On Friday afternoon, the kiddos and I headed over to the expo. It was near the start of the race, at the Madison Marriott-West, near the Greenway Station shopping center. There were race organizers available right as you entered the hotel. They were directing you exactly what to do and where to head. They had some cute Halloween decorations and scary music playing. We proceded to packet pick-up which they also tried to have Halloween-themed. We received a cinch backpack and a nice technical top. Then we entered the expo, which was a decent size for it being the innaugural race, but still disappointing. There were about ten vendors that were "big" vendors which high ticket items. I didn't purchase anything, which is probably a good thing.
The race started at 7:45 am and was about a half hour drive from our home. I had set the alarm for 6:10, but Little Dude woke me up by 6:00. Everyone else was sleeping. A lot of runners were wearing costumes, but I had decided just to dress in orange and black. (maybe next year -- I was inspired by everyone else!) I got dressed up in my Haunted Hustle technical top (pretty cute and festive) and layered it with a long sleeve technical top, which was paired with black Nike Tempo running shorts. Since I surprisingly didn't have one to match (gasp!), I borrowed Little Sis's orange and black zebra print Bondi Band (HERE), and accessorized with orange and black knee high socks from Chrissy's Knee High Socks (HERE). And yes, I did my makeup!!
The marathon and half marathon started together. The 10K runners would start a half hour later. It was a bit crowded in the sea of people and continued to be quite crowded (though very doable) until the second half.
Blacktop/concrete road – 55%
Paved Trail- 45%
Crushed Limestone- 0%
The first aid station and first mile came up very quickly. My knee high socks were already falling down -- oh well! Then we were headed up a pretty decent hill and then through a nice neighborhood. "Dan the Man' ran with me for a bit and then ended up in front of me. I would follow him for several miles (about a half dozen people behind him). He was always in sight. He was headed out fast and strong. I was feeling great, too.
I kept heading down the path and onto the turnaround. I was approaching "Dan the Man" and almost caught up. Just before I exited the path, I ran into Linda from Mom Running from Cancer again, who was heading out on the out-and-back. She had her camera out and snapped this shot of me. Thanks, Linda! She looked like she was having a fun race, which I think is just awesome.
We veered off the path and I was just behind "Dan the Man". I spotted my parents and my sister just before mile 9 and was easily able to muster a smile since I was having a blast.
I caught up to "Dan the Man" and told him that he was actually pacing ME! I saw my family again at 9.5. Dan and I chatted a bit for the next mile and hung together. He thought that he had gone out too fast. I assured him that he was doing awesome. He was 54 years old and my dad's age, and was running his first half marathon. I thought that was friggin' awesome. To top that he had a three year old GRANDSON with my son's name. We had a good laugh and he looked forward to seeing his little grandson at the finish line.
I kept consulting my watch and told him that he was setting a really high bar for himself for his first half. WOW! There was no doubt that we were going to break two hours this race (something that I hadn't done since the Disney Princess Half in March) and that we BOTH may PR (My 1:55:59 PR was set at the Madison Half Marathon in May 2009). I was stoked. He told me I was speeding up a bit. I was excited with only two miles to go. We both downed some nutrition. He was suffering from tummy problems and wasn't sure if he should use the porta potties. I assured him that there was one at the finish line!! Trying to encourage him to keep going. He did, leaving the porta potties behind. Later he said he was glad he did, because he was feeling a little better. With about 1.5 miles to go, he sped up. I felt comfortable and didn't join him. I was not hurting, but didn't want to suffer the last mile.
With one mile to go we veered back towards the start line and back to Greenway Station. We went up a slight hill and veered around to the crowd waiting us at the finish line. I saw my family there, which was awesome because when they came to see me at the Chicago Marathon in 2008, they couldn't even get close to seeing me finish my journey. I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face and my watch read 1:54:45 (a PR by over one minute!).
The medal was cute and festive for the Halloween season. Although I agree with several complaints that it was small and tiny. It was only the first year for this race and I'm sure that as the race grows (although already extremely popular!) that the size of the medal will too!
8:45 min/mile pace