Bring on medal #3

Prepping for the at Madison Marathon, Conquer the Capital Half and Half Challenge

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!”

I can’t believe it’s time to go back to Madison. In the midst of the 100 Miles in November, I have an upcoming half marathon. Time is the trickiest thing ever, it just creeps by faster and faster, then you are asking your phone to make reminders so you don’t forget and BAM… there’s another race on the calendar.

There is a lot to this race. I signed up way back at the beginning of the year as part of the Conquer the Capital Half and Half Challenge, you run the Run Madtown events in the spring and one of the races in November and you earn additional bling. Now, that is not the only unique thing about the medals. The race started a 4 year medal series and this will be year 3, so I am really excited to continue my presence at the event. Then… then to top it all off, the Hawkeyes will play the Badgers the day before the race over at Camp Randall.

I am a little excited for all the things to come together. Even the 3 PM football game time will be perfect. I can hit the expo at the Monona Terrace before the game (it’s open Saturday 10AM – 5PM.) Then I wont have to be up late at night, so I can get to the 7:10 AM start.

Now, I know I will finish, but let’s hope the weather turns itself around and warms up a bit before now and then.

If you would like to join me in Madison on Sunday, November 10th; Use code “BRMSN19” for 10% off the half or full marathon! 


Half Marathon #50

Madison Half Marathon – 2018 Race Recap

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!”

The day finally came and I ran my 50th half marathon. It’s amazing how they just start adding up. Read on about my experience at the Madison Half Marathon.

For my to the point review, check out

Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Brooks Ghost 10, 2xu Thermal tights, Zensah socks, Zensah bra, Garmin Forerunner 935, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Spibelt, 2xu tank, Nike thermal turtleneck, UA Bibrave Shirt, Hawkeye stocking hat, BUFF, Pearl Izumi gloves.

Sunday, November 11.

2 AM – wake up, grab all the coffee! While this seems like an extremely early wake up call for a 7:10 AM race, I was meeting a friend and we were driving to Madison from Iowa the morning of the race.

3 AM – meet my friend Jen, leave a car at a friends house. Drive to Madison. Stop judging, runners only do crazy things….

As you know it’s not my first trip to Madison, in fact I have road tripped the morning before a race before. There was a home Iowa football game the day before, and the logistics just made more sense to leave early morning, plus Jen was on board!

This also meant that neither of us would be able to get our bibs at the expo. While there was a pick up on race day, it was an additional $30 or something. Lucky for us our friend, Dan, was able to grab our things at the expo. Also, 5 cheers for the race for allowing others to grab our things. 

6 AM – After a few stops here and there, Jen and I rolled into Madison. What I remembered from the past was being able to park on the street, for FREE, just blocks from the start line. We circled around and put the car in a spot. We met up with Dan, who had our bibs. THANK YOU DAN!!

I was also meeting up with fellow BibRave Pros, Amy and Barb. Dan actually found these two before he found us, as he spotted them wearing orange. Dan and Amy would be running the full marathon, while Jen, Barb and I would run the half marathon. 

It was not too warm out, so after a stop at the port-o-potty I was back at the car. If it were January, I am sure we would have been warm, however we hadn’t had much for cold weather running, so we were cold! This also made it difficult to decide what to wear.

I made it back to the start line around 7 AM to see if I could find Dan or Amy before they started…nope. So, I just proceeded into the corral. It was back fed, which meant there was one entry in the back, and you could find a pacer to line up next to, with the slower paces in the back. 

I didn’t have a specific goal for this race, I didn’t specifically train for it, I just wanted to finish. I knew the course as I ran it last year. I was in it for the medal – they started a 4 year medal series last year and I had to complete it.

I had no issues during the race. I stopped to use a port-o-potty, which lead me to ditching an under layer. Taking off an under shirt while walking is a lot of fun! 

I said this last year and I can say it again this year – I really did not care for this course. It was one of the more boring routes I’ve run in Madison, just running busier roads, so I welcomed the hills as something different. There is just so much more to see and this half course does not show case it.

However, the course is well supported. There are a lot of hydration stations. This year they were even prepared for the colder weather with ice melt. I believe there are so many as parts of the half marathon join with the full marathon. There were some stops with Gu too, but no real food. 

I finished with a time near 2:20 on my Garmin, but because I used the facilities I had an official race time of 2:22, which is fitting as that is the time I ran my first half marathon.

Once I crossed the finish line I was given a medal. I found the mylar blanket and made my way to the photo backdrop. The race photos are free, so I tried to take advantage. I also caught Barb at the finish too!

I then passed by the post race food, bananas, orange slices and pre-bagged Panera meals. I grabbed a turkey sandwich and walked around the corner to the beer area. They had Michelob Ultra again and I passed by as someone handed out the last radler. 

I met back up at the car where Jen was keeping warm. We sat there for a while and checked in on the tracking app. We were following Dan and Amy. I just missed Amy, she was speedy!!! We warmed up while we waited for Dan.

We made our way back to the finish when we thought Dan was near. It’s always fun to cheer on finishers. It was strange though as the time Dan was to come in, there was some nearby bell ceremony going on, so the announcer and music went away and it was just bells ringing in the distance. 

We spotted Dan and couldn’t get our phones to take a photo, but cheered loudly! We met him in the finisher’s chute where he grabbed some post race grub and chocolate milk. I totally missed the chocolate milk the first time through, so I grabbed some too. 

We said goodbye to Dan, took some photos of the medal and called it a day ourselves.

I am not sure if it was an error on my part, but I failed to realize there was a challenge medal up for grabs for me. I ran the spring race events and the fall half marathon for the Conquer the Capital half and half challenge. I thought it was just for the fall full marathon. With the proper papers, I could have received another medal. Why is this important – I noted this on twitter and the race management sent me the challenge medal!!!

2:00 PM Crossing the border back into Iowa. 12 hours after I woke up, I was almost back home. 

I run a lot of races in Madison, they know what they are doing. I will be headed back in the spring for Run Madtown, and I need to complete the four medal set….so expect to read more posts about it.

As always if you ran add your review to and claim your results on

High Five a Volunteer!

A Race Doesn’t Happen Without the Volunteers!

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!”

It’s the week of the Madison Marathon (Half marathon) and while I need to write something, I am stumped at what to say. I will be headed to Madtown to run my 50th half marathon.

I have run these events in Madison: Madison Mini 2013, Madison Mini 2014, Madison Mini 2015, Madison Mini 2017, Madison Half Marathon & 10k spring 2016, Madison Marathon 2016, Run Madtown 10k 2017, and Run Madtown 10k  & half marathon 2018.  If I have counted right, this is my 11th event, so I feel I have exhausted all there is to say about running in Madison.

I asked my friend Frank (he has a great blog with the best race posts) and he suggested why not write about the volunteers. AH YES PERFECT!!! I myself volunteer many times throughout the year.

First things first – if you have not registered to run – online registration closes 11/7 at 11:59pm – code MMRAVE18 saves you $$. WHY NOT VOLUNTEER? You can check out this link here – it looks like course marshals, bike lead, water stop, finish line medals, and gear check duties still have open spots.

If you are still hesitant on being a volunteer, here are the reasons I volunteer:

  • To Give Back – I know how hard it is to make an event happen, it takes a lot of people.
  • Be a part of race day when I can’t afford to run – Lately this is every race, so why not show up and hand out water, or take off timing chips. I can still be at the race and I might even get a shirt too.
  • It’s simple and easy – hand someone a t-shirt, give them gu packet.
  • It’s fun – give high fives as a course marshal, cheer on the runners.
  • Community – Sign up with your running club or running friends.
  • It’s rewarding – work the finish line, walk away feeling motivated and inspired.

Be sure to thank all the volunteers you encounter on Sunday. While they enjoy doing what they are doing, volunteering can be tasking. They are out in the elements for many hours so we can run for fun.

If I don’t see you handing me a cup of (frozen) water on Sunday, I hope maybe someday I will volunteer alongside you.

Headed Back for the Medal

Headed Back for the Medal

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

The title of this post gives away a lot, but keep reading…. I have a discount code for you!

I will be headed back to Madison for another race, and my 3rd time at the Madison Marathon fall event. I’ve run the spring event that coincides with the medal challenges, and I ran this marathon in 2016.

In 2017 I decided to try the half marathon, and they introduced a 4 year medal series. The medals will all go together when they are done. Of course, I need to try to get all these medals, so I am back for the 2018 event.

Here is my 2017 medal:


Complete the Square Video –

If you are like me and sign up for races for silly reasons, here are some dates that might be of interest.

  • Online registration closes November 7 at 11:59pm CT
  • Expo and packet pick up will be Friday, November 9th & Saturday, November 10th
  • Race day is Sunday, November 11th. The marathon starts at 7, with the half to follow 10 minutes later.


Use “MMRAVE18” to save 10% through 11/7

Maybe I will see you there!

Half Marathon #47

Half Marathon #47

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

It’s amazing how things start to add up over time, hard to believe I have completed my 47th half marathon, my first was in September 2011. This was my 6th half marathon in Madison. Find out if I will be back…..

For my no nonsense review – check out

Where shall I begin… I think I will fast forward through Saturday… originally when I signed up, I was excited as it was the day after the Iowa / Wisconsin football game in Madison, I would be in town anyway…why not run a marathon? Well, you can read again about me switching races…but still Hawkeye football and running, what is better?

Well as I write this we all know that game did not turn out well for the Hawkeyes, so why should we relive it…no need….I will say I got to spend more time with new friends, and I did enjoy that.

Sunday, November 12 – RACE DAY!!

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Bibrave long sleeve shirt, 2xu Hyoptik tights, Zensah compression socks, BUFF® ThermoNet™, Pearl Izumi gloves, Hawkeye hat, xx2i sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Forerunner 935, Road ID

I was up early for a short drive to Madtown. I was staying just south in a town with a Kwik Star – I love those stores!  So, I stopped for some coffee and a bagel. The weather was also a little crappy, the temp was near freezing and it was spitting rain. I did make it to Madison without incident, and checked the weather map, it looked like I was just out of it and the race would be dry.

Oh – I forgot to tell you all about the packet pick up and stuff – but as I said – check out my bibrave review…the blog is for the rambling. Anyway, unless you pay for race day packet pick up, you have to get your bib the days before at the Monona Terrace – it’s easy and painless…and I did that before the game.

Ok, back to race day – One of my favorite things about this event, it’s on a Sunday, so all the on street parking just blocks away from the start / finish is FREE. I pulled in around 6 am for the 7:10 a start, and found a parking spot 2 blocks away.

I had time to use one of the many port-o-potties and get back to my car and sit and stay warm and relax. No standing in a corral for an hour before you start, no wondering where you need to be… just sitting and scrolling social media.

With about 15 minutes to go, I left my car and walked to the starting line. I could hear the National Anthem in the distance, so I stopped walking and listened. I arrived to the starting line to hear them announce the wheeler start at 6:55 am, then it was the full marathon start at 7:00am. I looked for my friend Dan, and kept an eye out for Steena, but didn’t see either.

After a selfie or 2, I found myself lining up into the backfed corral. These are kind of annoying, if you are fast, it’s hard to get to the front. Anymore, I just get in the corral and move forward…I try not to worry. There were pacers with signs you could stand near too.

There was a wheeler start for the half marathon, then it was time for me to start. I have never run this course in Madison before…. well as a half marathon. The course is the second half of the full marathon, which I ran last year.

There was some construction in the first mile or so of the race, so the streets we were running on were quite narrow, and at one point it was sooo narrow that we all just stopped… I can remember the collective sigh I heard from everyone at this moment… (thanks to my Aftershokz Trekz Air) the sigh was like something you hear from a crowd at a sporting event. However, after this point… the course widened again and we finally started to thin a little. Most of the participants must have been running the half marathon.

The first 5 ish miles were on some boring roads, passing businesses and gas stations. In all the races I’ve run in Madison, this course is my least favorite. We finally got closer to the lake and there were views of that.

There were parts through residential neighborhoods and a short out and back section. Each mile was marked with a sign, and I didn’t notice any timing mats. *The RaceJoy app was the tracking app suggested by the race, which is based on the participant using their phone GPS on course. This just burns my battery, so I do not use it. I should have set it up though as I think there is a way around it – really I should just look into it, lol


Around mile 8 was a HUGE hill with a cool look over the lake… I actually checked my heart rate at the top – as a Bibrave Pro I have been testing a Garmin Forerunner 935 with the wrist HR monitor, and I noticed it was only about 173 at the top of the hill, so I happened to keep pushing the pace into the finish line.

On course there were many aid stations. At first I was confused as water was first, then Gatorade, but that was followed with water again. Also as the stops went on, the mixing of cups happened – water wasn’t always in the white cup – but the volunteers shouted what they had to offer. There were also a couple of gel stops too.

There were also a lot of law enforcement volunteers along the way. There were a lot of busy intersections. I made sure to thank them when I could. Near the finish is a hill (of course – it wouldn’t be Madison without hills) I said thank you to an officer and he made some remark instead- something to the effect of keep going or don’t give up, like your Hawkeyes yesterday.  UGH this did not encourage me at all, in fact I was mad!  I am fine if a friend lays down the smack talk, but I didn’t know this person. He should have also just been making sure runners are safe, and given the time, clap or say good job. I compare this to “good job but the things you like suck!”  Anyway, I didn’t let this cloud my thoughts on the overall event…just do your job.

I came into the finish as the announcer said my name. My Garmin had a time near 2:15 for 13.3 ish miles. I am not made about the distance… I understand that GPS gets off and I probably didn’t run the tangents.

I jumped and the photographer captured it!! Oh and the pictures were posted that night and sent to me via email for a FREE download!!


After I crossed that finish line a volunteer placed a medal around my neck and a bottle of water was made available to me. Then I waited in line for a photo with the back drop.


After that, a kid ran out of nowhere and placed a mylar blanket on my like a cape! I wasn’t super cold, but was grateful and took it with me as I grabbed a couple of orange slices. There were some halved bananas too. The next stop was the choice of a bagged Panera lunch – turkey, ham or veggie. I chose the turkey one and made my way to my car.

On the way I passed by a results tent, I could have had my time printed out, but passed. I could have also purchased some race merchandise and turned in the tag on my bib for a free Michelob Ultra. *I am not sure it’s necessary to mention this again… but come on, it’s Wisconsin, how about a craft beer? LOL

Alright…I made it back to my car and did a quick change in the back seat. Pro tip – get the sweaty layer of clothing off when it’s cold outside. Once that wet layer is gone, add some warm dry layers. (you can thank me later.)

With warm dry clothes and a big fluffy coat, I was headed back to the finish line to cheer on the runners. I did stop for a peppermint mocha on the way since I passed on the beer.

I made it to the finish line to see Dan finish his 32nd marathon! Then Joanne came in to finish the half. WAHOO!! Congrats!!!

I needed to get on my way, as I was headed to a men’s basketball game in Iowa City. I did meet up with Dan and then Joanne, used one of the 230948209347 port-o-potties and was on the road.

Ok…so I made it as far as the grocery store…I wasn’t leaving without beer and cheese curds.

I made it to the basketball game, but I was late…

I enjoy running in Madison, but I am not sure if I will be back when the Hawkeyes are in town. Also even though this is not my favorite course, it’s nice to have longer distance races late in the year.

I received an email after the event that there will be 4 medals that fit together to form one big piece with a center piece, looks like I will be back!

Meet Dan

Introducing Dan … the man…who keeps returning to run in Madison

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

By this time, you know I run a lot of races in Madison, WI and I am ready to head back this weekend for my 47th half marathon. (Hopefully after a great football game at Camp Randall – GO HAWKS!)

Dan is in the pink, photobombing us – in front of the Capital

However, I don’t have much more to add to what I have already told you about running in Madtown. I didn’t really train specifically for this either, and training recaps (IMO) are boring, and you can find lots of the race day info on – so what’s a girl to write about?  Never fear….  I reached out to Dan – who also is from the Iowa City area and runs a lot of races in Madison, WI.

Who’s Dan? I know him through Corridor Running as a fellow board member. He is also a RRCA coach and leads a small group of runners in Iowa City, called Run 319. (I am still convincing them to start their runs after 5 am.)  You might have seen him around town with his dog Phil, or read about him in the newspaper, as a proud organ donor.

Here we are at a beer run, with Phil – Dan is in the yellow.

I had the chance to catch up with him before he heads north:

What brings you back to Madison?

 “Since I have a cousin who lives in Madison, I always have a FREE place to stay.
And because Madison is only 3 hours from home, I’m always looking for races in the area.
BONUS: Within the last year, my cousin moved her parents (my aunt & uncle) to Madison in order to help care for them…
This Saturday, there’s a celebration for my uncle’s 80th birthday and my aunt & uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary…
So my mother, 4 out of my 6 siblings, and numerous in-laws & cousins will also be in town.
 And I’ll get to see my other kidney as per the following.”

Can you remember how many races you have run in Madison?

“Sunday will be my 10th

1) 2014 Madison Marathon
2) 2016 Goulish Gallop 10K
3) 2016 Haunted Hustle 5K
4) 2016 Haunted Hustle Marathon (Pacer)
5) 2016 Madison Marathon
6) 2017 Run Madtown Twilight 10K
7) 2017 Run Madtown Half-Marathon
8) 2017 Haunted Hustle 5K
9) 2017 Haunted Hustle Half-Marathon (Pacer)
(And I’m already registered for next year’s ‘Conquer the Capital 45.5 Challenge!’)”
What number marathon is this for you?
“No. 32”
What are you looking most forward to at this race?
“Seeing my relatives along the course — My cousin knows the city of Madison so well that last year, I saw her 6 different times during the race!”
Do you have a race day routine?
“Not really — Eat a lot of trail mix & fig newtons starting tomorrow!”
What is your favorite post race treat?
“Chocolate Milk & Pretzels”
I don’t know about you, but now I want a Fig Newton. Join me in wishing Dan good luck this weekend. Maybe you will see him at packet pick up – which is Friday from 4-7pm or Saturday 10 am – 5pm at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center located at One John Nolen Drive.
 Also, Dan is reuniting with his kidney this weekend. I feel it’s appropriate to post about organ and tissue donation. If you are interested in becoming a donor, sign up!
So – Dan and I will be returning to Madtown, and I know my friend Joanne is running too. Will you be there? What keeps you returning to run?


Second Thoughts?

Hmm another Marathon?

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”


Ok, so I am registered for the Madison Marathon in Madision, WI on November 12th. WHY? Well, the Hawkeyes will be playing at Camp Randall the day before, so it’s just good sense to run the race the next day.

However, I am having second thoughts on running the full marathon. I am capable of this, yes. Do I want to do it, no. My heart just isn’t in running another marathon, a month after the Detroit Marathon.

I am also not a stranger to this event. I ran the full last year as part of the Conquer the Capital Challenge. I was also running a marathon a month, and I was tired in November.


So, now what? I have never not done something I said I was going to do. Yep, that’s me, I say I am going to do something and you can rest assured I will be doing it. Is this different though? Since I am not feeling the full distance, and I would be doing the smart thing by switching to the half?

First, I had to find out it this is possible, does the race allow me to switch?

Luckily there is a wonderful FAQ page – That answered this question:

  • Online changes are allowed until Oct 23, or until a race has reached its maximum capacity.
    • There are no additional fees associated with online changes before Oct 23rd, unless the race distance you are changing to costs more than your original registration fee.
  • Changes after Oct 23 must be done on-site, at Expo & Packet Pick Up, for an additional $10 fee. When making changes to your registration at the Expo & Packet Pick Up, your shirt size is not guaranteed.Please pick up your original packet, then visit the Troubleshooting booth.

I started the process to do this, while it was an easy walk through, I was having some issues.

Finally after some emails, I am now running the half marathon!! Whew, life happens and sometimes you just need to do what is best for you.

Who else is traveling to Madison for the game and wants to run a race? Use code RAVE10 which is good for $10 off Madison Marathon or Half Marathon
Codes will expire Nov 8 at 11:59PM (close of online registration)