I came across this race I think from random facebook postings and decided to sign up so I could do a race on my birthday. With the timed race it gave me an opportunity if the run was going well to run my age in miles, or to also stop after 6 loops which was just over a marathon at 26.4 miles. Also a factor in the distance was my hip pain, diagnosed as abductor tendonitis, something my google-fu had failed me in trying to self diagnose (what!? I have crappy grad student health insurance).
A fellow Marathon Maniac that I had roomed with at the Route 66 Marathon last fall in Tulsa, OK had emailed me when she saw my name on the race calendar and we planned to share a hotel room in Green Bay the night before the race. We met at the hotel early evening, and for a pre-race meal I requested Olive Garden, and there was one in town about 15 minutes away. The place was hopping and we had to wait 25 minutes for a table but we chatted about races so the time went by fast. After dinner we drove past our hotel to the race start since we had time and to get a sense of where the start was located. I snapped this photo of the waters of Green Bay at sunset.
The race started at 5am, but we started 13 minutes late getting everyone checked in and things ready. This is a small race of only about 30 people running. What is typical of ultrarunners is humility, so at the start line almost no-one is willing to stand in the front, so the race director after cajoling us to the start line, she just made it a few feet back where we were all standing. Hilarious! I love ultrarunners.
The race is a 4.4 mile loop around the campus of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. It is a mostly woody campus with the path that we ran was about 1/2 dirt/gravel and 1/2 bark chips, with 1/4 mile asphalt mixed in. Wildlife that I saw in no particular order: deer, small rabbit, chipmunks, various birds (don't ask me what kind), snakes, and golfers. The golfers in particular were very interested in what we were doing and I explained at various points in the race to about half a dozen of them what we were doing, they pretended to be impressed. There was also an aid station at the start/finish and a second one 1.7 miles from the start.
All the runners spread out pretty quick, and while I leapfrogged with 3-4 of the same runners a few times, I was primarily running by myself. (check out the elevation profile)
I was conflicted about how far to run beyond a marathon, with a DNF 2 weeks ago at the Kettle Fun Run but with a double marathon weekend planned for next weekend. My hip was feeling alright but with occasional pain and things were heating up. I opted to stop after the 6 loops, got my awesome "woodal" (medal made of wood, duh), headed inside to the golf course clubhouse where the race had paid for us to have a catered lunch. I got a veggie burger and quietly ate before hitting the road. Sitting there in my sweaty workout clothes I felt a little like a thruhiker in town dressed somewhat inappropriate for the situation yet not being able to do anything about it at that moment.
Great race for anyone that needs Wisconsin. And remember, ultras usually don't cancel their races unless there is a very, very important reason to.