If it sounds like you need to be a little mentally unhinged, you might be right. Though this race had been on my radar a little bit since last year (since pretty much everyone I know participated in some capacity), I never really considered signing up for it. I’d heard from some people that so many laps around a track in one direction and just the never ending flatness of it could be a recipe for injury. As we all know, me and injury are basically BFF, as I am basically always hurt or on the verge of being hurt. So I figured, maybe not for me.
After pacing the Milwaukee Running Festival, I was given a gratis entry to the race, should I want it. And I mean, let’s be real, at that point I signed up immediately. It DID sound fun I thought. (Like I said, mentally unhinged). There are a lot of options with this race series over the course of the weekend, which I always think is great. Because who doesn’t love a good weekend that revolves around running? There’s a 5k, 2 half marathon heats, a marathon relay, and a marathon. I knew I would do the half, but I was moderately undecided on which heat to sign up for. Ultimately, I chose the earlier one (because I hate sitting around waiting for a race to start when I get up at the literal crack of dawn), which was the 2 hour and under heat.
If we’re being honest, I haven’t run much or fast or far since the Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon, actually. I ran a half in early December. 10 miles a few weeks ago. And then a spattering of shorter runs randomly whenever I could get myself motivated to go to the gym. So I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Nothing great, obviously.
Of course, when I originally signed up for the race (like, 3 months ago, I think?), we weren’t planning on moving at all. Certainly not moving that weekend. Or that day. But alas… there we were. So I had that to contend with as well.
Friday night, in the midst of packing my entire life (AGAIN) into boxes, I took a minute (an hour actually) to ponder what to even wear for this thing. It’s 45ish degrees in the Pettit National Ice Center (where the race was held), which is cold but then also is not cold? Most people wear long sleeves and some people wore mittens and that made me second guess the fact that I was wearing a tank top and shorts. I run extremely hot and sometimes I forget that when everyone else looks like they’re going on a Antarctic expedition in comparison. But I stuck with my decision and am super glad I did.
Saturday morning we got to the Pettit around 6:10-6:15 and I picked up my bib and timing/house arrest anklet. I’m perpetually afraid of being late to a race start, so of course then we had like 45 minutes to just sit there and wait. But better than the alternative, right? Finally we could go to the start line where I stood and waited and pretty much questioned my entire life decisions before the gun went off.
And then… I just ran. 47 laps around a 443 meter track. Not very fast. You aren’t allowed to use headphones so I just basically zoned out the entire time. I even had a thought that I was barely having thoughts. Monotony at its finest! There were of course times where I was like, this isn’t fun anymore, how many laps do I have left? Really? I think that’s wrong. There are 2 big boards displaying everyone’s position in the race and how many laps they had left, but every time I passed it, it seemed like it was never at the right time to see my name.
There is also a water stop set up where you would bring your own bottle labeled with your bib number, and then they were placed in numerical order. You would call out your number to the volunteer and they would get it for you or get it to you on your next lap. Naturally, I did not bring anything with me because I never use anything for races shorter than a marathon. If I did the race again next year, I would probably at least have something there. The air is crazy dry in the Pettit, so it would have been helpful at some points, but I was fine generally. Although, I have never gotten a nosebleed in my life, and almost immediately after I stopped running… bam!
I was using my Garmin Forerunner 920xt on the Indoor Run setting, which is usually pretty accurate I find, but towards the end of the race, as it clicked passed the 13.1 mile mark, I wasn’t sure. According to my Garmin, I ran 14.35 miles total. I think it was somewhere in between the two. From switching lanes and weaving on the track, of course that changes distance a little.
Towards my final laps I was just so done. My knee and ankle kind of were starting to hurt (they’re quite sore now, 3 days later) and I was just tired overall from 1. not having run this far in awhile and 2. the flatness of the track and the monotony of running in circles tires out different muscle groups than I was used to. My calves are still sore.
When I finally finished, I took the water from the volunteer, chugged it, got my medal, ate a stale Clif bar from the vending machine in the lobby, and we were out of there. We had things (lots of things) to move. At the end of the day, between the race and moving, my Vivosmart clocked almost 40,000 steps and 24 miles. So needless to say, I feel like I either got hit by a truck, or ran a really hard marathon. Rereading that comparison, I think it’s moderately hilarious that I knowingly correlate getting hit by a TRUCK with running a marathon. Like I said, mentally unhinged…