Disclaimer: I received entry into the MKE Running Festival Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
…On the road again….With my Orange Mud Hydraquiver VP1 hang drying near a car window and my 9 toe nails, I was on my way to Milwaukee to run marathon #20. It was also one of my November marathons, for my marathon a month goal.
I took off on the Saturday before the race. MKE is about a 4 hour drive from my home, so not too bad. I think the worst part is the toll road with road construction and a 45 mph speed limit. I even have a favorite place to stop about half way, it has the largest popcorn for only $1.
I made it to the expo around 3pm or so, it was open until 5pm, so I had plenty of time. It was held at the Harley Davidson Museum. While this was a cool place to host the expo, it seemed very cramped and the parking, while free, was jam packed.
I made it to the back of the building and grabbed my reusable grocery bag with goodies. I saw a stocking cap laying on the table, it was part of the VIP package I didn’t pay for. However, since I needed to add to my collection of stocking hats with poms on the top, I paid the $10 to get the hat only.
I perused the area, signed up to win a pair of shoes, chatted with some area races. The usual expo stuff. I did notice that the bag I received was full of flyers, the same flyers the expo vendors were passing out. I guess it would have been nice to select the ones we wanted, seems like such a waste.
I left the expo to meet up with fellow pro, Laura. She ran the NFECSWI half marathon with me back in September. I was also reunited with Arthur, her dog.
We took advantage of the coupon in one of the pre-race emails for a free bowl at Noodles and Co. I got the buttered noodles and a side of mac and cheese, all the carbs!
In the meantime, my beloved Hawkeyes were playing at PSU. I was able to log onto the Noodles wifi and watch the game through an app. It was not off to a good start. UGH. Instead, I enjoyed Laura’s company as we chatted the night away.
OK, so I continued to pay attention to the stupid game, it just kept getting worse! So instead, I prepared all my things for my 20th marathon. I was also freaking out about the time change. I knew my phone would change, but would the alarm work? I sleep with my watch on, so when I wake up 2309 times I would know what time it was, but will it change?
Thankfully, my alarm woke me at the correct time. I know, I even googled it, lol. I enjoyed some toast with Justin’s nut butter and some coffee. It was time to get to the start.
Gear: Orange Mud Hydraquiver, Sparkle Athletic Skirt, ProCompression Socks, Adidas shorts, Champion Bra, Garmin Fenix, Brooks Ghost 9, BR trucker hat, BR short sleeve tech shirt, Nathan bib belt, XX2i USA 1 Sunglasses, Buff(r), Aftershockz.
Find my official race detailed review at bibrave.com
It was a gorgeous day, especially for the first weekend in November along Lake Michigan.
I really wasn’t sure what my goal was going to be going into this. I did feel pretty good and the temps were perfect (45 at the start), so I thought I would give the half back challenge a try. This is a challenge put on by Strava, (fitness app) if you can run the second half of a marathon faster than the first, you are eligible to get a pair of New Balance shoes.
There were pacers available, and even though the course was open for 7 hours, the last pacer was for 5 hours. I made sure to line up behind this group.
I really tried hard to start slow…the plan was to run 12 minutes miles the first half. I really hate keeping an eye on my watch every few minutes to make sure I was on pace. However, this is what I needed to do to accomplish my goal. There was also not a lot of spectators on the course, so besides my tunes, it kept me going.
I was doing a good job of keep my miles near 12 minutes. I would get defeated when someone would pass me, but I kept repeating “run your race.”
Finally, the half way point, I felt I could do this. I was carrying a granola bar and some orange Glukos gummis with me. I had been eating the chews, but it was time to open up the bar. I then started to make up a plan, me and Coach Garmin, we were going to do this!
I decided next I needed a 11:30 mile, while also trying to catch the 5 hour pace group.They weren’t that far ahead, I had seen them on an out and back. Mile 14 came and I was running a bit faster and feeling great, in fact I couldn’t keep the pace slow…I think I was sub 11 minutes, and I kept going with that. I thought, ok, try to slow it down to 11 min miles, and then at mile 20, push it to 10 min miles.
It was then I ran into a social media friend, Ali. She was not having a good race, she has run a 50 miler a couple of weeks before. However in all her pain, she shared lots of encouraging words with me. That was nice.
Whoa….things got tough at mile 21, my watch was logging miles at .6 tenths longer than the actual mile markers, and it was starting to heat up a bit, I also could have eaten a banana or some real food, so I tried to eat some more of my granola bar. I really wish road races would provide something other than gels.
Some where in these miles we had to run around a turf football field too. Otherwise the course was nice, a great tour of MKE. Wish there were more spectators. There were also some good hills to keep all leg muscles feeling fresh.
Those last few miles were tough, but I knew I had a small cushion. I crossed the finish line in 5:09. I ran the first half in 2:38, and the second in 2:31. I was proud of myself and coach Garmin, for accomplishing this. I also ran the entire time. I know this is slow, but I will take it! My Garmin did have an overall distance of 27 miles, I am ok with being off a couple tenths, but this felt that long. I would have been close to a PR too.
*The race sent a follow up email addressing the long course. They said they know GPS can be off, but went on to say “Our event team has undertaken a careful examination of the route that was used in Sunday’s race, and it appears that it was approximately 0.4 miles too long. There were two errors when the course was set. The first was in the 17th mile and the second was in the 20th mile. Each error resulted in approximately .2 being added to the course.” There was another problem on course too, at the mile 19/20 out and back section some cones were removed, and the lead female ran 28 miles.
I felt accomplished when I came across the finish line. I also felt lonely, no one I knew was there….. However, I happily let the volunteer place the medal around my neck. I was given an armful of finisher food and drink, luckily they handed us a plastic bag to put it all in. I really wanted that post race banana too, so I stopped and asked a volunteer to peel it open. Why is this so hard post run?
I passed by the results tent on my way to the beer. The results were very sad to me at the time, I was the last in my AG, and was 493 out of 506 finishers. I was confused as the course was still open for about another 2 hours. Updated results.
Anyway, I needed that post race beer. There was a tag on our bib to redeem a Coors Light, a Blue Moon, a Wisconsin Red Ale, and another kind I don’t remember. However if you got your ID checked, they gave you a wrist band to get another beer and a craft soda.
I found a spot at an empty picnic table and listened to the DJ while watching people play the tailgating style games, there was even tug-o-war. In the background there were food trucks set up with items to purchase.
Out of nowhere, I hear “Hi! Angie?” It was twitter follower, Rob from Boston. It was so nice to sit and chit chat with someone. He is on a quest to run all 50 states. We discussed the long course, but also that we enjoyed the course. We both finished our beers and moved along.
When I got up I reunited with Laura…I had been texting her and wondered what the heck happened to her, but her phone died. ( I am always fearful of this too, I run with my music, but I switch my phone to airplane mode)
It was time to say “see ya later” and get back on the road. I secured the Spotted Cow, and began the trek back to the Hawkeye State (yep, even though they can’t win at football, it will always be called that)
I really liked this race, and I really enjoyed Milwaukee. I am already thinking about returning for a baseball game. (Cubs vs Brewers anyone?)
People think I am crazy driving around the country to run all these races. It’s not crazy, it’s living.
*I’ll let you know when I get my free shoes 🙂