Run Madtown 10k Review

Run Madtown 10k Review

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Run Madtown Twilight 10k 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!”

The 2017 event took place on Saturday, May 27th at 8:10 pm in Madison, WI. It was overcast and around 65 degrees, it was humid. The 10k started, 10 minutes after the 5k.

Read about my road trip to get there.

The 2 night races are part of a weekend of events which also includes a half marathon on Sunday. If you do the 10k and the half marathon you will get an additional medal, and can say “I Conquered the Capitol.” I was fortunate to do that challenge last year, and top it off with the fall marathon, for a huge medal haul. – Ok, enough of that, back to the 10k…

Gear: Sparkle Athletic stars skirt, BR tank, Adidas boy shorts, B1G hat, Spibelt, Gamin Fenix, Adidas Ultra Boost X, Road ID, Zensah USA socks, Buff

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Registration for this race was available online, but it closed May 24th. There was a chance to register at the expo. I honestly can’t remember how much this race costs, looking at my review last year, it topped around $60.

The expo was at the Monona Terrace Community Center. It was open Friday evening and Saturday until 5pm, before the race. If you were not able to make it, it was easy to make arrangements for someone else to pick it up for you. Parking was available in the attached ramp for a fee, or in downtown at a meter – with a short walk.


The expo wasn’t huge, but had everything you might need. The bib pickup was in the back, and you had to show an ID and give your bib number, which was sent in an email the week prior. There was a station set up to check if your timing chip was active. Many photo opportunities, including a banner with your name on it. There was race merchandise, a running store and area vendors. There were water stations set up in the corners to keep hydrated.


The expo closed 3 hours before race start. Since the race starts and finishes at the State Capital there are many things to do & places to go, or you could just take a nap on the lawn of the Capital.

After an afternoon at a nearby brewery, I came back to downtown and was able to find on street parking, which was now free as it was after 6pm. I had to find the starting line, it was on a street alongside the Capital, but which one? There was also some construction, so it didn’t start where it did last year.

Once I easily located the start, which I arrived too early, I saw Dan from Iowa City, so we chatted a while, and then I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Lisa, who was also running the 10k.


We all paused for the recording of the National Anthem. (It sounded like the Jordin Sparks version at the Super Bowl.) We then watched the wheelers start the 5k, and then the 5k runners follow. It was then time to get into the corral – which was just one big corral, and for the most part people self- seeded.

Going into this race, I thought I would have a decent time. I did my best to prepare for an 8:10 pm start. I would also like to note I was wearing the Adidas Ultra Boost X shoes, I am testing for Bibrave – I have run up to 7 miles in them, so thought this would be a good race test. (Foreshadowing – I’ll have a review coming, but I have to keep them tied loose, for the best fit for me.)

The course is a nice tour of Madison, it’s short, but it takes you by many things including Camp Randall and the Kohl Center. It is on all paved surfaces. This year, as I mentioned there was construction, so there were areas you needed to watch out for potholes or road drop offs.

It should also be said, Madison is not flat, and every race I have ran, always includes Observatory hill. However, once you are at the top you are rewarded with a really cool view of the lake.

There were a few spectators out on the course, but the volunteers where the ones that were energetically cheering everyone on. Speaking of the volunteers, they were at every intersection, making sure everyone went the right way.

There were 3 aid stations, and at least one had lemon-lime Gatorade (2nd – after the water.) Liquids were all served in paper cups.

Now, I previously wrote a post about how the course was lit well enough in the past, but I noticed the bike path we ran on to be a tad dark this year. It was also open to other users, including bikers, one of which almost ran over me.

Each mile was marked with a sign, and there was a timing mat at the half way point, with a clock. The timing tag was located on the back of the bib.


There was also an app called RaceJoy available for spectators to track you, My phone battery was already at 34% at the start of the race, so I put it on airplane mode while I ran. The RaceJoy app needed you to open it while you ran. This app also allowed spectators to send you cheers.

Now that I have mentioned all the bells and whistles of the course. How did I do? Well, I was having a good time tackling the hills, and pushing my pace, being familiar with Madison also helped. However, since I keep my shoes – double knotted – tied loosely, I just kept felt like they were slipping off my feet. At mile 3, my double knotted shoe came untied. Have you ever had to stop, bend over, tie your shoe, then continue racing? UGH, huge momentum crasher.

I tried to keep pushing the last half, but I felt the humidity, just couldn’t get back into it. Then there was the above mentioned bike path incident. I could hear this noise behind me, and by the time I looked back, this dude was off on the side passing me. Oh well, before soon, I was back at the finish at the Capital.


When I came across the finish line, and announcer said my name, a volunteer placed a medal around my neck, and another volunteer handed me a bottle of water. There was a backdrop set up for taking pictures. The race provides FREE pictures, which were posted online in 2 days. After a photo opp, there was Rocky Rococco’s pizza. Sorry, but the last thing I want to eat after running is a greasy slice of pizza, there were no other food options…a banana would have been great!


I looked at my watch, and I finished with a time near 1:01, which is alright, not bad.

After the long walk of the finishers chute, you could leave, or turn the corner into the post race “party” area. There was a tent set up to get your results printed, and a place to buy some race branded merchandise, then there was the beer tent, where you could grab your FREE Michelob Ultra. I think you have heard my thoughts on this… it’s the land of 23948092384 craft breweries, I passed on the Mich Ultra.


I found Lisa after the race, we chatted and took a picture or two, and just like that it was after 9:30 pm. This old lady was going to turn into a pumpkin. We departed ways and I was back on the road to Iowa.


Overall, Madison is a great place to run. While this race is shorter, it offers a great tour. The expo is easy to get to, the price is competitive and the volunteers are great. I hope in the future to see a different post race food & beer option – which, really, is just me being picky.

Did you run this race? Tell everyone what you thought with a review at bibrave.com

Watch out Madison, I am making a return to the Madison Mini!

Racin & Road Trippin

How to plan your next race road trip

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Run Madtown Twilight 10k 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!”

If you caught my post about preparing for a night race, you know I was headed to Madison, WI for a 10k that started at 8pm. Also if you are familiar with my blog, you know I drive to all the races. While this is a shorter road trip, I am going to highlight the essentials that made my trip to Madison great!

I have to state the obvious – make sure your car is ready for the task. Always check the tires, and make sure you’re current with your oil status an fluids, then fill it full of gas and get ready for adventure.

Where are you going? The first thing in planning your road trip is to locate the exact address and the time you need to be there. This way you can count backwards and plan from there. We needed to be to the race expo at the Monona Terrace before 5pm, and then to the race start at 8pm. This left all day Saturday for planning shenanigans, with a 3 hour drive both ways.


Grab your friends. While solo road trips can be just as fun… bringing along a friend can be even more fun! I picked up my road trip buddy, around 8 am, Saturday morning. We were up for anything. This also allows for you to switch drivers, for when you are tired or need to tweet your happenings. *Spoiler alert, driving home after an 8pm race, it was nice to have 2 drivers.

Snacks. You never know when runger will strike, it’s best to be prepared. The snacks at a convenience store are over priced and are few and far between, and does anyone really want to eat something from a rest stop vending machine? Bringing along what you like is also healthier and wont jeopardize your race. We had packed some waters, granola bars and bananas. Ok – fine we stopped and I purchased some gum.

Music / podcasts. Sitting in silence can be refreshing, but when the open road is calling, you need something to keep your mind off the boredom of the pavement. Some suggestions: bring along your favorite mixed tape, a CD, create an new playlist on your device, XM radio, download a podcast, grab an audiobook. While we were occupied with chatting most of the time, we did rock out to some tunes on the XM radio as well as catch up on the Forenic Files. XM plays old episodes of the show on Headline News, nothing more creepier than driving through the night listening to murder mysteries.

Places to stop. It is important to know where you need to end up, but it’s also important to know what is on your route. Will there be a museum? A store? A Brewery? A tattoo parlor? Since we had planned ahead and knew when we needed to be where, we had stopped at the Madison Farmers Market and made a trip to New Glarus Brewery. There are sooo many things to see and do, why not put them on your to do list?


Be spontaneous. Sometimes the most fun is when you haven’t planned it. Allow yourself to try something new, or take the road less traveled… a little cliche? I don’t care, it’s so true…life is very short, enjoy it! We made sure to add some spontaneity to our trip, we saw a sign on the road for some historical site – Pendarvis, so we just pulled off the exit and followed the signs through town. It really wasn’t anything, I mean I wouldn’t even stop to buy a post card…but it was fun and led us to make a stop at Crazy Franks consignment store, which led us to a bag of 25 cent popcorn.


We also enjoyed another spontaneous adventure that afternoon. Our trip to the New Glarus Brewery led us to Belleville, WI. At the brewery they gave us coupons for a free draught at a local establishment. We randomly picked a place, and “bellied up to the bar.” As we were sitting there, we met a guy who travels to Iowa City a lot.  


I’ll get to the actual details of the race in my next post, but maybe this will give you some more insight as to why I like to travel, by car to all the races. Don’t let a few miles discourage you to travel to your next race. With a little prep and some spontaneity you can have an excellent road trip.

So what’s next for me? Well I will be trekking back to Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN.

Running at night

How do you train for a night race?

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the RunMadtown 10k 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!”

Ok, I have run A LOT of races, however I still don’t have the evening or night race thing down. I am going to be running the Run Madtown Twilight 10k in Madison, WI on May 27th. It starts at 8:10pm. As someone who usually runs in the morning or goes on a #runch, I am still trying to prepare the best I can, I have come up with a list of things, I have done or should be doing.

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I ran the even in 2016 with Lisa, and will be meeting with her again in 2017

1.) Familiarize yourself with the course. Will there be hills, pacers, aid, trail? At this time of night it’s just starting to get dark, and the lighting can throw things off. Knowing at what mile I can grab a water, or at what point I might have to climb a hill will help keep me on pace to finish in a decent time. This way I can deal with my eyes adjusting to the light and looking out for unknown course hazards.

2.) Run at night. This may be the most obvious thing to do. Run at the same time the race starts, then your body is ready. However, this is just so hard for me. I want to get my run done, I am not a fan of waiting all day. Also by 8:10 pm I am tired and don’t want to do much. Hey – I am an old lady.

3.) Eating. Perhaps, this is tougher than the night running. In my everyday life, I do not eat an early supper. Some days, I might not eat until 9 pm. The solution is to eat an early light dinner so the food has time to digest. I wouldn’t eat a plate of nachos, covered in jalepenos, well unless that is your thing. Then when you are done, enjoy the post race food line up as a snack. This year there will be Rocky Rococo’s Pizza at the finish.

4.) Find something to do during the day. I get anxious, and waiting around all day to race drives me nuts, I need things to do to keep my mind occupied. This isn’t a long distance race for me, but if it were I would recommend finding something to do to stay off your feet, or try to relax – and you can never go wrong with taking a nap!

I will also need to get my bib, so I will have time to check out the expo at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center Lakeside Commons. There is no race day packet pick up, so I will have until 5 pm on race day to check out all the goods.

There are also a ton of things to do in Madison. I really like the farmers market on Capital Square – which is where the race starts/finishes. You can also check out many breweries, the lakes, tour the Capitol or the UW Campus. Many things to keep an anxious mind busy until 8:10 pm.

5.) Prepare your gear. By the time this race is over, you will be finishing in the dark. The course is well lit, but you want to make sure your outfit is ready for the FREE race pictures. I like to wear all the colors, but you can wear what is comfortable for you to run in, remember pictures last forever on the internet.

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I just need to work on the evening and night running thing, and I think I will be ready. As a Hawkeye fan it may be tough to travel to Madison for a sporting event, but for a race, I am ready to get back to Madison.

 

Medals in Madtown

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Madison Marathon Twilight 10k & Half series, conquer the Capitol 19.3 race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

If you have been following along at home, I like to do all the races…so when the opportunity came to run 3 races in 2 days to earn 4 medals, you bet I jumped on board.

So, we left off with the Soldier Field 10 miler…Josh and I quickly grabbed a bite to eat and headed to Madison…well we got stuck in Chicago traffic…but eventually arrived in Madison, we were both going to run the 10k Saturday night and the half marathon Sunday morning.

For my official race review check out Bibrave.com

Registration: Available online and at the expo, prices started at $105 and increased to $165 on the day of the expo. Included was a bib with your name, finisher’s medal, timing, post race beer, gender specific short sleeve tech shirt, and free race pictures. 

Since we were conquering the Capitol, we would receive an additional medal and a quarter zip tech pullover.

Expo/Packet pick up: The expo was held at a convention center. Parking was on-site in a ramp for a fee. There were also other events going on here. With the proper paper work someone else could grab your packet. No packet mailing. There was a place to check that the timing chip worked on the bib.

The expo was a decent size. There were area running stores, and local races. There was race specific merchandise, information and plenty of photo opps. There were even water coolers provided.

*The parking was actually quite tricky for someone coming out of town, easy to miss the entrance to the ramp. No close on street parking. We actually drove around forever trying to figure out how to get into the ramp, as we missed the entrance.

Josh and I met up with fellow Bibrave Pros – Cass and Lisa. We arrivednear the end of the expo and scored a deal on race merchandise. It was buy one, get one free, and with each item purchased we got another tech shirt.

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Once we grabbed our things, we found our Airbnb. Madison has many hotels, but only a few actually close to downtown, and you pay $$$ for them. The Airbnb is always a good option, but this one was strange…it was the top floor of this house that looked like a college rental property, definitely no curb appeal. However it was a mile walking distance to the race.

So then the struggle began……we ran 10 miles in the morning, and we needed to eat something for dinner, but fuel for a half marathon, while running a 10k in the meantime. Where we were staying was close to no food options, and the race start/finish had the roads around the Capitol all closed. It also doesn’t help when it’s hot and I need to be drinking all the liquids and I am not hungry.  After some “discussing” we found a Jummy John’s…that wouldn’t deliver…but we had a sandwich and called it good.

Pre race: The race started and ended at the Capitol at 8:10 pm after the 5k and wheel chair start. . The National Anthem was sung before the events. Lot of announcements. There were no corrals,and very crowded.

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Pro Lisa was also doing the challenge.

Gear- BR shirt, Sparkle Athletic neon green skirt, Disney race belt, UV Half Buff, Aftershock Trekz Titanium, Brooks Ghost 8, Garmin Fenix 3, RoadID, Zensah calf sleeves

Race/Course: The course was all on paved streets in Madison, highlighting some of the “sights”
-elevation – hilly, while it’s not mountains, it seemed we never went down hill
– aid stations – 1 water stop, 1 water & Gatorade stop. Always in paper cups, but they were the same white paper cup, very energetic volunteers
-scenery – passed by Camp Randall, the Kohl Center, Observatory hill area overlooking the lake at sunset
-photographers on course – FREE pictures
-mile markers
– no major potholes, but just needed to keep a heads up
-all intersections with marshalls or police
-crowded at times – start area was tight and one area on a bike path
-the race starts at dusk time, so some areas get kinda dark
-a few spectators on the course, but mostly family & friends

My Race: UGH! After running 10 in the morning, and with a half yet to go, I didn’t push it. I was still really humid, as a storm had just passed through, and it was 70 degrees. There were also all the hills! The course was nice, but the bike path seemed a little dark. I finished in 1:06 ish…I’ll take it.

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Finish/Post race: The finish line was under the starting arch. Photographers there to snap a memory. A volunteer handed you a bottle of water. Then you were given a medal. There was an area for finisher’s photos with the backdrop. Then there was the food line, with bananas, oranges and a slice of pizza.

Once out of this area, you could proceed to the beer area to redeem your free Michelob Ultra.

I like pizza, but it’s not something I want to eat immediately after a hot run. Also the line was really long, and until you were on top of the food, I had no idea what line I was in.  I also am not a huge fan of Michelob Ultra, not sure why races keep offering this as a perk.

With this race under our belts, we decided since it was late, we would just Uber back and call it a day. Well not before the obligatory #flatrunner picture.

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On Sunday, we woke early enough to enjoy our coffee and some bagels with peanut butter we had brought along for the journey.  The race started at 7 am, and it was sunny with a high of 80 predicted.

We walked to the start. Always fun to get the stares when I am dressed in compression socks and skirt. What is even more fun is wearing a tigerhawk in Madison.

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Once we got to the start, everything was similar to the 10k, but the corrals had pacers in them, and participants were encouraged to line up next to them. We caught up with Cass and Lisa.

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Gear- BR tank, Nathan race belt, Aftershockz Trek Titanium head phones, Nike Iowa hat, BR Buff, xx2i Hawaii1 sunglasses, ProCompression Jailbreak socks, Brooks Ghost 8, Garmin Fenix 3, Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest pack 1, Sparkle Athletic Skirt.

The race course was similar to the 10k, we ran by Camp Randall again and the Kohl center, but did a lot of miles around Lake Wingra in the arboretum. (this was nice and shady) These areas I am all familiar with as they are part of the Madison Mini course. The hills felt twice as brutal.

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There were plenty of aid stations, and some with Gu and one with bananas. However something to note, the Gatorade and water were in the same white paper cups, and there was no telling what you were going to get, unless you called out what you wanted. One liquid wasn’t always in the front or the back, it was often mixed.

The race also used the tracking app, Racejoy. I felt there were more spectators out and about, and even runners or bikers out cheered us on.

The finish was just the same as the previous day. If you did the challenge, the additional medal was under a tent. There was an area for finisher’s photos with the backdrop. The post race food was already bagged up from Panera – a sandwich (meat or veggie) chips and a cookie and chocolate milk.

Once out of this area, you could proceed to the beer area to redeem your free Michelob Ultra, where there was a live band playing. There was a results tent and race merchandise for sale. You could also just camp out on the Capitol grounds.

I found Josh, he was not doing so well. So we crashed on the Capitol lawn for a bit and relaxed. It was hot and humid! We weren’t hungry but needed to eat. After eating the cookie first, then our bagged lunch, we started to feel better.

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Once we felt human again, we went to check out the results. UGH my worst half time ever 2:27…but it’s been a grueling few weeks of weird running with no training, but all the races. We also gave our beer tickets away. FOR REAL—the race is in Wisconsin..you know…known for beer, brats and cheese.  Ok, free beer is good.

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We decided to walk the mile back to the Airbnb. We needed to recover, and this was a good way to start.

We always have a good time in Madison, and even recently on game days. This is a good race, and challenging. I will be back in November to get 2 more medals for this series….so hopefully there is real beer and the aid stations are sorted out. Lovin the free pictures.

We made sure to stop and grab some Wisconsin brews and cheese curds on the way out of town, but we had to get back home to let the dogs out.

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