Monday, August 20, 2018

Madison Mini Half Marathon Race Recap!

I ran a half-marathon on Saturday!

My marathon training plan had me running 12 miles on Saturday so it was good timing to have a half-marathon at this point in my training.  That is, if I could just be ok with running a race for fun, as a training run.

I did want to push myself though and see how I would do.  I thought realistically I could be around 1:30.  I have struggled with a lot of my workouts lately, feeling off and without any pep in my legs.  Maybe it is the heat and humidity, maybe not.  I have not run a half marathon that I haven't trained for in several years - usually my fall goal race is a late fall half marathon.  So this was a bit of a change up for me to have a half marathon race that I wasn't in prime shape for.

The temperatures were not awful, but the humidity was high.  Nothing new or surprising for summer in Wisconsin.  I thought we actually lucked out with the weather, as this race has gotten into very high temps in previous years.  I was also looking forward to the course as my goal marathon this fall will also be in Madison.

In the week before the race, a woman that I follow on Instagram, Anne, contacted me as she signed up last minute to do it as a training run, but also wanting to push herself so did we want to try to run together?  I was all for this.  I do almost every single one of my runs by myself so I was looking forward to having someone to try to run with.

We arrived in Madison early Friday afternoon.  My kids wanted to search all around for the Buckys on Parade, which are these large statues of the University of Wisconsin mascot, Bucky Badger.  Translation:  Lots of walking.  I actually didn't mind this very much as I thought this would help me be in the right frame of mind for the run.

We ate dinner at The Old Fashioned with my husband's aunt, uncle, cousin and her friend.  His cousin actually is the reason I did the race - she asked me to sign up with her earlier in the summer as she is training for her first BQ this fall! I had a delicious burger and fries.

We went to bed, but did not sleep well.  My son was sleeping with my daughter and he is quite a snuggler so she kept waking up and freaking out that he was touching her.  I did a lot of eye rolling.

The alarm came at 5:30.  I did not feel like eating or drinking anything but I forced myself to drink 16 oz of BeachBody Energize and eat a Honey Stinger waffle.  I had prepared around 16 oz of Gen UCan as well, which I started on after my Energize was gone.

I met my cousin-in-law in the lobby at 6:15 after finishing my Gen UCan and we started walking to the start line.

We arrived at the start area not too long after but I still not feel any urge to go to the bathroom, which was worrying me.  I also was thirsty, despite having my usual 32ish ounces of pre-race fluid.  We took a Oiselle team picture and I went with two other Oiselle Volee to stand in the very long porta potty lines figuring that I should at least try to go to the bathroom.

The minutes ticked by but the line did not move.  At 6:55, five minutes before race start, I ditched the bathroom line to get to the starting corrals.  I was weaving through the corrals during the National Anthem to get to my corral.  Thank goodness I was in Corral A.  I found Anne and as the gun went off, I thought, "Shit.  I have to go to the bathroom."

We started running, and I saw my family right away.  I was able to give them high fives and also high fived Bucky Badger!  I immediately felt like I was working way too hard and my breathing was heavy.  I tried to settle in.  It was so helpful to have Anne with me because we were chatting and that helped settle me down.

Around the first mile mark, I saw my family again! More high fives!! 6:39 first mile.
High fiving my kids right after Mile 1

We continued on.  Mile 2 was 6:34.  Miles 3 and 4 were 6:44.  My freaking shoe came untied.  I don't think that has ever happened to me in a race! What in the actual hell.  Amateur hour!
Anne and I chugging through the humidity!
This is when I knew that I wasn't going to be settling in.  This was going to feel and be hard.  Not to mention that it was increasingly apparent that I was not going to get through the race without a bathroom stop.  Mile 5 was 6:57.  I loved the course, and running with Anne was great, but I felt like I was working hard to stay with her.  I told her that I had to back off and that she should keep going.  The space between us grew as I veered off course a bit to check if the lake structure had a bathroom.  Nope.  Kept going.

Do not think about the bathroom.  Do not think about the bathroom.

Mile 6 and 7 were 7:02 and 7:05 respectively.  This was starting to go off the rails.  Where the hell was a porta potty!

Finally at around mile 7.5ish there was a turn in the course, with a porta potty just beyond the curve.  The volunteer at the curve was calling out, "Go right! Go right!" as I continued straight so I had to yell, "I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM".

Sweet Jesus.

I am not sure how long I was in the porta potty but it was not a 13 second Shalane Flanagan at Boston 2018 stop.  But I felt so much better exiting that porta potty.  I knew that it was the right call to stop.

Back on the course, My goal was to keep a steady pace to the finish.  Mile 8 was 8:25, which included the bathroom stop. I was grateful to see Carrie, one of Volee that also ran Grandma's, at several points.  She was cracking me up with her references to the Hanson training plans (which we both use).

Mile 9 was back to 7:08, Mile 10 at 7:01.  The trek to Picnic Point felt so long and as I saw the runners in the lead come from the direction I was running to I was able to cheer for some of the women, including Anne.  I had been taking a cup of water at the aid stations, but I decided since my race already was not going to be amazing, I would try the Gatorade swish to try to trick my brain that it was getting nutrition.  My stomach did not want anything in it, that's for sure.  I grabbed a cup of Gatorade, took a sip, swished it and spit it out.  I hit mile 11 at 7:06 and then felt like I was at least going to be able to finish.
This guy was fun to finish out the race with.
Mile 12 was 7:02.  I was so grateful to see the signs "1/2 mile to go" and "1/4 mile to go".  I rounded the corner and dashed to the finish.  I could hear my family but it took me a few seconds to find them standing on the bridge above me!  That was so fun!! I started waving to them like crazy and actually helped me throw my arms up at the finish.

My official finish time was 1:31:31.  Far from a PR, but not too shabby.   My kids met me at the finish...and so did Bucky!  I got my medal from another WI Volee, Kate, and was able to see Anne and give her a big hug and also Jeannie, one of my Birdmachine CHI teammates who won our age group (I was 4th).

I learned a few things from this race.

First, I am getting more confident in my ability to judge what kind of shape I am in. I knew that I am not even close to being in top fitness right now and that showed.  I went out way too fast for where my fitness level was which caused the dreaded positive split.

Second, I need to eat pre-race food a little earlier and get in the bathroom line first thing at races.  New mantra: Bathroom first, socialize later.

Third, I must being doing a good job at getting some elevation in my training runs.  I was expecting this course to be a lot hillier than I felt it was.  I actually enjoyed the hills as they came and didn't feel like they were too awful.  That said, I am going to continue seeking out hills during the remaining 13 training weeks so I still think this when the marathon comes!

Fourth, I still need to work on my mental game when things get rough.  I mentally gave up on this race way too early.

It wasn't my best race, but I definitely had fun and it gave me some motivation to keep on trucking through the rest of my marathon training.

You can read my review of the race on here.


  1. Great race report, I love all the detail. You ran really strong and I like that you are using this race as a learning experience for when you do run your target races. That sucks about the porta potty, but yeah, definitely something to prioritize!

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