Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The extended report

So here it is, the full Madison Marathon race report. I'm sure you have all been waiting with baited breath. :) This was my sixth marathon. I did not train for a big fat PR. In fact my training was pretty substandard and the only speedwork I did were the 4 sub-par races I ran this spring (5K, 20K, 8K, 20K). BUT, running had become so much a part of my life and I had been constantly training for some marathon or another during the last 2.5 years. I really MISSED not training. So when opportunity knocked and roots told me he was pacing the 3:50 group, why not?

As I mentioned in my previous posts, this weekend I was a bit rattled before the race. I wondered if I could do it. And by "do it" I knew I could finish. I just did not want some death march leading to a 4:30 marathon for me. And it was weird because since I did not train as hard, it was such an afterthought (if a thought at all) to most of my family and friends. But alas, at the end of the day, it was something very important to me and I was frankly somewhat scared going into it.

On my way to the race, I turned on "End of the Line" by the Yardbirds? I don't know, it is Tom Petty. I love that song. It's ALRIGHT ridin around in the breeze.... Then I cranked up some Queen Fat Bottomed Girls. I come flying down the road and see a deputy sitting on the side of the road pointing his radar gun at me. Dang! Not what I need this morning. Fortunately, he wasn't keen on giving me a ticket at that moment. GOOD OMEN! :) Next thing you know I was turning up toward the capitol square and saw swaths of runners. It was like an immediate adrenaline shot. Boy do I LOVE races. Especially marathons. I went up to my office, stashed my keys and used the restroom. A co-worker was in the bathroom with her sister - they were preparing to walk the half. It was fun to see them there. I then went down to the starting area and immediately ran into friends. This was my first local marathon - it is fun to know so many people pre-race.

I then lined up with the 3:50 group and said hi to roots. He was pretty animated and started talking to his group and asking them questions. There were 2 girls next to me who were lining up for their first marathon. I tried to encourage them and give out a little advice (i.e. take it nice and easy at the start, think of the first 20 as the first half, you'll finish strong and feel great)....Unfortunately one of them was taking it all negatively. I just told her to enjoy it and turned off. While I am typically pretty chatty, right before a race and during I shut off and do not really talk. It is time to focus and take it in. The race director commended everyone for their hard work and then played the National Anthem. I teared up. I was very happy to be there. Very fortunate indeed.

Next thing you know we were off. The first portion of the route was foreign territory to me, so it was fun. Mile 1 clicked off around an 8:25 pace. A bit fast, but there was a big downhill at the start. I accidentally hit stop instead of lap on my Garmin, so I missed all of mile 2. No biggie. I turned it back on and focused on assessing how I felt. At this time I had moved just ahead of the 3:50 group. I could still hear roots talking periodically, but I was out of the big crowd. This was good because in the first couple of miles people kept darting in front of me. I was feeling good. I had not worn my HRM and wondered at this time what my HR was. But I decided I was glad I did not know. :) The miles started clicking off at very steady 8:39-8:45 paces. We entered the Maple Bluff area and started passing some beautiful homes. The spectators were fun through this part. The most memorable was a woman cheering for us going through. She was saying, "great job, you look great, you are doing great, way to be!" It was the "way to be" that caught me. Yes, I enjoy being a runner. Thank you!!

The weather was perfect. Probably upper 50s, low 60s and overcast. Wind to our backs or maybe a slight cross-wind. The course had a few little rollers at this point, but nothing memorable. Except a runner in front of me briefly stopped to pick up a $50 bill someone must have dropped. Crazy. Around mile 10, we started getting to the University. My friend Anne had told me there was a big nasty hill on Gorham Street. I hit the hill and was thinking, "this isn't too bad." I get down it and BAM, there it is, the hill she must have been talking about. It was long and pretty tough. Then we turned onto Wisconsin Street and had another pretty significant, yet thankfully short hill. Roots and the 3:50 group were still right behind me as we hit mile 11. I was still feeling good, although the sun had noticeably come out and it was getting warmer. We ran down Langdon Street toward Observatory Hill. Observatory is a wicked hill followed by another pretty monsterous hill. Much to my delight, we completely skipped these hills and headed straight toward the dirt bike path. Well that was one sweet surprise! I hit a mile marker and the Garmin said it was a 9:16 mile. What? I know the hills took a little, but I did not feel like I had slowed that much... The bike path was quiet, but lovely. It was funny because there were several spectators, but they were just standing there. A runner in front of me kept prompting them to cheer, which I thought was funny. I then hit the next mile marker: 8:02. OK, obviously the markers were off because I had been pretty steady. I then saw my co-worker Jackie and her sister and yelled out to them and gave her a high 5, it was fun. We then turned toward the south and the wind was pretty heavy. It wasn't unbearable, but it caused me to do another status check to make sure my breathing was ok, etc. All systems were a go. We passed Camp Randall (UW football stadium) and the spectators were pretty fired up. It was cool. We then turned onto Monroe Street and some guys were handing out mini water bottles with sport tops. Genius. Thank you! There was a decent long hill, and then we started downhill toward the arboretum. A little girl (maybe 6?) had a table set up with princess cups full of water and a handmade sign. I told her she rocked and she beamed. It was awesome. As I approached the arb, I kept thinking about how I have NEVER had a good race in the arboretum. I decided then and there I was going to kick arboretum ass today. I was fired up. There is a decent hill to get there, then I turned in and was ready to make this my day. It was approximately mile 17. The beginning is downhill and I decided to pick up the pace, although very slightly. I started passing runners that clearly were loosing steam. I felt bad for each one of them, but was oh so happy I was feeling good. The arboretum was actually awesome - cloudy, green and beautiful. The little hills did not bother me one bit and I was gaining steam. As I was exiting the arboretum, there was a good crowd yelling enthusiastically. I was thrilled. I conquered the arb. At least in my own mind. :)

We ran through the zoo area and up an obnoxiously steep but short hill. We then hit the main roads again and I knew I was almost there. Another self-check. I felt good. Not fabulous, but really good. The winds had picked up and it had gotten significantly warmer. Or I had from running 3+ hours. I had begun dumping water on myself at aid stations and the body glide was wearing off. I could really feel the chafing on my arms. I also had to pee since about, well, before the race started and the last few miles, I really had to go. BUT, I held out 23 miles, what is another 5K? :) We then hit this crazy pedestrian walk bridge. It was actually a cruel joke on the part of the race directors in my opinion b/c you had to make some sharp turns, run up this steep bridge, then run down and equally steep side and make a sharp turn to the left. Whoever added that in needs their head examined. Couldn't have been even .1 but was a big pain in the arse. At this time I was really looking forward to the mile 25 aid station. Fleet Feet was sponsoring it and the owners are my friends. I could use a friendly face. I turned out by Wingra Bay and the wind was pretty wicked at this point. I hit the mile 24 marker and smiled big at the spectators. They told me I looked strong. I believed them. I can do this. Less than 1/2 a mile later was the Fleet Feet water stop. My friend Jessica was shocked when she saw me b/c I hadn't seen her for several weeks and she didn't know I was running. It was fun to see her and have a boisterous cheering section. The last 2 miles were really windy and somewhat mentally challenging. You could hear the finish line crowd, but it was nowhere in sight. I saw Jackie again and yelled out to her and high fived her again. I kept looking for the 26 mile marker, but apparently there wasn't one. I saw the 13 mile marker and then knew there was only .1 left as I rounded a corner. I turned on the afterburners and finished pretty strong. I saw my husband and 2 boys just before the finish. I always think it is amazing that in crowded finish areas I am always able to pick out my husband's voice. I flashed them a big smile and crossed the finish line with my trademark cheesy celebration. It was awesome.
I found my checked bag and immediately changed my shoes. My feet definitely took one for the team. I took off the shoes and 2 toes were already black. Nice. But the woman next to me had red bloody toes. Ouch. I am glad I used body glide liberally. As I was walking out, I heard the announcer call rootsrunner and the 3:50 group - just seconds before the 3:50 mark. Nice job. I then ran into some old high school friends. It was nice to see them, but really weird right after running a marathon! I found my boys and we ran around brat fest, had a couple beers and watched the kids go on a variety of rides and eat cotton candy.

My official time was 3:46:07. People have approached me cautiously to see if I am happy with my time. I am absolutely thrilled. I had not planned to run a marathon this spring. But boy did I miss training and being a runner. I learned I can do it all. Maybe not to the extent I did last year, but yeah, I can handle this and enjoy it without sacrificing a thing. It was a big day. A big accomplishment and I am VERY happy with every bit of it (although my toes are still pissed off). If you made it this far in the race report, thanks.

First 3 miles: 17:10 (I lost the second mile)
4: 8:53
5: 8:36
6: 8:39
7: 8:50
8: 8:29
9: 8:36
10: 8:39
11: 9:00
12: 9:16
13: 8:02
14: 8:39
15: 8:44
16: 8:30
17: 8:42
18: 8:49
19: 8:18
20: 8:23
21: 8:21
22: 8:35
23: 8:34
24 + 25: 17:08
last 1.2: 10:11

Number 6 is in the books.


aharmer said...

Great report!

Kel said...

Best thing about a local marathon (besides the cheering section) is that you get to sleep in your own bed!

For free :)

Nice job!

Greg said...

Great report and even better splits! You even picked it up at the end, although you might have gone out a tad fast though with the first 3 miles in 17:10 :-)

Quinto Sol said...


I normally don't get black toenails but this time around both big toenails were mighty tender; luckily, it appears they will not fall.

Congrats on a great run!

kenyarunb said...

Go Mindi, Go Mindi, Go, Go, Go, Mindi! I am so proud of you! 3:46 on little training is damn impressive - you earned those black toenails :)

Cheers to a great a race, and cheers to a relaxing recovery.


joe positive said...

Awesome race, awesome splits, awesome report!