Inaugural Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon Recap

Sunday was the inaugural Milwaukee Running Festival here in town, and also part two of the Fleet Feet Brew City Marathon Challenge for me (you got an extra shirt & medal FO’ FREE from Fleet Feet Brookfield if you ran Lakefront & the MRF marathon, so obviously…).

When the opportunity to pace the 5:00 marathon group came up, I was all over it. I was a little nervous to run another marathon within one month in the first place (due my injury proneness) so this seemed like the perfect way to not have to stress out about the “racing” the course, which I know I would have done no matter what I told myself (if I wasn’t pacing).

I got to the start line area around 6:15 to meet up with the other pace groups. My first co-pacer showed up a few minutes later and we talked aimlessly until we could start lining up. There are no corrals for this race, just estimated pace signs along the side, so we headed to the 11-12 minute area and settled in with the 2:30 half marathon pace group (more on that in a minute). Right away, an older man spotted us, said “my friend was looking for you!” and ran off. A few minutes later he came back with the aforementioned friend (Patti, who was the best!!) and introduced her to us. A few other people around us asked us about our pacing plans, i.e. what we would do through aid stations, if we would slow down on the hills (OH, the hills…), etc. By then it was pretty much time to go!

To be honest, I hadn’t really put a lot of thought into this race prior to actually standing at the start line. I was having some weird foot/ankle/everything pain and hadn’t ran a ton in between Lakefront and vacation and the start of MRF. I did run some, and got a few good runs in, but still, I didn’t know what to expect from myself. I also never practiced at the 5 hour pace (11:27ish) so I wasn’t sure how I would fare on that front either. Even while the race was underway, I never really had the thought like, oh, I’m running a marathon right now. It never felt that way (if only all my races felt this way too, ha!!).

My first co-pacer (they switched out at the halfway point) and I were pretty much on point with our pace throughout most of that first half. Memorable spots about the first half of the course were aplenty! There was a long gradual hill from miles 3-4 (ish), which most Milwaukeeans know well, and most Milwaukee runners despise (just me? well, I think it sucks). Lots of neighborhoods that I typically drive through but not run through were also included in the first half, and it was super fun to see them from a different (also, slower) point of view. We also got to run downtown which is another thing I just don’t do because traffic and pedestrians and just no.

The first half really flew by and up until then we had a pretty consistent group of runners with us. Though around mile 9 the half marathoners split off to close out their race which did take our group down a few. It was nice that the courses remained the same for so long because it added to the energy of the race, at least I thought so. We ran a windy (I meant that to say windy as in twisty, but it was also extremely windy during this part as well) path through a park, and then it was time for my co-pacers to switch out.

It was also around this time that we lost the couple runners that had been with me through the start, which made me super sad! I was really hoping I could bring them along for the whole race. We picked up a few other people who ran with us here and there, but with a new pacer, our pace consistency started to suffer.

The miles between 14ish through 20 or 21 were pretty boring in comparison to most of the first half. This is also where a lot of the rolling hills came in. Running through Miller Valley is always fun to me, you’re basically running a lot of the Brewers Mini Marathon course backwards for awhile though at this point, so it didn’t thrill me. After awhile though, we ran near Miller Park and then after a few more miles dumped out near another park (I was seriously lost most of this entire time, if you can’t tell). We got to run on the Hank Aaron State Trail for awhile which oddly I have never been on and it was really beautiful! Then we ran around some unknown (to me, like I said… lost) football field, which felt like actual heaven on my knees at this point.

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Because I am incapable of describing the course: I present to you, a map!

Shortly after that, we ended up back in the Third Ward, got some really good views of the city, and were nearing the end of the race. SERIOUSLY this thing flew by for me, which just goes to show how much fun running can be when you don’t take it so seriously all the time. 5 hours (4:58:11 if we’re being technical) felt like nothing, whereas the 4:09 hours during Lakefront felt like serious hell every step of the second half.

Per my Garmin, I had been about a tenth to a quarter mile ahead of each mile marker on the course, up until mile 24 & 25, which came up extremely short. This messed with our pace a little (a lot, actually) bit. Other pacers confirmed they had the same problem as well, which made me feel a little better. By the time I knew the finish line was coming up, I knew we would come in ahead of 5 hours, but we tried to keep it within at least 2 minutes of that time. Which we did… just barely. Sadly, no one from any of our groups came in with us, but I know a few of the girls we picked up near the end finished ahead of us — so I was super happy about that!

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Finishing! Displaying my pacer sign proudly 😉

All in all, this was a great race. The course support was absolutely fantastic and every aid station was so well supported with upbeat and encouraging volunteers. The weather could not have been more perfect. I personally am glad that it wasn’t my first marathon, in the way that I think I would have gotten discouraged by the difficulty of the course, but that’s just because I’m lazy and beat myself up easily 😉 But I would definitely return to pace and/or have a fun, casual race through my favorite city in the world.

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Results & medal!

Some of my only feedback in terms of improvement for the race related to the medal, which I had seen several other people comment on as well. I love it and I love the design of it, however half marathon and marathon finishers received the same medal. While it doesn’t particularly matter to me, I think I would have been especially disappointed if this was my first marathon as it didn’t commemorate that well. I had heard that this was due to budget, but I feel as though there were other things that could have been cut to at least make the ribbon of the medals differentiate between the 2 distances. But obviously I have no idea what kind of money/budgeting goes into these type of massive events, so what do I know! Other than that… it was all in all an absolutely perfect day of running in the city of Milwaukee, and I think everyone who ran as well would agree 🙂

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Well it’s your birthday… {Birthday Wishlists + Skirt Sports Giveaway!}

Well, it’s MY birthday at least. Well. Actually, Friday was. But for the purposes of today’s post let’s just pretend, okay? Go with the flow, and all that.

I celebrated my birthday in true Rani fashion… with a run. Well. And chocolate brownies. Vegan, obvs.

But anyways, if you’re anything like me, you make birthday lists. And if you’re REALLY like me, your entire list revolves around running. Some say obsessed, I say… well. Yeah, I guess I’m obsessed.

So if your birthday is coming up (lucky you!!) or you’re just getting a jump-start on your Christmas list (actually… I guess at this point it isn’t really even a jump-start. Where did this year go!?), here’s a little peak into my wishlist:

Mizuno Wave Riders

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I mean, I’m obsessed. I have 3 pairs of Wave Rider 18’s, which are easily my favorite shoe forever and ever amen. I’m interested in trying the 19’s, mainly because of this patriotic colorway, if we’re being honest. I’m also interested in stock piling the 18’s once the price drops, if we’re REALLY being honest. You know, just in case I don’t like the upgrades.

Momentum Motivate Wrap

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You had to know there would be bracelets on this list, right? Right?! And just keeping it real, I already have 3 of these. But, as a wise woman once said (okay fine, it was me, I said it), you can NEVER. EVER. have too many bracelets. Never. #allthebraceletsallthetime

Pro Compression Calf Sleeves

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Just look at them. LOOK AT THEM. I need. But seriously, I live in compression. Sometimes (most of the time) I wear dresses and boots to work so I can sneak some compression sock time in. And calf sleeves for ALL OF THE RACING. Sorry, I just get really excited sometimes about… socks? Running turned me into a weird, weird person.

Skirt Sports Jette Skirt

*inserts Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode here* For real though. I want all the colors and prints x 100. Pockets x 3. (I’m obsessed with pockets. The more the better.) I have been eyeing the Dream print ever since it got released. I would be eyeing the Tantrum print (BECAUSE LOOK. LOOK AT IT.) but naturally I got it, um, pretty much immediately. I like all things skirty, but I especially love the pleats on the Jette. Looks so swishy and pretty when you’re running.

See aforementioned action swishy/pleats here:

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And because I want you all to experience the joy of the swishy pleats, and to celebrate my birthday, I’m giving away one Jette skirt to a lucky one of you! To enter: leave a comment below on what is #1 on your running wishlist! If you just can’t wait, you can always use the code SSCBR20 for 20% off at Skirt Sports!

Edit: The lucky winner has been selected and contacted. Don’t forget to use SSCBR20 if you’re having giveaway FOMO 😉

Giveaway runs through November 9th. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email. This giveaway is part of a series of giveaways presented by the Skirt Sports Ambassador Captains. If you have won another giveaway in the series, you are not eligible to win again.