Madison (half) Marathon, my hot experiment

When I impulsively signed up for the Madison half Marathon, I was thinking of it as an experiment. I ran a full marathon May 5th, and wanted to see how my legs would handle a half marathon 22 days later. The results would give me a better idea of what I can or can’t do this fall.  This experiment ended up being a ton of fun, filled me with happy, and it caused a change of heart for potential fall race ideas.

First, let’s have a round of applause for the organizers of the Madison Marathon for being proactive about the heat that was expected on Sunday’s race. They sent out a mass e-mail early on in the week letting racers know that there was a possibility of canceling the full marathon due to heat.  At first I was skeptical, one of those assholes who said, “I survived the heat in Chicago Marathon, blah, blah blah”  But as the race got closer I realized that the heat was going to be serious, and saw some of my friends have their spring marathon canceled on them.  Huge bummer, to go through the training, and have Mother Nature light a fire under the marathon’s ass.  After the race, I heard marathoners say that they thought the cancelation was the right decision.

My experiment wasn’t about the heat though, it was about marathon recovery and strength to do another distance race so soon.  Since the marathon, I had only run three times.  It was refreshing to feel nervous about a half marathon.

MM3iccMy legs felt surprisingly great through the entire thing.  I took it slow and comfortable, and started to walk through water stations starting at mile 6 to combat the increasing temperature.  This was the first half marathon that I’ve ever done without my iPod too.  I had a surprising amount of fun on the course, seeing friends running and spectating.  Every time Mr. HappyPace saw me I was grinning from ear to ear, happy to be running!

MM2xicc
The amount of fun I had seeing my out-of-town Twitter friends before, during and after the race made me really rethink my fall marathon considerations.  I was toying with the idea of going back to Rails to Trails Marathon in November, which would be 8 weeks after my first 70.3.  That was the experiment part of this half marathon; could my legs handle a relatively close back to back long distance race?  I think yes.

But…

Would it be fun?

Would I just be stressed out about the condition of my legs?

This steamy half marathon really has me thinking of skipping a fall marathon this year.  What I learned is that I’m in half marathon shape, I can run one on a whim, have a lot of fun, and not be out of commission like a marathon leaves me.  When I think about all the stress I go through to train for a full marathon, and then the disappointment I feel after, it just doesn’t make sense to go through that torture.  This doesn’t mean that I’m never going to do a marathon again, it just means that I’m taking a break from the 26.2 demon.

Instead I’ll have some FUN with half marathons and triathlons.  Do what’s fun, it is the point, right?

(Oh, and my mind is subject to change on this!)

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10 thoughts on “Madison (half) Marathon, my hot experiment

  1. You, change your mind? Never! There was an article in the health section of the Washington Post yesterday about how we acclimate to the heat. A hot marathon at the beginning of the summer is more dangerous than at the end of the summer because our bodies have gone through the acclimation process.

  2. I love the group picture- there is NOTHING better than having a fun race with friends! That’s been a big thing for me over the past 6 months- finding that having a group of equally crazy race buddies makes the whole experience 100% more enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong- I still want to race fast but having people to suffer with is key 🙂

  3. This seems to be the season of canceled races. I’m nervous for Chicago this year. It will be my first marathon, and I have so much build-up excitement (easy to say now), and I will be pretty mad if it’s my ass that mother nature lights a fire under! And I love that almost everyone in your picture has their shoes off because that is one of the first things I do after a race!

  4. It was insanely hot that weekend. Lucky for me all the heat left Fargo on Friday and headed your way. It would seriously suck to have a race cancelled due to heat. Glad you had a good, solid, fun race…sometimes those are the best ways to race!

  5. Like the disclaimer that you might change your mind on this!! Do what sounds fun for sure! I mean people say to listen to your body and what not…..your body is saying to have fun! We say do it!

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