Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Half Marathon #5 -- 2011 Lake Monona 20K Race Report

I was given the opportunity to race the Prairie du Chien Half Marathon this past Saturday. However, with gas prices being what they are and the solo voyage roundtrip being over 250 miles, I sadly declined last minute and told them that I wasn't going to be able to race. I think it was a smart decision for myself and for my family. We also didn't have to get up at 4 am to leave for the race. And, I'm sure my kids appreciated that.

Instead, I joined friends that were signed up to run the Lake Monona 20K in Madison (HERE). The race was about 20 mins from my doorstep and last minute registration was very affordable. Being familiar with the course/area was also pretty cool. The 20K distance (12.4 mi) was just short of a half marathon, so I planned on putting in .7 mi before or after the race, to call it half marathon #5 in the books!!

We arrived at the race about 20 minutes before the race, which started at 9 am. There was a longish line for the one solo port-a-potty that I saw. I was about the sixth person in line. My friend went to get my packet while I waited in line. We had time to pin our numbers on, drop gear off at the car, I downed a gel, sipped some water and we ran my .7ish miles to the start line. When we arrived, they were announcing that it was the last minute call for 20k runners. (There was also a 5k event.)

(NOTE: Ugly photos were taken hours after the race;
no more after workout "glow";
just salty and stinky!)

I wore my custom RDM technical tee and wicking headband from the wonderful dudes at Hidden Bay Sports (HERE). I received a lot of comments/questions about my blog during the race. It was a fun way to pass the time during the race.

We headed out through residential neighborhoods for the first half of the race. There were a lot of hills and inclines, but I conquered them. I ran a really fast first 5k, just over 24 minutes. I was feeling great, passing folks left and right. I had a single goal in mind during the first half of the race .... to pace all the other chicks in brightly colored knee-high socks. There were actually quite a few of us out there .... and I think I did just that. Some of the hills were pretty steep and I slowed down a bit ... but never felt overly tired or fatigued. I was feeling phenomenal!!

The second half of the race was refreshing. There was a nice breeze (as you can see from my stellar hairstyle in the race photos!). It seemed that the wind came and went at the perfect times, when I was starting to overheat. The breeze off the lake was welcomed and the scenery was beautiful. I love running on the path along Lake Monona. When we arrived at the Monona Terrace, I was greeted by another blogger that said she thought she'd heard of my blog and would stop by and check it out. She had just relocated to Madison from Boston and was a foody blogger. It was fun chatting with her. We then passed Machinery Row and headed into more residential areas along the lake.

I carried my handheld water bottle with me, which was a blessing. It was warmer than it has been lately (lower 60's) and I was thirsty. My bottle was empty when I finished. It was nice not having to stop at the water stations, but I did stop three times for Gatorade, just to give me a little energy along the way. I also downed a second Powerbar Vanilla energy gel at mile 7, just over the one hour mark.

We approached Olbrich Gardens and the gorgeous park. There were quite a few spectators at this point, and a lot of other folks heading out on the lake. We ran on the sidewalk down Lake Monona. At this point, I started passing a lot more people again. I was picking up speed the last few miles. I believe I passed three men walking in the grass at different points on this stretch. The last couple of miles winded through a Monona neighborhood and we approached Winnequah Park. I heard the announcer calling each participant's name as they crossed the finish line. My pace increased. I realized that I wasnt going to cross the finish line in 1:45 and picked up the pace even further. Down the chute, I ended up passing two chicks that I had been jockying with for much of the race. I had some energy left and wished I would've kicked it into gear awhile back. I was giving it all I had and had no time to muster a smile for a cute finish line photo. After I stopped my watch, instead of checking out my time ... I thought, dang, that photo is gonna be UGLY ... and it was ...

Ugly race photo or not .... I felt great afterwards. I was really happy with my time and enjoyed the journey around Lake Monona. I will definitely be doing this race again. Definitely. And, I raced a new distance, which means an automatic PR.

The race shirt was a little girly (for the guys that raced), but perfect for me! The flowers and the yellow technical tee are a great addition (and added variety!) to my running wardrobe!

20K (12.4 mi) Chip Time: 1:46:13
(8:30 pace)
(I added an additional .7 mi pre-race
for a half marathon!)

10K mark: 52:08
26/95 age group
77/306 females
310/687 overall

Next up .... Madison Half Marathon .... May 29th!!


  1. Great run! I love the shirt, my last race shirt was yellow also.

  2. Great run!!! I'm sure it's hard to say no but it looks like it worked out best for you and your family!! I love the shirt! I don't have any yellow ones!

  3. Awesome job! The race shirt is great... I can't wait till I can start collecting race shirts, too!

  4. Way to go! I really enjoyed doing that race last year, and they seem to always have great t-shirt designs.

  5. Congrats on a great race! I wanted to run it so bad but I was saving myself for the Green Bay 1/2 this weekend. Now I am jealous because I am loving the shirts!

    I'll be running along Lake Monona at lunch, can't wait to sweat some bullets!

  6. Sounds like a fun race! Thanks for sharing.

  7. cute outfit and nice pace, congratulations!

  8. Sounds like another great race experience. Congrats on a new distance and a new PR!

  9. Congrats on another great run. Your times are really getting so much faster. Wow!
    I like the shirt a lot, which says a lot because I usually cringe when I see a yellow race tee.

  10. Great shirt ... and great time. I am learning to run and it is women like you who inspire me. I am following now.

    Make it a great day!

  11. Nice race report and great job on the pace!