Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Milwaukee Running Festival 5k Recap

A few years ago, I ran my first ever 20-miler with my friend Chris. During the run, he told me about his idea for a Milwaukee running event - something major that would bring the community together. Back then it didn't have a name but in the years since that run it turned into the Milwaukee Running Festival, a big-city running event with marathon, half marathon, 5k and 1-mile races.

This past weekend was the inaugural event - the result of years of hard work from Chris and his team - and it was such a success! I really could not have been more impressed by a first-year event.

Normally I would not use a first-year event as a goal race but knowing Chris was in charge, I knew it would be okay. I've always enjoyed his other races - the Indoor Marathon Relay, Race for the Bacon and Town Bank Turkey Trot to name a few. So I felt comfortable telling Coach Matt I wanted to use the Milwaukee Running Festival 5k as a goal race.

And I felt ready for a good race. Workouts leading up to race week indicated I was ready to run fast and I spent the week mentally bracing myself for the pain that comes with a hard effort. On race morning I knew I could do it.

My mantra for this race was "Be brave". I selected this mantra because I know I sometimes don't push as hard as I should during the middle of a race or don't kick as hard as I should at the end of a race because I worry about running out of gas before the end. So I did a lot of visualization for this one, imagining the middle of the race, what it would feel like and how I would react. It all came down to I would have to be brave!


I lined up a few rows back because I didn't want the temptation of running too hard during the first mile. It turned out to be perfect. I got out fast but then settled into a nice Mile 1 effort. I didn't look at my watch a single time during the first mile but when it beeped I saw I was at 6:52. I couldn't have asked for better!

The start of the race!

During Mile 2, I focused on reeling in runners that had either started in front of me or passed me right at the start. I was starting to hurt during this mile but thought since I was doing all the passing that I was still on pace. I didn't look at my watch til it beeped for the mile split and was a bit disappointed to see that I slowed to 7:02 pace. Although I already felt like I was putting in max effort I knew I was going to have to bring it up a notch in the next mile.

Throughout Mile 3, I repeated my mantra to myself again and again. I passed one more woman about halfway through the mile then focused on staying with a guy that was running the same pace as me. It was definitely an advantage to race on a course I run on all the time. I knew the path so well and I knew how much distance I had left to cover which made the effort a tiny bit easier. In hindsight, I should have been a teensy bit braver and started my kick a bit earlier. Maybe I would have shaved a few seconds off my time! ;)

My results:

Time: 21:14
Pace: 6:50 min/mile
Gender Place: 5/345
AG Place: 1/54

Although not a PR, I was happy with my race since it shows I'm getting fitter. Right where I want to be going into the final month before the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio 10k, my ultimate goal race this fall :)

After the race with Mom - she also raced the 5k!

Overall, I thought it was a great weekend of racing. I really liked the 5k course and had fun spectating some of the other events. I would definitely recommend adding the Milwaukee Running Festival to your race calendar next year. It's a fantastic event and I'm sure it will be even bigger and better next year!

My questions for you:
  • What is your experience with first-year races? And if you raced the Milwaukee Running Festival, what did you think of the event?
  • What is your current race mantra?
  • What are you most looking forward to this fall?

Other than a hard few weeks of training leading up to Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio, I'm looking forward to crisp temps, in-season apples and lots of homemade chili!

- ST

32 comments:

  1. "Be Brave" - such a great motto!! And WOW - I can't believe that's not a PR time for you! I'm totally impressed at your pace!

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    1. Thanks Rachel! Be brave worked out well for this race although I think I could have been a bit braver during the middle of the race. Next time :)

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  2. I haven't done any first year races (not sure I'd be invited as a walker LOL). I've only done 2 races so far but haven't come up with a mantra yet.

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    1. Walkers are always welcome at races! Doing a first-year race requires a bit of a leap of faith but they can turn out to be wonderful events!

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  3. These running recaps are so interesting to me because I'm not a runner (lifting/gym is my thing!) and I've only ever run races with the goal of finishing them, so hearing about your strategy throughout is so interesting to me!

    I'm looking forward to the chili too :) and a few other soups that we love to make in the fall... and the apples. Food, mostly food haha!

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    1. Oh, I am the same! All the fall food, please! :) I also love going to the gym for strength training, group ex, etc. It's good to have variety!

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  4. Great time and pace on your 5K! I've only run one first-year race and it was a 10K this year. I really enjoyed it because of the smaller crowds. It was a well-run event, too. As for my mantra this year, it's been to Have Fun. For the fall my goal is to get back into running shape after taking 6 forced weeks off! I'm a work in progress :)

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    1. Have fun is a fantastic mantra! I also like smaller events at times - sometimes a low-key race is perfect depending on your race goals :)

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  5. Great time and congrats on your race! My fav race day mantra is to "focus on the breath." It usually gets me through the tougher miles!

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    1. Thanks Lauren! That's a fantastic mantra! I actually have used a similar one that I stole from pro runner Amy Hastings - "I breathe in strength and breathe out weakness."

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  6. I love your race recap! They are one of my favorite post to write so I really appreciate reading others. I participated in Esprit de She the first year and it was a great event, now I am an ambassador for the series. My race mantra is "Get There", to me it means get to the finish no matter what it takes.

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    1. Love that mantra and what it means to you! Getting to the finish line is always a win in my book :)

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  7. You are SPEEDY, Sun! I have never set a race mantra/motto but that idea sounds perfect to me. I love Milwaukee (in the summer, haha) - So many fun things to do there :)

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    1. Mantras are so great for having something to focus on when the race gets tough! And I agree - lots to do in MKE during the summer. If only the warm temps and long days were still here :)

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  8. Be Brave, love it!
    WOW congrats, you are awesome! That must have been some pretty good competition that this time didn't get you into the top 3 over all. But HUGE congrats on 1st place in your age group! WOOT WOOT, you are amazing! Your coach is definitely training you right!

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    1. Thanks Kristy! I agree, Coach Matt has been wonderful for my training and racing. He definitely knows what he's doing!

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  9. I ran the RnR Inaugural Brooklyn this Fall-overall thought it was a good race with some needs of improvement.

    Looks like you had a great race! How cool that your mom ran the 5k....I can't get my mom to run a 1 miler!

    1st place-get it girl!!!

    -Tamieka@fitballingrunningmom

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    1. I bet it was so much fun to race in Brooklyn! I've never been to New York but would love to do an RNR race there.

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  10. Whoo hoo! Awesome job lady! Congrats on the 1st in AG!! I have only run a few inaugural races and they were NOT good. I like to give them a few years to work their kinks out!

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    1. Thanks Sue! I think it really depends on who is running the show. The more experience, the better :)

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  11. Wow! What an awesome pace!! Great job!

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  12. I am so guilty of holding myself back because I'm afraid of running out of steam! I've never actually run in a first year race. The Run for Bacon sounds like my kind of run though!

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    1. The Bacon Race is fab - one of my favorite races every year! I usually don't run very fast during the race but it's always enjoyable, especially the feast at the finish ;)

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  13. Great recap, and YOWZA! You are fast!!!! I just ran a half marathon yesterday, I ran the inaugural event of it last year and thought it was a great race. I went back yesterday, probably a little over confidant since I knew the course, and the weather was so much nicer than last year. And, I had a mantra of my own...Sustain And Go Forward. I hit the "wall" around mile 10, and really had to dig deep...not to push myself to run hard, but to merely just keep going. The last 3.1 miles were SO difficult, but I finished. Also, I also have a hard time knowing when to hold back and when to just go for it.....I seldom hit the wall like yesterday, but it's always in the back of my head.

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    1. Congrats on your race! Way to push through even when things got tough during the last 5k.

      And I love the mantra! Perfect for the tough moments of a race!

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  14. So glad to hear of a fitness event in Milwaukee! We need more of that, and more publicity of it, so that people know Wisconsin/Milwaukee isn't all JUST beer and fried food! Great job!

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    1. Lol - good point! Beer, fried food ... and cheese! :)

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  15. I ran the MRF half and miler! It was a really well done race. I loved it and hope to tackle the marathon next year.

    (Also, I think we have the same running coach haha)

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    1. Awesome! I spectated the miler and it looked like so much fun - I definitely want to do it next year.

      Love that we have the same coach - Matt is the best!

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  16. Congrats Congrats!!! If I had to choose a Milwaukee Half for 50 States - would you recommend this festival vs. Rock and Sole?

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    1. Thanks Jenny! I would go with the Milwaukee Running Festival although I'm a little biased as I know the race director ;) It really is a fantastic event though - the course will give you a nice little tour around Milwaukee and if you feel like racing two days in a row, you can do the 1-Mile race on Saturday then then half on Sunday. You'll have to let me know which race you decide on - would love to meet up! :)

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