Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Milwaukee Running Festival 5k Recap

Earlier this year, I planned on using the Milwaukee Running Festival Half Marathon as a goal race. However, plans changed and I ended up switching down to the 5k earlier this fall with plans to chase a fast time. BUT, plans changed again and after a messed up right leg left me unable to train for several weeks, I ended up with a goal of just finishing the 5k. 

I had my doubts about 'just running' the race. I typically don't get a lot of enjoyment out of jogging a race without a time goal or place goal or any type of goal. But in the end I decided it would be a good way to get in a few miles with a few thousand other MKE runners. And I'm sure glad I decided to run - it was a perfect weather day and it was wonderful seeing a few running friends. Also, there's nothing like the excitement of a race to get motivated to get back into training!

The Expo
The expo was once again held at the Harley Davidson Museum, and Mom and I picked up our race packets on Saturday morning. While waiting in line, I ran into Montel, who was volunteering. It was great to meet her in person as we had previously only connected on social media! While at the expo, Mom and I checked out the New Balance booth as well as the Milwaukee Running Festival merchandise booth. We also said hi to Micaela, who owns Minerva Running - an awesome company that makes clothing for active women. 

Up until the expo I was still feeling like I might end up skipping out on the race. But after being in the festive atmosphere where everyone was excited about the races the next day, I knew it was going to happen. I wouldn't run fast but at least I would get to participate. A step in the right direction toward reclaiming fitness and getting back to running the way I want. 

The Race
Mom and I arrived at the race around 6:30am. We were lucky to have VIP access (thanks Chris and Tracey!) so we also able to hang out for a bit in the heated tent. Since it was only in the upper 40s around race start, this was a pretty nice perk! While in the VIP tent, I ran into Ruth, who was running the marathon. I also saw Sue, who was also running the 5k. I'll be forever grateful to Sue for introducing me to the Y a few years ago :) 

I thought I'd feel all sorts of nerves by the time I lined up at the start line but surprisingly I felt nothing but an eagerness to get going. I think knowing I wasn't in this race to compete - only to finish without worsening any injuries - made it a lot less stressful. I really had nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

This year's course was different from last year's and spent more time on Lincoln Memorial Drive and around the Veteran's Park area. I thought it was great - not a lot of turns and plenty of room to pass other runners. Not that I was doing any passing during this one ;) 

As expected, the race felt hard even though I was running significantly slower than my usual 5k pace. I was also very conscious of not pushing too hard because I didn't want to crash & burn or re-injure anything. So I purposely kept the effort comfortably hard but nothing more. One thing that surprised me during the race was the course differed slightly from the route on the race website. Instead of doing a hairpin turn during mile 3, the course went around a little peninsula area. It wasn't a big deal - just unexpected!

Side note: I decided to wear Oiselle Flow Tights for the race and this was a total mistake. I love these pants for doing things like running errands but for running a race ... not so much. They slipped down my hips throughout the entire race despite having the drawstring yanked in as tight as it would go. It was mega uncomfortable and distracting. So note to self - always wear shorts!

Anyhow, I was good about staying controlled during the race so I let myself kick in the very end. I was nice and warmed up by that point so it felt nice to get a little taste of speed. 

After I finished up my race, my hamstrings started cramping, probably because I haven't done any speedwork in more than a month. I knew if I stopped for even a moment they would full on cramp so I kept on moving and went back on the course to look for Mom. She looked great as always and I ran with her for a bit before cheering her on as she finished the race. 

My race time was my slowest since the summer I started running. When I first saw my time I was mega depressed but then realized this is just the beginning. Running was not in the cards for me this fall but that will change. Heck, it's already changing. I'm finally able to run with a bit of consistency again and am getting in my gym work, too. If I can keep it up this winter - I WILL keep it up this winter - I'll be back in fighting shape just in time for Carlsbad 5000, which I've already decided is my next goal race. 

So that was my race weekend! I definitely recommend adding the Milwaukee Running Festival to your race calendar in 2017. If you live in the MKE area it is a nust-race and even if you're a bit further away it's worth making the trip. 

My questions for you:
  • Did you race over the weekend? If so, how did it go?
  • Have you run Carlsbad 5000? If so, have any race or travel tips for me?
  • Do you ever race in tights or capris? If so, what brand do you wear and do they stay up?

- ST   


  1. Good for you to run the race even though you weren't planning on going all out.

    I didn't race over the weekend. I did to many hills though and my left calf flared up with some pain.

    Never did the Carlsbad 5000 so no tips for you!

    I have to also answer NO to the tights or capris. I did however run as a cow at the Pumpkin run.

    1. Lol - I guess it would look funny for a guy to wear capris during a race!

      Hope your calf is feeling better :)

  2. aw sun! i'm so glad you're getting to run more frequently and with no (less) issues! that's wonderful!

    i ran the 1/2 (my first time running MRF) and i really enjoyed the course.

    i'm not sure i like oiselle bottoms. i ordered one pair of capris after i joined the volée and promptly returned them. i'm pretty small and the only pants i've ever found that fit great and stay up are from lululemon. a bummer because they're hella expensive and i don't agree with the owner's practices but i need something to run in... i'm going to try oiselle's tops and see if i like those.

    good to see you back at it! <#

    1. I love Lululemon pants but haven't ever tried them out running. I just bought Align II pants and they are fab :)

    2. i think the align ones are yoga pants. i don't own any of those... i only have the running pants and capris and i love them!

    3. Hmm. I've mainly stuck with the wunder under and now align pants. I'm sure the running ones are great!