Packet pickup went pretty smooth on Friday night and I was pleasantly surprised that there were women's cut t-shirts as it didn't mention this while signing up and in past years they have been unisex. They have a decent size expo and I was able to snag a few items, 2 bondibands, a $7 tech tank from Eastbay and 2 different Honey Stinger chews. I am looking to find more organic items to eat than GU since during my last marathon I felt really bloated at mile 20 and want to correct it this time around. It's either Honey Stingers or Chocolate #9, which I will order a giant box if the test with the chews does not work.
Saturday was not your ideal pre-race strategy as it was Cottage opening week for both my husband's and my grandma's cottages in Waupaca. I split my time, in the morning I helped to paint at my husband's place and then headed over to my cottage. I then spent the next 2 hours bagging leaves and pine needles and then hauling the 30lbs bags on my back up the hill and over to the trailer. My feet and legs were feeling dead so I was ready to get off my feet. I enjoyed a few beers with friends and the in-laws before heading home. It was off to bed early for the 4am wakeup call.
I hopped in the shower since I knew it was going to be a hot day and wanted to start off the day with wet hair. I knew water would get dumped on it anyways and would help maintain my frizzy curls. I picked up Sarah and we made the quick drive up to Lambeau Field and we actually shivered while getting our gear check bags ready. We quickly hit the bathrooms and walked into the atrium to find the pacers to hook up with. I love it about this race that you can stand inside until about 10 minutes prior. We dropped off our gear check bags and lined up at the start. The anthem was sung, the wheelchairs started, and we had a moment of silence for Boston. And we were off!
Miles 1 -5:
I really had to keep an eye on my pace to ensure we were sticking with our average pace of 10:25-10:30, we would walk for about 15-20 seconds through the water stations to help people refuel and grab what they needed. This wound through neighborhoods with tree lined streets and the crowd support was strong. Rachel and Kim came up behind and returned the ass grab, I was happy to see them looking strong! It felt warm at this point and at the end of this stretch you could feel that it had warmed up. Our group was starting to struggle and they had mentioned they may have to drop their pace soon.
Shortly after mile six you hit my favorite part of the course (outside of the end) as you make a left turn, you begin a hillier section and you can see the throngs of runners ahead and behind. The aid station here is right in front of a church so there is always music and amazing crowds here. Our original group had all disappeared but we seemed to pick up another group of people. Around mile 8 I asked if I could hold the pacer sign to get used to what it felt like and she gladly handed it off. I held it until mile 9 when I realized I had not eaten a shot block since about mile 3. I took two quickly and instantly felt better. Our group was gone again and people were really struggling with the heat. It was about 80 by this time with no clouds in the sky. I had seen 1 person down and two people gagging on the sides but most people were listening to their bodies.
*At some point during this time my phone camera somehow got flipped into Sepia mode so you're just gonna have to deal with these pics. Finally figured out how to switch it back the next day!!
Theresa and I just kept on course as she knew we would pick up people at the end of the race, so I held the sign for most of this time and we chatted, she mentioned this was likely her last year pacing for this race and I might be able to take over for her next year. The last two miles lack in crowd support and the sun was beating on you with no tree cover in sight, at mile 11 I said bye to Kim & Rachel as they made the right turn while I got to turn left and head to the finish. The last water stop I finally got a little ice with my Gatorade and was THRILLED! It cooled me down and the finish was in sight. We made the turn into Lambeau and down the players tunnel to make the lap around Lambeau Field. As a Packers fan since I was little, the experience is just amazing! Your body goes numb, all pain leaves your body and you just revel in all that has happened here on the field. As you make the climb back up the tunnel you come out and there is the finish line. Theresa gave me the honor of holding the sign into the finish and I just smiled!
LOVE THIS PIC!!!
Bringing it in to the finish
Sarah and I walked back to the car to ditch our gear bags, all the while my medal squeaked every time I took a step. It was getting ready to throw it and put some soap on it after the bathroom stop and that seemed to help. We found a place in Lambeau to sit and watch for Kim & Rachel. We figured they would come in sometime after 4:40 and not long after that if they were still holding strong. We saw a few people attempt a Lambeau Leap, one man run with his baby through to the end and then I saw them emerge from the tunnel right on track. They looked strong yet and we rushed down to the edge to cheer them on towards the end! Rachel and Kim took advantage of the massages and they both got like 30 minute sessions before we called it a day and headed home.
The only thing I would recommend for this race would be Ice available at some of the earlier water stations, they had it on the marathon course after they split off but it was already halfway through the race before they even could take advantage of this.