I try to come home to southern Wisconsin every few months to visit my folks so Salacia and I decided to head back in late October to spend the weekend enjoying the cool fall weather. About 10 days before the trip, karma told me to check the race schedule to see what might be going on. Turns out there was a marathon that weekend with a start line about 4 miles away from my parents house, so of course I signed up.
The race is still young and is trying to go with the whole run-while-in-costume schtick, and I would guess that maybe 1/3 of runners were dressed up in something resembling a costume. I found out later there were cash prizes for the costume contests. I had been hoping that my large entry fee was going to some good charity. Oh well. I have burnt plenty of money on other races, and they can't all be cheap.
The course was a little bit of everything. The first 4 miles were flat pavement out in the wide open with a little wind. Then it turned into residential roads with gentle hills and lots of turns. Then dirt trail in heavy woods. Then long hills in open farmland. Repeat. They get mad props for variety of race course.
It is rare for my mother and my daughter to see me race, so this time being able to see both of them whilst running was cool. I first saw them at about mile 1 (they avoided the chaos of the start) and four more time throughout the race. I have run many many races and almost never get a loved one to actually cheer me on as I run by. It was nice and I even stole a few hugs from Salacia when I had a chance.
In my new method of starting slow and speeding up in an effort to meet as many people as possible during the race, this was a fun race. I met many people including a Zoology professor at UW-Madison, 2 graduate students (biology and psychology) students, a supply chain manager, a manager of a local Target, a hedge fund manager, and a nuclear medicine technician and an IT guy (that's actually what he called himself). A few of them running their first marathon (those are the most fun to talk to) and a few veterans. The last group I ran with had just shy of 200 marathons run total between the four of us. We had some fun conversations.
I carried my camera with me to take pics of people and things but I wanted to make sure I got a good quality photo of my handstand and I knew that Salacia would be at the finish line. As I approached I was looking forward trying to find her and eventually did about 30 feet before the finish line. I stopped stone cold and handed her the camera (people immediately started talking, trying to figure out why I stopped there. I walked towards the finish line while she got the shot ready asking her "Are ya ready?" When she responded in the affirmative, I turned, did my handstand to the cheering crowd, and then looked back again at her and asked 'Did ya get it?' and again she answered in the affirmative. That was cool.
There was one sad moment of the day. About 20 feet past the finish line I saw a man on the ground having CPR being performed on him. Obviously overweight, I assumed he was a recent half marathon finisher and it happened very soon before I finished as the ambulance that had been partked 1/4 mile away had not yet got to the spot. Knowing what the statistics are regarding people who have CPR performed upon them is not great, I assumed the worst. I have been checking the news and had he passed away I am sure there would have been a mention somewhere. Since there was not, it seems like her survived which is great news.
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