However, my title was related to what we did in Madison (while I was there for the marathon) with Cindy's brother David. We took him shopping for a new kitten. His cat of many years, Goofy, had passed on beyond her 9 lives a few months earlier. We know how pets enhance our lives and David missed her companionship on a daily basis. The day before the marathon we went on our search. We first went to the Dane County Humane Society. David was looking for a kitten that he could bond with instead of an adult. The society only had one kitten and there was a waiting list for it so we left and went to a place Cindy's sister, Deb (who we also visited with early in the morning) told us about called AniMart and that they might have kittens.
We ventured to AniMart and sure enough, kittens abounded. It didn't take long for David to find Rose, now Rosie, a pretty and friendly light tan kitten. After a little time alone with her, David decided she was the one and Rosie eventually came home with David later in the afternoon. Mission complete.
|Trying Rosie out at AniMart|
|At home with David and Rosie|
Aside from the visit with Deb and David, always combining trips with running, I was all set to run the Madison Marathon. I ran the Madison mini-marathon (half) a few years ago in the summer and really enjoyed it.
Cindy and I stayed at Hyatt Place, just down the road from the Capitol and where the start/finish line was for the race. It's in a nice quiet neighborhood but close enough to state street, race day activities, and also gave Cindy a chance to see me just past mile 10, a few blocks away on Gorman Street.
We went to the expo at Monona Terrace on Friday when they opened. It was a small expo but well organized for packet-pickup. My number was 1812 and all I could think of was the war of 1812, particularly after we had just ended the ugliest campaign in American history. The technical shirts were a vibrant blue with big fluorescent pink letters, Madison Marathon, across the chest.
After picking up the race packet, we ventured back around the Capitol and down State street, in essence, the retail/restaurant downtown of Madison and a street that is bookended by the University of Wisconsin and the State Capitol. It's a nice walk and a happening' place at the right time. The Badgers were playing at home Saturday and it was homecoming so with the marathon, it was a busy weekend. Enjoying craft beers the way I do, we spotted a place called HopCat. We sat at the bar and was presented with a menu of craft beers from all over the country. The bartender was friendly and had family in Durham. With the plethora of choices, he gave us some samples and then we were on our way with a few pints and snifters of some very tasty brews. Cindy even enjoyed a nice coffee flavored dark beer while we did some pretzel and bruschetta appetizers.
On Saturday morning before the kitten adventures, I decided to do a 2 mile run over by Lake Monona. Although the weather can be adventuresome in Madison this time of year, we were having perfect weather with 40's in the morning and 50's to almost 60 during the day. Saturday morning, the day before the marathon, was bright and crisp. The lake was beautiful and I felt good on this short little jaunt on the lakeside trail.
Since the election, I had struggled all week with sleeping. I couldn't believe what America had done (actually the popular vote has gone to Clinton by over 2 million votes.) After 94 marathons, I knew that decent sleep and low stress the week before was beneficial for running a good marathon. My mod and demeanor was poor all related to the election. It was just a sad and angry time in America. Would running 26.2 miles help my world, my mood, my joy?
Cindy has always been there for me during marathons, early to the start, walking to see me at the interim miles and sometimes the long wait at the finish. Honestly, I think it is what keeps me going sometimes, going in the marathon and wanting to do the next one. We really enjoy getting away for a marathon weekend and doing fun things outside of the race itself. RaceJoy is an app used by some marathons that allows tracking of the runner. Cindy has it on her phone and I have it on mine which I carry in a pack. She knows exactly where I am on the course and my splits for each mile, even at the end when she sees my mile splits getting longer.
The weather was spectacular being in the low 40's at the start and low 50's at the finish, the best temperatures for me to run in. I knew the course would be a rolling course in spots, fair when you roll up and roll down with a few flat areas thrown in. I would much rather run rolling hilly courses than flat ones. As a matter of fact, my best two marathons of 2016, Knoxville and Madison, were rolling and somewhat hilly. Hills in the early miles of a marathon let you ease into the marathon a bit but if not careful, they can zap your strength if the later miles also have hills. Madison is fair throughout. I ran with the 4:20 group for much of the marathon. I hadn't run under 4:20 for a couple of years but with the perfect weather and a course that sets up well for me, I thought I would give it a shot for as long as I could. Interestingly, I was running with a pack of 20 and 30-year olds and almost felt like their Dad running with them. I didn't speak to anyone as I generally don't, but probably should. Just after mile 10, I moved ahead of the pack a bit because I knew Cindy would be waiting at mile 10.75 and I would stop for a hug and kiss. There were not many people out and about during the early miles as we ran near campus and Camp Randall (the Badger football stadium). Of course, after the big win by the Badgers and subsequent partying, I suspect many were still in bed. After I saw Cindy, I rejoined the pack and ran with them up through Maple Bluff.
We were told by the pacers to mentally get prepared for Maple Bluff. Yes, from miles 16-22 from Warner Park through Maple Bluff and being the later miles, the course became quite challenging with unrelenting hills. I eventually fell back on my pace at around mile 21. Although I was still on 4;20 pace, I started to slowly see that fade away. Relentless forward progress, strong and relaxed, my two mantras to get to the finish kept me moving the best I could. The last 3/4 mile uphill to the finish didn't help much. I turned the last corner and saw the finish and started looking for Cindy, my finish kiss and the last few step across the line - 4:31:47. It was my best marathon of the year. Yep, I know not so great for most decent runners, but it was my 95th completed marathon in the last 15 years. I had a good appetite afterward and downed a couple Panera sandwiches, official race food sponsor.
Overall, it was a great weekend and I enjoy going to Madison. It has energy, a good running community, fun places to eat and drink. It is just unfortunate that it is in Wisconsin because I would not dig the winters there. We'll be back either for the mini-marathon or to run the Madison marathon again. Oh, and the race pictures are free, the way they should be!
|At the start|
|Mile 10.7 with 4:20 pace group|
|4:20 paces finishing without a group|
|Still smiling after 26.2|
|Wisconsin State Capitol|
|My biggest fan!|
|Rosie diggin' her cat tree|
|Capitol at night|
|Official free photos|
|Closer to the finish!|
|95th marathon complete!|