I left the hospital this morning at 7am and hustled to the west side and Lambeau field. It was a little surreal. This year the marathon started an hour before the half so there was a lot less congestion as I approached the stadium. Oneida is still heavily under construction, along with the Lombardi side of the stadium so there were barely any people on the "front" side of Lambeau. I went through the concourse to the Ridge side and dropped off my bag. As is my custom, I promptly got in line for the portojohn. Unfortunately for me, the odd U shaped arrangement meant a lot of confusion and at 5 minutes to gun time there was no way I was getting to pee. So I went to the corral and hoped for the best.
For once the weather was good. It wasn't brutally hot or pouring rain or so windy it was like getting repeatedly punched in the face. I was pretty happy with 50s and partly cloudy.
A bunch of people I don't know. And the arch. Waaaaaay up there.
It took me three full minutes to cross the start line. I love how people get all riled when the horn sounds and pack together. I actually feel a little bad for the ones that try to run right away. Take it easy, people, just walk to the timing pad-you'll be a lot less frustrated.
I decided early on that I wasn't going to dodge during the first miles. You know what I mean. People always line up in the wrong corral, or decide that 400m into the race is the right time to slow to a walk in the literal middle of the fucking road two abreast. I could just shake people like this. If you need to walk, that's totally cool. But maybe you could move to the side of the road? You know, because there are 7,000 people trying to go this exact way right now? Bleh. I just took a deep breath and followed the current around them...and it was fine.
At any rate, I was breathing easy and feeling pretty damn great. I made the first 5 miles at a respectable clip, and then I started looking for a place to pee. I skipped a couple of stops because the lines were long, and around the halfway point I couldn't wait any longer. I hopped off the course and into a very, very long line for the john. Sadly, once I'd stopped moving the urge to pee became overwhelming so I was stuck.
See? This was after about 3 minutes in line.
I knew I wasn't going to PR today, but the first 6+ miles had gone so well that I was hoping to go sub-2:20. This little stop kind of kicked that in the nuts for me, so instead I decided just to just enjoy the day and have a little fun.
I chatted with some people around me, soaked up some sun, and around mile 8.5? Popsicles!
I can't remember the last time I had one of these. It was delicious. I walked a bit and ate a little, then ran, then walked a bit more and finished it up. Popsicles. Fucking genius.
The course changed this year, and I liked the change. I like turns on a race course, it makes you feel like you're making progress. There were enough turns and enough little up-and-downs to keep it interesting. I liked approaching Lambeau from Valley View instead of Oneida. The old race course spent the last 3 miles basically running through industrial park. Flat, no shade, depressing scenery, and a weird little down and back before the final push to the stadium that used to just piss me right off. This year the last bit was through a nice tree lined neighborhood. Winning.
We ran down into Lambeau, and I didn't get bottlenecked this year. The year I PR'd at this race I spent something line 2 minutes walking and standing in the tunnel. I was HOT. This year I did a little waiting at the mouth of the stadium, but no more than a few seconds.
Into the belly of the beast.
We ran the opposite direction from last time, too...I think.
Spectators in the new part of the bowl.
I love running into Lambeau because after bashing around on 12 miles of concrete, you get to run on some nice squishy track stuff for a bit. The bummer about the new route is that after coming out of Lambeau you have to run uphill slightly to the finish. Only 400m or so, but holy shit it felt hard. After the finish, I got my bag and found some friends that finished a couple of minutes ahead of me.
Holy shit my feet are huge.
Miller sponsored the event this year. That is fucking sad. In years past, Titletown Brewery has brewed a special 26.2 ale for the after event (and that shit is deeeeeelicious). This year I had a Third Shift, because Third Shift. Also my other choice was Miller Light, and no. Just no.
My post race reward. Floppies, brats, beer, and cookies.
I need to get a new pair of shoes. These babies are my favorites, but the mileage is racking up and since I'm a big fat fatty, I am hard on minimalist/neutral shoes. Off to Zappos I go.
So. In conclusion. The new route was great, it was a beautiful day, I had a great time, and I got a 2:25 and a nifty medal for my trouble. Then I went home, collapsed into bed, and slept until 8:30pm...just in time to get up and head to work.
Congratulations to all my friends who ran the half and the full today! You are all awesome! I loved seeing pictures and posts from everyone who ran and came out to spectate. Thanks to everyone who came out to cheer and offer encouragement. It means more than you know.
I've done a lot of these races (and I'm not done yet, not by a long shot), and they are always fun. Even the shitty ones are fun. If you think you can't be a runner, you're wrong. Give it a try. It's a hell of a thing to run 13.1 (or 26.2) miles with 10,000 people (or 200 people, or 2000 people). It's addicting.
Also you get to have beer guilt free.