A Race & Weekend Report: Madison Mini Marathon

First, the stats.

Date:  August 20, 2016
Lifetime half:  Number 23
State:  Wisconsin – Number 13

I had been cussing myself for months for signing up for this one.  WHO in their RIGHT MIND signs up for an August race?  haha  “Just do it,” they said.  “It won’t be as hot or humid up here in August,” they said.  Yeah well, I still had to run here in the south in the summer to attempt to train for that day.  And we all know by now how I tend to slack in the summer.  I thought maybe having a late summer race on the calendar would prevent that.  NOPE.  It just means that I went into yet another race untrained.  lol  But this event was much more about a weekend with friends in a new state than it was any stupid ol’ number on a clock, so I consider it a success anyway.

My trip started out the Friday morning before the race.  It was supposed to have been right at a 9-hour drive and I had plans to make a pit stop in Rockford IL to meet some of my long-time internet friends for lunch.  They would be joining me the next day in Madison anyway, but I wanted to make the most of the time I had that weekend.  And this way I got to meet their hubbies and furbabies too!  It was a great kickoff to the weekend–Shelly, Julia, their husbands Brian and Trey, and I went to a local vegan restaurant/brewery I’d heard them both talk about before, so that was my restaurant of choice that afternoon.  If you get the chance to check out Pig Minds Brewing Co., do it.  Good food, great beer. I was all about their HappiDaze (a bluberry California golden ale).  It did indeed make me very happy.  After Shelly got me sufficiently buzzed, she took me home and took advantage of me.  LOL She’s a jewelry designer and she took me to her jewelry-makin’ room.  I left there with so many pretties!  I look at her web site frequently, but photos just don’t ever do jewelry justice.  Check out www.lavorodesigns.com to see her work and trust me when I say it’s even more awesome in person.

After hanging out with Shelly and her sweet furbabies for a couple more hours, it was time to head to Madison if I was going to make it to the expo in time.  It was only a short walk from my hotel.  It was your typical big race expo with all of the typical things.  I did get a good giggle out of one thing that happened…when I arrived at the hotel I realized that I had forgotten to pack a pair of socks for my post-race tour d’Madison.  And upon walking into the expo, the first thing I saw was a sign for free socks.  hahaha  I found it rather serendipitous.  I was in and out of the expo in no time flat.  One of the perks of going in its last hour.  I had nothing else to do that evening so I just strolled around downtown a bit in the area between the expo and my hotel.  It was really a beautiful evening.

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But as beautiful as that evening was, I still didn’t know what the next day was going to bring.  I had been stalking the weather like a mad woman all week because of the threat of severe storms.  The race director started sending out weather updates mid-week, and as of the time I pulled out of my driveway on Friday morning, I still didn’t even know if the race would be happening.  They said that they would make the call based on the conditions at the start time whether to go ahead as planned, delay, or cancel the event.  Honestly, had I not already had hotel reservations and plans with my friends, I may not have taken the chance and just taken my loss on my entry fee.  I had also forgotten to bring an umbrella, which I knew I’d need after the race with my friends if it was raining, so while I was out walking around after the expo I ducked into a Walgreens and bought an umbrella and one of those $2 poncho thingies for the race itself.  I also knew I should probably eat something even though I really wasn’t hungry given our late lunch that afternoon, but I grabbed a veggie sub and made my way back to the Doubletree and turned in for the evening.

When I awoke the next morning, it was to the sound of light rain, but a quick glance at weather.com told me that it looked like the threat of severe weather was going to miss us.  I got ready, grabbed my poncho, and hoped for the best.

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By the time I got to the start area, it was raining pretty steadily so I was glad I had my poncho, but by the time we actually started I had already taken it off.  It was down to just barely a drizzle and that thing was making me sweat like CRAZY.  It still looked like the sky cold open up at any minute, so I hung onto it just in case I needed it mid-race.  Spoiler:  I didn’t.

As I’ve mentioned, this race was solely for fun.  I still had a full day ahead of me afterwards as well as a long drive home the next morning, so I didn’t push it one bit.  My only regret is not stopping to take pictures.  However, if I had, my timing would have been off and I wouldn’t have been at the right place at the right time on the course to have met my new friend Wendy.  I ran up behind her somewhere around mile 5ish.  She had on a police unity tour bike shirt.  I asked her about that, and the rest is history.  lol  We ran (and walked) the rest of the race together talking about mostly races, traveling, and beer.  As it turns out, she’s an ambassador for the Asheville Half Marathon, and we now have a date to do that one together in March.  THIS, people.  THIS is why I love running so much!

My time was 2:30-something.  I could look it up to tell you an exact number, but I don’t even care enough to do that right now.  LOL  Wendy and I hung out at the landing at the finish long enough to get our free beer and parted ways as we both had plans to meet up with friends, but not before we got our selfie for The Facebook.

8-20-2016 - Pam & Wendy at Madison Mini
Nothing like sweating and being drizzled on for 13.1 miles to make for a glamorous post-race selfie.

And here are some other random photos from the finish area.  It was really a cool little spot.

So I made my way back to the hotel and was just finishing getting ready when Shelly and Julia made it in from Rockford.  They have another friend, Marie, that lives in Madison, so after FOREVER … lol… Julia and Mr. T finally got us to her house.  They fed me a spectacular post-race lunch of tacos and beer.  I can’t remember the name of the taco joint, but it was amazing, and they had this beer.  It, too, made me happy.

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Know what else made me happy?  I didn’t need that umbrella I bought the night before.  It turned out to be an absolutely glorious, sunshiny (and even COOL later in the afternoon!) day.  We walked, we shopped, we took silly photos, we had coffee, we laughed… a LOT.  It was just the weekend escape that I’ve been needing!  Love these girls so hard!

In the evening, they dropped me back at the hotel.  They had to get back on the road home, and I needed to get a good night’s sleep.  I was whooped and needed to get up really early to start my long drive to get home at a decent hour.

So just a few final thoughts about the race before I wrap this up.  It’s really a great one.  It’s big enough that you don’t feel like you’re running alone, but small enough that you’re not tripping over each other.  You have some AMAZING scenery throughout the course as you run past the lake and through the arboretum.  The aid stations are aplenty and the finish line well organized.  I definitely recommend this one to anyone considering it!

Next up… California!  Cloverdale Half on 10/23/16!

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Weekend Recap, an Injury Update (x 2), and a Plan!!!

And let me just say…what a FABULOUS weekend it was!  It flew by, of course, but, hey, what else is new?  It didn’t start off all that awesome since I had to work Saturday morning, but FOR ONCE the weather cooperated.  It was cloudy and misty and just generally shitty out until right at closing time at 11:00 (we’re only open half-days on Saturdays).  With the click of the lock, the skies cleared and the sun came out in all its glory, and this ol’ girl couldn’t get home and get outside fast enough.  I had an itch that only an outdoors run was going to scratch.  It’s been miserably hot this week–like oppressively, unbearably hot–so I had been avoiding the outdoors every chance I got.  But when the sun came out Saturday, it was a cool 80 degrees with humidity only in the 60% range–a regular old cold front.  I usually prefer it to be cloudy and much, much cooler for a run, but my mood had been in the shitter this week, and the sunshine was just what my soul needed.

Running the country roads.  Just me and the soybeans.
Running the country roads. Just me and the soybeans.

After I finished, I went back in, leashed up the pups and headed back out for a walk with them.  They were hankering for a nice long walk, too.  They don’t like being outside any more than I do when the heat index is 105+, so they were suffering from a pretty severe case of cabin fever.  Judging from Bella’s expression, I’d say they rather enjoyed themselves.

"I'm so happy.  But I'm so tired.  But I'm so happy.  And tired."
“I’m so happy. But I’m so tired. But I’m so happy. And tired.”

D and I had ourselves a little date night Saturday night.  Some people tell me when you don’t have kids EVERY night is date night, but whatever.  Maybe.  Maybe I should be more specific and say we took showers and put on non-flannel, non-tech gear, non-pajama clothes and left the house.  For months, I’ve been counting down the days for Ted 2 to open, so we went to see that.  The show didn’t start till 9:50(!!!  What are we, 18?!), so we went to Jasmine, my favorite (read: the only) local Thai joint to eat and hang out a while.  I was in hog heaven with my vegetarian sushi roll and the Cards/Cubs game on in the bar.  I briefly considered having a drink or five while killing time but then I thought better of it because HELLO!  9:50!!!  I’m usually holding down my side of the bed (read: the middle) by 9:50.  So I stuck to water and somehow managed to stay awake through the entire thing.  It was really funny.  Not as funny as the first one, but still pretty damn funny.  And then I fell asleep on the 30-minute drive home.  I party so hard.

Sunday morning I was awakened by snoring, and just before I kicked D I realized it was coming from the foot of the bed.

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He has just started doing this.  He’s totally called my “no dogs on the bed” bluff.

I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up and started the coffee and just enjoyed the quiet morning.  I read, I caught up on some blogs, partook in a little online retail therapy… all while intentionally staying far, far away from the land of Facebook.  Social media largely contributed to my rotten mood the last few days.

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This is really funny, but in all seriousness… ENOUGH ALREADY!

Part of that little online shopping trip included planning a weekend getaway for me and D!  One of our favorite comedians, Jim Jefferies, will be in Atlanta in September, soooo….

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HELLS YEAH!

Once those tickets were procured, I thought to myself, “Hmmmmm……..I wonder if there would happen to be any races nearby that weekend.”  A quick little click to halfmarathons.net  told me that INDEED THERE IS!  The Tortoise and the Hare Half Marathon is in Canton, just outside of Atlanta, that same morning!

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I love the description of the race.  It sounds so fun!  And the scenery!   It’ll be my first trail half, my first race back after my hip/leg injury, and state #9!  I’m just downright giddy over the whole trip. D was skeptical when I told him I’d found a half just a little over two months away, but like I told him, I’m not out to prove anything.  I will wear my Tortoise title proudly that day.  I’m no stranger to running half-marathons half-assed trained.  What’s once more?!

With the excitement of planning that trip fresh on my brain (and the caffeine from my homemade iced coffees fresh in my veins), I threw on some clothes and headed out the front door for a run equally as glorious as yesterday’s.  After finishing that I did a little yard and house cleaning, laid out for a while, then dragged out the dogs’ pool.  Seriously, nothing makes me happier than seeing my furry kids happy.

7-21-2013 - Bella in kiddie pool 5

7-21-2013 - Harley shaking off

I wrapped up my day with an awesome shopping trip to Kroger ($0.99 organic kale and $0.50 organic red grapefruit–score!) and a terrible movie.  The Boy Next Door–UGH.  I had a feeling it would be horrible, and it exceeded my expectations.  I only got it because everything I wanted to see was gone from the Redbox at Kroger and I had a code for a free rental, so I took a chance on it.

Now just a little bit of an injury update…When I last posted I was miserable with some sort of issue with my abs a week after a killer core workout during CrossFit.  Now, three days later, things have gotten SO much better!  But not before they got worse.  The swelling peaked the next day but then has gradually been going down.  I’m almost back to normal now as far as the swelling goes.  They’re still awfully weak though.  I went from being able to hold almost a 3-minute plank a couple of weeks ago to not even being able to support myself to do a single pushup when I tried today.  I jacked something up real good, but whatever it was seems to be on the mend, so I’m holding off on calling in any professionals.  And as for the more chronic issue, I think it’s finally safe to say that the iliopsoas injury is behind me.  HALLELUJAH!!!   I’m continuing to do the things my physical therapist taught me, and I’ll go back to see her at the first twinge or hint of recurrence to stay on top of things, but for now, ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO, BITCHES!!!!

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