It’s been two years since I’ve run a half-marathon. This year, we signed up for the Madison Half Marathon on Nov. 13, and I had every intention of training properly. That didn’t happen. I did not run as much as I should have before the race, but we were committed to doing it anyway.
We drove to Madison, which is about 2 and a half hours from Chicago, on Saturday before race day and went directly to the expo at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, right on the lake. After weeks of 70 degree weather, we were set to run on the coldest weekend yet. Flurries greeted us as we bundled up and walked to the convention center.
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn that partnered with the Madison Marathon. The hotel was only few minutes away from the race, which worked out nicely. At check-in, the front desk person gave us a race course map and wished us good luck with our run.
The hotel was comfortable and just what we needed to relax before running. Our dinner was at Cento in downtown Madison, an Italian restaurant that appeared to be popular on a Saturday night. I was amused to see a Negroni Sbaliatto with Prosecco on the menu. (IYKYK) I had a rigatoni alla carbonara, minus the pancetta — so what would. that be called? It was delicious and just the perfect amount of pasta. Graham has the Tagliatelle, ragu alla bolognese with ricotta and Parmesan. Both looked and tasted amazing. I also recommend the Raspberry Bramble on the cocktail menu.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel to prepare for our early morning. It was nerve-racking picking out what to run in as it snowed outside. All I asked for was that it didn’t snow, and we lucked out.
While it was chilly, we had no snow for start time. We easily found parking near the race, just a couple of blocks away, and it was free. (Street parking is free on Sunday in downtown Madison.)
The race was a lovely tour of Madison. It’s a beautiful college town and I enjoyed seeing the elaborate homes along the lakefront. The hills, though. The hills were another story. They were rough to take on. I was left with a sore hip after running on slanted hills.
Overall I enjoyed my experience at the Madison Half, even if it was the slowest I’ve ever been. I would recommend it if you don’t mind cold running. It’s easy to get in and out of the area and not too crowded.
Now I want to visit Madison again for fun, without running.