Monday, May 19, 2014

Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon

This weekend was one of my favorite races that I continually go back to time and time again. I'm not sure what exactly it is about it, but I love it. This year there were a lot of changes that I'm not sure I loved.

Having done this race I think 4 other time (3 half, 1 full) I had made a few assumptions. One, I thought the pasta dinner was still on, I didn't really think about it until Saturday midday when I was getting ready to head to Green Bay. I checked the website, and there was nothing on there about it. Damn. Dinner plans now needed to be made.

Construction traffic doesn't really bother me, it is a necessary evil, for me it is my husband's line of work, so I get it. However, throw in the fact construction and road closures for a race route meant that parking was difficult. This proved to be more true the morning of the race than the expo. 

The expo was nice as it usually is, I felt something was missing, or maybe just showed too much restraint. I usually end up walking out with something I purchased. I did register for the Madison Mini while I was there, so that happened. 

The different start times were also new this year. I am not 100% sure how I feel about it. I could go either way on that. 

Anyway, I met Bill and his family in the Atrium, picked up my packet, perused the expo, and then went to the mall for a little retail therapy. Although I was not there for very long, by the time I was done I was hungry. I sent Bill a text that I was going to head to Noodles. By the time I got to Noodles and saw the line out the door, I realized so was everyone else in town. Thank goodness for technology!I found there was another Noodles not too far from where I was staying. Bill and his family joined me, so that was enjoyable. I swung by Starbucks on my way to my hotel. I was going to read but really felt like doing a whole lot of nothing, which is exactly what I did. I decided to go to bed, it was all of 9:30. 

I woke up ready to roll. Ate my cereal, had my coffee, drank some water, and headed over to Lambeau Field. Again parking was a struggle for me. I couldn't navigate to be able to park in the Lambeau lot which was frustrating. I finally found parking and trekked over toward the stadium. I heard the full marathon start, wish I could have been there to see them off, but just didn't quite get there in time.

Usually I hang out in the Atrium prior to the race, not sure where it was in relationship to where I was, but I didn't see it or go in. It was cold waiting around, but I knew it would be nice running weather. I talked to a few people prior to the race, I had hit the port-o-potties once, my second attempt closer to the start was never going to happen, the lines were ridiculously long. I finally said goodbye to my gear and long sleeve shirt, and headed to the start.

In previous years I had preferred start, which I am not sure why or how, but this year I didn't. The start was very congested, I was over the curb nearer to the 1:50 pace sign. I knew I was too far back, but didn't feel like fighting for a closer spot to the front. 

Finally, the gun went off and it was go time. Not going to lie, I was frustrated by all the jostling that I had to do the first mile.  Sometimes I kind of enjoy the bustle, but I couldn't get through places and I had to squeeze to get through. The first mile clicked off, which for the first time ever I didn't do too fast, but knew if I wanted to be competitive with my time, I had to pick it up a little. Thankfully we had spaced out and I was able to do just that. I wanted to use my strategy of pick-ups after every water stop. I did that, and found myself breaking the race into the next water stops. I kept my eye on my watch, too. I was hitting my miles at PR pace, and knew that if I maintained pace I could do it. From there is was more of a self talk, like-you went this far at Wisconsin at this pace, you can maintain this pace for X amount more miles.-I was really keeping my focus on maintaining pace without staring at my watch. I would make myself deals, like you can't look until after this song. Anyway, mind tricks are mind tricks, I was feeling good, and just wanted to focus on making this happen. Even as I approached Lambeau, I thought, take it in, enjoy the "tundra" but don't slow down

I came out of Lambeau, to turn toward the finishing stretch, I knew I would PR. I was a bit choked up for a minute because I had come so close over the last couple years and could just not quite pull it off. The finish approach seemed like a steep uphill, but looking at it after the fact it wasn't that steep. 

I crossed the line, checked my watch...goodbye 1:39:02 hello 1:37:04!  Woo-hoo!

I collected my medal, gear, phone. Ran into another runner who I knew who also PR'd, she was ecstatic, absolutely glowing-such a great feeling. I talked to Bill's family to see where he was, and headed to the finish to watch some other runners I knew finish. It was great to see Amy, Kim come through the finish! Also, standing watching other people finish is always super amazing to me. Seeing other people's hard work pay off is priceless. I stood by with one mom, who was waiting for her daughter to finish. She was nervous, proud, excited, for her daughter-and it was easy to catch all of her emotions with her. 

Another moment captured was what you see on Facebook, news, etc. A female full runner was coming in, she was struggling to walk. She made one last attempt at running and fell down. A few runners went by, but very quickly several runners, stopped their journey to the finish to assist her back to her feet, walk her until she was able to walk to the finish on her own. Afterwards I wished I had captured the moment with my camera, then was more grateful that I got to witness it in person, not behind a screen and see humanity at its greatest first-hand. 

Bill came through the finish, looking good, considering he had been fighting back problems and calf problems for the past few weeks. 

When I found him and his family at the finish, he congratulated ME on my PR, when he had just finished a full marathon. That's the great kind of guy he is. 

By that time I was ready for my post race food BEER. Sadly, the marathon switched sponsorship with Titletown Brewery who always made a 26.2 Brew for the event. My choice was Miller, Redd's or Third Gear. I chose the latter. By that time beer definitely tasted oh so good. 

I didn't get a chance to meet up with some of my other friends who were running, but I was ready to hit the road and head for home. I hit a Starbucks up after a few miles. Finished listening to Unbroken (what an amazing book) with tears streaming down my cheek. Had a drink out of my 13.1 glass, a delicious bacon wrapped filet, hot tubbed, and called it one hell of a day!

Time 1:37:04
Overall: 205 out of 5358
Age: 6 out of 634
Gender: 47 out of 3480


Sweet and Savory by Sarah said...

Nice work Amy. You are one hell of a runner!

Karen said...

Awesome PR!! That's a lot of time! You've been running so well this year. Green Bay is my favorite race too and even though I have lived more than 1000 mi away for most of those years, I love coming back. Didn't make it back this year, but hopefully next spring.