Madison...."70 square miles surrounded by reality."
Tomorrow morning David and I are off to Madison for the Mad City 100k National Championship on Saturday. It'll be an interesting visit. It's been a looong time since I've been to this favorite city of mine. I'd say it's been about 20 years!
I was lucky to grow up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a small resort town in southern Wisconsin, just 2 hours north of Chicago. Almost everybody I hung with from high school wanted to (and did) attending the University of Wisconsin Madison if they planned on continuing their educations (or social lives). Me? I thought a bit about it, but truth is, I didn't think much at all about any education when I was in high school. It's not that I didn't plan on going to college, it's just I didn't do any planning at all. I didn't think much about my future, a career, what I was going to do after high school, or what I was going to do the next week. In a naive and selfish way, I didn't think much at all beyond the moment in which I was living.
As a sophomore in high school, my best friends were freshmen in college at Madison so it was a convenient place for me to visit, and I frequently did. There was lots of partying and fun with Homecoming games and Halloween on State Street. I think I had TONS of fun there! :)
I left Lake Geneva before I finished high school though and ended up in Chicago, so attending Madison was not an option. Actually, my grades would have precluded me from going there anyway. I haven't been back there since the days at the Union, on State Street, and in the bleachers getting body passed!
Being back there is going to be a blast. I am so looking forward to it. Mostly because many of my beloved Midwest ultra family will be there. Also, my mom and brother Jeff are coming for the second half of the race. They have never been to an ultra or seen me run. It'll be so neat to have them there. My mom's a cutie and said she will boil up and decorate some Easter eggs for those who want to celebrate the holiday during the run. Believe it or not, eggs are a good source of fuel, especially when dipped in salt! Mmm...
David too is looking forward to being there. He did go to college at Madison and that was not all that long ago since he was going back to school to change careers.
I've been so focused on my recovery from my back injury (which is now 100% better!)and my work, that I have not even looked at the race info, our itineraries, or even yet thought about packing! It's only 100k, so there's much less planning than for a 100 mile race, but still, I like to be totally self-reliant and need to make sure I have everything.
I just checked the forecast for the first time. I figured it would be warm. After all, it's going to be sunny and near 70 degrees in Spokane this weekend. So, what is forecast for Madison, you ask?? Well gosh darnit, can you friggin' believe it's going to be only 23 degrees at the start! And get this...the high is 34 degrees! The skies will be overcast, and there is a chance of snow flurries! Oh my dear, that is horrendous! Blech! Phooey! Ick! Oh why oh why does it have to be COLDER than it is here?? Oh well, it'll make us tougher, build up our character, right? We can DO IT!! After all, for me, it's just a training run for my main race, which is Badwater.
Timo, the Race Director, is trying to get real-time runner standings on the website. So, keep checking back for that! The race starts at 6:30 am and there is a 13 hour cut-off.
UPDATE: Timo GOT the real-time runner standings on his website!!
Now, you can watch the race without your parka and gloves. I'm not sure how frequently it will be updated, but that doesn't matter much. It's just nice to be able to go do you long run, speed work, tire-pulling, stair climbing, or whatever...and then come back to check the progress of the champs. There are several athletes shooting for sub 7 hours and even faster than that! What an honor to be on the same course as these great runners, and at times to be able to run "in front" of them - like each time just before they're ready to lap you again! [I have a picture of me "leading" Yiannis Kouros at the Olander 24-hour National Championship in 2002. It's one of my favorites.]
So, anyway, I will be away tomorrow through Sunday, so y'all have a fabulous (and WARM) weekend. May your runs be smooth, your feet swift, and your hearts free!
(pic - another past blast: me and my brother, 1971)