Today was the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee. I had a few friends that were running and were going for some hefty goals. Chaz wanted to break 2:50 and Chris wanted to break 3:00. Both run on the InStep Running Team. I have run with Chaz for years and I met Chris about a year ago and have run with him a few times, most recently a 20 miler around Lake Geneva.
I was unable to be there at the start as 2 of my princesses were singing in Church at 8:00, exactly when the race started. After getting them to where they needed to be, I stepped outside and called Cherylynn, Chaz's wife to get the exact start of the race on my stop watch. I got it and then went to church for a little over 1 hour. Then I raced downtown, changed clothes, and proceeded along the course in my car to find out where the guys were.
I finally saw Chaz at about 18 miles, turned around, drove a bit, then got out, ran up the course some and cheered on Chaz for about a 1/4 mile seeing how he was doing. So far right on pace. Then I went back and found Chris, he was being paced by his friend (and mine I suppose) Dana. He was right on pace as well. The temps were almost perfect for a marathon. It was about 50F, cloudy and winds from the west (they run mostly South).
I ended up driving along the course and stopping a few times to cheer on the guys again and then to the finish area to see them finish. I stayed at the 25 1/2 mile mark and found Chaz about 2 minutes off pace now. I cheered him on and tried to get him a little faster. It seemed to help but as he turned the last turn for the final 1/3 mile finish straightaway, the winds were fierce. He ended up running 2:51:44, not a sub 2:50, but a PR for him none-the-less and a 20th place finish out of 2750 signed up. Not too shabby.
I went back the the 25 1/2 mile mark and found Chris and Dana running just about on pace but Chris looked tired. (No kidding, he just ran 25 1/2 miles). Dana was really trying his best to keep Chris on pace and I cheered them on doing my best to keep him motivated for the final 4 minutes of running. I warned Dana about the winds for the final 1/3 mile so maybe he could have Chris draft off him. As they cam down the final chute, I was yelling as loud as I could to get Chris to pick it up. They passed me at 2:59:30 and still had a bit to go. Finally, I saw Chris finish in a time of 2:59:58! He did it! And only a second to spare. Dana let Chris have the glory of his sub 3:00 finish and came across at 2:59:59. Both good for 43rd & 44th place and the last 2 under 3 hours. Was that ever exciting to watch.
I still needed to get my weekend run in, so I ran the course backwards for 3 miles and then back along the course with the runners to get in 6 miles. That with the miles I ran with the guys makes it 8 for the day. Watching the race got me hyped up for next weekend. Also it was fun encouraging all the runners in their final 3 miles knowing exactly what most of them were going through. I stopped to help a guy at just past 24 miles who was flat on the ground with 2 cramped calves. I think I helped him, not sure.
Congratulations to Chaz and Chris for awesome runs today and now it is 6 days to go!