Madison Marathon 2012, a race recap

#4, in the books.
This race seemed to sneak up on me so quickly! I had my pre-race chiropractor appointment and massage, and that usually makes the race feel real to me. I work with Dr. Wally, who is an incredible chiropractor and athlete, making his treatment really applicable to me. Plus, he’s a friendly guy! Brian sees him, too. I get my massages from Tom at Adventure 212- he has a background in sports massage and he’s really good with working with my temperamental calves and feet. When I left the massage, I entered a crazy dust storm (this was on Thursday).

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I’d left my windows open while I ran errands in Wausau, and my house was filled with a coating of dirt. Yuck.
Brian had an MRI appointment on Friday for some headaches he’s been having. As I sat in the waiting room, my work on the cover of SCENE was staring at me.

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I am happy every time I see my photos out in public, and I’ve been seeing them everywhere lately! 🙂
As it turns out, Brian has a brain.

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In fact, he has one sexy cerebellum! The technician was really nice and showed me his scans- I learned a lot! Seeing a brain like that reminded me of how fragile the human body is.
Later that evening, I met up with Dale to teach a lesson for CWN and dance with some of my students. It’s not exactly my idea of a rest day, but it was SO much fun.

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I don’t dance as much in the summer, because we don’t teach lessons, but I really missed all my dancing friends! 🙂
Saturday morning brought the return of carb loading 101.

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We gave our pups a pep talk, too. They had a new dogsitter for the weekend, and I wanted them to be on their best behavior.

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Abbie showed me how good she is by mastering her “down” command. What a cutie!
I spilled coffee on my trusty Moleskine while packing.

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Now it’s officially broken in, just when I’m about to run out of pages! 🙂
The fan in my car broke on Thursday, so handy-man Brian ran to Radio Shack, bought a part, and installed it in five minutes.

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Awesome! Air conditioning was a must on this trip, so I’m thankful to have it fixed!
We finished packing and headed down to Madison. It was a fast drive filled with podcasts of my favorite radio show- Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. We checked into the hotel, did a little shopping, then headed over to the expo.
We met up with our friends there!

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I was very excited to buy a new 26.2 magnet for the back of my car- I forgot to take my old one off before I went through the car wash last week, and I lost it in the super-high-powered-dryer. Whoops. After my little purchase, we went to Great Dane for drinks. The water glass is mine.

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Everyone else is more ballsy than I am- I won’t drink before a marathon, especially in hot weather! We headed over to Ashley’s for dinner- everyone had pasta, but I had Chinese takeout. I surely felt like a food snob, but I stick with what works for me when it comes to pre-race food. We headed back to our hotel early, and I hopped in bed with some easy reading…

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…not. That is one monster of a book. I painted my nails and watched the Brewers lose to the D-backs, pretending to sleep. My alarm went off awfully early this morning.

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I took my thyroid pill and started getting things ready.

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I ate my usual pre race food of Greek yogurt, chia, and agave, and I wrote myself a message for later on my forearm.

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Some of you know that the race directors cancelled the full marathon due to the anticipated heat. They didn’t want people to get sick and overwhelm the medical staff of the city, so they had the full marathoners drop down to the half instead. I didn’t want to give up that easily, so I made a plan to run my 26.2 miles slowly, hydrate, and stop if I felt sick in any way.
Brian drove me over to the Capital to start my unofficial half marathon before the real half started.

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This one’s for you, Rachael. I started running around 5:30ish and the streets of downtown Madison were pretty much empty.

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The capital was beautiful that early in the morning- even as a reflection!

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There were a few other marathoners out there- I saw one woman kicking ass and a couple guys looking pretty casual and relaxed as they got their “warm-up half” in. I basically ran laps up and down State street and all around Capital Square. At one point, I bent over to tie my shoe, and I got my first wolf whistle in a long time. Yeah, I still got it. 😉
I didn’t realize that Madison had such a homeless problem. It was pretty depressing to run past all those folks sleeping on the ground or on church stairs. On a lighter note, I had an awesome water station during those first 10 miles…

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Brian handed me a water/powerade solution and Gu Chomps, my fuel of choice this morning.
I ran into my friends Amanda and Allie (and their dad, Go Team Schulz!) on State street!

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The official half started a little after 7, and I joined the crowd. I looked for my friends Ashley and Karl, but couldn’t find them. The first couple miles were pretty uneventful- it starts as a pretty steep downhill, then evens out. I saw Brian at mile 2.5, but he wasn’t looking for me- he was shouting at Karl! As soon as I saw that Karl was just ahead of me, I picked up the pace and ran with Ashley AND Karl for a little bit. I was so happy that we were able to meet up! 🙂
This race’s official charity is the American Cancer Society, so a few runners were running with ACS jerseys. Most of them had ribbons pinned to them, with the names of people we’ve lost to cancer. It was very moving to see those runners also running in memory of someone important to them. Around mile 4, I saw a ribbon on the ground- it must have fallen off of someone during the race. I was only about 10 yards past it when I decided to circle back and pick it up. I would run for a stranger, too- I’m sure Rachael knows I have plenty of heart to share.

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This one’s for you, Grandma Lewinski. No grandma left behind! I wonder if this will give me good Karma for Grandma’s Marathon in 19 days… 🙂
Around mile five, I started running next to one of the medical staff guys on a bike. We talked about the race so far- everyone was looking good and doing really well. It didn’t end up being as hot as forecasted- it was between 70 and 80 most of the time I was running. He gave me props for starting early- the staff guessed that some of the super dedicated marathoners would do that. I captured a picture to show you just how sane I was feeling at the time.

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Somewhere in the middle section around miles 6-8, Amanda and Allie found me. I ran with them for a while, and that was a nice surprise. We ran past Steve’s Tattoo, and that got me thinking both about my first tattoo and the subsequent tally marks that I’m earning this month. I’ll post more about those later. I was starting to get pretty tired around mile 10, which was my mile 20. Luckily for me, a beautiful woman sitting on the curb yelled to me, “Excuse me?! Your outfit is fabulous!” I. Loved. That. The only thing better than running marathons is running them and looking adorable while doing it. Well, an Ironman is probably better, but I have to save some goals for my 30s, no?
We had a kind of long stretch out and back on John Nolan along the lake, and I felt like those miles were never going to end. I was able to see Nate and Ashley on that stretch, though. I noticed I was running next to these two strong looking guys, and the thought entered my head that if I fell over, one of them could probably carry me the last couple miles. I laughed at that absurd thought, then they looked at me funny because I was laughing to myself. I had to share my thought process, and they said they weren’t doing so well themselves, but they’d pick me up anyway. Nice to have such running camaraderie. 🙂 The Madison fire department was out with a big fire hose, spraying it into the street for us to run through. It felt amazing! I was starting to get the I’m-near-the-finish burst of energy, but I was concerned because I knew I still had 3.5 miles to go after the finish.
A bunch of our Running for Rachael supporters were near the finish- this is what a happy runner looks like.

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Once I came through the finishing chute, I tried to continue running, but the square was so packed with people. By the time I broke through the crowd, fatigue was settling into my legs big time. I decided to painstakingly run 1.5 of those miles, then walk the last two with Brian. He walked me in to the “finish” of marathon number four in a smart 5:20:45.

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My official half marathon time (miles 10-23) was 2:22:26.
I’ve never felt so good after a marathon, and I attribute it to taking this last training run s-l-o-w-l-y and hydrating well before, during, and after.

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After the race, I took an ice bath, cleaned up, then headed over to a get together with friends.

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Extra special thanks to all the people that came out to support me. Every time I heard you yelling my name or holding a sign for me, you gave me a little boost in my spirit. I couldn’t do this without you. Brian wins the spectator of the year award for hauling around a cooler with extra powerade and cold sponges for me.
I drank a giant root beer float and ate my weight in chex mix, then fell sound asleep for the drive home.

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I’m a four-time marathoner. Sweet.

Miles this year: 319.2

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