5th Annual Packers Training Camp 5k

This past weekend marked the 5th annual Packers Training camp 5k.  Since I have run this event every year since it started, it was one that I didn’t hesitate to sign up for when registration opened.  This is one of 2 times during the year that I know I will get inside Lambeau Field (the other time is each spring with the Cellcom (Half) Marathon or 5k).  This is always a fun race to run and it brings out so many people – why not, when you can run through Lambeau Field.  There have also been times when several of the Packers players were spotted running the course.  A few years ago, I actually ran with Mark Murphy, Packers President and CEO, for a while, but he quickly left me in the dust!

Each year this event has been slightly different… the first few years, it was at 10am.  Now, normally, I don’t mind the 10am start, but when you are talking the end of July, by 10am it was always too warm.  I can understand why they went with a slightly later start time – they were looking to make it a family event and a 7am start time is not practical when you are looking to get families together to come out and run/walk.  During the second year, I think it was 85 degrees by the time we finished!  Then they changed the run to the evening.  Last year, this was awesome!  It was unseasonably cooler than the year before – low 60’s and cloudy!  It it was not for the bottleneck getting into the stadium, this would have been the first time I broke the 30 minute 5k time.  My official time last year was 30:08.

This year was a little different for my family!  This was the first time that the entire family was participating in the event!  I had a bunch of friends that I was going to be running with, John decided to sign up to walk and Darrin was going to be running with myTEAM TRIUMPH.

Darci, Kim, John and Myself before the start

This year they once again went with the 6:30pm start time and the weather was not as mild as last year.  As it turned out, Matt and I were signed up for wave 2 (7-9 min mile pace) and then Darci & Kim were in wave 3 (9-11 min mile pace), so we headed to our respective corrals while John and Molly headed to their corral with the rest of the walkers.  Darrin was already hanging with the rest of the crew from mTT.  He was running with Captain Tristan and fellow Angel Adrianne this year.  At the time the start gun went off, it was 87 degrees and virtually not a cloud in the sky!  This was going to be brutal.  There was no way that I was going to attempt a 5k PR in these conditions.  Our goal for tonight – not to die!  Ok, and hopefully hit under 35 minutes.

Matt and I waiting at the start line

I would love to say that I had a fabulous race and that I was able to put the heat out of my mind and just run, but that was not the case.  Matt and I started out strong and made it through mile 1 in 9:30.  Unfortunately, that was the only mile that was under 10 minutes.  Shortly after the 1 mile marker, the course begins a long gradual uphill stretch.  I was determined to make it to the top of this hill before I had to walk, but the heat really started to get to me.  I had to stop to walk for a bit.  Thankfully this part of the hill was somewhat in the shade so that helped.  The entire second mile was a combination of walking and running, just trying to survive and not over heat.

The anxious crowd awaiting the start of the race

As we came around one of the last corners, and the stadium was back in front of us, I felt like I was running on near empty.  Matt was my godsend in this race.  He slowed and walked when I had to but yet pushed me to keep going.  He was determined to get me to the finish line, and I am truly grateful for that!  Just before we reached the parking lot back to the stadium, we passed the second water station.  Since I had my Nuun with my in my water bottles, I was ok yet on hydration that way, so I grabbed 2 cups of water and poured them over my head to try and cool of.

Feeling a little more refreshed, it was time for the motivation run through the tunnel and around the field in Lambeau Field.  I pushed that last mile for everything it was worth.  As we ran through the tunnel on the final approach to the parking lot – and the finish line, Matt turned and said “there’s the finish – time to kick it in and finish strong”  Normally I would do just that, but today, there was nothing left in the tank.  I pushed with what I had left and we did finish side by side.

Matt and I crossing the turf at the finish line!

I honestly didn’t even see the clock as we crossed the finish line.  I had one thing on my mind… I needed to find water and needed to cool off.  Around the corner from the finish, they were handing out medals!  I honestly had forgotten that they were giving out medals this year!  5 year anniversary of the event = medals for all finishers!  OK, that works for me… but I still need water!

Finally I got to the water and kept walking.  After a few minutes of standing in the shade of the food tent I could feel that I was finally cooling off a bit – plus I had dumped half my water on me, instead of drinking it.  That was by far one of the most brutal, warm runs that I have ever done… but I finished!

We may be warm, but we ROCKED that!

We slowly found everyone else in our party – Kim and Darci finished just a few minutes later.  Thankfully by the time we finished, the temps had started dropping so it was not as hot and sticky anymore.  Kim was extremely proud of her first official race medal – smile away Kim – you earned that one! My official time came in at 32:04 – much better than I thought it would have been with how I was feeling out of the course!  All in all, we all agreed that we were happy that we were done, we were happy with what we did and we all needed showers!

Darrin, Adrianne and Captain Tristan!

This race was definitely a challenge but we all kept each other going and got through to the finish!  I am very proud of all of us for encouraging each other to keep going, helping push each other to do our best and celebrate our success at the end!  You guys all rock (and this includes you Jeff for getting the awesome finish line photos!)  I am proud to call each of you my friends and family! Together we can accomplish anything!

What kind of extreme’s have you dealt with during your outdoor fitness activities that have pushed you to your limits?  How did you deal with it?  Did it change anything about the way you train?

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