2016: Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon

Signing up and participating in this event has turned into a tradition of sorts. Owing to the organizers’ unique three-year medal strategy that started in 2015 and my innate inability to let certain things go — one of them being the want of materialistic memorabilia for there is no display case for memories, this tradition will continue at least through its 2017 edition.

Tradition, apart from the aforementioned entities, comprises to a much greater extent the mystique of Green Bay — a city that had once made someone say Can you imagine living in this godforsaken place?, and then went on to provide the opportunity and with it the grand stage for the same someone leave an everlasting impact not just on the city and/or its neighboring communities but on the very sport itself. It also includes an opportunity to roam around the said hallowed streets, neighborhoods and the sidelines, meet and hangout with friends, measure my new self against the one from last year, and my good fortune of owning an ever so tiny portion of the only community-owned NFL franchise that calls this town home.

Tradition aside, I did lose quite a bit of time in February and March, and the progress towards this particular event was slow: some most of it was due to my inability to let certain things go, shortage of sleep and excess of stress … all resulting in a very slow and sluggish transition from skiing into running, and in the absence of noticeable desirable speed when running did indeed pick up the distance — thanks to the weekly runs with Keweenaw Running Group (KRG), solo runs in the nation’s capital and in Arlington with Curt, and weekend runs with Andi, Christopher, Christine, Rob and Shannon.

Of all the things that helped fasten the process of letting things go, ease the associated pain, and in turn, help me find the missing gears were the many chats/discussions with dear friends, placebo effect resulting from retail therapy (Garmin fenix 3 HR — thanks to Kurt and James), and a beautifully articulated story in The Michigan Daily (you can and should read it, even if you are from that other state … you know, south of our border). En route to America’s Steel City about a month ago for some work-related activity, iTunes serendipitously played the America’s Game: 1978 Steelers. An anecdote from it, included below for the sake of completeness and its beauty, and remembered/recalled a few times during training runs through the city’s trail system and many more times since then, did its part in teaching me the value of (or lack thereof) carrying things beyond the point of relevance and focusing more on the tasks at hand.

Gentlemen, I’d like to tell you a story about two monks. And they are on a journey. Sometime down their journey, they stopped in a clearing. Near the clearing was a stream, and at the far side of the stream was a fair maiden who wanted to come across. The first monk, without any hesitation, crossed that stream, picked up that fair maiden, forded her back, and set her down. And the two monks, in silence, continued on.

Now, sometime further down their journey, they stopped again. And the second monk spun onto the first monk, said, You know it’s against our belief and our religion to, one, not only come into contact with the person of the opposite sex but actually to speak to one. You disregarded that back there when you crossed that stream, picked up that fair maiden, forded her back, and set her down.

The first monk responded to the second monk. I set her down back there, but you carried her all the way here.

— Rocky Bleier recalling a story from Chuck Noll, America’s Game: The Super Bowl Champions; The Story of 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers

Summary of training activities since the last race
# Date and time Activity details
Distance, Time, Pace, Speed, Heart Rate (% of Max), kCal, and Weather
01 2016-03-05 2:00 pm Strength Training 2016 #16
0:45:00, 264
02 2016-03-06 7:35 am Houghton Quick Run
6.16 mi, 0:56:34, 9:10 min/mile, 6.55 mph, 169 bpm (82.44%), 630
25 F, 7 mph SSE, felt like 17 F, 80% humidity; partly cloudy skies, gentle breeze and comfortable
03 2016-03-07 3:55 pm Houghton Short Ski XC Classic
6.62 mi, 1:23:49, 12:39 min/mile, 4.74 mph, 687
37 F, 15 mph E, felt like 29 F, 87% humidity; partially cloudy skies, warm and comfortable
04 2016-03-07 7:00 pm Strength Training 2016 #17
0:30:00, 176
05 2016-03-08 3:33 pm Houghton Short Ski XC Classic
10.12 mi, 2:00:07, 11:52 min/mile, 5.06 mph, 1072
46 F, 7 mph S, felt like 43 F, 93% humidity; partially cloudy skies, warm and comfortable
06 2016-03-09 4:30 pm Houghton Quick Ski XC Classic
4.37 mi, 0:51:09, 11:42 min/mile, 5.13 mph, 477
30 F, 5 mph N, felt like 25 F, 80% humidity; partially cloudy skies and comfortable
07 2016-03-09 6:02 pm KRG Weekly Run 2016 #10/52
5.05 mi, 0:44:27, 8:48 min/mile, 6.82 mph, 630
28 F, 6 mph NNE, felt like 22 F, 86% humidity; partially cloudy skies and comfortable
08 2016-03-14 6:10 am Strength Training 2016 #18
0:30:00, 176
09 2016-03-15 6:30 am Strength Training 2016 #19
0:30:00, 176
10 2016-03-16 6:00 pm KRG Weekly Run 2016 #11/52
0.01 mi, 0:50:00, 11:20:00 hr/mile, 0.09 mph, 469
60 F, 0 mph, felt like 60 F, 60% humidity
11 2016-03-18 6:10 am Strength Training 2016 #20
0:35:00, 205
12 2016-03-19 9:00 am Strength Training 2016 #21
0:30:00, 176
13 2016-03-19 10:39 am Houghton Short Ski XC Classic
7.58 mi, 1:38:45, 13:01 min/mile, 4.61 mph, 815
27 F, 4 mph ENE, felt like 27 F, 68% humidity; blue skies and comfortable
14 2016-03-20 9:35 am Houghton Quick Ski XC Classic
4.25 mi, 0:49:36, 11:40 min/mile, 5.14 mph, 422
19 F, 3 mph WNW, felt like 19 F, 93% humidity; partially cloudy but comfortable
15 2016-03-20 11:00 am Strength Training 2016 #22 (Yoga)
1:00:00, 352
16 2016-03-20 3:25 pm Strength Training 2016 #23
0:30:00, 176
17 2016-03-20 4:15 pm Houghton Quick Ski XC Classic
4.67 mi, 0:50:00, 10:42 min/mile, 5.61 mph, 469
19 F, 3 mph WNW, felt like 19 F, 93% humidity; partially cloudy, windy but comfortable
18 2016-03-21 5:03 pm Strength Training 2016 #24
0:30:00, 176
19 2016-03-21 6:06 pm Houghton Short Ski XC Classic
6.68 mi, 1:41:33, 15:12 min/mile, 3.95 mph, 624
30 F, 6 mph ENE, felt like 24 F, 64% humidity; partially cloudy, slightly windy but comfortable
20 2016-03-23 6:02 pm KRG Weekly Run 2016 #12/52
3.71 mi, 0:37:05, 9:59 min/mile, 6.01 mph, 163 bpm (79.51%), 502
28 F, 12 mph E, felt like 18 F, 50% humidity; windy during second half
21 2016-03-25 2:47 pm Houghton Quick Run
3.23 mi, 0:28:51, 8:55 min/mile, 6.73 mph, 169 bpm (82.44%), 419
37 F, 7 mph SSE, felt like 32 F, 30% humidity; sunny, beautiful and windy
22 2016-03-25 10:25 pm Strength Training 2016 #25
0:30:00, 182
23 2016-03-26 8:15 am Strength Training 2016 #26
0:30:00, 182
24 2016-03-26 6:01 pm Houghton Quick Run
4.74 mi, 0:46:51, 9:53 min/mile, 6.07 mph, 167 bpm (81.46%), 590
34 F, 3 mph NNE, felt like 34 F, 86% humidity; cloudy, very light snow and comfortable
25 2016-03-27 7:40 pm Strength Training 2016 #27
0:30:00, 182
26 2016-03-28 6:10 am Strength Training 2016 #28
0:45:00, 272
27 2016-03-29 4:24 pm Washington, DC, Short Run
7.48 mi, 1:22:43, 11:03 min/mile, 5.43 mph, 157 bpm (76.59%), 851
61 F, 12 mph NNW, felt like 61 F, 27% humidity; sunny, windy but comfortable
28 2016-03-30 7:42 am Arlington Short Run/KRG Weekly Run 2016 #13/52
7.05 mi, 1:04:11, 9:06 min/mile, 6.59 mph, 170 bpm (82.93%), 794
43 F, 5 mph NE, felt like 40 F, 49% humidity; sunny, windy but comfortable
29 2016-03-31 7:07 am Arlington Quick Run
6.06 mi, 0:56:05, 9:15 min/mile, 6.49 mph, 161 bpm (78.54%), 656
55 F, 11 mph S, felt like 55 F, 77% humidity; sunny but comfortable
30 2016-04-01 6:15 am Strength Training 2016 #29
0:45:00, 272
31 2016-04-03 6:30 am Strength Training 2016 #30
0:30:00, 182
32 2016-04-03 9:31 am Houghton Quick Run
6.13 mi, 1:02:08, 10:08 min/mile, 5.92 mph, 164 bpm (80.00%), 756
18 F, 5 mph E, felt like 10 F, 79% humidity; snowy, icy and less than comfortable
33 2016-04-03 4:21 pm Houghton Quick Ski XC Classic
4.03 mi, 1:08:29, 16:59 min/mile, 3.53 mph, 136 bpm (66.34%), 550
21 F, 7 mph E, felt like 12 F, 86% humidity; cloudy, snowy but manageable
34 2016-04-04 6:15 am Strength Training 2016 #31
0:30:00, 182
35 2016-04-05 4:16 pm Houghton Short Ski XC Classic
7.20 mi, 1:27:36, 12:10 min/mile, 4.93 mph, 140 bpm (68.29%), 750
37 F, 10 mph SE, felt like 30 F, 41% humidity; cloudy, warm but comfortable
36 2016-04-05 6:05 pm Quick Swim: Michigan Tech Indoor Pool
0.28 mi, 0:28:49, 1:42:54 hr/mile, 0.97 mph, 115
60 F, 0 mph, felt like 60 F, 60% humidity
37 2016-04-06 4:40 pm Houghton Quick Ski XC Classic
4.09 mi, 0:54:41, 13:22 min/mile, 4.49 mph, 144 bpm (70.24%), 601
34 F, 9 mph ENE, felt like 26 F, 86% humidity; cloudy, snowy but manageable
38 2016-04-06 6:01 pm KRG Weekly Run 2016 #14/52
4.52 mi, 0:43:18, 9:34 min/mile, 6.27 mph, 160 bpm (78.05%), 553
34 F, 8 mph ENE, felt like 25 F, 86% humidity; cloudy, snowy but manageable
39 2016-04-07 5:03 pm Houghton Quick Ski XC Classic
6.28 mi, 1:15:06, 11:57 min/mile, 5.02 mph, 138 bpm (67.32%), 706
34 F, 7 mph NNE, felt like 28 F, 47% humidity; sunny and comfortable
40 2016-04-10 9:00 am Strength Training 2016 #32
0:30:00, 197
41 2016-04-10 2:49 pm Atlantic Mine Short Run
6.29 mi, 1:07:49, 10:46 min/mile, 5.57 mph, 153 bpm (74.63%), 750
36 F, 11 mph SSE, felt like 28 F, 69% humidity; cloudy with gentle breeze but comfortable
42 2016-04-10 5:30 pm Strength Training 2016 #33
0:30:00, 197
43 2016-04-11 5:15 pm Strength Training 2016 #34
0:20:00, 132
44 2016-04-11 6:00 pm Quick Swim: Michigan Tech Indoor Pool
0.47 mi, 0:28:08, 59:51 min/mile, 1.00 mph, 175
60 F, 0 mph, felt like 60 F, 60% humidity
45 2016-04-12 7:06 am Quick Swim: Michigan Tech Indoor Pool
0.44 mi, 0:26:56, 1:01:12 hr/mile, 0.98 mph, 157
60 F, 0 mph, felt like 60 F, 60% humidity
46 2016-04-13 6:02 pm KRG Weekly Run 2016 #15/52
4.14 mi, 0:37:13, 8:59 min/mile, 6.68 mph, 167 bpm (81.46%), 502
43 F, 12 mph SSE, felt like 36 F, 61% humidity; partially cloudy but comfortable
47 2016-04-14 5:27 pm Houghton Short Run
6.59 mi, 0:58:25, 8:51 min/mile, 6.78 mph, 165 bpm (80.49%), 736
57 F, 15 mph SSE, felt like 57 F, 38% humidity; sunny and beautiful with a gentle breeze
48 2016-04-15 4:07 pm Houghton Quick Run
3.54 mi, 0:33:32, 9:28 min/mile, 6.34 mph, 158 bpm (77.07%), 420
61 F, 7 mph E, felt like 61 F, 36% humidity; sunny and beautiful with a gentle breeze
49 2016-04-16 8:20 am Strength Training 2016 #35
0:30:00, 197
50 2016-04-16 9:07 am Houghton Short Run
10.84 mi, 1:47:56, 9:57 min/mile, 6.03 mph, 154 bpm (75.12%), 1260
48 F, 6 mph SSE, felt like 46 F, 50% humidity; sunny and beautiful with a gentle breeze
51 2016-04-17 8:15 am Strength Training 2016 #36
0:30:00, 197
52 2016-04-17 9:06 am Houghton Short Run
7.33 mi, 1:11:55, 9:48 min/mile, 6.12 mph, 156 bpm (76.10%), 894
57 F, 0 mph, felt like 57 F, 44% humidity; sunny and beautiful with a gentle breeze
53 2016-04-18 7:06 pm Pittsburgh Quick Run
4.39 mi, 0:45:11, 10:17 min/mile, 5.83 mph, 155 bpm (75.61%), 530
81 F, 7 mph NW, felt like 81 F, 15% humidity; sunny and beautiful with a gentle breeze
54 2016-04-20 4:37 pm KRG Weekly Run 2016 #16/52
7.30 mi, 1:08:49, 9:25 min/mile, 6.37 mph, 164 bpm (80.00%), 907
72 F, 6 mph, felt like 72 F, 15% humidity; sunny, warm and beautiful with a gentle breeze
55 2016-04-23 6:50 am Strength Training 2016 #37
0:30:00, 197
56 2016-04-23 7:43 am Houghton Short Run
13.37 mi, 2:18:29, 10:21 min/mile, 5.80 mph, 166 bpm (80.98%), 1719
34 F, 5 mph ESE, felt like 29 F, 75% humidity; cloudy, cold, and a gentle breeze
57 2016-04-23 4:24 pm Houghton Short Run
7.14 mi, 1:33:40, 13:07 min/mile, 4.57 mph, 156 bpm (76.10%), 1000
45 F, 7 mph ESE, felt like 41 F, 36% humidity; partly cloudy, cold, and a gentle breeze
58 2016-04-25 5:08 pm Short Swim: Michigan Tech Indoor Pool
0.77 mi, 1:04:58, 1:24:22 hr/mile, 0.98 mph, 244
60 F, 0 mph, felt like 60 F, 60% humidity
59 2016-04-26 6:35 am Strength Training 2016 #38
1:15:00, 493
60 2016-04-27 6:26 am Speed Workout 2016 #03
2.51 mi, 0:32:45, 13:02 min/mile, 4.60 mph, 133 bpm (64.88%), 266
60 F, 0 mph, felt like 60 F, 60% humidity
61 2016-04-27 4:37 pm KRG Weekly Run 2016 #17/52
5.27 mi, 0:52:36, 9:58 min/mile, 6.02 mph, 157 bpm (76.59%), 611
45 F, 6 mph ESE, felt like 41 F, 39% humidity; partly cloudy and comfortable
62 2016-04-28 6:15 am Strength Training 2016 #39
1:30:00, 592
63 2016-04-30 8:19 am Senter Short Run
11.10 mi, 1:52:21, 10:07 min/mile, 5.93 mph, 153 bpm (74.63%), 1221
43 F, 4 mph NE, felt like 43 F, 61% humidity; mostly sunny and comfortable
64 2016-05-01 1:06 pm Houghton Quick Run
4.29 mi, 0:41:30, 9:40 min/mile, 6.21 mph, 166 bpm (80.98%), 547
50 F, 6 mph E, felt like 48 F, 54% humidity; mostly sunny and comfortable
65 2016-05-02 4:59 pm Houghton Quick Ride
15.33 mi, 0:55:31, 3:37 min/mile, 16.59 mph, 148 bpm (72.20%), 623
57 F, 10 mph, felt like 57 F, 36% humidity; sunny, breezy but comfortable
66 2016-05-02 6:23 pm Houghton Short Run
7.33 mi, 1:16:33, 10:26 min/mile, 5.75 mph, 154 bpm (75.12%), 879
57 F, 3 mph NW, felt like 57 F, 33% humidity; mostly sunny and comfortable
67 2016-05-04 6:00 pm KRG Weekly Run 2016 #18/52
3.12 mi, 0:40:21, 12:55 min/mile, 4.65 mph, 153 bpm (74.63%), 453
46 F, 15 mph NNE, felt like 40 F, 53% humidity; partly sunny and comfortable
68 2016-05-06 2:52 pm Houghton Quick Ride
18.11 mi, 1:09:50, 3:51 min/mile, 15.58 mph, 142 bpm (69.27%), 642
86 F, 10 mph SW, felt like 86 F, 24% humidity; sunny, hot and windy
69 2016-05-07 10:40 am Calumet Short Run
12.66 mi, 1:56:11, 9:10 min/mile, 6.55 mph, 157 bpm (76.59%), 1334
52 F, 6 mph, felt like 52 F, 58% humidity; mostly sunny, gentle breeze and beautiful
70 2016-05-08 4:53 pm Houghton Quick Run
2.02 mi, 0:15:45, 7:47 min/mile, 7.71 mph, 165 bpm (80.49%), 213
50 F, 9 mph E, felt like 46 F, 50% humidity; mostly sunny, breezy and beautiful
71 2016-05-10 5:23 pm Houghton Short Run
7.31 mi, 1:11:31, 9:47 min/mile, 6.13 mph, 159 bpm (77.56%), 884
54 F, 11 mph E, felt like 54 F, 41% humidity; mostly sunny, gentle breeze and beautiful
72 2016-05-11 6:01 pm KRG Weekly Run 2016 #19/52
5.02 mi, 0:50:02, 9:58 min/mile, 6.02 mph, 164 bpm (80.00%), 678
63 F, 6 mph SE, felt like 63 F, 48% humidity; mostly cloudy, some drizzle and humidity
73 2016-05-14 8:31 am Houghton Quick Run
5.62 mi, 0:57:39, 10:15 min/mile, 5.85 mph, 157 bpm (76.59%), 719
31 F, 11 mph NNW, felt like 31 F, 74% humidity; mostly cloudy, gentle breeze and comfortable
74 2016-05-18 6:00 pm KRG Weekly Run 2016 #20/52
4.54 mi, 0:55:47, 12:17 min/mile, 4.88 mph, 149 bpm (72.68%), 626
61 F, 9 mph ENE, felt like 61 F, 29% humidity; sunny and beautiful
75 2016-05-19 5:55 pm Houghton Quick Run
3.46 mi, 0:31:48, 9:11 min/mile, 6.53 mph, 159 bpm (77.56%), 379
66 F, 5 mph WNW, felt like 66 F, 22% humidity; sunny, warm and beautiful

Tapering period, started after the completion of #69 in the above list, was aided in good part by the retirement festivities honoring the careers of two of my teachers at Michigan Tech (Dr. Beck and Dr. Seel), and preparing for the visit by DCAA folks.

Apart from a certain irresponsible driver abruptly stopping his car short twice and almost causing wreckage about a mile before the Michigan-Wisconsin border on US-141 (and resulting detours to DMV, make a phone call and chat with Marinette county sheriff), the drive down to Green Bay was uneventful. The American Buffalo, recommended by Stephen so that I could learn more about this magnificent animal — recently named the national mammal, kept good company during this drive. A quick walk through the Prevea Health & Fitness Expo in the Lambeau Field to pick up my (and Shannon‘s) race packet left me just enough time to show up to (the traditional) dinner with Katie (and Kelly) in HuHot Mongolian Grill.

An attempt to check into the reserved room in Days Inn & Suites involved a then a bit scary but now funny situation: at first, the lady in-charge couldn’t find my reservation using my name; once she did find the reservation using the confirmation number, she tells me someone had already checked into the room and wondered if I was traveling with someone else; she finally hands me the card with a then funny-sounding note: hope no one is in your room!

I lug my stuff up and enter the room only to find luggage and running gear spread around. Fortunately no one was around in the room, and I come down to the lobby to report my findings. While the guest services lady, kind and capable of taking a joke at the same time, started going through the check-ins to identify where it had all gone wrong. As if on cue, one lady from the room also shows up with a complaint that her key no longer opens the room. I eventually got the room that no one had checked into, we all got a good laugh, I requested the lady to bring her husband down so that we could all take a group photo in fond remembrance of the proceedings, and she did! A short trip to Olive Garden to meet Elizabeth, Holly and (baby) Landry was followed by calling it a night.

The first part of Saturday was spent in walking the 5k course with Elizabeth, Holly, (baby) Landry and Jeff. There was a wide spectrum of people in terms of age, background, capacity and limitation, and with it, a wide array of free lessons. Post-walk activities included a trip to The Pancake Place and Elizabeth showed the value of dipping a tator tot in honey. I may never eat another tater tot any other way ever again! Rest of the afternoon involved meeting Chris at the expo, picking up Rob‘s race packet, devouring a bowl of gypsy vegetable soup in Kavarna Cafe, a stop at the house the coach once lived, a short nap, a tour of the Packers Hall of Fame, dinner with Rob and Shannon at Mangiamo Pizza & Pasta sandwiched between very short shopping pit stops before yielding to the call of a good night’s sleep.

Race day morning came at a decent pace, and for the second time in as many years, brought along warm (60+F and sunny) and humid (~70%) conditions. Maybe it was lack of practice (six months since the last road race) or maybe just not paying enough attention to detail, I only did a part of the pre-race fueling routine. Getting to the starting area with Rob and Shannon, finding a parking spot and meeting Chris around gear check around 7:30 am was uneventful. Opting to use the atrium restrooms instead of the portable ones saved us some time and helped us get to our respective corrals with plenty to spare. The event started on time as usual but after a less than glorious rendition of The Star Spangled Banner for the second year in a row — probably the most horrendous one so far in my 14 years of being a part of it on this side of the pond.

13.14 mi, 1:52:53, 8:37 min/mile, 6.96 mph, 178 bpm (86.83% of max)
Splits: (1) 8:09 (2) 8:01 (3) 7:58 (4) 7:57 (5) 8:08 (6) 8:18 (7) 8:40 (8) 9:26 (9) 8:09 (10) 9:13 (11) 9:38 (12) 9:07 (13) 8:38 (14) 1:36
Garmin fenix 3 HR, Garmin tempe external temperature sensor and WP GPX Maps plugin for WordPress

Race started out just fine on a personal note, and I stuck to my plan of starting out with ~8:00 min/mile pace for the first few miles. Doing so took less than one half a mile to lose sight of Chris and Rob, and a little over three quarters of a mile of weeding through the fellow A-corrallers to find an arm’s length of space around me. First six+ miles went according to the plan with pace hovering in the neighborhood of 8:00 min/mile. While I used every aid station along the course, I didn’t consume the first Honey Stinger Gel until after mile six. Support from the community through which the course snakes around, just like previous years, was exemplary. This, along with the lovely spring-time bloom and their equally lovely fragrance, made me not pay as much attention to the said heat and humidity. I had also been ignoring the tingling sensation in my left foot for a mile or two by now in the hopes that it’d just go away.

Warmer weather conditions, improper fueling before and during the run, lacing up the shoe a bit too tight, …. just any one of them or some weighted function of all of them, aided by my lack of attention to detail and ignoring to fix the fixable issues as they made their first appearance, led to a mild dizziness around mile seven. I chose to slow the pace down and even walked to some extent. The recently consumed energy gel probably had enough time to do its work, and by mile nine, I felt mostly fine and it showed in an increased pace — to about 8:10 min/mile. The dizziness made its appearance again, on and off, for the next two+ miles and I didn’t come anywhere close to the desired pace for reminder of the course.

Splits and Δ splits analysis
Mile mark Metrics (0 -- mile mark) Δ split Metrics (between successive mile marks)
03.11 00:25:07, 8:04 min/mile, 7.44 mph 00.00 -- 03.11 00:25:07, 8:04 min/mile, 7.44 mph
06.21 00:50:25, 8:07 min/mile, 7.39 mph 03.11 -- 06.21 00:25:18, 8:09 min/mile, 7.36 mph
10.01 01:24:27, 8:26 min/mile, 7.11 mph 06.21 -- 10.01 00:34:02, 8:57 min/mile, 6.70 mph
13.17 01:52:59, 8:34 min/mile, 7.00 mph 10.01 -- 13.17 00:28:32, 9:01 min/mile, 6.65 mph

Seeing the familiar faces of Elizabeth and Holly (I don’t recall if Landry was there too or not) around mile 10 was a pleasant and welcome surprise. As I made the turn onto Orrie Lane around mile 11.75, I had to stop and hug Sharon — the lady who had fed me on the course a couple years ago. Ever the kind and thoughtful one, she not only didn’t mind the sweaty and stinky me but also made sure I didn’t need any food or water to complete the race. Running through the tunnel onto, on and out of the Lambeau Field was just as goosebumpy experience as my first time in 2014.

Staying quite ahead of the 1:50 pace group as I crossed the finish line, I was expecting a sub-1:50 finish of my own, and even doubted the data collected and time shown by my Garmin. It took some schooling from Shannon to realize that the 1:50 pace group started well after I had, and that the data collected and time shown by my Garmin — 1:52:53 — was indeed correct.

Personal goals for the event (in order of importance)
## Goal Result
01 Finish within ±2 minutes of PR, 1:43:02 (7.66 mph, 7:50 min/mile) No, 1:52:53 (6.96 mph, 8:37 min/mile)
02 Improve the current PR for this event: 1:53:17 (6.96 mph, 8:37 min/mile) Yes, 1:52:53 (6.96 mph, 8:37 min/mile)
03 Finish in the top 30% overall, amongst males and in age group Yes, 741/5091; Yes, 517/1875, No, 95/314
04 Improve the current PR for half marathon: 1:43:02 (7.66 mph, 7:50 min/mile) No, 1:52:53 (6.96 mph, 8:37 min/mile)
05 Keep the 2016 average run time for road half marathons under 1:45:00:00 No, 1:52:53 total and 1:52:53 per event

Post-race activities included a warm refreshing shower back at the hotel, a meal (cheese curds, a white bean and lentil burger and a Berliner Weisse) at Titletown Brewing Company with Rob, Shannon, Chris and his sister’s family, a nap and an attempted autopsy of my performance (or lack thereof) for some hours before heading to sleep around 10:30 pm. The drive back to the Yoop on Monday was uneventful to the extent that it didn’t involve any life threatening incidents but a pit stop along a lake to enjoy lunch and Spring-time blooms, and was accompanied by completing The American Buffalo and beginning The Idea Factory (thanks to Brandon for the recommendation).

Hindsight being 20-20 and having had a little more than 24 hours to think through things, there are a lot of things I could have done better to have a better experience and memory of this event: not making enough time for strength training or swimming or biking (over the past 3-4 weeks), speed workouts, tempo runs, longer than 13 mile runs, etc. account for a majority of the explanation in terms of preparation. Every single workout I chose to not do for whatever reason during this period could have potentially negated a part of this disappointing experience. My lack of attention to detail (e.g., incomplete pre- and during the race fueling techniques, not checking the weather conditions ahead of time), ignoring to make the necessary changes on the fly (e.g., using the sprinklers provided by the community to cool off to some extent and/or taking time to loosen the laces), and succumbing to this won’t affect me, etc. leave much to be desired in terms of game-day operations.

To borrow a quote from the same someone that once had the opportunity to coach a football team in this town, fatigue makes cowards of us all, my improper conditioning and preparations made me a coward to the extent that I couldn’t push through while my friends (and many many more) found a way to do so and accomplish their goals. One of the speakers at the previously mentioned retirement festivities, Dr. Samuel Trickey, wrote in his abstract — progress almost is never free.

If the numbers don’t lie and they don’t in this case, I am at about the same point in my performance curve now as I was at this time in 2015. The lack of progress (or worse, the downward trend) is probably an indication of lack of the price I have paid so far, or at least of the lack of mindfulness and quality in my training routine. I think I have come a little too far in this journey and have had way too much support from friends (if the incomplete and inexhaustive list below is any indication) to be just happy with finishing a race and be ok with not making progress.

Hopefully, the curve will head in the appropriate direction two weeks from now, and will help bring the PR, probably sunburned beyond recognition by now in America’s finest city, home to the Yoop.

Praise be to the Good Lord and life's blessings, and thanks be to

the opportunities, organizers, sponsors, volunteers, law enforcement/border patrol/immigration officials, timing folks, photographers, community members, fellow racers, electronic gadgets, software, internet, and my good friends -- the Abbotts (Kathy and Mike), the Blakes (Amy and Scott), the Bogans (Ronda and Jim), the Boissevains (Margi and Paul), the Bradfishs (Anna, Eva and Eric), the Brauns (Teri, Louis, Louis, Tom), the Brewsters (Katie and Brian), the Bunkers (Kris and Kate), the Carlsons (Abby, Cassondra, Josh, and Justin), the Carmeans (Jess and Tim), the Chards (Amy and David), the Donnelys (Darcy and Brian), the Durochers (Bridget and John), the Eles (Sarah and Stephen), the Engstroms (Christine and Jaime), the Ericksons (Maija and Nat), the Farquhars (Cheryl and John), the Fredricksons (Linda and Dave), the Friedrichs (Dr. Mary and Dr. Craig), the Gracis (Kara, Mary, Sam Jr. and Sam), the Grays (Stasi and Richard), the Greens (Kim and Greg), the Handlers (Christine, Rob, Shannon and Stephen), the Janowiaks (Rexx and Maria), the Johnsons (Rich and Erik; Robyn and Adam; Karis and Michael), the Kramers (Mandy and Jim), the Kostinskis (Dr. Lilliana and Dr. Alex), the Lehtos (Tammi and Chris), the MacDonalds (Cynthia and Bruce), the MacInnes' (Elizabeth and Scott), the Makelas (Lynn Czarnecki and Jason), the Manderfields (Leslie and Peter), the Manns (Beverly and Paul), the Meyers (Lisa and Mike), the Meyers' (Jeanne, Ted and John; Julie and Keith), the Milligans (Sheila and Dr. Walter) the Obermanns (Alicia, Catherine, Doug and Tim), the Ontls (Kelly and Todd), the Oppligers (Shawn, Emily, Ruth and Doug), the Pandeys (Aparna and Dr. Ravi), the Pergers (Liz and Dr. Warren), the Ransoms (Cindy and Chip), the Rasners (Amanda and Donald), the Resslers (Dee and Tom), the Richards' (Carrie and Dr. Bob), the Rukkilas, the Salos (Chris, Karen, Dan and Don), the Seelys (Nancy and Dr. Bruce), the Smigowskis (Christina and Tim), the Stenvigs (Alexa, Annie, Chelsea, Erik, Helen, John, Nils, Mike, Nancy Verscheure, Tom), the Stickelmyers (Kari and Steve), the Tervos (Chris, Jim and Ryan), the Tomasis (Susan and Mike), the Vendlinskis (Andi, Jim and Rick), the Vertins (Melissa and Joel), the Vizankos (Kelly and Steve), the Watrous' (Liisa and Matt), the Weathers' (Stacy and Bryant), the Wendels (Heather and Caleb), the Wilmers' (Kelly and Stephen), the Youngs (Amber, Christine and Michael), the Zerbsts (Kristen and Ron), Adam Griffis, Dr. Alex Mayer, Alice Flanders, Alison Umbarger, Amanda O'Toole, Amy Madsen, Angela Luskin, Angela Yu, Anika Kuczynski, Ann Anderton, Ann Hoover, Arni Ronis, Ashley Ames, Ashley Kern, Ashley Miller, Aurelia Leigler, Ben Wittbrodt, Bonnie Zwissler, Dr. Bryan Suits, Carolyn Stevens, Chris Swanston, Christopher Buckley, Christopher Schwartz, Cindy Harwood, Crystal Haataja-Holzberger, Dr. Curt Hillegas, Dan Kauppi, Dana Bianco, Dr. Daniel Fuhrmann, Dean Woodbeck, Deedra Irwin, Elizabeth Stempihar, Ellen Manderfield and Ryan Jones, Eric Byykkonen, Erin Kauppila, Greg Reed, Heidi DePuydt, Huanxin-Jessie Zhang, Jamie LaBeske Peryam, Jeff Brookins, Jeffrey Burl, Jeffrey Toorongian, Jenelle Potvin, Dr. Jennifer Slack, Jim and Randy in Cardinal Hotel, Joan Becker, Joe Caron, John Burton, John Vertin, Jonathan Kilpela, Julie Koskinen Ruotsala, Julie Springsteen, Justin TerAvest, Karen Koethe and Adam Manty, Kate Waring, Katie Temple, Kay Tislar, Kelly Wooten, Kelsae Eliszewski, Kenny Gilkerson, Krista Kasuboski, Kristen Schmitt, Kristin Thompson, Laura Mlynski, Lauren Schaefer, Lauri Keteri-Smith, Leah Tollefson, Lianna Miller and Benjamin Ciavola, Lena Widman, Louisa Raisbeck and Jesse Cleaver, Lynette Potvin and Matt Manders, Lindsey Goss-Maurisak, Lynn Geisler, Mahesh Shastry, Marc Rea, Mariana Grohowski, Marilyn Swift, Marine Foucher, Mark Bockmann, Mark Schnabel, Mary Webster, Matt Mlinar, Dr. Maximilian Seel, Melissa Elmer and Justin Hoffmeyer, Michael Babcock, Michael Karinen, Michael Sereda, Mike LaMotte, Nathan Erickson, Patrick Rozich, Peter Negro, Polly Bolduc, Shreya Kumar and Randal Harrison, Ray Sharp, Rebecca Anderson, Ryan Towles, Riccardo Tortini, Robert Larson, Dr. Robert Weidman, Sam Roache, Sam Robinson, Sandy Houle, Sarah Bird and William Atkinson, Sarah Ceballos, Sarah Conner, Sarah Menassian, Sarah Stanek, Scott Bolon and Alison Skwarski, Shannon Vairo, Stacy Bussiere, Sue Perry, Sue Peterson, Tom Edinborough, Wayne Mills, 5th & Elm Coffee House, AustinFit, Copper Country Track Club, The Fitz, Houghton Pizza Works, Houghton Police Department, Keweenaw Running Group, Kenyans from Madison, WI (Christine and Scot Van Asten, Claire Luby, Gus Lang, Kelly Higgins, Maggie Turnbull, Mark Mehler, Phat Huynh, and Susan Speth), Michigan Tech Athletic Department, Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Club, Michigan Tech Public Safety, team /var/run (Nancy Banfield, Joshua Myles and Amy Blake), and more (in and outside of my community) -- for the often unexpected, undeserved, unrewarded acts of constant encouragement, and offerings of constructive criticism, tested tips and tricks to improve myself as an athlete.