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Syttende Mai Run - Run20 Mile

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Stoughton, Wisconsin
United States
Syttende Mai Run
60F / 16C
Total Time = 3h 08m 20s
Overall Rank = 222/363
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 27/36
Pre-race routine:

BACK STORY Well I decided that this would be the year I would finally do a marathon. I knew for sure I would do one in the fall (Lakefront) but was undecided about a spring marathon. I was a bit afraid that a full marathon would not leave me enough recovery time to prep for my "A" race of High Cliff HIM in mid June. So I thought back a few years when my partial Norwegian wife took me to the Syttende Mai festival in Stoughton. Syttende Mai is a celebration of Norway's independence from Denmark, for you history buffs. Well the celebration has a 20 mile run as part of the festivities. (also a 17 mile walk - now that is nuts). So at the time, a 20 mile run seemed impossible, but I put in my memory banks. So I thought that this would be the perfect solution to my spring marathon problem. Long enough to be a huge challenge, but short enough to allow for minimal recovery. Also an opportunity to do a dry run of following a marathon plan.

One of the first challenges was learning to spell and pronouce it. After much trouble, I reminded myself of saying it right by thinking "scent of the Mime."

Next I had to train. So I found a beginner Hal Higdon plan and followed that with some addition, most excellent, guidance by Djdavey. Despite some long standing fears that I would get injured, the training went very well. I even did a 20 miler in trainer in 2:56. I became quite confident. About two weeks before the race I thought I better see if I could research the course and found a elevation map. GASP!! Apparently in Dane county they have hills...lots of them. Goal was 3 hours, but I was beginning to have my doubts.
Event warmup:

Got up about 4 with nerves that are usually reserved for events that start with a swim. Got the usual breakfast (two bagels and a banana) and headed out for the hour and 10 minute drive. This is a point to point race starting at the capital in Madison and ending Stoughton. So I parked at the finish and took a bus to the start. Before I got on the bus, I did about a 1/2 mile warm up. Once I arrived on site, I ran about another 1/2 mile to make sure all systems were go. The ride on bus was uneventful, except for the guy (who had done race 4 times)a few rows back going on and on to a friend about the hills. " Oh yeah those hills are tough...that one at 8 is brutal"... "I just put my headphones and try not think about it"..."I once ran with a guy who drove me nuts counting the hills." yeah dude you are driving ME nuts. Nerves were a little on edge by the time I got to the site.
  • 3h 08m 20s
  • 20.21 miles
  • 09m 19s  min/mile

Run startred at the Capital. Started out by running around the capital square. This was cool. The square was packed with people (mostly from Farmer's Market I think) and they cheered loudly for us as we went around. Then we headed down along John Nolan drive, past Lake Monona. This felt familiar to me because between my volunteer shifts at Ironman, I have started a tradition of taking a run in this area. This is the only real flat part of the course. I wanted to bank a little time before I hit the hills, but not at the expense of blowing up later. This area went very good. I kept my pace at between 8:30s-8-45. So far so good. The hills start at about mile 3.5. At 4 is the first big hill, then a series of small rollers (small compared with what is coming) until about mile 7.5. At this point I was still feeling good and pretty confident. I knew the biggest hill on course was coming. The steepest part of the hill is from about mile seven and a half to mile nine. However the hill doesnt really stop going up until mile 11. That is a long time to go uphill. Well at mile 10 I was still right on schedule. At 1/2 way I was at 1:27. So I had about 3 minutes to give. Not quite as much as I wanted, knowing I would be slowing down some, but still ahead of the game. From mile 11 to 17 there were fewer hills, bu they were bigger. The whole time you felt like you were either going up or coming down. This made pacing difficult, because I felt like I need to 'make up' time on the down hills. At mile fifteen my cushion was 2 minutes and I wasn't feeling as good or as confident. I told myself if I got to mile 17, the hills would stop coming and I could just jog it in. However when I got to 17, the flatness I was expecting wasn't there. It was flat compared to the last 13 miles, but still had a slight upward slope. At this point I was just not feeling great. There were lots of walkers on the course. This was both good and bad. Good, because they would encourage as you went by. It was bad though because at this point I was have some Gastro-intestinal issues and when ever I needed to 'let off a little steam' so to speak, I had to look around to make sure it was all clear. Then of course, whenever a did, being a 13 yr old boy at heart, I would smile and laugh, like I had gotten away with something. At about mile 18, the laughing stopped and so did I. I started taking some walk breaks and got some really bad cramps in my glutes and calves. In 6 years of racing, I have never had cramps before, but they came bad today. It was at this point that I thought maybe I deydrated. I have not mentioned Hydration and Nutrition. Nutrition was good, eating gels or shot bloks every 1/2 hour. Hydration not so much. When I finished I had only drank 3/4 of two fuel belt bottles (probably about 12 oz total) with probably another 8oz. from the aid stations. As I write this now it seems obvious, but didn't at the time.

Then we finally get to the finish. The last mile is through town. Here again there was lots of people lining the streets cheering you on. This was great, except at this point I wanted to go crawl in a hole and probably looked horrible. But I crossed the line and hit a big milestone. Twenty of them to be exact.
What would you do differently?:

ummm, drink. More hill training would have come in handy.
Post race
Warm down:

Staggered around a bit, ate some fruit, felt faint a few times, but importantly did not pass out. Had a very nice conversation with gofishlps and her husband who had done the race (and kicked azz and took hardware)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

proper hydration and not enough hill training, inexperience at the distance.

Event comments:

Excellent run race, after 38 years, they know how to do it. Highly recommend it.

As I went back to my car I looked in the mirror at my face caked with white salt residue that looked white face make up and words escaped me, but the smell could not, the name of the race all made sense: Scent of the Mime!

Last updated: 2010-05-03 12:00 AM
03:08:20 | 20.21 miles | 09m 19s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/36
Overall: 0/363
Performance: Good
Course: first 3.5 flat then hills start coming and don't really stop coming until the end.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-05-17 10:53 AM

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Delafield, Wisconsin
Subject: Syttende Mai Run

2010-05-17 11:14 AM
in reply to: #2863263

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Muskego, WI
Subject: RE: Syttende Mai Run

Nice report Jim.  Sounds like a beast of a course.  You will kill your fall Marathon in relation to the difficulty of the course you faced here, it sounds like.

2010-05-17 5:57 PM
in reply to: #2863263

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Waukesha, WI
Subject: RE: Syttende Mai Run
Way to go Jim.  Not far off your mark.  I can't believe you can take gels without water.  I HAVE to chase 'em down with a couple of gulps.  Maybe that will help you drink more.  Just my two cents.  Take care of those legs.  We have racin' to do this summer
2010-05-17 6:39 PM
in reply to: #2863263

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Racine, WI
Subject: RE: Syttende Mai Run
WOW...great job Jim!!
2010-05-18 5:48 AM
in reply to: #2863263

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Subject: RE: Syttende Mai Run
bwhahahaha - awesome report. Sounds like a deceivingly brutal course though! Way to tough it out. It'll only make ya stronger!
2010-05-18 6:28 AM
in reply to: #2863263

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Milwaukee, WI
Subject: RE: Syttende Mai Run
Nice race! Hills...yuck. You are one tough Donkey!

2010-05-18 7:13 AM
in reply to: #2863263

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West Allis, WI
Subject: RE: Syttende Mai Run
Eeeeeaaaaaawwwwwsome job and report Jim!
2010-05-18 8:07 AM
in reply to: #2863263

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West Allis, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Syttende Mai Run

EEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWsome job webbies!!!!  way to focus and work the plan!!!  stellar stellar stellar!!!!

2010-05-18 5:03 PM
in reply to: #2863263

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Waukesha, WI
Subject: RE: Syttende Mai Run

You need to do more races....I love your RR's...Great race

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