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Cellcom Green Bay Marathon pt. 2

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I was up and ready to tackle the frozen tundra. Too bad it wasn't frozen on the day of the race. Robert was excited and so was I. I was testing out PocketFuel Naturals for the first time at the marathon distance. I hope it works!

Picture of me predicting what the race would be like at the expo the day before.

This is the real picture of what I'd feel like. I guess Robert was going to have a good time though!

The race organizers knew it was going to be a hot day. They had sent out numerous e-mails about the heat leading up to the race. They also added medical personnel, increased the aid stations on the course, and stocked the stations with ice. There were 11 aid stations for the half and 22 for the full.

Before the start I met Henry Rueden, who had run his 799th marathon at Fargo the day before. I read a story about him and hoped I'd get to see him on the course. Little did I know, seeing him at the start wouldn't be the last time I saw him. The link to the story I read about Henry.


After listening to the national anthem and watching the flag wave atop Lambeau Stadium, the factory whistle blew to start the race! Are you fired up? To add to the excitement "Jump Around" by House of Pain was played to set the stage. This is not a song foreign to those in Wisconsin. However, that had to be the first time I've heard this song at an event and I didn't see people jumping around vigorously. I guess everyone was conserving their energy for the race.

Listen to it! I'm typing this blog while listening to it!

Pre-race with Annette while Dan photo bombs it!

Now, for the relaxed picture...Dan!

One last picture before the start with Robert

A fellow Arkansan, Arland, wanted to try a smart pacing strategy. With the conditions we had, this would be a good time to try out something different. Surprisingly, although hot, we ran in the shade for the first couple of miles through residential areas. In addition to cheering, the community was out to support the event armed with their water hoses and sprinklers. We saw the infamous, Dave Mari on the course taking pictures fresh off his Geist Half Marathon the previous day in Indianapolis.

You don't know Dave?

Sue (WONDERWOMAN) came up behind and we chatted for a while. I love meeting Sparkers. She was sporting a nice Half Fanatic singlet. Woohoo! I saw runners on the side suffering from the heat. I was feeling great in terms of pacing. Around mile 10, Arland, told me to go ahead and I said if he happens to see me on the side of the road a few miles up, don't be surprised.

I went on and pushed through, high-fiving and interacting with the spectators. There were a few Marathon Maniacs in the crowd, too. You could tell people were affected by the heat. Race participants couldn't refrain from running through sprinklers. Many were grabbing two cups and ice. One cup was used to hydrate and the other was used to pour on their heads. The sound of ambulances was not music to my ears.

As I made it to the half marathon/marathon split, the number of marathon runners was dwindled. The race organizers sent out an e-mail explaining if one signed up for the full, but didn't feel good at the split, a "game-day decision" could be made without any penalty. Not sure how many did, but I'm sure some cut it short and with good reason. You do want to be safe.

Not far from the halfway point, I got word the course had been closed due to the heat. What? Are you serious? It was at that moment that my ambitions for the race deflated. We were told there would be no aid or medical support on the course. We were to go to the next aid station and there would be a shuttle to take us back.

I thought about it and remembered I had some cash on me. It was the first time I've carried cash during a race. I stopped at a gas station right off the course and picked up a gallon of water. I downed a full container of PocketFuel and said it may not be official, but I did not come to Wisconsin to start a race, but to finish one. I'll walk the rest of the way if I have to.

At each aid station, I continued to hear you have to stop here because the race is over. The volunteers were still out and people were still cheering us on. I had no idea that carrying the water jug would take a toll on me. Oh, it did, and I was reduced to a walk. I eventually had to give up the jug at mile 19.

The community and volunteers were supplying those that continued cold water and ice. Medical personnel were checking on us and police officers seemed to be patrolling the course on motorcycles. No one made them stay, but they did. This is evidence that without volunteers races would fail. I loved seeing their smiling faces and acts of benevolence.

A wall was constructed over Mile 20. After pushing through "The Wall," I was happy with a 10k remaining. There was a big group of people out cheering as I went through. What would happen next was not part of the plan.

I started to feel weak between Mile 21 and 22. Since it didn't matter at what time I finished, I decided to take a seat on a bench and enjoy the view of the water. I got up and started back only to feel like someone had drained the life out of me. What was going on? Was I about to pass out?

I stopped at the next bench and then thought lying down would be better. You won't guess what happened next. Well, 1.5 hours later I woke up. No, not in the hospital. In the same place I was. I felt rejuvenated! I looked around and was happy I didn't stop my Garmin. Hmmm.... I guess I should go ahead and finish, eh? I do find it strange that no one woke me up. Surely there were runners that passed by.

I saw Henry Rueden and Evelyn later and I bet they wondered how come they didn't see me before. I was taking a little nap. Kristin and Chris were on the course giving support to Henry and in turn giving me support, too. I had seen them earlier on the trail, but it wasn't until I saw them the second time that I realized they were out supporting Henry. Their efforts propelled me to my eventual finish.

Apparently, the mile markers were being taken up, so the last one I saw was Mile 24. I should've known something was wrong when I didn't see Henry anymore. I followed the markings on the ground hoping it would get me back. I looked at my Garmin and I was well past Mile 25. I kept going until I saw where Mile 4 was. Uh-oh! I think I'm doing the course again.

I saw a woman in her yard, so I asked her which way was Lambeau Field. "Oh, it's in the opposite direction in which you are going." Thanks! I headed in the "right" direction. When I made it to the finish, I saw Henry and he took me down and showed me where Mile 26 was and we went around. Unlike some, I was able to go through the finish chute. His family was there cheering as if I was him. I was speechless.

They took good care of me. I ate an entire container of watermelon. It was delicious! Recovery starts immediately after the race. #stayhydrated

Which way to Lambeau?

They put the medal around my neck, but as you have probably figured out I did this for me. In the end I ran 28.71 miles according to my Garmin. Last year, the course was a tad long because of measurement issues, but I went out and made it long this time all by myself. What a way to end the race. It was my honor for Henry to bring me in. That would've been his 800th marathon.

The finish line

What did I learn from this race besides to bring a pillow next time? I may need to start doing races with a hydration pack of some kind. Had I had one, I wouldn't have slowed down due to carrying the jug. Also, I probably would've finished before the sun got to me had I had the pack. Never underestimate yourself. Before the course was closed, I was having a great race and the conditions were not optimal. The training is working and I'll continue to run in the heat as preparation for me my future events.

It should also be said that I understand the race director's decision to close the course. There has been much debate about it being unfair that those that were prepared to be punished. I can't put a value on anyone's life. Yes, I traveled from Arkansas to do this race, but signing up for a race is always a risk. There will be other races. At least I survived to run another one. Kudos goes out to the community and volunteers. They made the race a success.

The medal

There are no more marathons on my schedule this year until Dallas White Rock. Oh, I'm sorry, they just changed the name today to the Dallas Marathon. That's in December. The 50k is in July and the 50-miler in September. I need to train harder!

I'm supposed to be back in Wisconsin this weekend for the Madison Half. Looks like the temperature is going to be hot and they are thinking about cancelling the full. I'm looking to have fun and if any Sparkers are in the area, please let me know.

We had just as much fun on the way up as we did going back. We even got homemade treats! Absolutely best cheesecake I've ever had. Ummm....!

On to the next adventure...

Just in case you missed part 1
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You are beyond awesome! Congrats on your "marathon plus"!!!
    2189 days ago
  • CHIFANG130
    Awesome pictures and what a fun time you had and even taking a nap during the run. You are such a hoot... Way to go!!!
    2189 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/29/2012 12:19:13 PM
    So glad everything worked out for you. Stay safe out there!
    2189 days ago
    Wow! What an adventure!
    2190 days ago
    Hey Nicholas!

    I think Lisa is correct Low Electrolytes!! The high heat index and demanding physical drain of a full marathon will zap your electrolytes through excessive sweating. This causes an electrical imbalance in the body resulting in mild and serious health problems. Heart attack, kidney failure, blackouts.....

    I love running in the heat, for me the hotter the better. We're getting to 90 degrees this weekend, plus the heat index could make it feel like 100!!! Bananas before I run and gatorade during and after. Bananas and G will keep your body supplied E's.

    Nice run Nicholas!!!!

    Good call Lisa!

    2193 days ago
    Yikes! You may have had an electrolyte imbalance that caused you to knock out like that. It happened to me after I finished a really hot long run. I blacked out when I arrived back home -luckily not in the park. I felt fine once I had a bite to eat and cooled off, but it has made me more cautious about plenty of fluids and electrolyte supplementation. Sounds like this was a great road trip with lots of fun and terrific people! Congratulations on finishing despite the course closure!
    2193 days ago
    Quite amazing. I know a lot of marathoners, but not one that has said they took a nap in the middle of their run. Hope your training and your next runs go well.
    2193 days ago
    HI AZ! leave it up to you to take a nap during a race that has been cancelled! glad that you were able to finish and stay healthy! i must have missed, what was the temperature? i will have to go back and re-read.

    2194 days ago
    Amazing! Nap and all. lol. You are an inspiration! emoticon
    2194 days ago
    Oh my goodness! Your hour and a half nap scared the crap outta me! Lucky for you that you didn't wake up in a hospital! Very surprised nobody woke you up or called for medical aid for you. I've closed my eyes while running during a race, before, but never actually stopped to lie down. Does sound refreshing, tho! :-P I hope you are proud of yourself for finishing and surviving. Glad you made it through!
    emoticon emoticon

    Since you've been training for the heat, you should come out and run with me the end of June. Running w/the Devil 5k, 10k, half, full, and 50 miler. Not only will they run the race regardless of the weather, they are expecting and planning for extreme heat. That's the whole idea of the race. I'll be doing the half. That's the longest distance you can do without a written and accepted cooling and hydration plan...
    2194 days ago
    Way to go!!!! emoticon
    2194 days ago
  • JCP1979
    Congratulations! You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing!

    2194 days ago
    Well, I had no idea what you were in store for when I saw you! That's one of the most amazing stories I've heard. Glad you had a good nap - lol - but I can't believe nobody bothered to check you out all that time! I thought that was Dave Mari when I saw him snapping pics, but then figured I was hallucinating; thanks for confirming for me. Great meeting you in person - hope we meet up at another race someday.
    2194 days ago
  • BUTTERFLY-1976
    Great blog!! I can't believe you took a nap & nobody checked on you.
    The treats look yummy!! emoticon
    2194 days ago
  • LAURIE5658
    Congratulations and job well done!! Your perseverance is amazing. In the words of Robert...RAWK!
    2194 days ago
    Wow.... what a race experience you had. I have never heard that one before, a runner falling asleep during the race. Sounded like the heat was getting to you and you needed the rest. Great job finishing!!!
    2194 days ago
    wow thats a crazy story cant believe you fell asleep lol. I started using a fuel belt in the last few races it does help thats forsure. glad you are ok
    2194 days ago
    Oh my, I am lol at your nap!! Thank you for making me chuckle on thse bus this am! Congrats on a successful marathon. Also I did not realize you were alredy a maniac, I thought this was your first for some reason. Sounds like you are prepared for the next big adventure! Enjoy the recovery

    Edited to correct my typos - do not Spark on the bus, it's very dangerous!
    2194 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/24/2012 9:09:39 AM
    maybe you were breathing so evenly that it was clear you were fine? that's what i'd like to think anyway. yes, next time hydration would probably be nice. way to go!
    2194 days ago
    That was quite a race report! Was the finish line still set up when you got there? Cannot believe no one investigated to see if you had heatstroke. Wow!
    2194 days ago
    Wow, I just had a good chuckle about the nap on a bench. Nobody bothered you?

    So glad that you still got your medal, saw them and they looked really neat.

    I don't think it is suppose to be as bad as it was last weekend plus Madison is another GREAT city and great people and the route goes right by our capital. It would be a great place to run. IF you get a chance afterwards take a chance to explore the city. My hubby went to school down there so I was down there a bunch and love the city.

    Can't wait to hear about your next half.
    2194 days ago
    Wow great run and a great blog. Well done .
    2195 days ago
    Holy cow - and no one checked on you! Crazy!! But, it sounds like great race and well put on.
    Congrats on the Bling!
    2195 days ago
    Leave it to Nick to add 5k to a marathon simply because he is in beast mode... Always going the extra mile ...lol....

    Buddy, I really enjoyed my time with you and the late night fruit run :)
    2195 days ago
    I loved this blog!!! I cant believe they let you sleep with so many being taken in for heat stroke! Your probably the only person ever to have taken a nap while doing a marathon!! lol! I'm so happy you were able to finish !

    2195 days ago
    I too can't believe no one poked you to make sure you were okay! Glad you were able to finish it in spite of everything, even if it was more of a marathon+ along the way. The treats were well earned, sir!
    2195 days ago
  • EMILY1244
    Wow, that was quite the adventure! I love that the volunteers/spectators helped you finish! I had heard that they shut the race down because of heat, and can understand why! We were doing a half in Iowa on the same weekend and it was 87 degrees by the time we finished the Half and felt every degree! But I cant imagine starting the race and then having to be told to stop! Congrats on finishing what you started, even if it was a bit on the foolish side! emoticon
    2195 days ago
    Nice of your fellow racers to allow you to sleep...
    I would have stopped and poked you, just in case you were dead.
    But I am not a runner and apparently...
    I am nicer!
    Crazy runners!
    Good thing I love you guys!
    2195 days ago
    great blog! Can't believe you slept that long! emoticon
    2195 days ago
    Congratulations on finishing your Ultramarathon!!
    It is funny that nobody woke you up.
    I'm glad you got to meet up with Sue :-)
    The treats look fab!
    2195 days ago
    You are a trouper! emoticon
    2195 days ago
    Oh my goodness! I was laughing out loud in so many parts of this blog...and I really mean that. You are hilarious.

    And a BEAST on the course!!!!

    Great job, buddy!
    2195 days ago
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