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.)
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 ...