Thursday, March 1, 2012

50 in 50 in 50: #5 WISCONSIN

When Pearl Jam was celebrating 20 years by playing it's only US tour date - a two day festival - somewhere between Madison and Milwaukee, my husband (and some buddies) had to be there.

When I learned that a small town outside of Madison has an annual Cow Chip Festival* with a 10K on the SAME weekend, I had to join them.  *you read that right, a whole festival for dried cow dung.

We drove the abrasive 10 plus hours to get to Madison and stayed with some wonderful friends of mine. After enjoying what that city has to offer (and it has to offer a lot - anyone contemplating a visit should go right away), we hit the hay for the next day's race.

Madison's Capitol Building

Madison's spicy cheesy bread. 
There were other highlights but I will stop after this bread.

The race was on a cool, drizzling morning. We woke up early to drive twenty minutes to little town of Prairie Du Sac, and we quickly learned an important runner's lesson: 10 hour car ride + local microbrews + double order cheese curds = less than ideal running preparation. In fact, your lower GI tract will yell at you. (and that may seem like an over share but its important that no one repeats my mistakes)

There was a sizable crowd at the start, but not to worry, the one mile of straight up-hill did a lot to thin us out. The scenery was incredible and I'm so sad I didn't have my camera. We ran past bright rolling hillsides, over bridges with expansive lakes, through back country roads of wheat fields. I kept wanting to belt out parts of America the Beautiful - 'FOR AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN!!!" But the locals seemed unimpressed by their surroundings, so I played it cool.

After a brief race recovery (curled up on the curb, seriously enjoying some orange slices) - the festival was just beginning. Pig rotisserie was being assembled. The pie stands were setting out their competitive greatness. The local crafters were displaying every possible use of wool imaginable. A man, the spitting image of Willie Nelson, was playing Elvis on the acoustic guitar. Then a giant, stuffed, cow pie mascot waved a white gloved hand at me as it moved along the grounds, and I was in heaven.

oh yes, they also have a cow chip throwing contest!

That evening we moved along to Milwaukee. The boys went to the concert for two consecutive nights while I saved money and brain ache by staying back near the hotel. Milwaukee is also pretty fantastic, by the way. 

tons of water walkways and great little restaurants

And remember that lesson I told you about beer and cheese - clearly my memory is very poor - or my will power - or both.

dinner in Milwaukee

what's that on the race shirt, you ask... 
a cow pie - wearing a cheese hat - kicking a football
thank you Wisconsin!

The Breakdown
date: 10/3/11
race: Cow Chip Classic 10K
location: Praire Du Sac, WI
charity: I don't know, I was too distracted by the cow dung mascot. 
time: 1:04:20 (the girls) 50:09 (the boy)

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