Marathons: Paul #44, Leah #34, State #28 : Lakefront Marathon 2014
5th October 2014, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Finish Time = 4:19:18
We arrived in Milwaukee on the Saturday, walked around the downtown area and went over to the expo to pick up our packets. That night we bought some fresh ingredients from an organic food store and made our pasta dinner in the hotel along with a bottle of Malbec, pre-marathon dinners don’t get much better.
On the morning of the race the logistics were easy, we walked to a nearby hotel which had a shuttle to the start and boarded the familiar yellow school bus. The start was at a high school, which was open to runners to use the facilities and wait in until the race started. Being a non-native and having never attended an American high school they are still things I have only ever seen in movies, so what was normal to most people was fascinating to me.
We walked through the hallways where the students had their lockers, decorated with support for the school’s sports teams, particularly American Football. While we were waiting the race organizers were using the school’s PA announcement system to give us instructions, again something I’ve never experienced in UK schools. We carried on through the lunch hall and into the sports court, where there were basketball rings everywhere, pull-out bleachers (seats for the crowd) and huge score boards with the school’s team names on. They also listed all of the years their teams had won tournaments including a lot of years as Cheerleading State Champions. It was not an experience I would otherwise get to have but so normal for everyone else.
We went out for the start and it was pretty cold. It was sunny though at least, the previous day had been cold with drizzle so we definitely had the better of the two days. We decided to go with long sleeves, a hat and gloves as the “feels like” temperature was only 30F and it wasn’t going to rise that much during the run.
3 miles into the run my hip/glute was hurting pretty badly. Following the marathon the weekend before I had gone to have sports massage to try to alleviate my tight hamstrings. They seemed okay, but it’s almost like you fix one thing and then the next most painful problem becomes your new number 1. Unfortunately what was to follow for me was going to be a further 4 hours of constant pain.
We got to a point in the course where the houses cleared and we were running along with great views over Lake Michigan. It’s really hard to believe it’s a lake rather than a sea, when the water just goes on as far as the eye can see over the horizon. Fairly soon we were back into the residential streets, running along the road parallel with the lake. This meant running by the houses that actually face the lake with spectacular views. As you can imagine these aren’t small houses, most of them are huge grand buildings, mansions and near-castles in some cases. It was interesting to run by seeing so many different and impressive houses.
I wasn’t really enjoying the run, the course was ok although I had imagined seeing more of the lake than we could, but we were on the closest public road to the lake, it’s just that it was blocked by all the houses built in-between. But my lack of enjoyment was more from having to just keep pushing through the pain in my hip/glute which wasn’t getting any better and knowing it probably wouldn’t throughout the race.
Leah was doing just fine and every now and again would wait for me to catch up. We walked through some of the aid stations where I would try to dig my fingers into my muscles to try to relieve the tension which would only work for about 30 seconds.
Eventually we got to the last few miles which did open up once more to a nice view of the lake. We ran down the path parallel with the beach and onto the finishing straight. We decided to pick up the pace to finish in under 4:20 although it was hard to overtake people on this stretch due to the crowds narrowing the path. We could see we were just going to miss it so we sprinted along as fast as possible.
The Best Laid Plans
We were wearing our tops that we had received from running the Pocatello Marathon, which feature a man and woman running together on the front throwing up victory V signs. We thought it would be funny to try to mimic this finishing pose in our picture:
As we came flying towards the finish line, the woman in front of me just suddenly decided to almost stop on the finish line to pose for the camera. I nearly smashed right in to her, painfully having to dodge to one side at the last second. You can’t just stop still when others are running in behind you!
We went into the finishing area which had some great food for runners including some warm pesto pasta and one of my favorites after a race – chocolate milk. We stayed for a while to replenish and stretch before heading back to the hotel.
So we successfully completed another State but after 4 Marathons in 4 States in 4 Weeks it’s definitely taking its toll and I’m quite nervous for the 5th one next weekend in Connecticut. The weekend following that we had been debating between 2 different ones so haven’t entered either yet and are now thinking of leaving it clear to have a weekend break instead!
Elevation Graph from my running watch:
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