Yesterday, Mike and I and 15,000 of our closest friends ran the Crazylegs Classic 8K in Madison. This was an exciting milestone for me - it was the race that piqued my interest in running and the race I have looked forward to all the past year. I saw coverage on the news last year that was when I decided that running was for me and I wanted to race.
We picked up our race packet at the Kohl center on Friday afternoon so we wouldn't have to battle a race day crowd. Nothing was real special about the packet, just a tshirt and a bunch of flyers in a bag - no good swag.
Saturday, we were up bright and early and on our way to Madison. I had printed out the race info and maps, so we knew we had to get there early in order to get parking and get a ride to the square on the shuttle, so we left the house at about 7am. We arrived in plenty of time and had a couple hours to walk around the square where the Farmers market was going on too. There were lots of yummy treats and gorgeous plants. We ate a gimongous homemade cookie and strawberry rhubarb turnover from one of the Amish bakery stands (can you say heavenly???? YUM!) as we ll as sampling some cheese and cheese curds and beef sticks. Not my usual fare, but on race days, I let myself have a little treat. Someone on the square had brought a tiny monkey that we watched for a while. At one point the monkey climbed off his shoulder and started drinking from a lady's straw in her smoothie - it was funny - what are you going to do when a monkey grabs your drink but let him drink it?
The race was a wave start, beginning at 10am. We were in Wave Z (last in the alphabet, first in your hearts :-) ) There were waves through HH I think, but they were probably walk ons........ Anyhow, there were people everywhere in the streets around the square, and we were finally able to start moving our wave forward about 10:30. It was very well organized and there were lots of Badger athletes and coaches in street high fiving everyone that went by and wishing them luck. We saw Brent Bielema, Barry Alvarez, and lots of other big names. I am sure we saw athletes I should be naming but unfortunately I am not sharp enough to recognize them to report, sorry.
Mile 1 was a breeze, and as we turned the corner to start mile 2, we saw that it was the stretch of road on Observatory Drive. That meant that most of the was up, up, uphill along the same route we ran for the Homecoming Run that nearly killed us! Truly it was not that bad since we had been discussing the probability that there we were going to encounter the hill from hell again and we were ready for it. Once we reached the University Observatory at the top, we knew it was downhill after that for a while.
We hit mile marker three as we started along a road alongside Lake Mendota that went out and back and around a parking lot. We were surprised to run past a man getting CPR on the side of the road (then later getting shocked by paramedics on our way back past) that had obviously been a racer not long beforehand. I don't know why that was so shocking to me. As a nurse, I have been a part of and witnessed too many codes to count and I know they are never pretty to watch. They are always very rough looking and brutal - there is nothing quite as icky as feeling and hearing a rib cage crush under your compressions. It was just so unexpected I guess to see it on the roadside and keep going (by the way, I would have offered my help, but there was more than enough there with the cops, paramedics, and other bystanders). I spent the next mile thinking about how important it is to wear ID on a run so that someone can reach family quickly. I think EVERY ONE needs to find a way to identify themselves for an unexpected emergency - pleas, please, please get yourself a RoadID or some other product to wear and USE IT! I wear one every time and I always will after seeing this roadside rescue.
We felt great the last 2 miles and I really tried to pour on the gas where I could. We high fived a guy on stilts dressed as Uncle Sam and gave the Rocky gesture to some frat guys as they blasted the Rocky theme at the crowd from their lawn.
We turned the corner and saw the stadium and I knew I had a lot left to give. We took off up the hill as fast as I could, which was about 9:30 pace up the hill towards Camp Randall stadium. We turned into the stadium and ran out onto the field to the stands filled with people and lots of music and activity. We watched ourselves cross the finish on the scoreboards big screen. It was awesome. I finished with an official time of 54.32 and my Garmin gives me a total distance of 5.19. We were 7677/9033 (Mike was 7671 but would hav finished faster if he had run his own race instead fo mine).
We saw a lot of cool stuff on the run. There was a guy who ran it backwards. There was also a group of guys who ran it in full 3 piece suits and ties and tennies. There are lots of folks on front lawns shotgunning beer in our honor. As one of the later waves taking off, it was really cool to look ahead, especially from the top of Observatory Drive onto the runners ahead who were wall to wall up the street as far as we could see. I will definitely make this an annual event.
The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm. We said we wished we had thought about buying a couple throwaway sweatshirts from Goodwill to wear in the morning. Mike just braved the cold until we got going and warmed up and I wore a Nike zippered sweatshirt that I ran with around my waist. Next time we are going to follow Pat's advice and bring a throwaway instead, that would have been easier.
See Mike's blog for pictures of the TShirt. He also took a picture of his autograph from Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch from his childhood, which is kind of cool.