CONQUER THE CAPITAL 45.5 CHALLENGE
My 21st marathon…I just had a Facebook memory pop up from 2011, it said something about running my first marathon, which I did in the fall of 2012. Here we are now, and I can say they don’t get any easier.
The 2016 Madison Marathon was held on Sunday, November 13. The middle of Hawkeye football season. Why mention this? Well I have season tickets to all Iowa home football games…Saturday, Nov 12, was a home game, against #3 Michigan.
- Madison is a 3 hour drive from Iowa City
- Hawkeye game times are usually 11 am or 2:30 pm
- I needed to finish the Conquer the Capital Challenge for an additional medal
Ok, driving to Madison after the football game was totally doable, however football game times are usually determined by TV. Last year the Hawkeyes went 12-0 in the regular season, so TV thought ahead of our season that this game should be a 7pm start. This was after I registered for the marathon. AHHHHH. I was not going to drive to Madtown at midnight, and I wasn’t going to wake up at 2 am to drive there, so this meant I had to miss a home Iowa football game….stop making fun of me, I haven’t missed a home game in over 10 years. Iowa has no pro sports, this is our team, my team.
Now you have some background on the weekend. Next, If you recall, I ran the Conquer the Capital 19.3 in the spring, at the time I wasn’t able to register for the 45.5 challenge, as I ran the spring race for Bibrave and it wasn’t an option for me. When I registered for the fall race, I assumed I was just added to the challenge. It was a good thing I checked as I wasn’t in for the challenge. I was in panic mode, I was missing a football game to run a marathon, a week after I just ran a marathon…stupid!
I reached out to the race, and they said that they don’t offer the 45.5 challenge with the fall registration because you have to complete the spring challenge. I told them my situation and they were able to add me to the challenge, with no problem. I hope they change this in the future, sometimes in the spring you aren’t sure if you would be able to run a fall marathon, but maybe you have a great summer and want to finish the challenge with the marathon.
Alright all drama aside…well the drama leading up to the race…lol…
I was on the road to Madison before 2pm. The plan was to meet fellow Bibrave Pro Gina at 5, and then get to the expo before it closed at 6pm. The drive to Madison is usually easy, and this time was no exception. In fact, gas in Dubuque was just under $2. (Seriously, Iowa City, what’s the deal?)
I met Gina, grabbed a cookie from the hotel lobby, and we were on our way to the expo. We were only about a mile away, but we drove, and opted to park in the attached parking ramp, for $5. (Which is reasonable, but coming from small town USA, I am not a huge fan of this, we could have parked downtown and walked over, but that was across a busy highway)
We walked into the busy Monona Terrace, which is host to many other events, and we met Bibrave Pro – Andrey (and his girlfriend, Emily.)
The expo was very similar to the spring, not very big, but easy to navigate and get what you need. We did show up near closing time and some vendors were already gone, or they were starting to pack up. It wasn’t a huge deal, I don’t need anything more…..
All of us decided to get supper together, and using google maps, found a place called Angelo’s. This was appealing to me as there were TV’s on the bar side…you know the football game would be starting soon.
We sat down to a round of drinks and placed our orders. They all made fun of me asking for pasta with no sauce. I asked for a pile of noodles, I just don’t care for marinara sauce, it’s gross! Now put some fresh tomatoes on top and I am all good. They probably wouldn’t be laughing if they knew I was charged the same amount too…seriously there were like 5 noodles with some chicken and it was $14…UGH! Anyway the company was good and the game was off to slow start, which was good.
We said, see ya in the morning…and Gina and I took off for our hotel so I could finish watching the football game. WHAT A GAME!!!! The Hawks won with a last second field goal, people stormed the field…. I jumped up and down in the hotel room, Gina was not impressed (she might have been asleep)… LOL
Oh yeah, I was some how supposed to sleep after that. Marathon #21 in the morning, or #13 for marathon a month. I had all my gear ready to go….
Gear: Hawkeye tank, Orange Mud Hydraquiver VP1, xx2i USA1 sunglasses, Aftershockz headphones, Adidas boyshorts, Sparkle Athletic donut skirt, Nike Element pullover, Nathan race belt, Brooks Ghost 9, ProCompression socks, Nike Cubs hat, Garmin Fenix 3
It was a early morning, the hotel had breakfast starting at 5:30am. I popped an english muffin into the toaster, topped it off with peanut butter when it was done. Had some coffee….you know the drill.
The marathon started at 7 am, with the half marathon to follow. Gina and I left our hotel with enough time to meet Andrey and pro, Casey. We carpooled as the race advertised on street parking (first come, first serve) or in ramps. We pulled right up, 2 blocks from the start, parked for free!!!
It was cool, about 36 degrees and wind! We met the guys in a nearby Starbucks, it was warm in there, so it was full of lots of runners…many who were just using the bathroom. Even though there were a bajillion port-o-potties available near the race start.
We met up for a group picture, and then made our way to the starting area. Andrey and I were running the marathon, while Casey and Gina were going to run the half. You can check out all the official reviews at bibrave.com.
It was time to tackle this race. I really didn’t have a goal, but to finish and get that extra medal. In the back of my mind, I was wondering if I could run the second half faster again, and qualify for another pair of shoes.
I lined up in the back, the course was open for 6 hours, and there was a 5:30 pacer. I started with them, I figured this would get me the slow start I would need. It was a nice group of women. They were doing 4:1 intervals, which is fine with me, but I am not used the stopping and starting again, but I rolled with it. I learned their names, and listened to their goals and stories. No need for my tunes.
I stopped to use the bathroom at an aid station, it was playing the chicken dance song, HELP ME! I caught back up with the group., they were still chatty. I still felt good. I was eating fruit snacks, a granola bar and fruit twists this time around, and there were 2 banana stops on the route. There was also Gatorade and water, however you needed to be on top of things, they were randomly placed at each stop.
At the half way point, I thought, ok it’s time to give this a shot, so I left the group behind. I was feeling alright, and just kept movin along. Then for whatever reason, I am assuming running a marathon the week before, I was just tired, my legs were tired. I started doing some more walking. I did see Andrey’s girlfriend, Emily on course, so that was nice.
I just kept plugging away. I knew Madison had hills from the many races I had run before. I enjoyed the scenery, however the miles that were in the residential parts were boring, and there weren’t any spectators, unless your family was out, so it was boring and lonely, well except for passing back and forth with Steve…he finally left me in his dust.
After walking the last mile or so, I think I was walking faster than I could run, I climbed the last hill, and crossed the finish line. You may notice in the picture, I am the only one in it, and that is how it felt. I crossed around 5:45 or something, within the limits, but most everyone had left.
I did get my medal, then I grabbed a bottle of water off of a table, and then a volunteer handed me my challenge medal. I stopped to look for a mylar blanket, there were none available, however I could see people walking around in them. I had my picture taken, and proceeded to walk the finisher’s chute. The last stop was the food table, there were bag lunches from Panera, and while they had turkey at one time, only ham and veggie remained. There were also halved bananas. (Inside the bag lunch was half a sandwich, bag of chips and cookie.) While it’s nice to have the food in a bag, I could have used a chocolate milk and something easy and quick to eat.
When I exited, I had my results printed up on a paper, then you walk by the beer area. You could get a Michelob Ultra with the ticket on your bib. No thanks! Wisconsin is like the beer capital of the world…I wish they would have better options. There were tables here to sit down, but they were already taking them down. I sat on a bench and took a break. Strange lonely feeling. I did finish the race, guess I need to get faster.
It was time to drive back home….it was just like all the build up and then it was over. I feel bad for anyone that finished after me. Hope they at least got a bagged lunch. I am not a super slow runner either, I just wish that the last runner would experience the race just as the first runner. This is what keeps people coming back.
I think one of my favorite things, was being able to park so close to the start/finish. Well the free race pictures are nice too. I was back to my car, did a quick change-a-roo, and was back on the road again. I made sure to make a stop for some cheese curds, because Wisconsin…hey these would be excellent post race, note to self: need to find a cheese curd race.
Anyway….I am ahead on my marathon per month goal, but I will cap it off with a 50k in December (Arctic frog 50k), so wish me luck. The weather has already changed for colder too. Which will make the next race after that a fun challenge, the Key West Half. Training for a Florida race in Iowa in the winter…should be fun.