One thing about me: I'm always early to things. Even meetings, that I know darn well that no one else is going to show up for on time, much less early. I usually get to a race a good half an hour before the start, and I've gotten to my marathons at least an hour before the start.
Not today. I just didn't get an early enough start. My alarm went off at 5, and of course I had to get dressed and grab a small breakfast. It's well over an hour drive to Madison. And the race started at 7. So I arrived at the start line just 10 minutes before the start. For me, that's late. I had just enough time to find a restroom. I grabbed a spot around the 2:30 pace, and we were off.
Since I was starting behind my projected pace, and I knew that I wasn't really warmed up, I thought that I had better push a little from the beginning. Of course, I went out too fast. I missed the first mile marker, but I hit the second at about 18 minutes, a good three minutes under my goal pace. Ooops. I did manage to hold myself back over the next 11 miles, and I finished in a decent time, and not too tired.
The course for the Madison Mini-Marathon was terrific. It was very well planned. It started by hooking around three sides of the capitol square. I really wish that I had had a camera when we turned onto Wisconsin Street. You could see the pack of runners going down the hill and up the hill to the capitol building. It was cool. After that, we ran back down to campus, then went up around the zoo and through the arboretum. There were about three miles in the arboretum, and it was beautiful. A couple more miles through town, and we ended up on campus, on the shore of Lake Mendota. We ran out a way towards Eagle Point, then doubled back and ran to the finish line. It was a lovely tour of some of the best parts of Madison.
The weather was great, too. It was just about 60 degrees and overcast. It was just a bit windy, particularly down by the lake, but you can't have everything. It was absolutely a great day for a 13 mile run.
I held up pretty well, all told. I stopped for a short walk at every mile marker. In fact, I stretched a few of those walks, since I was ahead of my pace. About mile 11, I started to feel a bit tired, but I think I was doing much better than a lot of the people that I was passing. I don't know that I could have run another 13.1 today, but I didn't taper like I will for my marathon.
I finished in 2:06:24. Not a bad time, all told. I don't expect to run the marathon in 4:12:48. So I'll need to pace myself even better at the beginning.
All in all, it was a great day for a run, and I'm happy.