This is by far the oddest race report I have ever written. Then again I have only been running competitively since 2008, so with a small sample size it may not be the oddest you've ever read. It is also the longest so feel free to change the channel. My apologies for the tome.
My wife and son drove up late Friday night and checked into our hotel. I must have sat wrong in the car because I got this huge muscle knot at the top of my gluteus muscle (aka butt). We were meeting her godson Brandon who was running the 5K and his dad Tom who was running the half. The whole plan was hatched as a birthday present to him to run the 5K. He is a huge Green Bay Packer fan and he would get the opportunity to run in Lambeau Field. Since I'm a Packer fan as well, I was more than happy to indulge the Packer pride. My wife and Tom are both die hard Bear fans so there was a portion of the weekend that was hard to stomach for them.
Saturday morning Brandon ran his 5k without training I might add. Youth...wasted on the young as they say. My son ran the 1k kids run and was accompanied by Brandon so they both got to run inside Lambeau while we watched from the stands. My muscle was nagging me all day and I was unconsciously altering the way I walked, which started to aggravate my right hamstring. My penchant for odd injuries was haunting me again! Ridiculous because this was not an injury sustained during running. The race weather was looking grim as well. 30MPH winds were predicted out of the northeast. The last place you want it in this race since Mile 16 to almost Mile 22 would be dead into the wind along the river. I took ibuprofen all day and tried to stay off of my feet as much as possible.
We grabbed some dinner and I did a last check of my email. I was alerted that the 3:30 pacer Adam was sending out a last minute SOS on the RW forum for advice. Now even the pacer was worried. I turned in about 9PM. Falling asleep is hard enough before a big race and now I was worried I couldn't run. I didn't want to tempt fate with a short run on Saturday figuring it just needed to relax. I tossed and turned all night and didn't sleep very well. There were a lot of family and friends who were anticipating my race and I was worried about a DNF. Hitting the bathroom three times in the middle of the night didn't help either. Can you say overhydrated?
The alarm went off at 5AM. The weather channel reports 50F (good) and sustained winds of 15-25MPH (gulp). I ate and got dressed. The muscle still hurts but not as much. I refused to take any more ibuprofen before the race because it could be quite dangerous if I became dehydrated during the race. I walked through the Lambeau Field Atrium, dropped my bag at gear check and hit the port-a-john. By this time they were asking the preferred corral runners to load up about 15 minutes before race time. The race started with a factory whistle which is very appropriate for this blue collar town.
I kept an eye on the 3:30 pace group and decided to run with Adam and his group. The race started about two minutes late but during the first mile my bizarre muscle condition was sore but not affecting my stride.
Mile 1 - 8:01 Damn this pacer is good.
Mile 2 - 7:45 A bit too fast but early enough to fix.
Mile 3 - 7:47 Uh-oh. Slow down stupid you'll burn up at this pace.
Mile 4 - 9:40 Ok, now I never run this slow ever! What the hell is going on? The three pacers begin discuss that the mile marker must be off a 1/4 mile. I tend to agree. Since I don't run with a GPS, I begin to doubt everything. I decide I need to lose the pace group and run my own race.
Mile 5 - 8:12 We cross the first timing mat here and I've averaged an 8:16 pace.
Mile 6 thru 8 - Mile markers are either blown down or missing altogether. That is why I don't have mile splits. I decide to rejoin the pace group deciding there is safety in numbers all with GPS. I abandon my watch and decide to run off feel. These are just odd paces but surprisingly I don't panic. Mile 7 is a short steep downhill where I feel my right hamstring twinge sharply. A result of the bizarre butt injury. I shorten my stride on the downhill and it takes the pressure off
Mile 9-10-11 - Feeling really good here. I cross the 10 mile mat at 1:21 flat (8:06 avg). The half marathoners leave us just past 11. We get a taste of the enormous wind as we cross Route 32. It blows us sideways. By now it's gusting in the 30's.
Mile 12-13-14 Wind directly at our backs and a small group of us go ahead of the pace group but I continue to look over my shoulder. I'll need this pace group when we head into the wind
Mile 15 - Cross the mat at 2:00:08 (8:00 avg) Exposed on the Main Ave bridge over the Fox River. We have to fight to stay on the sidewalk as the gale force wind hits us from our left.
Mile 16 thru 20 - The 3:30 pace group catches us and we all work in a pack of about 40 runners to break the wind. The pacers all took the lead and went above and beyond the call here. Later on we find the wind has gusted to 40MPH. It works to a point but we are getting blasted by the wind. I can't maintain the pace as both quads are very fatigued. I walk a short stretch and begin to run again. My quads feel better from the short break. Cross Mile 20 mat at 2:41:30 (8:04 avg)
Mile 21-25 I finally cross the river and out of the headwind at Mile 21.7. There will be no 3:30 today. Holding the pace into the sidewind and headwind has taken it's toll. I have nothing left to pick up the pace and start to slow down. I shortly walk through the remaining aid stations.
Mile 26 - There is Lambeau off in the distance. A jolt of energy from running out of the players tunnel and into the stadium. Music is loud. The track around is cushioned and it puts an extra spring in my stride. We run one loop with the stands filled with screaming supporters. I look for my posse but couldn't spot them. One last blast of wind as we head out of the stadium and toward the finish line.
Final time - 3:37:09. It's a 12 plus minute PR. I was hoping to BQ but not today. I'm very satisfied with my race. Not what I was after but in this wind I held it together for a long long time.
Now it's Bonus Time! I received the following e-mail from the RD about 5PM on Monday night.
Yesterday all participants in the full and half marathons ran an extra 800 feet due to incorrect course markings just after mile three. The certified courses for the half and full marathon were supposed to take a right off of Roscoe Street onto 14th Avenue before turning right on Biemeret Street. Instead, runners were taken an extra 400 feet to 13th Avenue, which added a total of 800 extra feet (.15 miles) onto the route.
We were alerted to the error after hearing multiple comments about inaccurate GPS readings at this particular point on the course. We know it's common for runners who wear Garmin watches or other GPS devices to see differences in total distance due to the course being measured on the optimal, point-to-point line and runners straying from this line, but the consistency in these reports caused us to take another look. We owe a thank you to those runners who weighed in on this matter.
We will be correcting this error in your results. Gun times, chip times and mile 5 split times for all runners will be adjusted on our website by Tuesday afternoon. We have also talked to representatives of the Boston Marathon who have agreed to accept a database with adjusted finish times. Marathon runners can find their adjusted time by multiplying their current time by .9943. Half marathon runners can find their adjusted time by multiplying their time by .9886. Since these adjustments will affect ALL runners' finish times, it will not change the overall or age group standings.
If my math is right, my new time is 3:36:37! That explains the odd mile splits between Mile 3 and 4. It was well organized and well run race. Mother nature had other ideas. I thanked Adam and his fellow pacers. He said the 4:45 pacer has run 192 marathons, and he said this was BY FAR the most difficult race he has ever run due to the wind.