Lakefront Marathon

16 was the 25th annual Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was Rachael's third marathon.

I was in a motor scooter accident on August 16, 2004. The accident resulted in several fractures in my right foot, an experience on which I commented here. I often wondered in the months after the accident if my foot would ever be normal again and if the swelling would ever go down. The answers are no and yes. My right foot is still not as elegant as the left, but it takes a more trained eye to spot the difference. It has many strange aches and pains, but often hurts less on a run than on a walk. In any case, thirteen and a half months later, life goes on.

Rachael and I were scheduled to run the Maui marathon in September 2004. Among many horrors resulting from the accident, telling the family of my reluctance to fly to Maui on crutches remains an especially painful memory. Rachael bore it well, however, and ran the Lewis and Clark Marathon on the same day as Maui. She flew to Saint Louis on her own and was supported by her sister. She ran well, but the dear reader will need to beg her to write details in her own marathon log.

As indicated on my fun with cell phone cameras page, I eventually returned to training and had a solid Spring 5K race season. Current thinking is that I no longer race marathons, reserving serious effort for the 5K. Unfortunately, this means that the 5K times are an accurate indicator of my actual speed, or lack thereof. The photo's also show that I also eventually made good my Hawaii debt to the family. I am afraid Maui has overtaken San Francisco as my favorite place to run, although Yellowstone was pretty wonderful as well. On the other other hand, a pair of hikers was attacked by a bear in the Shoshone Lake area just a few weeks after Rachael and I did long runs along the shore.

A midwestern run was indicated for 16 because I am living in Minneapolis for the fall 2005 term, working at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications. I am living at the Wales House , just across the river from the start of the Twin Cities Marathon, but as I have already run TCM, another race was necessary. After some negotiations, Rachael and I settled on Milwaukee.

The midwest is full of marathons in the Fall, I flew out of the Twin Cities the day before the marathon and back the day of and landed in Chicago a week before the big run there (also checked off). Rachael flew in shortly before me and met me at the gate, we met her Mom outside the airport and immediately drove to Milwaukee.

We started our visit at the spectacular Milwaukee Art Museum. We went first to the Museum Cafe, which is in the basement of the Quadracci Pavilion. The Quadracci Pavilion is a glass breasted swan preening in front of Lake Michigan. The cafe is at the heart of the breast, with spectacular views of the lake and the lake shore. After lunch we covered the gift shop before breaking down for a 6 minute Louve through the actual art collection. We picked up our race packets at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and visited the "historic Brady street" district indicated on our city map. Brady street contained at least three pubs owned by (distant) cousins.

Rachael's Mom was a great sport and drove us to the start. In the luxury of this arrangement we passed school buses taking runners out and were even able to stop at Starbucks to "latte load." A photo shows our pain-free smiling faces at the start.

The Twin Cities Marathon, while painful to me at the time, is a fond and beautiful memory. As I run other races, I must confess that TCM organizers are probably correct to refer to it as "the most beautiful urban marathon in America." Minnesotans have a well known talent for Venn diagrams (Minneapolis is the "largest coldest city in the world." Some cities are larger, some are colder; none is colder and larger.) "in America" kills Paris and "urban" excludes Tahoe. The Everest Marathon, promoted as the most beautiful in the world, is dropped on both points. Chicago I also recall fondly, for the crowds and the beauty of the city itself. Chicago is just one Calatrava short of perfection.

The Lakefront Marathon, while right-sized with just 2000 runners, collegial and well organized, is not one that I would run again. The marathon follows the lake but lake views and lake shore running do not emerge until mile 23. Most of the run is along open roads, some with a fair amount of fairly agressive traffic. I started toward the back of the pack and ran the first two miles with Rachael before gradually picking up the pace. Passing other runners often involved being closer to traffic than I would like. I had to jump over a child that pushed his bike into the pack only to stop in the middle and yield to vehicle traffic. I am glad that the kid was wise enough to choose collision with me over more massive vehicles, but it takes a bit in reserve to jump at mile 13. I also came out of a day dream to find an old Thunderbird driving down on me. I couldn't tell if the old man at the wheel was also day dreaming or if he wanted to perform a public service by forcing runners back within the lines.The last three miles were mostly spectacular, although much of the last mile is on concrete sidewalk.

I am not sorry to have run the Lakefront. One must, at some point, go to Wisconsin. Within the Venn diagram containing Wisconsin the Lakefront Marathon is as promissing as any. One must, in fact, resolve the question whether or not finishing at the Calatrava is alone sufficient to make this run necessary. Walking up from the finish to sit on the steps of the museum waiting for Rachael's Mom was beautiful and pleasant. Rachael says, "I hate the run but love to be done." Was seeing the Quadracci Pavilion at that moment enough to justify a weekend in Milwaukee, where the streets were a mess of construction and the Saturday night restaurant implied a few too many trips to the blue box on Sunday morning? Milwaukee is a city in which beer plays the exact civic role that coffee plays in Seattle. The marathon consists of a drive 26.2 miles away from the art museum and a mostly dull run back. Does the Burke Brise Soleil compel this slog? Answer: Yes it does.

Starting at the back makes me a slow but faster than average "track assassin," passing all along the way. I was passed by one even more lethal assassin a half mile from the end, but otherwise was passed only by relay runners. I was focused within my self, talking to no one other than to say "good job" or "keep it up" as I passed by. Only once did I need to say "are you ok?" Rachael, in contrast, seemed to know most of the Miwaukee running community by the end of her 4:54 romp. She set a PR by 9 minutes and is very happy to have run "4 something." Not bad for a 75 degree day. She was worried about her knees before the run, but ran all the way and got home before she was expected. Here are the details:

Chip Time 
1196 David Brady
1197 Rachael Brady

1:52:21 for the first half, 1:44:02 for the second, not bad. The track assassin role, though presumably unkind to my fellow runners, is more fun than the 3:28:04 that I would have had with an even split. The question of whether I have a 3:20 or 3:10 in me is unresolved, but the leaving the question of speed in the laboratory of the 5K is easier on the joints.

We went back to Chicago, had dinner with Rachael's folks at Yummy Thai , and following the usual midwester/marathon flight delay woes, I was back at the Wales House and Rachael was back at Dogpatch.