Cara Conway (24) set a clear goal: "I will run a half marathon before I get married!" Armed with lots of determination and encouraged by a few members of her wedding party who will be running by her side, Cara will cross the finish line of her very first half marathon in Madison, WI on May 24th. Focal Flame Photography, the official race photographer for the upcoming Madison Half Marathon, talked to Cara about training for this race and what it means to be #sweatingforthewedding.
Focal Flame Photography (FFP): How many Madison Marathons have you run?
Cara: Zero! This is my first!
FFP: How many total marathons or half marathons have you run?
Cara: Zero! This is also my first!
FFP: Do you participate in other types of athletic events?
Cara: I have volunteered nearly every year for the Madison Ironman in September. Usually I share a role in either the swim or run portions of the race (or both!). Fun Runs have always been my go-to, so the Madison Half will be stepping out of the box a little bit! Favorites include the Crazy Legs in Madison, The Color Run in Milwaukee, Glow in the Deke in La Crosse, and most recently the Tram Road Challenge in Palm Springs, CA. The Tram Road Challenge is a run for the United Way of the Desert that climbs over 2,000 vertical feet in just over 3.7 miles - it definitely holds true to its name!
FFP: Why is running important to you?
Cara: For me, running is an escape from all of the chaos of the day. It allows you to breathe and reflect on decisions or events that have happened. After every run, I am able to confront each new situation with a fresh mind.
FFP: With so many races to choose from, why did you pick the Madison Half Marathon for your first?
Cara: I am choosing to participate in the Madison Marathon because it is home. It is what I have watched so many others participate in, and I am familiar with the beautiful course - now it is my turn! I have always wanted to do a half marathon and have finally gotten the courage.
FFP: Is there anything that will make this race more meaningful?
Cara: The Madison Marathon will be a special event for me because it is not only my first half marathon, but I am also running it with my Maid of Honor, and my brother (Groomsman) who I do all of my runs with. I am getting married in October, and this was a goal I made for myself upon getting engaged: I will run a half marathon before I get married! All of my training updates on social media have included the hashtag #sweatingforthewedding. You will definitely see t-shirts on the big day.
FFP: What's the best part of doing the race with friends and family?
Cara: Running the marathon with friends keeps you accountable. It ensures that you are training properly and are ready when the day comes. We're looking to have fun while accomplishing personal goals!
FFP: What would you tell other racers about training for a half marathon?
Cara: Run while you can! Some people dream of being able to participate in something like this. Take full advantage and have fun!
FFP: Is there anything else about your journey as a runner that you would like to share?
Cara: My journey has just begun. Marathons and triathlons are in my future.
This article is part of a series featuring athletes who are participating in a Madison Marathon event in 2015. Focal Flame Photography is honored to serve as official photographers for the Madison Marathon. All runners will receive free FocalShare™ digital race photos courtesy of the event organizers. The Spring Madison Marathon events will occur on May 23 and 24 on the streets of Wisconsin's capitol city. For more information or to register, visit Madison Marathon.
- by Erin Patterson