see the start line. It was a narrow and mildly chaotic start area. Best part was the woman spazzing because she thought she missed the start of the race. She looked like she was going to go into hysterics and kept bounding around. You're fine. Really.

The gun goes off and it's a while before we get across the line. Less than 2 minutes into the race and we come to a screeching halt. A line of women WALKING across the road that didn't have the barriers opened. It was chaos. I didn't especially care but people were freaking out and knocking over/moving the barriers. Then the race really starts.

It's really a beautiful course, but I was already feeling drained and thirsty and hot with the humidity. The cool temps from earlier a distant memory. It was HOT already. I knew there would be plenty of aid stations, and I hoped to not have to walk anything but those. I made it to the first one around mile 2 with no problems, but the walking here and there starting close to mile 4.

The beer bottle dudes had to be ROASTING
I took my first GU early since I hadn't taken one at the start, around mile 3. Most of the residential areas that we ran through were wide streets and tree lined. The streets were torn up a bit, but that's to be expected in most city runs, and it wasn't any worse than anywhere else I've run.

Lots of runners had shirts like this (or other custom designs)... Although you might have to be from Wisconsin to know what this is all about.

Even though the humidity was sucking the life out of me, I was really enjoying the course. I had to stop and use the bathroom right at mile 6, and only had to wait a minute. But definitely glad there had been somewhere to stop, mild emergency. Filled up my water bottle at the aid station that was a cup-free station and headed off. Another pretty street!

With all the fog, it was hard to get my bearings of where we were in the city, but we ran by a lake:

And then I could see the capital in the distance. This view across the lake was a bit of a tease since I knew that was the finishing area, but we had more than 4 miles still to run at this point. Grrr.

I started to feel totally drained somewhere between miles 8 and 10. I was just so exhausted feeling. We were running by Monona Terrace and the lake, and I just wanted it to all be done. I kept going, running most of the way, thinking that if my Dad was walking a bit slower in the Quarter that I could possibly catch up to him before we all crossed the line.

By far the worst part of the course though was the very end. A mile long view of the finishing area, complete with a 3/4 mile long hill to get there:

I was DONE by the time I got to the square. It was the longest chute in the world, and I remember muttering under my breath "this needs to END." Finally, it did, and I got all my goodies and met L and my Dad over at the Sbux. We made sure to get some pictures by the capital building:

L, Me
L, My Dad, Me
Official Time - 2:13:48
5K Split - 29:08
Mile 5.5 - 53.27
Mile 11.7 - 2:00:04
Official Pace - 10:13
Overall Place - 2390/3479
Division Place - 208/344
Gender Place - 1192/2017
Garmin Time - 2:13:46
Garmin Distance - 13.16 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:09
Mile 1 - 9:12
Mile 2 - 8:57
Mile 3 - 9:34
Mile 4 - 9:48
Mile 5 - 10:08
Mile 6 - 12:08 (bathroom)
Mile 7 - 9:42
Mile 8 - 10:49
Mile 9 - 10:23
Mile 10 -10:11
Mile 11 - 10:33
Mile 12 - 10:31
Mile 13 - 10:09
Mile 13.1 - 9:39

Pretty awesome medal, already one of my favorites!

I know this was a blah race report. I ran it three days ago, and I honestly can't really remember any of it. I do know that it was a nice course visually, and it was well supported. I also know that I just was mentally not into it and I was just sorta blah the whole race. Good one to run if you are in the area.

As an aside. Something has been "wrong" for about 4 months now. I had some good races back in January, but it's like I have forgotten how to race. I don't think I'm doing anything different than I ever have in the past, but I'm consistently about 10-15 minutes slower in a half than I ever have been in the past. I am actually getting MORE sleep now that I am not working, and my diet hasn't changed. I think my mileage is possibly down a little bit, but pretty comparable. Not suffering any injuries. Maybe it's just the stress of not having a job?

Just. So. Much. Blah.


  1. It's so funny that you noticed the humidity. I didn't think anything of it! Thank god it wasn't 80 though, right? Don't worry about feeling blah. I'm sure it will pass. You have been a racing machine for the past year. Maybe it's just time for a break? Great race. And, yeah, that last high was RIDICULOUS!!

  2. Runners Against Walker. I'm a Minnesotan and I love it. I'm just glad that we still have a Democratic governor.

    One of these days, I have to do a run in Madison. Looks like a great place to race!

    Beautiful finisher medal!

  3. Good race! The humidity can really get you, that might be one reason. Another one might be, that you are burned out a little and possible the job situation. The mental aspect of racing is at least 60%. May you take a little time off and see how it goes?

  4. I love the medal! Great job! Have you run a half in VT yet?

  5. If you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it. Sometimes it happens that way. You've accomplished so much, and if you're enjoying yourself, who cares how long it takes you? But I think that's have to enjoy it.

    I'm glad to get a preview of Madison. I'll be there next week starting Ragnar Chicago.

  6. I love that medal.

    Humidity and heat are my kryptonites so I totally understand.

    Great job working in another race with your schedule/family!

  7. I totally ran in that skirt last night! It was a test run - I'm wearing it in my July half!

    ANYWAY - I can't even fathom a hot and humid race right now. It is still rainy and not even spring like around here.

    That long finish would kill me, too. If mean just get me to the end, don't tease me with views of it forever ... and then a long hill? Ugh - No!

    Love the medal! Awesome colors!

  8. I saw a runner against Walker at the Wisconsin half in Kenosha and being from IL I was overjoyed seeing that. But humidity can suck it, it just makes races alot harder for people.

  9. I am always amazed by people who run in costumes. That's crazy!


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