Saturday, August 15, 2009
I ran the Inaugural Madison Mini Marathon on Saturday. This was my first official half marathon. I ran a 20K back in May, so mentally I felt like I had done this before! Needless to say, I was still extremely excited. This was going to be a much bigger event than my 20K and I’d been looking forward to this ever since I first heard about it.
Woke up at 5am race morning to cool temperatures and clouds (Is this really August?) and ate breakfast. My wonderfully supportive best friend picked me and we drove downtown to the starting line. I was wearing a jacket over my t-shirt waiting for the race start and I was still freezing! Thankfully this made for excellent running weather once we got going. I was a little nervous with this being an inaugural event, but it turned out to be a very well run and organized race, at least to me. I’d heard horror stories from first year races of aid stations running out of water, etc., but thankfully everything went smoothly from what I could see. There were about 2800 people running the half marathon and another 500 running the 5K, so it was a nice sized race. Not too many people, but enough for good crowd support.
The race started at the front of the Memorial Union at UW-Madison. I found the 2:20 pace sign and lined up about 15 minutes before race time. They were playing music from the speakers and pretty soon the street was packed with people. Casey Fitzrandolph (Madison area local and Olympic speed skater) was there to start the race. Announcements were made and the race started promptly at 7am. It only took me about 3 or 4 minutes to make it to the start.
Casey Fitzrandolph about to start the race
And here we go!
You can see the back of me as we start (blue shirt with blue stripe down the back)
The first mile took us around the capital and the farmer’s market, which is held there every Saturday morning. The people at the farmer’s market cheered us on. Pretty soon we were descending down State Street. I breezed right on by the first aid station. My friend was waiting at the end of State Street for me and snapped a few pictures.
On State Street, just over a mile in!
I looked down at my Garmin and seemed to be right on pace. My pace during my 20K averaged around 10:45/mile, so I was aiming to keep myself around there. Miles 3-4 took us by the zoo and around lake Wingra. My original plan was to take gels at miles 4 and 8, but I was feeling really good around mile 4, so I scrapped that gel and hoped for the best. Mile 6 lead us into the Arboretum, which is always a beautiful place to run. This portion was mostly uphill. Actually I read an article in the paper before the race where the race director commented that he was worried about the course being too hilly. He said that it was mostly an uphill course. Honestly, I didn’t think it was that bad. I guess I’m used to running some hills because it felt very average to me. Granted, there were definitely more uphills than down, this is still Madison and not San Francisco.
I took a gel after mile 7 and washed it down with some water. I also unfortunately had to stop and pee around this time. I really didn’t want to do this, but I had to! The line at the port-a-potty was only a couple of people, so I don’t think I stood for more than 2 minutes or so. I was still disappointed at having to waste the time though.
It was around mile 8 or 9 when I realized that I was feeling really good. Like, really, really good. I had been a little worried because I missed a couple of long runs during training and most of the long runs that managed to complete felt sluggish and slow. So I was surprised at how good I was feeling. After I hit mile 9 or 10 during my 20K race back in May, I totally bonked. I was spent and it took all my strength to just keep going. This race I felt completely different. I knew that after mile 10 in this race that it was mostly downhill, so I decided that if I was still feeling really good, I would pick up the pace. Well, I hit mile 10 and felt great, so I decided this was it. I was only 5K away from the end, so I picked up the pace and made it my goal to pass as many people as possible. This is where I started to just have so much fun. I think I was grinning all through these miles as I passed people. Mile 11 took us up to picnic point and then back down along the lakeshore path to the finish line. I passed a lot of people in the last mile or so, including one of my coworkers. With half a mile left, I started to feel that fatigue setting in, but I pushed on. The last .1 was a big downhill, which was a nice way to end the race. I ran through the finish line and I couldn’t believe it was already over. The race just flew by for me. I got my medal, water, and some post race food (banana, big blueberry muffin, etc.) They were giving free beer to the finishers, but I just couldn’t stomach any.
I ended up with negative splits!! I don’t think I’d ever done that before in a race. My time also means that I’ve gotten faster since May (20K time was 2:14:xx), which makes me really happy.
Mile 1 - 10:44
Mile 2 - 10:06
Mile 3 - 11:03
Mile 4 - 10:52
Mile 5 - 10:55
Mile 6 - 10:58
Mile 7 - 11:10
Mile 8 - 10:42
Mile 9 - 10:24
Mile 10 - 10:35
Mile 11 - 10:22
Mile 12 - 10:09
Mile 13 - 9:33
Last .1 - 7:48
Final time = 2:19:08 Average pace = 10:33