Saturday, October 13, 2012

Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon 10/7/12

The Lakefront Marathon was a repeat state for me but I signed up for it after going back and forth a little on it. But knowing that it was Kris Hendrich's last year as the RD combined with having received several recommendations from 50 Staters that it was a good one to do for Wisconsin. Getting to sleep in my own bed the night before and after the race was a bonus too.

Kris in the flourescant green at the start line

I was my weekend to work, but I was able to finaegle off until 3pm, in which I was then scheduled to work until 11p. Packet pick up was about 3 blocks from our apartment at MSOE's gym, but I was working during expo hours the first day and had HH pick it up for me.

Race start was at Grafton High School which is North of Milwaukee and the course is a point to point running to the lakefront near downtown Milwaukee at Veteran's Park.

Runners hanging out in the high school pre-race

USPS were transporting drop bags from the start to finish,
first time I have seen USPS involved in this type of thing usually it is UPS

This is how I look like from HH's height

View from my start spot, they also had a sign for under 2 hrs and 2 minutes,
the current world record for marathons, there was no-one in front of that sign

Marathon start under way
My goal would be to try to break 4 hours due to the flat course, being trained up, and cool weather but I was unable to get out of 2nd gear and choose instead to cruise through the course. It was very scenic, road closed to traffic on the right side of the road, peak fall colors. However, apparently due to people living in the neighborhoods complaining about people cheering during the race, there were very few access points for spectators. I just had HH stay home with plans to meet up at the finish. The course because of the lack of spectators was quite, boring. I never wear music anymore due to safety concerns, but this would have been a great race for music and/or a podcast.

The lowlight was overhearing the 4:20 pace group leader say "because it is cooler today, I am drinking less water and more gatorade today." This statement makes no sense at all as a person when it is warmer would try to drink more gatorade to make sure you were replenishing electrolytes at a fast enough pace, particularly if you were not using electrolyte capsules. I unfortunately spent many miles being simultaneous confused and very annoyed at pace group LEADER's statement that I vowed to cross the finish line before she did. I finished 4:17:05, pace of 9:49 minutes/mile, and beat her and her group by almost a minute.

The finisher medals were awesome, it was great they had chocolate milk in the finishers area and that the post race food was already pre-filled in a bag and it was easy to grab and go. I met HH and his brother at the finish line, we walked about 0.5 mile back to the car and was home and in a hot shower in minutes. I showed off my medal at work the next 2 days and gave a co-worker jokingly a hard time that my medal was bigger than the Chicago Marathon medal that took place the same day. I am still pretty new to my department and I feel that the medal help to tell the story of my adventures. Luckily, I got a few comments that they were inspired to start running again......along with people asking what place I finished in, and the distance of the marathon.....

Before too long I hope for all of them to know these things......

US Bank building looming over the park

Almost done!

Finisher area, the magical chocolate milk came from inside that tent!

Trying to escape the finisher area,
note chocolate milk held tightly in the left hand

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lake Tahoe Marathon Day #3 9/30/12

Since we had "picked" the restaurant for the group to eat at after the Day #1 marathon, then it was on Jennifer H. to pick Day #2's dinner spot. It was a little North of Stateline (where the casinos are located) in Zephyr's Cove and we met there separately at what looked from the outside to be a dive bar. They were a few minutes late due to driving past the place and having to circle back. They had found it in a travel magazine at the hotel/casino and it was billed as one of the oldest bar and grill in the area. Once seated, we got the story from Jennifer about her wallet. Turns out, other people were off in the woods using the restroom, due to the whole only 1 port a potty thing at the startline and a girl had found the money, credit cards, and her ID. Then, with the powers of Facebook, the girl sent a Facebook message, found out where she was staying and then dropped it off at the front desk of the hotel! Nothing missing. Jennifer had also suffered from achilles tendonitis (heel pain) pain from day #2 which made for a slower day for the last marathon on day 3.

Anywhoo, dinner was actually really good, the waitress was great, and we hatched plans to track down the 72 mile runners that had just started in South Lake Tahoe at 8pm for the "early" start, in order to cheer them on. However, as we approached the turn back up to the top of Heavenly where our hotel was, we turned left to go to bed early. We were caught by the others as they saw us turn, but it was worth it to get the extra sleep since the start line was 1 hour away on the far side of the lake.

Start line was at a park beach in Tahoe City, with the race starting at 7am. They had a bag piper playing at the start, and we saw the same guy again about 13 miles into the race on a scenic overlook.

The walkers who started 30 minutes before the runners almost needed an alternative start as the sprinklers had turned on throughout the park....luckily they turned off just in time, albeit making for a wet ground start in the grass for all.

Triple Marathoners

Last minute instructions at the start line,
note the tree as it was the official start line

As a slight reprieve from the first 2 days, the first 10 miles were mostly flat and mostly had an entire lane of the road closed for the runners. The other days we were primarily on the shoulder of the road and it got close a few times with both cars and bicyclists along the course. We hugged the lake as we headed south and were treated to being able to watch the full sunrise progression.

Flat at altitude
I'm in green, Jennifer in the blue tank
Now, HH's crewing skills ramped up a notch for this race with adaptation of a resupply messenger bag, as the race was on the left side of the rode and cars needed to park on the right side and then crew had to cross one lane of traffic to offer support.

Work bag turned crew support bag, like magic!
We picked up the half marathoners at, the halfway point, and from there to the finish the left lane was completely closed to traffic which was nice on those windy mountain roads. Then the hills set in, first once that was 1.3 miles long, the second passing Emerald Bay was "only" 0.5 miles long. Cumulative elevation gain for the course was 2,700ft!

Emerald Bay from HH's crew spot

Walking up the 0.5m hill,
I was a little winded while running
After the second big hill to inspiration point it was either downhill, flat, or a little uphill, and was all repeat terrain from the first 10k of the first day's marathon. We finished at Pope Beach (on the park's road) near the town of South Lake Tahoe and was treated to hot dogs from the city, water and gatorade from the race. Some people soaked again in the lake afterwards but it did not seem appealing and most in the group just sat at a picnic table socializing and telling stories.

Finished and in need of some sunglasses.
Marathon Maniac Photo
Hanging out with GREAT people, one of several reasons why I run
The real rockstar of the weekend was HH as my crew. He was super helpful in offering water/gatorade/pretzels on day 1 and 2 as there were only 4-5 aid stations each of those days. He also became a rockstar as he offered these things to all the Triple Marathoners that came by when he was in a particular crewing location. Once I had finished and sat down, he went to go cheer on those that he had helped the last few days. He got hugs from old ladies to thank him for his support, and one couple told him he had to come back next year to help with their attempt at the 72 mile race!

HH in his easy to spot shirt he wore to crew

Day 1 Emerald Bay to Spooner Lake (counter clockwise direction each race)
5:12:04 (11:55 min/mile)
44th/100 runners
1,700 ft of elevation gain

Day 2 Spooner Lake to Tahoe City
4:47:18 (10:58 min/mile)
42nd/111 runners
1,100 ft of elevation gain

Day 3 Tahoe City to Pope Beach
4:56:07 (11:18 min/mile)
2,700 ft of elevation gain

Next up, Lakefront Marathon, Milwaukee, WI 10/7/12
Repeat state, lifetime marathon or longer #48