I woke up at about 5 AM this morning for the start of the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon and Half Marathon's Gold Medal Challenge. I slept pretty good all week and pretty good last night so all was well so far. After getting all my stuff packed, ate 2 packs of oatmeal, and off to the Pettit Center I went. It wasn't really cold this year like last year so the drive in was no problem.
I get to Pettit, sign in and get my packet, running numbers, and racing chip and head upstairs to relax a bit and get ready. I decided that I was going to tun the first 10 laps in a long sleeve shirt before I took it off and ran just in my singlet. This was a good decision as they raised the temperatures a bit in Pettit so it was probably in the lower 50's. I find Paul and Chris we head to the start line. I remind myself of the plan which is to break 2 hours but do it as effortlessly as possible saving energy for tomorrow.
The gun goes off and about 100 of us start circling the track for a total of 47.68 laps of pure enjoyment. My first few laps were a bit fast by about 6 seconds or so per lap but it was all good as I settled down and maintained lap times of 2:26 to 2:28 for the next 20 laps or so. I was getting past quite often and really wasn't passing too many myself but I expected this. I was in the "fast heat" of the half marathon (there was a second half marathon after the first one completed). About half way I was at about 58:30 so all is going according to plan.
Chris and Paul seem to be doing good as they pass me every once in awhile. Chris happens to be the Race Director of this entire event but was able to get into the first half marathon and mix it up some. He ended up running 1:29:49. Paul, like me, is doing the Gold Medal Challenge and tried taking it a bit easier and finished in 1:42:46.
During the second half of the race, I found myself picking it up a bit without trying to about 2:23 per lap. And in the last 7 laps, I felt really good and even though I tried to maintain a slow conservative pace, I was doing laps near 2:15. I finished strong in 1:54:53 for 65th place in the fast heat. I think about 6 runners beat my time in the "slow heat" so I ended up in 71st place overall. I am happy with this time but I hope I didn't use too much and risk crashing tomorrow. I don't think so but time will tell.
I was surprised how easy it was to run with the extra runners on the track. We all seemed to run smoothly though I can't speak for the leaders who had to pass runners the entire race. they played the music a lot louder this year which was good and the announcer did a great job keeping everyone informed. He did something I thought was cool, he started announcing some of the "notable" runners in the race. He mentioned Paul because he ran the Rock & Roll Marathon last week. He mentioned some other runners who were minor local celebrities like a local TV Sportscaster woman and a former Milwaukee Brewer TV announcer. Then out of the blue, I hear him welcome me saying "Bill is the Race Director or the Wellness Kid's Marathon". He was close! It is the WELS Kid's Marathon but it was fun hearing myself getting announced to all.
So now I will relax some and get ready for the full marathon tomorrow. I will stick to the plan and try to go out a bit slower and see how I feel halfway to see if I can get a sub 4.
After the half, I volunteered for the second half marathon. My job was to help call off laps if requested but I ended up being more of a gopher and going where needed. I helped the announcer with some stats, was a cheerer for the runners on the track, water jug filler, etc. There was one instance that happened that was odd. Everyone was told to put there chip band on the ankles. Well one guy asked how many laps he had left but there was no record of him on the scoring sheet. I ended up going down the track and talked to him and found out he had his chip on his wrist and no laps were being registered for him! He kept running but I found Chris (Race Director) and after some discussions with the timers, it was determined that he could finish the race and they "calculated" how many laps he should have finished based on his current pace. It was nice to see that he was able to get his half marathon medal but I don't know if he had an official finishing time or place.
After the second heat of the half marathon, they started the Marathon Relay. I ended up only staying for about 45 minutes of this before I headed home but it was wild to see. There were 68 teams running and some really fast. There were 3 teams that ran faster than 2:30 and the winning time was 2:20:20 for a pace of 5:22 per mile. Now that is fast!
I need to go to bed now and get some sleep and rest. 8:00AM tomorrow is the full!