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  • Welcome! My name is Kelly, and I am a picky eater. On this blog I share recipes, new (to me) foods, restaurants, and products that I try in an effort to expand my tastes. You might also find me talking about my pug Olive, Miss Kitty, Project Life, my journey with running, and more! Feel free to contact me: [email protected]

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My First Race: The After

Alternative titles:
Races are Like Rollercoasters
Running With A Friend More Fun
Race Recap: Crazylegs 2012

Last Saturday started pretty similar to most Saturday mornings.  I laid is bed awake way before my alarm was going to go odd and tried to bargain with myself to not check my phone.  Eventually, after a few minutes of restlessness trying to make myself fall back asleep, I give in and check my phone.  The difference about this morning is that I woke up to “Good Luck” tweets for the race I would be running later that morning.  This was the morning of my first race ever.  An 8K.

After I read through some tweets and emails I got up (before my alarm) and headed out to the kitchen for my usual breakfast routine – bagel and cream cheese.  I was unsure of what to eat before the race, since my stomach is sometimes iffy, but I decided that I was better off having the same thing that I usually have rather than having less, or trying something different.  Since I ended up not getting to eat lunch until a lot later than I originally thought, this turned out to be a good decision.  I was hungry when I finished the race, but not as starving as I would have been had eaten less!

One of the things that swayed me into choosing to run Crazylegs was that it didn’t start until 10am.  I am not a morning runner, so running a race at 8 or 9am seems crazy early to me.  (Yes, I realize I am probably in the minority on that one.)  I enjoyed a fairly leisurely morning in my normal routine rather than stressing out about waking up super early and trying to squeeze everything in.

After I ate breakfast, I checked internet things on my computer and then went to go get dressed for the race.  I struggled a bit with what to wear since the weather was supposed to be less than ideal – to say the least.  I ended up wearing pants, (or are they called leggings? running tights? what is the difference???) sports bra, tank top, tee shirt, and a long sleeve zip up hoodie.  I also wore a Bondi Band to cover my ears.  For the actual running portion of the day, that attire seemed to be a good decision – the rest of the morning was a different story, but I’ll talk about that in a minute.  Oh, and by the way my race bib did perfectly fine on my Lululemon hoodie, no holes like I was so paranoid about.

After I was dressed  I was all ready to go I headed down to campus.  The husband actually came to watch, so he just dropped me off and the shuttle busses and headed off to find a parking spot. I met Sarah at the shuttle busses which took us to the race start area at about 9am.  Yes, that does seem a little early, but we were both kind of worried about missing the shuttle and being late so we figured 9am would be a good time to get there.  Little did we know, 9am was WAY too early…and actually about 2 hours before we would start running.

Wet Feet

Once we got all settled and figured out where we needed to be at the race start time we huddled in the closest spot we could find that was out of the wind.  It was really freaking cold out!  It was about 40 degrees, windy and rainy.  Hey Wisconsin, where did the Spring/Summer like weather go?!  So basically we huddled in a corner and counted down the minutes until we could go line up and start the race.  At about 9:55 we headed around the corner to our corral.  It was a wave start, and we were near the end, so we knew we wouldn’t actually be starting right at 10, but we figured it would be delayed by 15 or so minutes.  Clearly this was the first race for both of us because we definitely WAY underestimated our waiting time. 15 minutes passed, and I don’t think we moved at all.  We were getting anxious to run so that we could warm ourselves up!  Not to mention general pre-race jitters that only got worse as I stood there waiting.

We moved a few feet forward every few minutes. Eventually, we realized that it was going to be a while before we started.  I would say this part was by far the toughest part of the race experience.  I was  freezing cold, standing in the wind and rain, feeling that I wasn’t super prepared for this race anyways was only amplified when I realized I would be starting this race shivering and not being able to feel my feet and hands. Fantastic. There were definitely thoughts of just leaving and giving up – I mean honestly it was SO cold out.  After standing there for 2 hours how was I supposed to run 5 miles?! Had we known that we wouldn’t actually start running the race until about 1 HOUR after the official start time, we would have changed some things for sure.  But, we sucked it up and tried to just look forward to the race.  Luckily once we got closer to the start line things started moving faster.  You could hear each wave being counted down and then start running and then before we knew it, it was our turn.

Crazy Start

Somehow once I got to the starting line, I was no longer freezing cold.  I was excited to finally get running!!  Both Sarah and I knew that we had problems pacing, so our main goal was to not start out too fast.  Considering how the rest of the race went, I’d say we succeeded with that! (Or I did at least.)  It seemed like no time at all before I saw the mile 1 marker.  Holy cow I was really running a race! Other than the fact that my feet still felt pretty numb from standing outside in the cold, I felt pretty good.   Since we started so much after the original start time, the time that was on the clock was not ours, but we estimated we did the first mile in about 10 mintues, which I think is awesome!

But after that mile we could see Observatory drive up ahead.  Of all things that people who have run Crazylegs in the past mention most, it is “the hill.”  If you aren’t familiar with the UW Madison campus, Observatory drive runs along the lake side of campus and happens to include a crazy steep hill.  The hill that most people who run Crazylegs curse.  And well, we did the same.  Honestly is wasn’t AS bad as I had imagined – but that was probably only because it was towards the beginning of the race.  We decided to push ourselves a bit and run up half, but then we walked the rest of the way up.  Once we hit the top we started running again for the way down.  What a relief it was to have that over with!

At the bottom of the hill, my parents, brother and his girlfriend, and husband were cheering! Yay! It was fun to see them, and I’m so thankful that they made it out and stuck around even in the slightly miserable weather.  They were definitely a welcome sight to see and gave me energy and enthusiasm to run.


After that things were pretty smooth for a while.  As we passed the 2 mile marker, I decided that I didn’t want to walk again until after the 3 mile marker.  No more hills for a while, and we were almost halfway done!  Then it seemed to take a loooong time to hit mile 3.  Maybe it was because I hadn’t really run that far before, or because the course twisted and turned so you couldn’t see the marker in the distance, but it was probably the most agonizing part of the actual race.  But, once we did hit mile 3, we actually decided to run a bit more before we walked again. We stopped to walk for a minute or two at about 3.25 miles or so.

Once we started running again we were on the home stretch.  We were nearing the finish line at the stadium, and you could definitely tell.  There was much more enthusiasm in the spectators and race officials, fun music, and just general excitement.  We knew there was another small hill coming, so we agreed to walk up it so that we made sure to have enough energy to run into Camp Randall and across the finish line strong.

The run right before entering the stadium was a bit of a mess with spectators and runners who had finished trying to cross the street as we ran through, but we managed to weave around everyone and make our way in.  And then all of a sudden we crossed the finish line.  Just like that we had finished an 8K!

Crazy Finish

As you can imagine there were many thoughts and emotions going through me as I crossed the finish line after running my first race ever.  Excitement and amazement were the most overwhelming, but there were also ridiculous things like ” man I hope those race photographers get a good photo of me! Ha. I honestly couldn’t believe that I had just run 5 miles – which was a personal distance record (PDR) by the way.  And not only did I run 5 miles, but I only walked 3 short times, smiled the majority of the race, and I didn’t injure myself! I was honestly shocked and surprised that I was tired and felt like I just ran 5 miles – but in a good way.  I didn’t feel injured, or dead tired, or like I was going to vomit.  Win!

The official race times aren’t posted yet, but I think we finished in just under an hour.   Pretty fantastic if you ask me!  Update:  Official times are in, I finished in 58:59!!  

Now that its a couple days later I can tell you that I (somehow magically) still feel good, not injured, just a bit of lingering soreness – but my body almost always has some general soreness going on because of my tight muscles anyways.  That is honestly WAY better than I imagined my body feeling after running 5 miles – I am a bit injury prone.  Thank you body for cooperating!!


I’m so proud to have finished my first race ever, and not only finish it but in what I feel like is a good time, uninjured, with my friend Sarah.  Running is so much more enjoyable with friends.  A huge THANK YOU to everyone who cheered me on (virtually and in person) during the race, and last week leading up to the race.  I couldn’t have done it without you!

13 Responses

  1. You did amazing for your first race kelly, especially with those gross conditions!! I’m so proud of you! Its such a great accomplishment. hopefully someday we can run a race together!

  2. Congrats!! I agree, the hardest part is waiting for the race to start. Especially in the cold!

    • Thanks Jess! Seriously, I should have known in Wisconsin, but why is it so cold in April?!

  3. Congratulations!!!! What a race!!!! So happy for you! 🙂

  4. Way to go!!!

    I’m nervous about doing a morning race myself. I almost always run in the evening. I like your plan to stick with your normal breakfast. I might try to get up a little earlier on race day too so I’m not so groggy.

  5. Yay!!! I love your recap Kelly.

    I feel like I could post: “go read Kelly’s post to hear my race recap” – haha! I’m still going to do one with my thoughts too!

    Also, I love that your family got those photos of us running & crossing the finish line! 🙂 Could I steal them for my post?

    And I just have to say it again – I am so proud of us! Thanks fur running with me! 🙂

  6. You’re a superstar!! 🙂 Way to go!

  7. […] running with a friend is awesome. i’ve never really run with anyone else, but running with kelly was fun and definitely pushed me harder than i would have if i were alone. (p.s. read kelly’s race recap here!) […]

  8. […] it because it sold out fast! While it wasn’t technically my first race anymore (I ended up running Crazylegs at the last minute) It was my first race that I was prepared for and excited for! You can read my full recap of the […]

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