The long version - I had been looking forward to this race for WEEKS. I had never run an outdoor race before in Milwaukee. And I LOVE Milwaukee. Plus, there were bridges involved... and we all know how much I like bridges!
I got up to Milwaukee after work on Friday, and went to Renee's new house, where I would be staying for the weekend. After quick trips to the liquor store and the bakery (2 of my favorite places, dontcha know), we headed to Sara and Aaron's for dinner. Aaron made us spaghetti and meatballs and salad and garlic bread, and all of it was delicious. I had 2 helpings. I love food.
The next morning, we woke up and it was nice and cool, but a little humid. Oh, and there was CRAZY fog. When we got to the Summerfest grounds, we met up with Tracey, Sara, and Aaron, and headed to the start line. We couldn't see gear check anywhere, so we asked a couple of people, and they pointed to this foggy field. Seriously, I couldn't see anything. It was wacky. We started walking across the field, and yep, there was a faint outline of a UPS truck. Gear check.
We checked our bags and blindly followed other people to the start line. Yep, there is it. I was in a different corral from everyone else, so we bid goodbye and headed to the corrals. At 7am on the nose, we were OFF!
Mile 1: I know that the big, bad Hoan bridge encompasses the first 5 miles or so of the race, and then there's a big hill at mile 7. I've been promised some downhills near the end, which is a good thing, since this first part is UP.
Note to race directors - I get that sometimes it's the only way to go, but I HATE on-ramps. They are killer on the legs. It HURTS. Kind of like now. 8:09
Mile 2: For those of you who are unaware, the Hoan Bridge (aka the Blues Brothers bridge) overlooks the Summerfest grounds and is right next to Lake Michigan. Remember that fog I was talking about? Yeah, I can't even SEE the lake at this point. Bummer, man. The nice part of right now is that my legs feel a downhill. I actually feel pretty good, and this is the best mile of the day. 7:36
Mile 3: Down and around and back on the bridge, going the other way. I know that there are tall buildings there, but yeah, fog, hard to see, etc etc. 8:02
Mile 4: As much as I love bridges, I am getting a little bored of this one. I pass the time by counting the aid stations and sprinklers (there should be 10 and 4, respectively). Apparently at this aid station, there was a guy who looked like Bradley Cooper. I missed out. This is disappointing. 7:55
Mile 5: I remember feeling really, really amazing this mile. I could see half marathoners and 5Kers on the other side of the bridge, and I waved back at people who waved to me. I'm sure they weren't waving specifically to me, but hey, I'm a friendly girl. 8:10
Mile 6: Ok, I am running really awesome so far. All will not be lost, so long as there are no more crazy uphills. 8:12
Mile 7: Shit. My prayers were not answered. Remember when I did Flying Pig, and there were hills until mile 9, and my legs were tired, so I didn't like it? Yeah, that. This hill (Lafayette) is HUGE. It makes me think of Lafayette from True Blood and how much I hate him. Ick. 8:22
Mile 8: WHERE IS THE DOWNHILL? Not here, apparently. Just super flat and in a park and boring. I don't like this park. 8:23
|This is me, hatin' on the park.|
Mile 9: This crappy park makes me want to die. And yep, this is where the wheels start to fall off the bus HARD. When did half marathons get hard for me?! I DON'T LIKE THIS. 9:04
Mile 10: This is the point in the day where I feel like I'm going to vomit if I keep running, so I walk a couple of minutes, and then run some. This happens for the majority of the rest of the race. I don't even look at my watch at all for the mile splits, and am totally shocked later when I check them and there are zero double-digit miles. Yeah. That's how much I walked. 9:12
Mile 11: I guess we're in Lake Park? I see a custard stand. Custard ties my stomach in knots, but I want some. And some onion rings. And a beer. OMG FOOD. 8:55
Mile 12: Ok, just a *little* more walking, I tell myself, and then you have to run the rest of the way. My stomach decides that this is not a good idea, and tried to rebel. POOP. So I do my walk/run thing, and then we take a weird 180 degree turn by the art museum, and wow have I had enough of this race! 9:22
Mile 13: Now we're actually ON the Summerfest grounds, which is nice. It's actually really pretty here, now that we can see the lake. My family used to come to Irish Fest every year when I was a kid, and it's cool how it's been modernized, but is still basically the same. That's what I love.