Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crazylegs Race Recap

A funny story first--they posted the times for Crazylegs yesterday and my boyfriend, J (I'm tired of calling him "boyfriend") and I got the exact same time! We weren't running together at all--in fact, he started probably about 15 minutes or so after me.

Here's the race shirt from this year:

Better than it's been in previous years.

The race ended up being a lot of fun. I didn't get to run with my friend from work--it was a little cold and I wanted to get going as soon as possible. My parents, sister and her boyfriend came up for the run as well...it's kinda become a family thing. My parents were walking it and my sister and boyfriend were running it in the same wave as me. I wore my new booty shorts with my new long-sleeve running shirt and a t-shirt. It was pretty exciting to have some new clothes to wear!

The race started at the Capitol square, just a few blocks from my apartment. You'd think that being so close we'd have definitely been on time, but by the time we got there, they were already sending out wave G. The thing, though, is that wave G was barely the beginning--the waves went all the way to KK! They set a new record for participation--almost 20,000 people! It never rained, but it was a little cold and windy. I wanted to jump in to an earlier wave, but I didn't want to disqualified and lose my opportunity for some free beer at the end. We patiently waited until wave Y came around and then went through the gates to join our group. As we headed towards the starting line, they had some of the Badger football players giving high-fives to the people as they walked through. They were huge! These guys were all at least 6'5" and I'm pretty sure at least one of the guy's hands was bigger than my head. It definitely helped pump me up going into the starting line.
We lined up at the starting line and waited for our turn to start. They had to space out the waves since they hadn't completely shut down the first road we ran across. Finally, though, we were off! My sister ran cross country in high school and, despite her claims of not running a lot recently, she's got a pretty good pace. She's always told me that I can probably run faster than I think, so I was anxious to see if I could keep up with her. I also got a few tips about my running--loosening up my form and "letting go" on the downhills. The first mile included running down Frat (and sorority) Row and the guys definitely came out in full force. At one of the frats, the guys were standing outside in their boxers and one guy wore a Speedo! It was great to see everyone in Madison out to cheer on the runners! We eventually came to the first mile marker way before I expected. I looked at my watch and it said 8:30! That's definitely the fastest mile I've ran since my one year of track.
The end of that mile, though, meant the crazy awful monster that is Observatory. I tried to keep up with my sister, but I'm not quite used to those speeds (8:30!). The first part of the hill wasn't too bad, just a long gradual incline. The next half, though, is where legs are killed. It's so much steeper and it curves around so that you can't see the end. I walked up that part of the hill--if I had run, I'm not sure my legs would've lasted the whole race. Fortunately, there was a nice downhill after that hill--which immediately led to another big (but short) uphill and then another big downhill. This is the hardest part of the race and it's nice to just get it done at the beginning.
So, then came the out and back near the UW Hospital. Even though I've done the race before, I once again got sucked in to thinking that the turn around was earlier than it really was. As I was coming back in from the out and back I looked at my watch and started to wonder where the hell mile 3 was. I had already been running for over 30 minutes and started to wonder if I had slowed waaay down. I tried thinking back through the out and back to figure out if I had just missed it, but I couldn't remember seeing one at all. I focused on finding people ahead of me that looked like they were running about my pace or slower and worked on passing them. I didn't push it too hard, but I needed a goal to make sure that I kept moving. I also kinda wanted to walk, but I kept telling myself that I'd walk after I passed "blue headband girl", "old man", or "talkative sorority girls". They had one water station during the run, so I took advantage of it and tried out my water station skills. It went pretty well--I almost missed grabbing the cup, but once I got it, I pinched it in half to make it easier to get the water in and took a sip. And then immediately threw it. I didn't want to push my luck and get water all over.
Eventually I was heading towards the stadium and I saw a mile marker coming up. I couldn't tell whether it was 3 or 4, and when I looked at my watch it said 38 minutes. My mind quickly went to work trying to calculate what pace I must be running if it was only mile 3. Eventually the mile marker came into view and, thank God, it was mile 4. Just 0.97 miles to go. As I got closer to the stadium, there was a guy out on the street who was playing the Rocky theme song. Apparently, he's been doing this since 1989 and comes every year to cheer on the runners. Finally I got to Breese Terrace, the street that runs along Camp Randall. It has a slight incline at first, but as soon as I got to the top of it, I kicked it into high gear and started going full out. I passed a bunch of people and flew down the chute into the Camp Randall. The finish line is right at the 50-yard line. Almost right when I passed the line, I ran into my sister and we started looking for the rest of our family.
As for my goals--I'd say I did pretty well. Except for the first mile, I really didn't push that hard. In fact, even the first mile wasn't horrible. I felt really proud of how I finished, even though I walked, because I came in at 48:03! It was under 10:00/mile which has been my "goal" pace during my practice runs. I didn't run the whole thing (monster Observatory took care of that), but I made sure to keep running even when I wanted to walk. I feel really confident about the half-marathon now--I was able to pace myself pretty well so that I finished tired, but strong.

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