One of my favorite things to do is explore new places and have new adventures with my family. Earlier this month, we were able to join Chad for a weekend in Madison, Wisconsin for the Madison Marathon (because, you know. Sunday was his “long run” anyway, so why not go somewhere and partake in the half marathon of the marathon event? #runners).
I’ve always wanted to go to Madison. I’ve had this image in my head of brick-laid streets and big swooping trees with the leaves turning orange for fall, and all the cheese curds this dairy-loving-but-shouldn’t-have-because-of-my-allergy-girl could dream about.
So, the Funderburks packed three of our biggest suitcases for a 2 night stay in the city.
(Also, for the record, The Bridges of Madison County has nothing to do with Madison, Wisconsin – it’s actually about Madison County, Iowa.. or something like that, which I probably should have known since I do live in Iowa, but I just found this out so I’m doing you a favor and passing this nugget of info along. You’re welcome).
Madison Marathon: Our Weekend in Wisconsin
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Luxury Hotels in Madison, Wisconsin
If you’re looking for a luxury hotel in Madison, Wisconsin then you definitely need to check out The Edgewater, where we stayed. It was amazingly gorgeous and really kind of cool.
The restaurant has an incredible view of the lake, and in the winter time, they put in an outdoor ice skating rink which the photos made seem absolutely beautiful (sadly, it wasn’t there during our stay).
I will say, when you pull up to this place and it’s gloomy and dark outside, and the wind is howling, and the waves from the lake are going crazy.. there’s definitely an eery feeling to the outside of this place. But we enjoyed our stay!
The photo is a view from our room on the 12th floor; the area you see below is where they put in the ice skating rink. Word to the wise: don’t stand out there too long on a windy day.
Best Places to Eat in Madison, WI
Of course finding food and places to eat ranked number one on my agenda for the weekend, and we found two places close by that were within walking distance.
I will say, if we do come back to Madison (and I hope that we do sometime), I have some others on my list that I’d like to check out, but these were two decent places to start.
Our first night in Madison we ate dinner at a place called The Old Fashioned. The menu was mostly bar/pub food (but I’d LOVE to see what their breakfast menu is like!)
And of course you can’t visit Madison without getting the fried cheese curds. They were really good, but there was a moment where I choked on one and I honestly thought that might be the end of me.
(For those who don’t know me, I have a food allergy to dairy and gluten. Not only am I allergic, but eating them both over a period of time can cause my esophagus to narrow. Not the smartest move, to eat fried cheese curds, but FOMO.. Sometimes I have to live a little, even if it risks killing me. Kidding, kidding).
Otherwise, I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich (something I NEVER do, and still shouldn’t do).
I decided it ranked high on the “is it worth the gluten + dairy” meter, because it came with lots of bacon and grilled peppers. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it was not worth the gluten. Or dairy.
I should have opted for the loaded mac and cheese like Chad did. But I’m not a professional runner so…
The next day we decided to have lunch at a place called Cooper’s Tavern (Cooper really wanted to go there because of the name).
This place won, honestly, out of the two choices. I enjoyed a much needed glass of Pinot Grigio and a delicious Salmon Salad (and maybe more than a few of Coop’s fries).
I also had the pleasure of sitting next to a woman at the bar, who, after I gave her my seat, we became best friends and she proceeded to tell me about the time she dated this guy, who on paper was absolutely perfect. But, her dog couldn’t stand him because he was just so boring. And whenever he’d come over, her dog would pout, and the minute this guy would leave, her dog would smile. Hand to God. He would smile. Needless to say, they’re not together still today. Probably a blessing in disguise.
Madison Half Marathon
After two wild nights in our hotel room where we fell asleep by 8:00 pm, it was time for the big race.
That Sunday morning was a balmy 16 degrees, but Chad was feeling ready to go! In all honesty, it was absolutely freezing outside. But being there and seeing him in his element was a really neat experience.
Chad had wanted to get under 1 hour 50 minutes for the half marathon, but once we drove the Madison half marathon route and realized how many hills there are in Madison, he was feeling pretty nervous about that (and for the record, whoever designed the handouts that displayed the race route.. next time consider making the font ever so slightly bigger so that you can actually read the street names. Chad ran the half marathon in a shorter time than we were able to drive it..)
(This is the electronic version which I had access to the day of the race. See.. so much easier to read).
We were fortunate that this app actually worked this race (we’ve been to far too many where the app doesn’t track your runner!) so we could keep tabs on Chad’s whereabouts and plan for our return to the finish line!
(Being that it was so stinking cold, Coop and I grabbed a hot breakfast and went back to the hotel to sit in the lobby by the fire while we waited).
Once I realized that we had a shot to catch Chad around mile marker 11, we booked it back toward the race route.
Much to our dismay, after standing at mile marker 11 for about 15 minutes, we realized that we were actually at the incorrect mile marker, and so we wouldn’t be seeing him. On a brighter note, as we sadly walked away and headed toward the finish line, we realized that we WOULD get a chance to see him running up the hill on his final mile.
So we waited, our sign held high, and we cheered him on as he came hightailing it up his final hill. Even more, we were able to run around the corner and still catch him at the finish line, where we found out not only did he achieve his goal, he beat it.
(Gift idea for the runner in your life? Chad loves this arm band for his cell phone).
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I am just so darn proud of Chad.
This man has the most mental strength out of any person I’ve ever met in my entire life. He is the epitome of believing you can do something, and working hard to achieve that goal. He may be crazy sometimes (who else travels the globe to run for fun??) but he works so damn hard and inspires me every single day.
He is always the first person to support my crazy dreams, and I hope he knows how much Cooper and I support his, too. We love you, Chad! Congrats again on such an amazing race in Madison! We loved every single second of sharing it with you!