So you know a couple of weeks ago when I said I was going to focus on running shorter races for the remainder of 2009? I fell off that wagon. Just briefly. I had a trip planned to southern Wisconsin for this past weekend for a family event. And then happened to see on Tony's blog that he was running the Madison Mini Marathon on Saturday. And Madison is only about an hour from where I was going to be staying . . . can you see the wheels turning? So I signed up.
After 6+ hours in my mom's little Honda, with me seated quite comfortably in the back seat between Sophie's car seat and my niece's booster seat, we made it to Madison at about 7:30 Friday night. I dashed in to pick up my race packet and we stopped at Noodles for dinner. We got to my grandparents shortly after 9:00. After visiting and letting Sophie run off her long day in the car, I finally got to bed at about midnight.
That 4:30 a.m. alarm Saturday morning went off for about 5 minutes before I realized what was going on. I was tired! I forced myself off the couch I was sleeping on and got ready. My mom and grandma (who apparently also heard my alarm - sorry!) got up to keep my company while I got ready. I choked down a couple of pieces of toast and I was out the door. I stopped at my aunt and uncle's to pick up my sister and cousin (who graciously agreed to be my cheering section for the day). Because it was still pitch dark, I had some trouble remembering where exactly my aunt and uncle lived. Pretty sure the car that saw me driving slowly up and down their street three times called the cops. Honest, I was not casing the neighborhood.
I finally found them and we were off to Madison. We found a parking spot in a garage very close to the start. The spots were metered and had a two hour limit. As it appeared that many people running the race were parking in this garage, I decided to roll the dice and park. I filled the meter with as many quarters as it would take, reminded myself that I was driving my mom's car not my own (so any parking ticket would go to her), and we headed towards the start. I had plenty of time to do my thing and look for Tony. Unfortunately, it was very crowded and we were never able to connect. The blogger meet up will have to wait for another race!
I crammed my way into the starting corral and was once again reminded that there are a lot of girls who wear full on makeup to races. What? I don't get it. If I thought a nice thick application of eyeliner would get my a PR, I'd be all over it. But I can just imagine that stinging myself dribbling down my face. Anyhow . . . national anthem, countdown, and go!
This was the BEST half-marathon course I have ever run. The first part traveled through the UW campus area, the state capitol, and downtown Madison. Then, suddenly, it was as if we were running in the woods around a lake. Once we finished the lake portion, we went through a residential area, and then onto another lakefront path. I was having a great time, and the miles seemed to be going by very quickly. I kept a 9:15-ish pace for the first 6 miles or so. At about mile 7, I started to get lightheaded and tired. A Gu chased with two cups of water helped a lot. I picked it up, but was not able to resume the pace I had kept for the first half.
As I saw my Garmin ticking closer to the 13 mile mark, I began to get a little confused. We were running on a gravel path along the lake, and it did not appear that we were anywhere near the downtown area. I had seen the finish line from the start and new it was in the middle of the campus buildings. How on earth we were going to get back there with only a quarter of a mile to go? And then I ran past a building by the lake, around a corner (and straight up a hill, by the way) and realized we were back near the campus buildings. Who knew? I saw my sister and cousin cheering my on, and turned the final corner to the finish. I felt like I gave one hell of a kick and sprinted to the finish. 2:07:22. Not a PR, but I was happy with it (and a 20 minute improvement from my Mora half two weeks ago!).
As I was walking from the finish to meet my sister and cousin, I felt something flapping at my side. I looked down, expecting to see a ripped bib. Instead, I saw the tag from my shirt. Yep, I had my shirt on inside out. Loser.