Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lake Monona 20K 2010 report

Saturday, May 08, 2010
Monona, WI

I ran the Lake Monona 20K on Saturday. All you need to know is that despite a PR, I did not beat chicken man this year. End of report.

Kidding. For those of you who don't remember, I ran this race last year and was running behind a man in a chicken costume for the first half of the race. I eventually passed him. Sadly, I didn't even SEE the chicken this year. He stayed in front of me the whole time. I guess the chicken had better training than me. That, or it was someone different in the costume. (It's not just some random dude who likes to dress up - it's the mascot from a restaurant that sponsors the race. So it's entirely possible that it was a different guy.)
I had two goals for this race. To PR (last year's time was 2:14), which I was pretty sure was going to happen, and to break 2:10.

It was warm and rainy the night before, but I woke up to clear skies on Saturday morning. Nice that it wasn't raining, but it was fairly warm and windy. The heat and wind would eventually get to me.
This is one of my favorite races. Basically you run clockwise around one of the lakes that makes Madison an isthmus. It's a smaller race - this year it was around 800 people.
Screen shot of the route from Sport Tracks.

Miles 1-3: I started out feeling strong. The beginning of the race takes you through some neighborhoods. There were some decent hills, but I remembered them from last year and wasn't too concerned. Hit up the water station just before mile 3. Declined the gatorade. Then passed a woman calling out times at mile 3. I exchanged confused looks with the man next to me and we wondered together why we weren't getting times called out at 5K. Oh well. Splits:

Miles 4-6: Get out of the hilly cambered road neighborhood and start heading into a flatter part of the city. Good. My stomach starts to act up a little, which has never happened to me before. Oh, so THIS is what stomach cramps feel like. Great. Hit up the water station at...mile 5? Wait, what? The website clearly said water stops at 5K, 10K, and 15K. (And that's where they were last year.) I'm confused, but take some water and hypothesize that maybe it's just an additional water stop. Miles 5-6 is some of the best running in Madison. Flat, on a bike path, heading into the city with your lake on the right. Beautiful. Splits:

Miles 7-9: Pass through the 10K in 1:05:10 or so. I'm on target for my 2:10, although I'll need to speed it up just a bit. Now where is that promised 10K water stop? I have my gel out and am ready to take it, but there's no water in sight. WTF. Run a bit farther and pass the Monona Terrace. I spot a public bubbler (drinking fountain) and see other runners making use of it as well. This'll work. The guy in front of me stops to use it. I swear, he stood there and gulped down water for over a minute. I timed it. DUDE. Drink for 20 seconds and let's go! He finally finishes and I wash down my gel. I find the next water station just before mile 8. I'm little ticked off about this. Water at miles 5 and 8 is fine, but don't tell me that I'm gonna get water at 10K! I'm starting to get tired and my breathing seems heavier than it should be. My stomach still has cramps. This isn't good. Somewhere in here a volunteer tells me I'm almost there. Nice try, lady. Splits:

Miles 10-12.4: There's a water stop manned by some frat guys at some point before mile 10. They're calling out, "$5 per cup!" I'm tired and it's not funny. I can feel the salt on my face and figured it might be smart to have some Gatorade at this station, but they don't have any. Oh well. I take the water and just keep on trudging. I'm not doing well at this point. The whole course is hillier than I remember it being. I get a couple of good boosts - a biker calls out to me, "Looking strong, runner!" and a I get a few high fives from a family sitting on the curb. Just like last year, this is the point where I miraculously start passing people despite the fact that I feel like I am dying. I tell myself that I'm almost there and to just keep moving. The wheels have come off and I just want to finish. I know a PR will happen, but sub-2:10 isn't looking feasible anymore. I'm about a mile away and I desperately want to walk. I'm running uphill into the wind and the heat has been starting to get to me for a while now. Everyone around me is walking, except for this one girl who looks to be in my AG and who I am playing leapfrog with. It's taking all my effort to just keep running. Finally, after what feels like forever, we turn a corner and I can see the finish line. I had let leapfrog girl go a couple of minutes ago and she is front of me now. I kick. I may be slow, but dammit, I can always muster up a kick at the end. I pass a good 5 people, including leapfrog girl. I spot my parents with my dog on the sideline and give them a wave. Splits:

Garmin time: 2:11:23 / Gun time: 2:12:13

I finish and am attempting to walk in circles instead giving into the intense urge to stop and put my hands on my knees. My parents find me. I learned that the chicken came through in 2:08:XX. Damn him. I can't even imagine how hot is it with that thing on his head. Next year I'm coming for you, Chicken! The bad thing about the finish of this race is that you don't get a full bottle of water at the end. They had a table set up with water in these TEENY TINY plastic cups. Cups smaller than the ones at the water stations (think dixie cup size.) It was ridiculous. So I had two cups of water in both hands and kept going back for more every 2 minutes. By the end I probably had a stack of 15 of those stupid cups. Dear Race Director - FAIL. Please remedy all your water problems next year. Otherwise, love your race.
So I PRed, but neglected to go sub 2:10 or beat the chicken. I'm not really sure why I struggled so much during this race. I was running at the same pace that I ran my last HM at (10:30). And I felt GOOD during my HM. I thought I would be able to run this a little faster, but no dice. I'm hoping for better at the Madison HM at the end of the month.

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