After marathon #10 (heck, even before, if I'm being completely honest) I knew that I wanted to take some time off from running. I was, simply put, burned out. Four marathons in eight months will do that to a girl. That's when I decided to "dedicate myself" to CrossFit. I began and completed a 10-week BodyComp Challenge. Now that was an accomplishment! There is nothing easy about CrossFit. Nothing!
Somewhere within those ten weeks, I discovered the finishers medal for the Wisconsin Marathon. The rest is history; I knew I just HAD to have it. After all my big talk about taking a break from running, I was about to embark on something a little crazy: CrossFit (which I was not about to give up!) PLUS running. Insane, table for one. I got the blessing of my CrossFit trainer when I suggested that I train for it using a CrossFit Endurance training plan. Actually, to be clear, I used the running portion only of that plan in combination with my 3-4 CrossFit sessions per week.
For the past twelve weeks I have doubted whether or not the CFE plan would be "enough," as I was doing very little running. For the previous TEN marathons, I banged out a double digit longrun every weekend, with 2-4 shorter runs per week. CFE had me only going up to 10 miles. Period. Ever. *gulp* And LOTS of speedwork. Basically, only speedwork, of which previously I was not a fan.
I just kept thinking to myself, "Look, you've run ten marathons, you.can.do.this. Thousands of those very fit CrossFit people can't be wrong." So I gave it the old college try.
I headed to Chicago (where I attended college) with my Blues Brothers inspired getup in tow. You see, for the first time ever I decided to run in costume. At this particular Wisconsin race, if you dress with even a bit of cheese on you, you get to start in the "All Cheese Corral." Inspired by this year's "blue cheese" medal, with the help of a talented friend, I composed a rather cool costume. But more on that later.
See my fedora? Yes, marathoners travel with "marathon luggage."
My first order of business in Chicago was to have lunch with some sorority sisters. Yes, I was in a sorority. I was even president once. And I'll have you know that I have inspired a few of these ladies to run races.
There we are, some of the Kappas of the 90's.
I said goodbye and drove myself up to Kenosha, Wisconsin. It's situated right on Lake Michigan, just about an hour and a half north of suburban Chicago, where my lunch ended up being.
See, I was there.
The "help yourself" race expo took place at a hotel. I was in and out in no time. I found it extremely ironic (yet delicious!) that a "cheesy" place like Wisconsin would proudly promote and distribute cheese made in Vermont. I just can't wrap my mind around that.
Signs involving cheese and beer were everywhere. Chasen says Wisconsin has its priorities right.
Cool light blue tech shirt. I love it!
See Mr. Blue Cheese? It was he that I was trying to emulate with my costume.
This is the back of the shirt.
Mr. Blue Cheese was even on the race bibs. Love him!
Here I am in my hotel room on the morning of the race.
I must brag on my friend Roxanne. She sewed the collar/tie combo for me, and she even put velcro on it so it'd be easy for me. Love her! And I'll have you know that my fedora, hat band, collar, tie, and sunglasses cost me just under $7 (thanks to Roxanne's free sewing).
Here I am in the "All Cheese Corral" before the race. I was the only one dressed like the medal!
Here is an All Cheese Corral sign. Yes, Wisconsin = cheese.
There were actually not many people in the ACC. I was shocked. I thought it would be a HUGE deal. But it wasn't. That was alright... that left more people to compliment my awesome getup!
I loved this well-costumed trio. They were running the half.
I was shocked to discover that the ACC was at the very front. I'm used to starting (and finishing!) dead last. So when the race began, I had to book it! It took until mile 2 for me to get to a comfortable speed.
We started in downtown and quickly departed to some VERY swanky lakefront neighborhoods. Oh to be wealthy! Those residents get to look at this every morning:
To my chagrin, views like this did not last long.
I has doing an amazing job, if I do say so myself. I have to admit... all of that CrossFit/speedwork was paying off! The exact phrase I used with Chasen and my running pals was "killing it."
After the swanky area we headed to an out-and-back along a lakefront park. I was indeed "on a mission from Gouda." Ha. It was great.
I jockeyed "Miss Panties" quite a lot throughout the race. I wonder if she knew how she looked?
These two gals were the only other Blues Brothers peeps I saw at the race.
After the lakefront area, at about mile 12, we headed out to Pleasant Prairie, WI and ran almost solely on gravel roads. That was NOT FUN. I was not pleased at all. Plus, it felt quite like "the boonies with some houses," and I was alone for most of it, as the halfers had already headed back into town to finish their race. I was still going strong, so I was happy. I was highly disappointed, though, to discover that there was no "half mat" to cross. I'm a glass half full marathoner these days, so crossing the half mat is a joyous time for me.
Around mile 22 I developed a wicked pain in my left hip/pelvis area. O-U-C-H. I did very little running after that. It was disappointing as I was realistically envisioning a post-Isaac PR. Oh well, maybe next time.
Like I said, all beer and cheese.
Those last 4.2 miles drug on forever. And there was very little course support by then. I really wished that Chasen and Isaac could be there to cheer me on and motivate me. But with fifty marathons on the docket, it just isn't realistic for us all to always be able to go.
Finally the end was in sight. Oh happy day! I crossed the finish line and got my awesome medal and made my way to the nearest chair. What was in the food bag? A banana, a mini-bagel, and cheese from Vermont. I still can't get over that. It's WISCONSIN, people.
All done. Hooray!
Even the lanyard is awesome.
Say hello to my little friend, aka Mr. Blue Cheese.
Know what? Brace yourselves. I'm already looking forward to another marathon. I'm sure it won't be until late fall 2013, but I'm ready to get back out there! Can you believe it? Normally I am really, really ready for a break. But I guess five marathons in one year is the magic formula to make me want more. We'll see what time holds. I definitely plan to give the CrossFit Endurance method another go. After all, it freed up major time for me, and that is invaluable.
To quote Joliet Jake, "I have seen the light!"