WOW! I had an absolutely AMAZING race today. If I have another day like this next Sunday, I will have a great half marathon experience.
I ran the Madison quarter marathon in 1:15:14, beating my predicted time by almost 5 minutes! I placed number 621 out of 801 overall. I am truly amazed by my effort. I can’t say that enough.
I entered this race because I’ve heard great things about the marathon, and the distance matched my training plan. So I did it. I treated it as a trial run for the half marathon, so much so that I was pretty nervous and I didn’t sleep well.
We got up at 5:30 and headed to the Alliant Center, where we finished, at 6:15. There we caught a shuttle to the starting line. The full marathon started at 7:10, the half at 7:30 and my race at 7:45, but I was glad we got there so early.
There were A LOT of people in this race. I knew there would be a lot, this one actually set a record. About 5,500 runners took part in the three races. And seeing them all was pretty surreal. This race was small though compared to my race next week: There are something like 23,000 runners registered for my race.
The weather was nice, but a bit chilly. It was perfect running weather though. It was around the high 50s I think and windy. I think it was similar to how the weather should be next week.
Since Doug and I got to the starting line an hour before my race we walked down to a coffee shop and had some muffins and drinks. I got an iced latte and remembered after I ordered it the sage advice to not do anything different on race day. I drank less than half of it before my tummy started feeling funny, so I ended up dumping it out. It didn’t end up affecting my run, it was just a waste of money. But my stomach did start to feel funny toward the end of my later running intervals.
So most definitely, that advice is right on. No coffee, iced or hot, for me on race day. I did, however, make another discovery that I should have made earlier. In thinking about how my legs have felt heavy during my runs this past week, I figured it had to do with how long it was after I ate that I started running. I decided I probably was eating as early before my runs as I would before the race though. So I thought I’d try eating some sports beans, or muffins as it turned out, closer to the start to see if that would help. I’m thinking it did. It seems so obvious to me now. So I will have some extra gel or sports beans with me so I’ll have something to eat before I start, if it doesn’t work to go pick something up near the start.
Since I was treating this as my test run and I had the nerves/adrenaline thing going, I started fast. My GPS watch told me later my first running interval was at a 9:30 pace. I started running my second interval about 30 seconds early because I was still so excited, but then I settled into a little slower pace.
I was worried about finishing last for some reason, though it became obvious that I wasn’t finishing last. And I don’t know why I was so worried about it. I finished last in the Lake Monona 20K and it wasn’t that bad at all, except for the lack of food, but thats another story.
But I really placed a lot more importance on this race than all the others. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the whole trial run thing.
Anyway, I maintained a running pace around 10:30 for most of the race, though I started speeding up as I got closer to the end. I felt great the entire time. It was just so incredible.
I can’t say I really understood the whole adrenaline thing until today. At the end of the race we were running on this bike path, then a back road that lead back into the Alliant Center.
Running down the road I knew the finish was beyond a cluster of trees up ahead. The crowd started getting bigger and then someone shouted my name, since it was printed on my bib number, and at that I just took off! I totally felt the adrenaline rush. It was like I had hot water just pulsing through my whole body, very strange. I ran faster and faster and totally sprinted to the finish. I’m not sure how far it was, but I actually ran that even faster than my start pace!
I crossed the finish line and I just couldn’t stop smiling but at the same time I felt like I would cry too. I saw Doug snap my finish picture, and once I crossed, all I wanted to do was give him a big hug. Because he’s my biggest fan and I couldn’t have done it without him.
While I complained about the lack of food after the Lake Monona run (all the had for the last finisher was bananas, which I don’t really care for), this one had a very nice spread. I expected it since it was a marathon and all. I took a bunch of food and Doug and I hung out at the finish for awhile until the full marathoners started coming in.
We had a kind of funny incident though. We were walking through the area by the food tent and stuff that we didn’t realize was supposed to be runners only, so Doug shouldn’t have been there. We asked a cop to take our picture and then we stayed in there until we left. But we started noticing that they were kicking the nonrunners out and he shouldn’t have been there. But the cop didn’t kick Doug out, and it was obvious he didn’t run.
Who knows? I was more annoyed they weren’t getting the people behind the railings who were actually on the course. There was a woman holding a little girl who had a small American flag attached to a yard stick, and this contraption actually hit some of the runners! Finally they left but there were still a few people who were on the wrong side and when asked to move to the other, still hung there on the wrong side. Annoying!
I felt great the entire race and after. We stayed about an hour and a half then went home where I showered and slept an hour and 15 minutes. We went to brat fest for awhile and then we went back home and then I trekked back to work. I did get a little sore once I was sitting awhile at my desk, but even that has started going away.
I am writing such a long race report for a quarter marathon, I wonder what it will be like when I finally get to blog about the half marathon! I don’t know when or if I’ll get access to a computer in San Diego though, so it could be awhile before I can write about it here. But at our send off last week it was suggested to us to journal about the race afterward and I will definitely do that. And then I will write down every word once I get back to a computer.
Doug and I are going shopping for vacation stuff tomorrow and one stop is Barnes and Noble to get entertainment for the 4-hour flight, and I will buy a nice blank book to record my whole vacation but most importantly my first half marathon.
With my time of 1:15:14, I beat my predicted time by almost 5 minutes. I have beat my predicted time in every race. I am now predicting my half marathon time at 2:40, though I could certainly be faster! I can’t wait to see what happens!! My silly fear that I wouldn’t be able to run more than a few miles was definitely put to rest today. Only 7 more days til the real thing!!