We had a lot of gear for a two day trip. Lucy had her crate she sleeps in while at home or at a hotel. She also had her sleeping pads, treats and toys. I had three bags. One bag for racing gear which includes my racing shoes, GPS watch and shorts and top. Another bag for my normal clothes and toiletry items. And a third bag for my computer and camera equipment. New this year was a cooler which I had stocked with bagels, soda, Gatorade and Red Bull (for the girl).
We took the Cobalt because the A/C in the girl's Subaru isn't working. Lucy was fine the in back seat. She slept almost the entire drive time. Here she is trying to stay awake at a rest stop 40 minutes north of Madison.
We arrived in Madison early in the afternoon. We drove directly to the marathon expo to pick up my race bib. All events were held at the Alliant Energy Center. The traffic and parking were a challenge. This was because in conjunction with the marathon is the World's Largest Bratfest; 191,712 brats eaten in 2008. Here is a picture of the parking situation upon arrival.
Here is a picture of Brat Fest from a distance.
The morning of the race was cool and foggy. Traffic and parking were again challenging. There were about 7,300 participants in either the marathon, half marathon, quarter marathon or relay races. The marathon had a little bit more than 1,500 finishers. All races started and finished in the Alliant Energy Center parking lots. The good thing for marathon runners was that we had our own start line separate from the half marathon runners. I wouldn't have been too happy to negotiate my way through that swarm of people. Bratfest was all quite at that time. Here are two pictures I took on my warm up walk.
Here is a good newspaper article about the actual race. I ran well and placed third at 2:42:07. It wasn't easy...it never is but this race was unique. I was running by myself most of the race. I worried a lot about getting lost. Here are a couple of my reflections/observations (some good some bad) about the race:
- Not enough port-a-johns at the start (no race can ever have enough but they need more).
- Plenty of energy gel was available on the course. I use two per marathon...around miles 9 and 19.
- My fastest time in over three years. Maybe I can break under 2:40 again.
- Basset Hounds should be allowed onto Willow Island to join the Bratfest!
- Red Roof Inn rocks...plenty of room for Lucy.
- More food is needed at the finish. I received a bottle of water, chocolate milk, cheese and I a turned down a handful of pretzels. How about a brat and beer?
- 3,195 calories burned.
- I was not passed during the entire race. I passed a runner at mile 24.5 to take third.
- Beautiful scenery, great weather and nice people.