Especially on a day when you've got 13.1 miles in front of you. But that's what happened.
Let me back up.
The Green Bay Half Marathon. I had been stalking the weather all week. And it actually started to get better as race day approached. The chance of showers? They disappeared. The temperatures? Projected to be in the lower- to mid-50s, perfect running temps. But then the weathermen put in that pesky word - WINDY. In caps and italicized too. But they never really defined windy. Until the day before.
Saturday I headed up to the expo to pick up my packet and roam around the vendors a bit. I stopped by the Green Bay Running Club booth and got a few last minute words of wisdom from Coach Jim. I had been thinking strategy and after talking with him I decided to start out with the 2:30 pace group and see how I felt, with plans to kick it up a bit towards the end.
After driving the race course - in the pouring rain - I headed back to my parents' house to grab some food and relax. Oh, and figure out a race day outfit. Nothing like deciding at 9 p.m. what I'll be wearing the next day!
Race dayMy alarm started buzzing at 5 a.m. And the first thing I heard? The howling wind. Ugh. Not a good sign. I got ready, made my waffles with peanut butter, grabbed my stuff and my Mom and I were out the door. Last year when I went things went so smoothly. This year? Not so much.
First there was the small traffic backup on the highway off-ramp. Then there was not parking in the Lambeau Field Stadium parking lots, so we had to park across the street in an overflow lot. Then the atrium? Pure craziness. And the line for the inside bathrooms? So long I never actually found the end. Instead I headed out to the port-a-potties where the lines were just as long. I think I finally got to with like 7 minutes before the starting gun would go off.
I still needed to find my Mom and get my Garmin, iPod and race belt though. I was a bit frantic at this point. I like to have ample time where I don't feel rushed. I felt rushed that morning. I met up with my Mom, collected my stuff and got a good luck hug from Mom before I hopped a fence and tried to find that 2:30 pace group. I found the group and found a spot to wait with the other 8,500 runners.
At this point I'm noticing my Garmin is having trouble picking up a satellite. Uh-oh. I try turning it off and turning it back on, it's worked in the past. No luck. Great. Just what I need. A Garmin that's on the fritz. I push the start button, thinking maybe I'd at least have a time to go by.
The gun goes off. It's time for my second attempt at the Green Bay Half Marathon. And did I mention it's still incredibly windy? It was.
But then I hear news. The course? It was certified at the correct distance, but when the "crew" was putting out signs before the race, they mismarked it so the course was actually 800 feet longer (0.15 miles) and the race organizers were going to be adjusting the times. After the adjustment I ended up clocking a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 34 seconds.
So. Close. Not only so close to my sub-2:30, but so close to my current PR that I set at Oshkosh in April (2:30:05). Ugh. Then I began the "what if" thinking. If I had just taken one less walk break during that last 2 miles or a shorter walk break or if the wind hadn't been gale-force winds.
Ugh. But still. I'm happy with the result I put up. Especially when I look at the overall results and I see things like the men's marathon winner was almost 15 minutes slower this year than last year's winner (he even joked about how this was his worst time in three tries, yet he won it this year). And it's all because of Mother Nature and the wind us runners had to contend with.
So I'm happy. It was brutal conditions, but I dug deep and pushed through. Because after all, big dreams don't get attained without a lot of hard work. #DBWH