Once again, Matt made the trip down to run the 10k here again. Last year we were able to start together and run the first mile or so together before the Half and 10k split, but this year they did a staggered start and the 10 actually started 15 minutes before the half. Before the crack of dawn we were off! We left everyone else at the hotel to catch a little more sleep before they headed down to wait for us to finish.
We were at the stadium bright and early (ok it really was not so “bright” out at 6am) and found prime parking right near the start line! For any of you that have been to Miller Park, you know how far the lots “across the bridge” are from the front of the stadium so I knew I was going to like this parking spot even more after the race! We were (blessed?) with a few light rain showers while we were waiting to start which was nice to keep things cool, but I was just afraid that this would bring more humidity later – unless we got more rain too!
This ended up being one of the toughest runs I have finished this year. It started out really good – I was able to keep the 2:15 pace group within my sights for the first few miles, enjoying the cool morning and sights of Milwaukee. It was after mile 4 or 5 that I was really reminded about how many hills were out on this course. It would seem that I blocked all of the rolling hills that I ran last year from my mind! It was also about this time that it started to get humid and the 2:30 pace team was just in front of me… but I was going to keep them in my sights!
Over the next few hours, I ended up running with some great people, other Half Fanatics, teams from myTEAM TRIUMPH and more. I was not going to let the humidity and warming temperatures get me down. I ran through 100% humidity a few weeks ago, I could do this! I kept to my fueling plan throughout, EnergyBits at the start and again at mile 7, then some Sharkies and ProBar gels along the way (found out my stomach does not like these during long runs, but before short workouts are ok!).
I’m not sure what point I was at in the course when I realized that the 2:30 pace team was now no longer in my sights. This was not going to be another PR day, but I was not going to let that stop me. I was going to make it! Just after the 10 mile marker is the Hill from Hell on this course – a nice incline switchback to get you heading back towards the stadium. Then once you climb that hill, you get a nice downhill stretch, only to have to make another long climb. These 2 hills took almost everything I had left.
I will be honest, I struggled with those last few miles! They were warm and tough. But I was determined to finish strong. Coming into the stadium is always a good boost. The stands are open so that spectators can come in an cheer on runners as they make their trek around the warning track. This ended up being my fasted few minutes of the last 1/3 of the race! Once I was in the stadium, I knew the finish line was just around the corner!
Next stop? Fox Cities Marathon relay tomorrow and then Chicago next weekend!