The Madison Marathon takes place in Madison, Wisconsin which is a short drive straight west of Milwaukee. They offer both a spring and fall race showcasing the beauty of the state capital, downtown area, UW campus and a few lakes in the area. Again, Carrie and I decided to go have a fun weekend out of town racing!
I was still working with my coach at this time and had made a few more strides when it came to my speed. I was excited to see what I could do now that I'd had a few half marathons under my belt and understood the distance a little better. But... this course was HILLY.
The race starts on a short but steep downhill on one side of the state capital before a short but steep uphill... the first of many! It then turns and runs along Lake Mendota and man are the fall colors beautiful this time of year in Wisconsin! There's a nice flat 2 mile stretch before the next few rolling hills. Traveling through the country club and park provided plenty of elevation before turning back around and finding the lakeshore again. The worst of the hills were between miles 8 and 9. From there we had a nice flat out and back between Lake Monona and Monona Bay. The way out was apparently WITH the wind because mile 11.5-12.5 back towards the capital was brutal! After fighting the wind, we had one last uphill... to the finish line. If you want a challenging but beautiful course, definitely come to Madison in the fall.
I lined up way towards the front of the group since there were no signs giving paces. I didn't want to be stuck in the back like I was at Women Rock. I took out, noticing I'm running with all guys, way too fast! I made myself slow down about half a mile in because I knew there was no way I'd be able to keep that pace.
My coach and I had discussed starting around the average pace of my last race, so about 8:30s and working my way down from there. I knew I had started in front of the 1:50 pace group and my goal was to stay in front of them!
My pace kept dropping and I kept feeling good! I'd try to relax on the uphills and pick it up on the downhills without over striding. The flats I'd just focus on running. Even though it was very cold at the start (mid 30's), by the end of the race the cooler weather was perfect.
I was able to stay in front of the 1:50 pacing group and finished with another PR! I knew it wouldn't be possible to continue this trend forever, but it's so rewarding to see hard work pay off!
I finished the race in a time of 1:48:13 (8:16 avg). It was an amazing day over all! I've dropped 7 minutes and 22 seconds off my time from my first half marathon in just 7 months! I've now ran in 3 states with 4 total half marathons completed... but I still haven't decided to shoot for a half marathon in every state.
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