Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jenny's Marathon recap

No, I didn't run the Marathon this last weekend. But I did attend to support Chad, so I have a version to talk about.

Chad was pretty nervous before the marathon. It was supposed to be hot out the day of the Madison Marathon, and since his taper began there were no long distances run in the heat. He wasn't going to smile for any pictures on the square in downtown Madison before the run, so I've got nothing to show you. It was a beautiful morning, still cool out and the sun was shining. I was riding my bike to various race points to catch glimpses of Chad and help support him along the route. I could not easily cross the course by the square since there were many barricades, so I headed away from the area before the start gun went off. I heard the announcer calling out runner pace groups as they left the square and headed onto West Washington, so I stopped to take a picture there.
My first stop was going to be between 7 and 8 miles in, but on my ride over to that area I thought I may be able to catch the group just before 2 miles so I diverted there. I just missed the group Chad was running in, but I still had plenty of time to make it over to Camp Randall Stadium where I was going to hang out and wait. The half marathon group started 20 minutes after the marathon group and came running on the same portion of route where I was waiting. I think they were only a couple miles in to their run. I was playing with my camera while waiting for Chad and took some "art shots", I like to call them.
Chad and the boys weren't impressed with them but I think they are cool. I like the blurred effect of the legs, which was better on the first sets of runners since the legs in the later pictures were not going as fast.

After spotting Chad, still smiling, at this spot I booked it over to mile 10 coming down from Observatory Drive on campus. I tried out a Gu from the sampler pack, the Jet Blackberry. The first taste was a little strange, very fake fruit tasting. I guess I was just used to the chocolate and coffee flavored gels, or maybe I was expecting something that tasted more like jam. I don't know, but it did get better after that initial taste and I finished it off. I had also been drinking that morning to stay hydrated and it was at this point that I realized I didn't have a lock with me for my sweet ride. I really could have used a restroom, but didn't want to chance having the bike taken from me, so a poor decision was made and I stopped drinking water for the day. I was pretty dehydrated by the time I returned my bike to the car before the end of the marathon.

I headed on to mile 12 by Tenney Park where I was going to station myself until mile 20 looped back to the same area. I almost missed Chad here, as I had just put the bike against a tree and looked for a pace group and there he was running past. I yelled so he knew I was there, but didn't get any pictures. I did have to walk my bike some on the sidewalk to get to the park since the streets were closed and there were people on the sidewalk, so that must have slowed me down enough to be late. I also had to avoid hoses stretched across the sidewalks providing water mists for the runners as well as the Free Beer and Bloody Mary stand providing nourishment(?) for passing runners.

I walked around the corner and found a spot in the shade to wait until Chad's return. Luckily there were no bugs that I noticed in the park, so I had an enjoyable wait. The runners crossed this bridge out and back on the loop. This was a tough part of the course for Chad and many of the runners. They didn't look so happy coming off this loop. It was by now pretty hot out and I think that loop was in the sun. After seeing Chad here and swapping his water belt for the handheld bottle, I took off to the parking ramp to put my bike away.

I met up with the in-laws and the boys up on the square for the finish. The 4:10 pace group was just crossing the finish line when I got there, but Chad had fallen off this pace and I didn't figure I missed him. I couldn't fathom that he had sped back up in the heat. I then learned that the race had been red flagged and the announcer said the clock was stopped, all further results were unofficial and the runners were being encouraged to stop racing and return to the finish. I didn't know what Chad's plans were or how far back he was so we just waited. He had told me the day before that there was no way he was not finishing no matter if they closed the course. By the way, closing the course is not a common occurrence. They did it once before in 2006, but it is not usually this hot in Madison at the end of May. I heard from Chad at mile 25 and he was walking. He finished strong and was smiling at the end.