Sunday, November 8, 2015

Milwaukee Running Festival (MRF)

The Inaugural PNC Milwaukee Running Festival. aka MRF

To say I was looking forward to this race is a bit of an understatement. After bowing out of the Marine Corps Marathon, this was now my only fall marathon. Initially I would have been running it a week after MCM, and the plan was to just take it all in. Good thing on thing you can count on in life is life changing. 

I knew this race was going to amazing. As in inaugural event, I knew there could be some kinks to iron out, but having known the race director Chris, and the people he surrounds himself to put on events, I was confident any kink would be minor to the amazingness

This event consisted of a Milwaukee Miler on Saturday, along with the Expo. Sunday was a 5K, Half Marathon, Marathon. 

Before the mile on Saturday, was a Walk A Mile With Ruth, a walk to celebrate health and wellness to one of the sweetest, kindest, and badass Runner out there. Ruth originally thought perhaps she'd be doing the mile walk with a walker, but of course, her determination and positive attitude has allowed her recovery to be steady and stronger each day. She walked the whole thing no problem, in the rain, and a smile that radiated on us all so it felt like we were walking in sunshine.
Zoriana walked with me, which was a great way for her to get to preview the course for the Miler. She got a little nervous before it, and asked if I would run with her for awhile. I ran with her, she was doing great, asked to walk for just about 15 seconds, and kept going strong. I ran over to the finish, and waited for her to come around, and when I saw her coming she looked fantastic! I love watching her run. Her time was 8:19! 
Then it was Expo time. I loved the products that Brew City Brand Apparel had for sale. I bought several items, hesitated about buying the Finisher shirt, it was gray on gray long sleeve with thumb-holes and a hood. Knowing they were going to be at the finish, I thought I'd wait, because you know, superstitious. Turns out they were sold out, but I ended finding something else that I loved, too! Really awesome stuff, love everything I bought! (typing in my zip up hoodie right now)

Sunday came, and not only did the rain go away, we even got an extra hour of sleep because of daylight savings time! How great is that?! I was pretty much ready to go, had my basic goals planned, knew my parents were going to try and make an attempt to see me around mile 20, Jason was going to be at the finish, and Alberto was going to try to be somewhere on the course.

Gear check took a little bit longer than I anticipated, so I ended up packing my clothes to toss, so it worked out well, save them for the next one.
It was pretty exciting to know how hard this race fought to be in existence, and now it was Go Time. I might have teared up a bit waiting at the start...And like that we were off.
If you've read my blog before, you know I start off too fast almost always. I tried to keep it in check. 

Things were going well, miles were quick, but my body felt good. I tried to focus on my marathon rituals that I like to do-dedicate miles to people and reflect on them during that time. Stay in each mile. 
I was doing a pretty good job, but here's the thing, this course is no joke, there are hills and there was some wind. I worried a bit about maintaining pace, but tried to focus on the present.

So here's how it went down:
Continued to feel pretty good, was neat to see some friends running during the 13/14 mile turnaround. 
It was about at that time, some serious red devil/white angel thoughts starting entering my head. When I saw my parents at mile 19, I am pretty sure I high-fived my dad, but there was no smile. There was GU at that mile, which I dropped, so they threw it to me, I had to stop and bend down to pick it up and groaned, holy tightness, that hurt. Shortly after that I saw Jason, I told him the wheels were starting to fall off. He told me I was had this, and I could do it! Then he posted this on Instagram, awwww! 
Then the struggle got real. I saw Alberto and his wife, and shook my head. Ugh! Mile 21 the red devil on my shoulder told me to stop and walk, or quit. White angel was having none of that crap, get it done, you are almost there now, your time is good, you got this. Then mile 23 my music stopped. I was all about the mental game at this point, counting, etc. Just keep moving, get to the finish.

I could hear the finish, I just had to get there. I did not have a lot left in the tank and the wind greeted us strongly in that final stretch, but the end was in sight.
I gave Chris a big hug, wow! It was an amazing course! (more on that in a bit)
Jason came to the end of the chute, I just wanted to sit down. He walked with me, Alberto and his wife came over. Legs were pretty mad at me for a bit. I finally changed, walked over the announcer stand to talk to Bill, he somehow had missed me come in, and I wanted him to know I was done. Big hugs! 

The course-I am not a Milwaukee Native, and I saw things on this course that I did not know existed. However, I heard that sentiment from life long residents. It truly was a showcase of our city, well thought out. The crowd support was pretty decent. The aid stations were plentiful and no Gatorade-YAY!! I love nuun! The course really was tough, with the hills and wind, but a good tough. PR worthy, never saw that coming :)
It was so exciting to see this event come to fruition. The media support was great, I saw it on several different news channels that night, and the paper the next day. I am exciting to watch this race grow and mature in the years to come! 

P.S. Sidenote: The blue and orange colors are the same as my alma-mater UW-Platteville so totally loved that!