Fast forward one year ... I'm now a single mommy of two ... took on more hours at work ... have been coaching many, many clients and groups in my free time ... and haven't focused on my training like I should. With my other three marathons, I ran 4:37 (Chicago 2008), 4:27 (Madison 2010) and more recently 4:02 (Lakefront in Milwaukee 2010), I stuck to my training schedule like a champ. Rarely missed a run and had at least three twenty milers, a twenty two and a twenty four under my belt before each 26.2 mile journey.
This time, I ran my fourteen half marathons (so far this year!), but did only a twenty miler and an eighteen miler. May sound like a lot to a non-runner. But, to someone that is all about routine, this was not very confidence-building.
I debated and I debated if I was going to run the half or the full. I even emailed the race director to switch to the half and he said I'd have to do it in person at the expo. Then my race number was #131, which almost convinced me that I was intended to run the 13.1 mile journey in the half marathon. I had friends running both events, but ultimately opted to stick with the full and was in the midset that this was going to be a FUN run with FRIENDS. And, it was just going to be another thing that I was going to OVERCOME after a very challenging year of learning to balance everything. I have a fabulous support system and everyone was encouraging me to just go with it. Several friends were going to be out on the course and family were going to come spectate.
So, the kids and I piled into the Marathon Mommy Minivan and traveled over to Greenway Station on Friday afternoon to pick-up my race packet. Little Diva was going to be my photographer ....
There were only about 500 participants in the full marathon and 1,500 in the half marathon and over 1,000 in the 10K event. There was no line to get my bib and then all three events streamed into one line to get our awesome race bags/backpacks and long-sleeve technical tees. Lots of excitement in the air! The entry way at the Marriott was once again decorated in fun, Halloween decorations and sounds. The kids had fun exploring and taking photos.
The marathon course starts in Greenway station with a flat and open first mile. At Capitol Brewery the course turns onto a 1.5 mile stretch of rolling hills on residential streets. Racers then run a moderate uphill stretch to the top of Parmenter hill before turning onto a steep descent down South Avenue. After winding back into downtown Middleton, the course crosses University Avenue just before mile 4. After mile 4.5 the racers take a right hand turn into the scenic, tree-canopied, stretch of the Pheasant Branch Nature Conservancy. The first mile is run on a new soft black top compound which changes to crushed limestone at mile 5.5. Here racers are treated to 4 miles of scenic woodland and prairie with spectacular views of the countryside. Racers exit the conservancy to run up a short hill to Pheasant Branch Road. Miles 10-13 contain the hilliest stretch as the course undulates up and down on the countryside highways. This section is capped with a challenging climb up High Road. After descending into the Middleton Hills subdivision, racers retrace their steps down Pheasant Branch Road and back into the Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Miles 15-21 are flat, fast and gorgeous as the racers traverse through the scenic and winding paved conservancy trail. At mile 22 racers are welcomed back into Downtown Middleton before retracing their previous steps. This time climbing up the backside of Parmenter hill on South Avenue then treated to a long downhill down Parmenter and Voss Parkway. After a short climb up Westchester, everything else is downhill. After turning at Capitol Brewery with less than a mile to go it will be all adrenaline through the last flat and open stretch back to the Finish Line at Greenway Station.
Surface makeup of marathon course:
Blacktop/concrete road – 53%
Paved Trail- 23%
The path turns around at an aid station at mile 18 and we still hadn't hit a wall. I ran into a few runners I knew on the out-and-back and so did Kristin. The support was great! We found we were picking up pace again due to the support and again kept telling ourselves to slow down and pace ourselves.
ENJOYING OUR MOMENT TOGETHER!
I had fun with friends (old and new) out on the course ...
and friends were there to support me ...
Every single moment!!!