Note: While I’m still sad I wasn’t able to run the Madison Mini Marathon last weekend, I am happy to tell you I still have a race recap to share! Remember when I gave away a race entry? Well, the winner, Keegan Korthauer, agreed to share HER race recap! And guess what?! SHE PR’D! #likeaboss.
Amy of Losing It Without Losing Me graciously provided me with a free entry to this race! I have participated in this race since 2010. In 2010 I ran the half, and it was my second ever race, first of that distance. I came back in 2011 to try out the 5K, and this year ran the half again. I was worried about the weather for this event, given the extreme heat we’ve been having here in WI this summer (and having had the Madison Marathon cancelled on me in late May), but it turned out to be the most perfect running weather. Low 50s at the start, sunny and a very light breeze. I arrived at Memorial Union around 6:30am for the 7am start, jogged ½ a mile, and lined up at the porta-johns. There was actually a huge line, and there was some question of whether I’d have time to go or not. Luckily everyone sensed the urgency and the line sped up! I had just enough time to speed-walk up to my corral. The corrals were big enough that we weren’t packed in like sardines (this was an issue for me in the 2010 race).
The gun went off at 7am on the dot and we headed straight for the Capitol square and alongside the lovely farmer’s market. I got to high-five Bucky and hear the UW pep band. There was no bottle-necking or snags of people to get around at the beginning so I was able to pace myself appropriately from the very start. The route then continued down State Street (the main drag of town) where there was great crowd support. A sign that said “I’m proud of you, perfect stranger” made me smile!
After meandering around the south end of the UW campus, we ventured into the Vilas neighborhood toward the Arboretum. This provided a few very scenic miles, though lacking in crowd support. It was actually a little chilly (though refreshing!) since it was more shaded. Some rolling hills were involved, but nothing too noteworthy. I made an effort to speed up on the down-hills to make up for the slower pace on the up-hills and keep the overall pace consistent.
After exiting the Arboretum, we made our way back on to neighborhood streets toward campus. I saw a ‘Call me maybe’ themed sign which made me laugh. When we passed the ten mile marker, I noted that I had just PR’d in the 10 mile by almost a minute and realized it was a legitimate possibility for a PR in the half. I skipped a few aid stations here, as there were more than enough. I had just been taking a few sips of Gatorade here and there but wasn’t really thirsty since it wasn’t hot out.
Heading toward Picnic Point on the shore of Lake Mendota, I started feeling pretty fatigued and unsure I could keep up my pace. Around then, thankfully, I spotted the 1:45 pace group, which gave me a boost of confidence, and I just tried to keep them in my line of sight as much as possible. It also helped that the last 1.5 miles or so are on Lakeshore path, which is part of my regular running route and I knew it was all flat until right before the finish chute. Unfortunately I knew there was also a little hill right before the finish chute which was very rough. I did my best to sprint it in, but I don’t think I really sped up! I must have looked spent after crossing the line, since a volunteer asked if I needed help. I was fine after a few deep breaths, and ran over to my friend who was a volunteer medal distributor and gave her a big, sweaty hug!
I quickly grabbed all my swag – water, banana, chips, cookies, beer, etc. and rounded up my cheer section. We chatted on the terrace overlooking the lake before setting out on a walk around the farmer’s market. That made for a nice cool-down! My official time was 1:45:50, which was a PR by just over 2 minutes. They also recorded some splits which confirmed that this was the most evenly-paced race I’ve ever done: 5 Mile – 40:06 (8:02 pace), 10 Mile – 1:20:54 (8:06 pace), and last 5K – 24:56 (8:03 pace).
Thank you, Keegan, for sharing your race report! And, congrats on your new, shiny PR!