Monday, April 29

Them crazy legs!

Today, if my legs could stage their own protest, they would.

They would both hold up big signs that proclaim their distaste for stairs, bending, or even standing still in one place for too long. They would seek a ban on any further movement until they could be stretched. I took them on a walk today. Afterward, they were pulsing out a rhythm that sounded a little like swearing.

But on Saturday, they were loving every minute of it.

Don't you love traditions? One of my favorites is Madison's Crazylegs Classic - a five-mile run with 20,000 equally crazy Badger fans through the streets of campus. This was my sixth year. This race boasts a monster of a hill and colossal crowds and is usually held on the absolute worst weather day in all of April.

One year I convinced my neighbor to start running it. The night before was a perfect 60-70 degree evening that included a couple of margaritas on the back patio. The forecast was iffy for the next morning, but we weren't prepared for just how iffy. Needless to say, I dragged a friend who already didn't enjoy running out on a 40-degree, blustery morning - a complete turnaround from the night before. As we stood in the corral waiting for our wave to start, the heavens opened and buckets of water fell. I believe Scott sacrificed an iPod that year.

In the future, I stopped talking about the possible weather conditions when I recruited friends to join me. (Of course, they had seen the photos. I wasn't fooling anyone.)

So our reward came this year. A balmy 60 degrees at the start, with the sun out in full force until the run began. I must have said, "I can't believe this" a thousand times. This was the first year I ventured out in a t-shirt instead of bundling up in a coat. It was also my best time in 6 years - I thought I did worse, but apparently I can't read a clock. Also, the run felt too easy. I was sure I was taking it slow. My legs say otherwise today.

Happy Crazylegs Day! The neighborhoodies - before and after (minus Angie, who escaped the photos)

This race makes my year. Even in the worst conditions - thunderstorms, rain buckets, 30 mph winds - I love this run because it brings out the best of Madison. I've never experienced camaraderie like this in any other run. (Maybe it's the free beer at the end?) It's the pride and spirit of the community that really makes this an awesome time. It's the fact that thousands of people of all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and experiences, are giving this event a go. And they're all so darned fun to be around.

This year, as a side effect of the awesome weather, we stuck around post-race long enough to watch the last of the runners trek in. It was so fun to hear the entire stadium roar and watch these tired runners pump their fists in excitement. A great reminder -- we. can. do. anything.

If you're in Madison next spring, join us! I'm sure the weather will be ... um, great ... !

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