The kids and I headed to the Unions South on Friday night for packet pick up. Parking was avaialble for expo attendees in a parking ramp nearby and packet pick up was a breeze. It was a small expo, but it's always nice to be surrounded by new products and like-minded people. We received a decent technical tee.
On race morning, I woke up just after 5:15 am, got dressed in my Refuel with Chocolate Milk Gear (HERE) (yeah for GREAT sponsors!!), did my makeup (yep, I did!) and ate a quick bite to eat. The ground was wet, but it wasn't raining. I had noticed that rain was in the forecast, and figured the rain had passed us. I was a bit sleepy ....
I loaded up in the marathon Mommy Minivan at 5:45 and headed to downtown Madison. I parked easily in the Lake Street parking ramp (ended up costing me $5). I grabbed my things and headed to the nearest porta-potty. I headed down to the end of State Street, and there they were ... plenty of porta-potties near the Memorial Union. The set up was a bit different from years prior, because there is significant construction going on by the Union.
After using the bathroom, I headed back towards the UW Bookstore, where I was hoping to meet up with some bloggers and friends. I ended up connecting with "Dan the Man", who I met on the Haunted Hustle Half Marathon race course last October. I had ran with Dan, as he struggled (just a bit!) during his first half marathon last fall and we've kept in touch ever since. He drove several hours to come back to Madison for this race, and to spend time with family. We caught up, and I ran some items back to my minivan. Upon returning, I ran into Jen (aka Badgergirl) (HERE) who I met at Oshkosh Half Marathon last year, and who won a race entry to the Mini on RDM. Jen was also running as a member of the Refuel with Chocolate Milk Team, so I gave her her gear, we said a few quick hi's, and then we both headed off to do our pre-race rituals.
Dan the Man and I headed to the porta-potties once again and then to the start line, for the 7am start. Once the 3,500 runners got to the start line, the sky was getting dark and darker. Then wind started picking up a bit and the announcers said that they were delaying the race, due to severe weather. We were all encouraged to seek shelter in the Red Gym and the Memorial Union. I joked with Dan that this would be good blog material, as we headed over to the Red Gym. It was extremely hot, muggy and congested inside, so we stood outside with a few dozen runners on a patio and watched the storm roll through for 90 minutes. By then everyone had to use the bathroom again and had to refuel. Everyone was darting to the porta-potties in the rain and grabbing armfuls of bananas and granola bars and rice crispy bars for their friends. We did the same. I had taken a gel with caffeine before the race, but it had already worn off.
At the Red Gym, I also ran into sweet Miss Kerrie from Tutu Runner (HERE). She looked super cute, as usual, in her TNT gear. I was bummed not to have my camera with me.
It rained for the first four miles, until we were almost to the Henry Vilas Zoo. I was soaked, my feet were soggy (there was no avoiding puddles) and I didn't even WANT to know what my mascara had done to my face.
The sun came out immediately, as I entered the UW Arboretum. I was worried it might get hot, muggy and humid ... but it didn't. Dan and I were still running together for the most part, but I could tell I was holding him back. I told him to take off if he wanted, and we eventually lost eachother throught he Arb. I carried my handheld water bottle with me and a gel packet. I ended up finishing the bottle and the gel by the end of the race. There were plenty of aid stations along the course and I took Gatorade (icky lemon lime) at every stop. I liked how they had the Gatorade placed before the water at the aid stations (something different than I've seen). Volunteers were awesome and were clear about what was what and the cups were clearly marked. I don't believe there were gels at any of the aid stations.
Coming out of the Arboretum, we headed past the golf course, where I saw a co-worker. I called out his name, since he lost me in the see of people. He had brought his camera and caught this actions hot.
We headed down Monroe Street, past Camp Randall Football Statdium and towards Lake Mendota and the Lakeshore Path. At the Lakeshore Path turnaround, and about mile 11.5, I saw Chelsea from Early Runner (HERE), who snapped this action shot. It was no longer raining, but I was soaked!
I felt great as we ran down the Lakeshore Path towards the Memorial Union. The crowd support at the finish line was great and I sped up to cross the finish line in just over 1:56. Not a PR, but I was SUPER happy with my time, especially since I've been significantly slower lately and because of the delayed start that morning.
I could not find Dan or my other friends after the race. But, I did Refuel with Chocolate Milk, a Diet Dew, and grabbed a banana, granola bar, rice crispy treat and Fritos to share with the kids later. Dan called me later, to let me know he got a fantastic PR for the day and looked forward to racing together again at this year's Haunted Hustle.
63/277 age group