June 22nd, we loaded up the car and head to the state of Wisconsin for the Summerfest Rock 'n Sole Half Marathon. Not a far drive (which is good) but we still had to stop 3 times on the way up. And as usual, traffic in Chicago was a mess. We stop at a gas station/convenience store just in ide of the Wisconsin state line and the first thing you see....beer and cheese options for you to buy!
We checked in to the Pfister Hotel and then set out to find the Expo and check out where we thought the race would be starting and finishing. We didn't take the most direct route to get there but the Expo was just a short walk from the hotel and we could see that they were well on their way setting up the finishing area.
Found an Applebee's to have dinner at and then back to the hotel to get everything ready for tomorrow and just relax.
Race morning was foggy and even though the forcast last night said the temps would be cool this morning, it didn't feel too bad. Just a short walk to the start line, our traditional prerace photo and then we get in out assigned corrals. I had no idea how this race would go for me and didn't even have a finishing time in mind. I might have been intimidated by the bridge so my goal was to just finish.
I thought about trying to use the bathroom one more time but the line was long so I would just keep an eye out for the first porta-potty on the course. Naturally it wasn't until after the first up and over on the bridge and the line was still long. I may have lost three minutes there! And I screwed up my watch on the stop so the rest of the race I had no idea what my time was. Grrrr.
Point of interest - bathroom break completed and I'm heading back up over the bridge and in front of me I see a lady run/walking with the use of a walker/seat thingy. First of all...good for her to be getting out here and doing a race even though she must have some sort of disability. If I had to guess, she was probably just doing the 1/4 marathon which had the same route as the half until after the second pass of the bridge. But secondly, how is this person in front of me?!?! I'm hoping that it happened during the bathroom stop. No disrespect but obviously I must pass her.
It really started warming up and the bridge (which obviously had no shade) was taking it out of me. I knew that I was toast already and it was only 5 miles in to the race. I begin to worry that John will be waiting for quite some time at the finish line for me. But I keep pushing on. There was another hill around mile 7-8 and other than that this course is a bit of a blur. I do remember this nappy looking homeless looking mascot thing on the course. I did not want to even fist pump him/her.
Then later I saw a girl dressed as a penguin. It looked like we were near a fraternity/sorority area of town so I wondered if that was their mascot. I did high-five her. Pretty area (from what I remember) and then on past a golf course. The path really narrows here and if there race gets much bigger, they may have to rethink this portion. Then I have another mascot sighting. WHAT? This one is a polar bear and is actually competing. Again, how is this person/thing in front of me and God bless them for trying to do 13.1 in that outfit AND head. Needless to say, the goal was to pass him/her and to stay in front.
As we near the lake again, it smelled bad - almost like a cross between a old musty basement and a porta-potty. NOT GOOD! I can't imagine wanting to swim in that.
The aid station near mile 10 was Christmas themed. The volunteers were wearing Christmas vest and sweaters and they were playing Christmas music and had a Christmas tree set-up. Fun. Wish I had taken a picture but I already felt so slow and since I had no idea what my time was, I didn't want to waste even a few precious seconds.
With on 3/4 of a mile to go, you have to run behind the Summerfest area. It would have been nice if they had some encouraging crowd support there; it seemed desolate and barren. It might have seemed worse to me because I was hot, tired and ready to be done.
I turn the corner and can see the finish line. I pass some other mascot that is giving High-Fives to people and he/she "clocks" me in the head. I see the guy that is calling out people's names as they get ready to finish and I yell my name to him. Then he says it over the PA system. I found out later that John hears it so he's pretty sure that I'm about to finish.
I easily find him at the finish line area and we get out picture taken together - another race tradition for me to have done.
We didn't hang around much after the race; just headed back to the hotel to shower and then take a nap. After that we roamed around downtown Milwaukee a bit and had a nice lunch and people watched.
Later in the evening, we went upstairs to the Blue Lounge so John could have an adult beverage and we ordered the delightful chocolate fondue. SO GOOD!
We had a really good view of that darn bridge from up here. I didn't care for that bridge to say the least!
|HATED THIS BRIDGE!|
So aside from the bridge and the warm temperatures (it went from green flag to yellow flag conditions), this was a pretty good race. We got lucky, I guess they had lots of problems last year for the inaugural running. This year there were plenty of aid stations, misting stations (which I always avoid) and a fun finishing area.
Wisconsin - you are crossed off the list!