Sunday, January 23, 2011

Race Report - Icebreaker Indoor Marathon

The official results are not online yet so I don't know my exact place or time yet, but I finished in about 4:08:34, an Icebreaker best for me.

I can't say enough about how cool, awesome, exciting, super the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon is. It is a true hidden treasure in the world of marathons. Chris and Dana put on a superb marathon and it only gets better year after year. Check out the cool shirt we got. It has the look of a worn rugby shirt and is NOT a technical shirt which is a really good thing. I have WAY to many technical shirts. Finally a marathon shirt I can wear anywhere.

Yesterday was the 2 heats of the Half Marathon and the Marathon Relay and they went really well. Being on the committee, I was on my feet working the race from 5AM to about 5PM. I was very tired when I left and my feet were sore but that was yesterday and now it is today.

I slept in a bit and woke up at 6AM. I knew I didn't really have to work much before the race so I drove in and tried to get to the Pettit Center by 7. I did have one job in the morning and that was to deliver the Chocolate Milk to the Pettit for the runner. Note to all the race directors out there. Runner LOVE chocolate milk after a race. And not that fake organic crap, the real deal, low fat is preferable. We received a ton of compliments on having chocolate milk. Thank you goes out to Kwik Trip convenience stores for donating it!

I was told that this was race day by the race director Chris Ponteri, but I knew that I would have a few questions to answer since a lot of the runners saw me the day before working. I got the new marathon pace charts put up and then headed to the Chiropractor on site for a quick back and neck adjustment (psss, don't tell my regular Chiro, he may think I cheated on him, LOL). It felt good and I headed to the start line for my 95.3 laps of pure enjoyment.

Right before the race, Paul showed up and wished me luck. He was volunteering at the water table for the first 4 hours. Then Chris introduced me to Dick Daymont, he is the race director for the Zoom Yah Yah Indoor Marathon in Northfield, MN That race was run 2 weeks ago. I tried to get in but didn't make it in on the lottery. Only about 42 runners are allowed in that one. Dick is a great guy and we ran the first couple laps together.

The gun goes off on time and sure enough, on my second lap, I am already passed. It is OK, I knew I would be passed All. Day. Long. The music is playing and the atmosphere is festive and runners are circling the track. I get into a rhythm after a few laps and begin to drop lap after lap between 2:26 to 2:30. I wanted to run right there as an average pace of 2:31 equates to a 4 hour marathon. My plan was to take breaks every 10 laps (2.75 miles) up to lap 80, then every 5 laps. I hit this plan the entire way.

One unique aspect to this race is that there is an announcer who does the right mix of music playing and announcements on the runners. Early in the race, he would say a few unique things about runners in the race that the runners submitted when registering. It is a great distraction and you got to learn a few things about some of your fellow racers out there. He would mention about 5 and then let the music play for awhile and then some more. He would mention when the leaders reached the halfway point and then also start announcing when runners were on their final couple laps. Most runners knew what lap they were on plus they had a big screen scrolling the name and place you were in. Really cool set up. At some point, he mentioned that there were 3 different race directors in the race today. He mentioned Dick Daymont from Zoom Yah Yah and also Kris Hinrichs, the race director for the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee. The he mentioned me as the race director for the WELS Kids Marathon and said some pretty cool things about the race.

I was on lap 46 when he announced that half of the runners were past the halfway point of the race and I wasn't there yet. Since there were 108 (I think) runners in the race, I knew my place wasn't great but I was OK with it. I reached where I thought the half marathon point was at 1:58:30 and I was still feeling good. Not long after that, I was told I was in 55th place.

In a race this small, you really get to know some of the runners on the course. I had remembered Robyn from last year and made sure I said "Hi" or "looking good" or something like that to her each time I passed her. I also was able to cheer on the leaders and other runners near the front often. Most of the fast guys appreciate it. We added a new feature this year as well. We had blank race bibs where runners could write something on and put on their backs for other runners to read. Some were quite interesting. A lot had their name or the number of marathons they had run. One lady had hers say "Go Bears", oh well, they lost. A very clever one said "Race Official - Do Not Pass" I had a good laugh at that one. One lady from Pennsylvania even wore a "Cheese Head" the entire race, not that takes some balance, maybe not mental balance though. those things are not exactly super light.

They allowed people to make signs by providing paper and markers. Some were pretty cool. I saw one that said "Run like you stole something". I don't think I am a fan of that one but I saw another that was "You Run 26.2 Miles Because 26.3 Miles is NUTS!" Some lady also had a dry small dry erase board and kept changing her notes. Some were very funny and I think at one point in time she was looking for a date?!?! I mentioned this to Chris that next year we should have a large dry erase board and keep changing the notes to clever things.

When I got to lap 60, my legs started feeling very heavy and tired and my laps started falling to 2:45 to 2:50. I made sure I didn't take an unplanned break though as I knew that would kill me mentally. About 10 laps later I was able to bring it back a little to the upper 2:30's but sub 4 was now out of the question. I know I got a little over 2/3s done when the first runner finished the race. Albertus Rohling was the winner this years in 2:45:56. Last year he took 3rd and 2nd 2 years ago. Steven Teits took 2nd place but the more incredible part of that was that yesterday, he took 3rd in the half marathon. He was the Gold Medal Challenge winner, runners who ran both the half and the full, just like the Goofy Challenge at Disney World.

With about 22 laps to go, my girls showed up to watch me and they made some really cool signs to show. Once again, they gave lots of the runner high fives and cheered on everyone. Not long after that, Mike showed up to my surprise. He had never some to Pettit before and lucky for him, he got to see me run really slow toward the end. He and Paul were yelling at me to pick it up and drop the hammer. Maybe that was why I was running so slow, maybe it was a sledgehammer I was holding.

I took my final break at lap 90 and was ready to be done. I suddenly said to myself to try to crank out my final 5 laps. With 4 laps to go, I had my fastest lap of the race, 2:24. With 3 laps to go, I ran a 2:22 and noticed I was in 51st place and knew there was another runner on the same lap as I was. I wanted to pass him/her so get the top 50. I was running a lot faster than anyone left in the race and then the announce said I was on my last lap and I was cranking along. My final lap was 2:02 and I finished in 4:08:32 (results were just poster) and I took 50th place. I was happy with my time and it was close to where I expected it after working the races the last 2 days being on my feet most of them.

Of all the comments on the race, I would say 98% of them were positive. Most everyone said it was an extraordinary race and they will be coming back next year. If you want in, registration opens about August 1st.

There were a couple notable racers there this weekend, each were running the Gold Medal Challenge. Julie Faylona won the half marathon and is an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. And Michael Henze who took 2nd in the US 24 hour run championships and represented the US in the World 24 hour championships. I had a chance to talk to both of these awesome runners and also cheer them on when we were all running. I remember Michael from Nashville where we both ran the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon last November.

Also attending the race as a spectator was Jenny Crain, a former US Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier who was hurt very bad in a car accident a few years back. She is a star in the local running community and is supported greatly. She is just as nice as she was before the accident, a wonderful person.

After the race, I was able to get a picture with my girls and the awesome signs they made before they left for a birthday party.

I was also able to meet Jamie as well. Jamie is a fellow blogger from the Madison, WI area. You can see her blog at Running Diva Mom. She took a picture of us and I think she is going to post it on her site. Jamie has a ton of running product reviews she does on her blog and they a ton of giveaways of all the products she reviews. From compression socks, to Bondis, to runner jewelry, to runner books to . . . She does a ton and her blog is fun to read. She is also a really awesome lady and it was great to finally meet her! Check out her site!

After the race, I stuck around until the final runner finished helping make sure she had all the cheers the other runners had. After loading my car, I went to pick up my daughter and her friend from the birthday parity they attended and then when I finally got home, I was able to watch the final quarter of the NFC Championship game between the Packers and the Bears. It got nerve racking toward the end but the Pack pulled it off and they are going to the Super Bowl to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I feel pretty good right now. Of course my legs are tired, but for the most part, I feel good. My knees are a touch sore and my feet have had it. I shall sleep good tonight.

Here are a few pictures I took on Saturday on the half marathon and marathon relay.
The Half Marathon being run as a Speed Skater cruises on the ice oval.

As you can see, the running track is not very wide but it is pretty long (442.43 meters, longer than a high school track).

The Marathon Relay was run when public open skating was going on.

Lots of runners and fans lined the track during the Marathon Relay.


Running Diva Mom said...

Congrats on a fantastic race, Bill! You really rocked it and looked super strong out there! It was great to get out there and spectate the race and see what it's all about and equally as great to finally meet you after all of these months. Looking forward to racing this next year! :)

Stacie said...

Congrats!!! Awesome race report and pics. I'm a new follower!!! I found you through Running Diva Mom.

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misszippy said...

Congrats! I can't imagine doing an indoor marathon--serious mental fortitude! But it would probably be pretty cool to watch the skaters as you went along.

Beth said...

Great post! I LOVE the shirt and the picture of the kids. Congrats on another graeat race. You have had quite a busy year already!

Amy said...

Finally responding back to you! Great job on your marathon finish! It was definitely a great atmosphere.

It was great meeting Jamie, and her kids, my girls had a fun time interacting with them.

I run on the trail A LOT, however, with my schedule it is usually on the weekends, and when it is warmer. :)
Let me know if you ever want to meet up for a run some time!