Chicago Athlete on the Road: Waukesha, WI

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To celebrate the start of April, I ran the Trailbreaker Marathon hosted by Silver Circle Sports. Notice I said to celebrate the start of April, and not to celebrate the start of spring. This year, similar to last year, runners were greeted with strong winds, snow, icy rain, and cold temperatures. It was the weather’s April Fool’s Joke to runners!

This race has something for everyone. Distances offered included a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and TWO full marathons. All runners began at a Waukesha Parks building, where we were able to grab our packets and, wait for it, use indoor restrooms! There were a few parking lots and many areas for free street parking, located just blocks from the start line. I arrived a bit too late to find a parking lot space, but had no trouble finding free street parking.

The races all began together, and runners left the start line to wind through downtown Waukesha. Runners passed shops and restaurants and wove around a small body of water before entering the Fox River Trail & Glacial Drumlin Trail, where the longer distance-runners spent much of their time. Runners who elected the paved trail marathon stayed on the trails and enjoyed a flat paved, out and back experience. Runners who wanted a bit more of a challenge left the trail and hit the Ice Age Trail for about five miles, which were muddy, rugged, and highly technical.

This race is such a fun event, as it’s a collaboration of several groups working together to host the runners. The Waukesha Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department (WPRF) together with the Park Foundation of Waukesha, Inc., host the event and benefit from the funds raised, while Silver Circle Sporting Events manages the actual race. This race company hosts a wide range of races and always ensures runners have a great experience.

This year, the course was difficult due to the high winds and snow. For me, the snow subsided right around mile 14, which came as a pleasant surprise. The temps stayed cool and the winds kept moving, but it was nice to have a refrain from the snow pelting my face and eyes. This out and back course is done so well, in such a simple format. It shows that sometimes simple really is best. Runners literally run out and back, experiencing tree-lined trails along the way, along with small towns, coffee shops, and restaurants that peek through the trail breaks here and there.

I decided to make a weekend of it, and stayed one of my favorite family-friendly hotels, The Ingelside. Located just 9 minutes from the start/finish line of the course, I hightailed it over and was able to check in early, which was so appreciated! There are many things that I love about this hotel, but most are driven by the staff. The staff go above and beyond to make sure that you are taken care of. I arrived just before 12pm, well before the 3pm check in. My tired body and dirty shoes/legs must have been quite the sight. The employee at the front desk checked me in and got me a room without question so that I could clean up and get ready to celebrate my 26.2 with my family.

This hotel has a full indoor waterpark complete with hundreds of steps to keep your kids, and you, moving. There are two large tube-slides and one body-slide that patrons of all ages can enjoy. There is even a water obstacle course that ninja-warriors can test their skills on.

Also in the hotel is a separate pool, if you prefer a quieter setting or would like to swim a few laps. We took advantage of this, post-race, as water is one of the best ways to recover from a strenuous workout.

The Ingelside also has a full fitness center that is enclosed with windows and bright light. There are several cardio and strength options, as well as areas to stretch.

The Ingelside Hotel is clean and a safe spot to take your families for a weekend overnight. I wasn’t the only Trailbreaker runner who had this thought. There were several runners who traveled to Waukesha for the weekend with their families and selected the Ingelside as their hotel choice. It is such a great option for our active families to take advantage of when traveling for races.

The next day, I knew I needed to keep moving to work the ache out of my tired legs, so we took a trip to the Milwaukee County Zoo. It was a chilly day, but full of sunlight and several buildings that we could pop in and out of.

This zoo is so easy to tackle with families. Parking is located right onsite, and visitors enter through the welcome center to find a cafe and restrooms, before embarking on the trail system that circles the zoo. We had so much fun playing with the penguins and visiting the primate house.

The Milwaukee Zoo has a wide range of events for families and is constantly adding to their resident count. New this year were the Amazon Milk Frogs, which my kids loved searching for.

A bonus – While my kids searched for the 10 blue cuties, I took the time to stretch out my calves and lunged around a bit. Yes, I was that weirdo, and you can be too on your next visit to the reptile house!

Also adorable were the De Brazza’s monkeys who are new to the Milwaukee Zoo.

I know it seems counterintuitive to walk around a zoo the day after a marathon, but it was really a great way to keep moving and work the kinks out. Plus a great way to end an active, family weekend of events.

 

 

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