Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Madison Marathon Report 5/21/12

I mean half marathon. Although I was disappointed the full was canceled it did make for a much more relaxing trip for the husband and I. We hadn't had a fun weekend away in awhile. Only running 13.1 miles when you have been training for 26.2 makes for fresh legs. We we able to do many fun things Sunday afternoon after the race. I also wan't too sore on Monday.  Now about that race.

The Expo was pretty easy to find, but parking to go in was another story. Many/all of the streets are one ways in madison. Some aren't until you get to a certain point and then they are. It was challenging at times to navigate. The city is very pedistrian/biker friendly which also led to driving difficulties. Oh and there was the Internation Brat Festival being held which increased foot traffic. The Expo was typical.

Sunday I woke at 5:30, ate my usual long run breakfast and walked to the start line. The walk from the hotel to the Capital building took about 10-15 minutes.
We got there pretty early and there was a lot of waiting around to do. Although I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, I felt comfortable standing around waiting. That was the first sign that it was going to be a hot run. It was getting close to 70 degrees and it wasn't even 7am yet.
Now the Madison Marathon organizers did a great job at communicating to all the runners the status of the full marathon and why it was canceled. They spoke to local hotels so that runners wouldn't be penalized for canceling their rooms. They posted on the webpage, they emailed, blogged and facebooked. If you didn't know what was going on, it was your own fault.

Now for some suggestions if they have to cancel the full marathon in the future. First, get permits for an earlier start. I believe this is the 3rd time heat has been an issue since 2006. This is something I was not aware of until they said they were canceling the full marathon due to past experiences with people running in the heat. 

Second, the pacers need to be in the crowd much sooner so that people know where to go. Five minutes before the start I went over to the start area. There were no signs for pace groups. Seeing that I am not all that fast, but still didn't want to get stuck behind the people that walk within the first mile, I tried to get in the middle. Then 30 seconds before the gun went off, here come pacers with their big signs and I see the two hour pace group sign about 100 people in front of me. Not much I could do about it then.

Third, they made two races one and made no changes to the format. The full marathon was a sell out and the half was close to being sold out days before the race. Even if several full marathoners chose not to run, there were still A LOT of people. You can't just cram two races into one. There needed to be a staggered start to help with crowding. I was still weaving around people at mile 6.
It also didn't help that the start was an immediate 'S' turn and the runners were smashed into one car lane. There were nearly 4,400 runners.

The course went through many neighborhoods. The crowd support was good and the water stop volunteers were excellent. What was suppose to be the most scenic part of the race ended up being the most difficult part of the race. It was a 4 mile (total) out and back along a lake. Sounds nice, right? Well, it would have been except it was in the last 5 miles of the race, there was no shade and you are just feet away from all the people heading back. It was tempting to just jump the median and start running back the other way.
Pretty, too bad it is mid 80s at this point.
Due to heat and humidity was I was drenched in sweat by mile 2. It was at this point that I knew a half marathon PR was not happening. It was just after mile 6 that I was thankful I was not running a full marathon. Seeing that the majority of my training was done during the winter and spring, I just wasn't prepared for this amount of heat.

This ended up being my second worst half marathon time.
Time: 1:58:55
Pace: 9:05
Overall: 1632/4394
Age Div: 133/545
All Females: 572/2398

Madison was a fun town and I would like to visit it again. Running this race will not be a part of the visit next time.
Walking back to the hotel. Happy to be done.

As I mentioned in my last post, my next race is the The Flatlanders 6 Hour Race September 2nd. I was going to use my marathon finishing time to make a goal for this race. Since the marathon fell through, it is going to be a shot in the dark. I had hoped to finish the full around 4 hours. So in 6 hours maybe I could run 35 miles? Sounds like a nice round number to aim for.

1 comment:

  1. I like your goal for the 6 hour race!

    I think you did a great job running a half in that heat. It takes a lot out of you to run in those conditions.