This was the third running of the Madison Mini Marathon. I have run it all three years and enjoy it each and every time . . . actually liking it better each time. It doesn't get boring - maybe it is the idea of a "home field" advantage. Not like I am setting any records - but running through the streets of Madison makes me proud to call this city my home. All of the major attractions / locations that the mini travels through mean something special to me. I have no pictures from the Mini - maybe I will be lucky and actually have a NON-embarassing finish line photo - or one on the route that I can share with you when the photo's are posted.
The race was scheduled to start at 7:00 on Saturday morning. Although I don't lay things out ahead of time, I am usually calm and collected the morning of a race - but for some reason I was disorganized on Saturday morning and felt like I was running behind from the start. I headed downtown and had to stop to pick up some gatorade, while on the way to the local PDQ store, I saw a fox - right in the city. I thought this might be a sign - I was going to be fast as a fox . . . even though I didn't really get many long runs in. Well that was what I had hoped it meant.
Once I got downtown, I parked in a ramp a little ways away from the start location, so that I had a chance to walk / job to the start. As I said I was running late and heard the singing of the National Anthem from State street and still had about 3 blocks to make it to the race start. I made it to the G corral right aroung 6:55 and settled in . . . for a couple of minutes, until the anouncer came on the microphone and said that due to an approaching storm, they were going to delay the start of the race. They instructed us to go to the Memorial Union, Red Gym building or the Lakestreet parking structure. They said they would give people plenty of time to get back to the start when the race was back on. Well I headed to the Lakestreet parking garage, sat down and settled in . . . chatted with a really nice women, Kristy. The rains came - the thunder came - the wind came. We waited. Somewhere around 7:45 I left the parking structure to use the porta pottie. I figured no matter whenever we started we were going to be running in the rain, so getting a little wet didn't really matter. I headed back over the the finish area and used the facilities - then headed to the Red Gym to wait it out there. Found a spot to lean against a door, then settled in on the floor. And waited - Finally about 8:15, the race was on and we all headed to the start. Since I was really close - I did take some cover from the rain for a while, until more and more people were there. The rain continued - not too bad . . . until the start. Then it poured and as we rounded on corner the winds blewwwwwww!
The run started at 8:30 - I crossed the start at 8:33 and was off . . . slowly.
I usually don't run with my hat, unless it rains. The forecast was a chance for showers so I thought I would bring it and I was soooooo glad that I had it on to keep the rain sort of out of my eyes.
The rain subsided after a half hours, eventually the sun appeared and it was a beautiful day - full of sunshine.
Here is a list of some of the places we passed and their meaning for me.
Start: We start out at the Memorial Union. Although I didn't graduate from the UW, my husband did and I remember spending time at the Union when he was a student. We also like to stop there from the water and buy an ice cream cone. I also attended a wine tasting class there - and it was a blast.
Next up is the Capitol. Well - what can I say about the state Capitol. It is a beautiful building - located in the center of the city. When I drive to work, I look directly at the Capitol - and hey they changed the lighting to Green and Gold in honor of the Packers.
Mile 1: We then headed down State Street. Anyone who lives or has visited Madison has been to State Street. It is downhill and many runs head down this famous street.
Mile 2: We then headed near the Kohl Center, home of the UW basketball and hockey teams. And graduation site of the local high schools - so in addition to watching great basketball and hockey games - both of my sons graduated from high school at the Kohl Center.
Mile 3: We ran past the Space Science and Engineering Building (my husband works there) and then Camp Randall, home of the UW Badgers football team.
Mile 4: Passed through the Henry Vilas Zoo - this is a free zoo and I spent a lot of time there when the boys were young. Passing through the Zoo, one of the city's hospitals, St.Mary's is in view - both of my sons were born at St. Mary's.
Mile 5&6&7: Before mile 5 we enter the UW Arboretum - this is a beautiful nature preserve area. BUT I always find this a boring area for a road race - since there are very few homes - there are few spectators and isn't really anything to look at - trees - vegitation - trees - and more vegitation. Don't get me wrong - I like to run through it - but for a race - it always seems like a long way with not much to distract me. But on a hot day - it is always a cool location, due to the dampness and tree coverage. Since I have been biking more the last couple of years I am quite familar with the Arb and feel like I know where the hills are and know the turns quite well.
Mile 8 & 9: Just out of the Arb and running near the Nakoma Golf course and then though the Monroe St area. Although I have never golfed Nakoma (private course) I have walked it when son #1 golfed on the East High School golf team - it is a beautiful course. Then there is Monroe St. In my mind - this area of Madison is made famous because of the red flags that are along the intersections - pedestrians carry a flag when they cross the road. I swear they just walk - it doesn't matter whether they have a walk like or not - if they have a flag - they walk and as a driver - you slam on your brakes. Can you tell this irritates me tremendously!!!!
Mile 10: This section is mainly residential - but near Madison West - which is one of the other high schools in town - I spent a lot of time on their tennis courts with son #2.
Mile 11: Brings us to the UW CoGen Plant - my employer MGE and the UW co-own this generation plant. Next up is the UW Hospital - I spent a lot of time there with my mother (years ago) And the best part about mile 11 was looking forward to Chelsea, previously from Early Runner, HERE - BUT now from Theology and Geometry HERE. She was not running the mini - but was going to be near mile 11 cheering us on. I was so looking forward to seeing her - mile 11 is tough - so close - but still a couple miles to go. And there she was - with a poster and all!
Mile 12: Lakeshore path - cool temp's because of all of the trees - easy on your legs, because it is a dirt path - right on the shore of Lake Mendota. Whenever I run this path I remember when I was training for my one and only marathon - I ran from my house to here and stood there and looked across the lake and thought wow - I have a long ways to run home! I also say Kerri, from TutuRunner - HERE and her Team in Training friend Dano along the path - they came up behind me and were running STRONG, especially considering this was mile 12. Kerri had a great run and a PR by 5 minutes. :-)
And the FINISH: back at the Memorial Union - the crowds cheering and the best part was the Milwaukee Brewers Sausages were there and I high 5's each one of them, including the Hot Dog, the Brat, the Italian Sausage, the Polish Sausage and Kerri's favorite the Chorizo.
I saw Kerri from TutuRunner HERE, and Dano at the finish - and gave her a good hug! I had hoped to see Jamie from Running Diva Mom - HERE - but didn't see her before or after the run.
I headed for chocolate milk (YUMMMMMM) a banana and picture in the big chairs ( a mini tradition) - then off to search for co-workers.
2011 - 2:16
2010 - 2:08
2009 - 2:12
. . . so this was slower then the past two years . . . but who cares! I don't!
Sometimes it is ENJOYING the journey that counts! I had a blast and must have high 5's at least 20 people - that is a GOOD DAY!
ENJOY the MOMENT! Don't sweat the small stuff - running fast - running slow - it is all running!!!!