Monday, May 25, 2015

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon 2015: Expo & Pre-Race Shenanigans

Well, sports fans, Marathon #3 is in the books! As you may have seen on my Facebook page, I did not have the race that I had hoped for, mostly (but probably not solely) due to the warm and humid weather out on the race course. But that does not in any way mean that the weekend was a depressing one. Are you kidding me? If you are a Green Bay Packers fan, you simply can't have a bad time in Green Bay! Let's begin by recapping the pre-race fun!

Singing the Weather-Stalking Blues

I woke up at my normal time on Saturday to do a four-mile shakeout run on the 'mill.  This run felt like all the others during the last week of taper; it felt easy, but not crazily so. I had been following the taper on my training plan to the absolute letter, so I had no choice but to trust the plan and hope for the best. Or at least the best that I could do based on the weather.

All week, the weather had been threatening for race day; the meteorologists just couldn't decide what type of threatening weather was to occur!  Early in the week, they were talking severe thunderstorms with lightning (i.e. a probable cancelled race). Then they decided it would just rain torrentially. Then there was a mere chance of scattered showers. And finally, no rain at all in the forecast.  Unfortunately, the forecasted temperatures of 60s at the race start (and increasing throughout the morning) did not change all week, nor did the predictions of ungodly humidity levels and a decent-sized wind.

The local Green Bay forecast on Wednesday of race week. Ugh.
Humidity and I have a history together. As race week progressed, I couldn't help but flash back to a humid 10K I did in August 2014. I had hoped to PR at that race, but my legs simply refused to move quickly enough. It was my first time racing in those conditions. and it did a real number on my confidence at the time. Two weeks later, I ran a "redemption" 10K and PR'ed the heck out of it, so I knew that the weather had been to blame. The forecasted humidity at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon was similar to the humidity at that 10K. As a Type-A person, I wanted to do something, but I gradually made my peace with whatever was to be, and thanked all available running deities that I wasn't chasing an absolute time goal at this race for Boston-Qualifying or other purposes.

The final forecast which came out the Friday before the Sunday race. The only silver lining: No wearing a garbage bag at the start line!

Road Trip!

By 9am, the husband, kids and I were on the road to Mecca. I was slowly turning inside myself, as I usually do prior to my "A" races, and so I wasn't very talkative. I felt a sense of inevitability -- I was going to run a marathon, for better or for worse.

This picture just makes me happy!

Lambeau Field in the distance. This picture makes me SUPER happy!
I knew that once the kiddos got in the waterpark where we were staying, I wouldn't be able to get them out again, so we went straight to Lambeau Field to pick up my packet and visit the Expo. Why, twist my arm! On the way there, we saw several signs along the road, indicating that we were driving on the marathon course. Gulp!

The Race Expo and Packer Pro Shop

We passed the start and finish line areas for the race that were set up in the Lambeau parking lot, and found parking on the East side of Lambeau with no problems. There could be no entering of the hallowed halls of Lambeau without photo opportunities, so there were plenty:

The most awesome race expo location in the history of ever.
Just hanging with Vince Lombardi -- no biggie...
Curly Lambeau is pointing the way to a PR! (I think I went in the other direction...)

Once we finally made our way inside the Lambeau Field Atrium, I found the official merchandise area, where my packet and swag were waiting. Most runners had to go to the Lambeau Field Club Level to pick up their packet, but as a "Leader of the Pack" social media ambassador for the race, I got the VIP treatment!

The Official Marathon Merchandise area.
 I not only got my race shirt and bib, but I also got a lanyard to get me into the VIP tent post-race, a Prevea Health water bottle, a merchandise gift certificate to use for more race swag, and a sweet gym bag to hold it all! I definitely felt like a pack leader!

My sweet swag bag (complete with a sweet "Good Luck" note!) and swag. My daughter immediately swiped the water bottle to use at school!

The maroon shirt is the official race shirt -- I really like the color and logo, and that they customized it with "26.2" or "13.1," depending on what race you were running. With my gift certificate, I bought a sweet long-sleeve shirt, along with a cowbell for the kids to ring!
After I picked up my swag, I beat a path to the Run Away Shoes booth at the Expo. Yes, I had a free pair of new kicks coming my way, and I was salivating to get my hands on a pair of Saucony Guide 8s! I stocked up on Guide 7s when I heard they would be discontinued, and my stash of 7s got me through this training cycle. But for my Chicago cycle, it will be all about the 8s!

I immediately realized as soon as I entered the booth that I should have let the nice folks at the marathon know that I needed a wide shoe width. But no worries: the super-nice Run Away Shoes employee phoned the brick-and-mortar store and put a pair aside for me. A few short minutes after I left the Expo, I had some Guide 8s in my hot little hands. It took all my willpower not to wear them on race day, I'm not gonna lie!

Hello, lover...
While I was Expoing, my kids and husband were off making signs to hold during the race. The Expo had an area set aside for sign-making, with posterboard and tons of writing instruments. I just had to take a picture of their awesome handiwork, since I wasn't sure my husband would remember on race day!

The definition of sweetness!
By that time, my parents had arrived, so we headed to the Place That Would Take All Our Money, aka the Packer Pro Shop. This is not your ordinary gift shop; basically, the Packers have taken any piece of clothing or item in your home, put a Packers logo on it, and made it available for sale in the store. We mostly concentrated our shopping efforts in the clothing area, because all of the kids needed new Packer gear to wear this summer. And winter. All four seasons, really...

My 8-year-old daughter took the two pictures on the right. She loved the Packers door handle on the shop!
Word to the Wise: Water Entertains Children!

One smoking hot credit card later, we left Lambeau Field until the morning. After our less-than-a-minute stop at Run Away Shoes, we headed to our hotel, the Tundra Lodge, for check-in. I booked the hotel via the Green Bay Convention & Visitor's Bureau, who had set aside some rooms for runners and their families. Since my kids were coming along, it was really a no-brainer!

The rustic Tundra Lodge lobby!
The kids wasted no time getting on their swimming suits and hitting the waterpark with myself and my dad. I didn't feel comfortable going on any water slides in case I jammed a toe or something, but the kids and I had a ton of fun on the Lazy River!

My son and I on the Lazy River.
The hotel was offering a nice pasta buffet for runners at their in-house restaurant, but we decided to go to the local Texas Roadhouse for dinner. I played it safe and had their chicken salad that I have eaten in the past. After we returned to the hotel, my kids, parents and husband headed to the arcade (kind of like a mini-Chuck E. Cheese), and I stayed in the room to make my Flat Runner and try to relax.

Flat Cheesy, reporting for duty...
I was able to fall asleep fairly easily around 10:30. I think the weather forecast helped a lot to reduce my anxiety level and enable sleep; I knew that all I could do was my best. I had no idea what that would be, and therefore it wasn't worth losing sleep over!

To Be Continued...


  1. The Packers Pro Shop is the best! Where else can you find Packers pool balls or Packers carpet? Every time we go to Door County we have to stop there. Can I say that the shirts are a little disappointing? No Green and Gold?

    Looking forward to the recap...

  2. Valuable information! Looking forward to seeing your notes posted.