This morning was the Madison Half - which if you recall, was supposed to be the Madison Full. As I've mentioned before...lesson learned. A spring marathon is WAY HARD to train for in the midwest. Between that, seemingly endless travel since December, and a very unfortunate 6 week hacking cough that I started to worry was becoming part of my persona, I found myself woefully behind on those precious long runs.
My training partner Julie suffered from pain in her left knee that at one point made it almost impossible for her to hobble back to her car - alone, in the winter.
So we opted for the half.
Overall, the training has really taken a backseat since making that decision. I did run the Lake Monona 20k a couple weeks ago and it was one of the best runs of my life. I averaged 9:13/mile, which for me is pretty much like saying I WON MY AGE GROUP.
Of course I did NOT win my age group.
Since I have no idea what that would feel like (and let's be honest, probably never will)...I am guessing the way I felt about my average pace is close to that level of euphoria. At least for a historically slow runner like me.
At any rate, that was my highlight in training. In the last 2 weeks, I ran 3 times. Julie has been nursing her injury and recovering as much as she can with biking and shorter runs to build strength in her knee.
And that's the shape we were in when we bellied up to the starting line this morning. Another lesson learned? No matter how many halfs I've done, showing up to the race with less than optimal training in the bank is daunting. Not comfortable at all. Hey, maybe when I was 29...but folks, this body needs a bit more preparation and a bit less spontaneous hard work.
So we took it slow and steady. Stopped at every aid station, high-fived the little kids, and laughed at the crazy signs.
A few favorites:
You don't really look good. But you are running well.
That's not sweat. It's your fat cells crying.
Chuck Norris has never run a marathon!
I was chatty, telling a fellow runner I loved her shoes, which she told me she designed herself through the Nike customization program. Very cool.
When I asked Julie if her knee hurt, she said yes. I asked if she wanted to rest or stretch. She replied, "I'm just going to deal with it because we are going to finish this mother-f@&!er"
The woman running next to us laughed out loud. Later when we ran into her at the finish line she said it was exactly what she needed to hear at that point in the race. And it still made her laugh.
In short, we enjoyed ourselves as much as you can when you are running for a solid 2 hours.
We finished in 2:13. Average pace 10:31/mile. Yes, slow. However, through the sweat and the ouch-ouch-ouch of the last few miles, then the WTF-Are-you-kidding-me with this hill at mile 12?...
We had a great run and a fun morning.
Plus - get this - they give you a medal whether you are fast or slow!
So with medals-in-hand we hobbled over to the Great Dane Pub and had a couple of beers for breakfast.
Let summer begin!