Madison Mini Marathon 2019 – Race Review
“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Mini 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!”
It was finally time to head back to Madtown. I am pretty sure I have wrote about running more in Madison than in Iowa City. Honestly, when there are no sporting events, it’s a great place to be. In fact this would be my 5th Madison Mini.
Josh and I hopped in the car on Friday afternoon, for the 3 hour trip… a 3 hour tour….Anyway, nothing eventful happened on the drive and we were at our hotel to check in and drop our bags off.
Next stop, the expo.
We were staying about a half mile from the expo/packet pick up at the Alliant Energy Center. In the many times I have run this, it was the first time I would experience packet pick up at this location. It was always at the Union South (way too crowded and no parking) or I had made arrangements for someone else to pick up my things.
There was plenty of free parking here, no congestion. We were able to walk right in, snake through the vendors to the back and find the letters of our last name to get our bib and shirt. They put the short sleeve, gender specific shirt and bib that was in an envelope in a plastic bag.
We wondered around the expo a bit. It wasn’t big, but if you need some last minute supplies or branded race gear you could get what you needed. We stopped by the corner of banners with names on them, took some photos, and then moved towards the exit. This is when Josh ran into social media and Hawkeye friend Jake. We said hi and then moved on to say hi to Jan at the Illinois Marathon booth, where we scored more mini boxes of Kodiak Cakes. We really didn’t see any other booths that caught our attention, so we were back to our car in a jiff!
From here we were on our way to get some grub. I had reached out to social media friend Steena – you may recall I ran with her at the 2017 Madison Mini. She suggested a place called Glass Nickel Pizza.
We had a short wait and we were seated. We thought we would start with some breadsticks while we waited. I also had a small beer. Then we placed an order for a margherita pizza and side salads. WHOA!!! The breadsticks arrived and well it was like a whole pizza, then soon after that our salads, which were also huge and very fresh. Then, just like that our pizza arrived. We ordered way too much food! When we decided we couldn’t eat another slice, we asked for a box and were on our way.
We arrived back at the hotel to discover even though the lobby was ice cold, our room just wasn’t cooling down. So Josh bumped the temperature colder.
We caught up on social media and prepared all our things for the race the next day.
Saturday, August 17 – RACE DAY!!!
We woke up to a stuffy hotel room, something was wrong with the air conditioning. So we kept moving along to get out of there. I had VIP access, so even though I had some hotel coffee, I was ready to take advantage of the pre-race spread.
The last time I ran this race, I drove in that morning, and the times before we always stayed within walking distance of the starting line. This year, I looked at a map for the starting line, then zoomed in to a P, for parking and mapped us to the first ramp. Well, it was about a half mile or so walk to the starting line. I am sure if we took the time to find free on street parking we could have found something closer.
I ditched Josh around 6 AM to go to the VIP room. While I might have felt a little bit guilty, I was going to enjoy. I had a green sticker on my bib, but when I arrived the person checking in names seemed a bit confused, however I was given a wristband and allowed to enter. I was also in line behind fellow BibRave pro Amy.
I hit up the buffet and grabbed a muffin and granola bar, I also snagged a cup of coffee. I say next down to Amy and her friend. We made small talk and they were ready to go warm up. I stayed and ate my muffin, drank my coffee and scrolled through my phone. I then went outside on the balcony to check out the calm before the storm.
It was getting close to starting time, 7 AM. I made use of the VIP bathroom and finally went back outside. I was in one of the last corrals, which was right outside the door, so I was never in a hurry.
It was a nice morning, the sun was out and temperatures would rise, but not be too horrible. The National Anthem was performed by a group and the race began.
While there were lots of corrals, they were not held, so it was more to encourage people to line up by paces. However, I did not see anyone checking bibs.
I was ready to run. I didn’t have a goal but to get to that finish line and get that challenge medal. With all the events I run in Madison, I can never remember which race goes with which route, it also doesn’t help that I feel each year, every race changes their route…..so I was also ready to see where we were running.
The race started with a slight uphill and then towards the Capital, where the Farmers’ Market was going on. Then we were off onto State St. This is where BibRave Pro, Jonathan caught up to me. He said he was running behind and almost started last, and he was just catching up. We ran a couple of miles together, and then he was feeling good and proceeded on just before we got to the arboretum.
I enjoy the arboretum, I know many people find it boring, but I like it. Maybe it’s because there is a small shoulder of gravel I can run on. After we ran this section we were back to running the streets of Madison. This included heading towards Camp Randall, then we were on the path that goes along the lake. The course finished by taking us up Observatory Hill, before finishing back at the Terrace.
The course was lined with 10 aid stations, many of them with energetic cheer squads, or screaming high school kids. There would be a winner of best station after the race. The aid stations offered water and Gatorade. However, each station had a different flavor and sometime water was first. They were always in different cups. It was kinda fun to guess which flavor of Gatorade I would get, and until the last stop I thought I got lucky by avoiding lemon lime.
I really liked the course and was having a great time, but around mile 10 something happened to my calf. Out of no where it was like a rock was living inside my left calf muscle. I stopped and stretched a bit and then kept moving. It was just so tight, but wasn’t cramping. I didn’t carry my pack, so that is why I was drinking all the Gatorade. I steadily made my way towards the finish line.
I came across the finish line in a time near 2:24. Not my best, not my worst. I really am going to have to start putting in the work if I want to have better times. However, I am happy every time I can cross a finish line.
A medal was placed around my neck, I grabbed a bottle of water, and chugged down the chocolate milk. There were bananas, granola bars and 2 choices of Wisconsin popcorn.
I was on a mission to find my challenge medal. I had to walk back towards to entrance to the VIP area, just about a half block away and I found Jan handing them out. They were a nice medal. I hung it around my neck and clanged my way to the post race VIP area.
There was a new buffet set up with chicken, brats, cookies, potato salad and fruit. There was soda, water and Gatorade. Out on the balcony, overlooking the lake and the 14th mile party, was where the beer was – this year was a raspberry lemon radler from Wisconsin Brewing.
I grabbed myself a beer and then made sure to get a brat and then went to add my name to the massage list. In my journey to find the massage sign up, I stumbled upon a woman who insisted on rubbing CBD oil on my calf.
While I waited for my massage, BibRave pro Jonathon made his way to the VIP area and we chatted some more. Then just after I got myself a second beer, my name was called for my massage.
This massage was the strangest thing. I have done the post race massage before and usually they ask if there is a trouble area, or something they should target. This person didn’t ask and I laid down on my back and she proceeded with her routine. She was very fast moving. Then when I rolled to my front side, it was the same thing. I did find myself relaxed and then the karate chopping started. I am laughing just typing this. I would compare this to something my 8 year old niece would do. I did mention the pain in my calf, and while there was some weird stretching, there was no extra massage there. Like I said I was relaxed, but it was weird.
I was done and sat back down with Jonathon. He has been dealing with an injury, but still had a decent race. I had never met him before, so it was nice to talk. Then it was his turn for a massage, so I said see ya later. I went to the balcony and grabbed another beer and then made my way to Josh.
We made sure to take some pictures in the oversized chairs on the terrace, and listened to the band. It was a nice day, and the area they host the post race party is perfect!
It was about time to check out of the hotel, so we departed the finish area and tried to remember where we left the car. It felt like a 67 mile walk back. Once we found the car, we proceeded back to the hotel room.
We arrived back to the room to find it even more stuffy than when we left it. Blech! We were so over it, so we showered and checked out. We made sure to mention the situation as we departed.
Besides Josh eating the leftover pizza on the ride home, it was another uneventful drive back to the Hawkeye state. It was a rare trip where we didn’t buy any beer or cheese though.
The Madison Mini is nice summer race, make sure to register early for the best price.