When Disney does it, they call it the Goofy Challenge.
Half marathon on Saturday, and full marathon on Sunday, on an indoor track at the The Pettit National Ice Center
that surrounds the speed skating oval. 47.6 laps for the half, and 95.3 laps for the full.
Though I do prefer to run outside, I have never minded running at the Pettit. I have run 20+ miles in low zero temps, and enjoyed that too. Many of my running friends grumble when they opt to run at the Pettit in winter on a dreary Saturday morning.
Here's what I like about the Pettit running track:
100% predictable conditions - consistent temp, and no wind. Wind is the only thing I don't like to run in.
Easy access to hydration and nutrition - put your bottles and gels at the edge of the bleachers, and you are never more than 0.275 miles from it.
Indoor potties - it's just so nice to know they are there for you.
Last but not least - Socially favorable - run laps with people that are close to your pace, you meet new people, and its easy to see friends that do not run your pace.
So, a half marathon and a full marathon on the track in one weekend. Yes, I was called insane more that once, and do not argue with that designation.
Well, the scenery would not be in my top 10 favorites, but it wouldn't be my last either. There's one in New Berlin that's pretty bad, I won't mention it by name, but it rhymes with Pear and Mortice.
There are no hills on the running track either, but I guess that is a nice change of pace once in a while.
I rarely felt crowded on the track. Things bunched up a couple times, and bumped elbows a couple times, but all in all, it worked very well.
A chip timing system counted our laps and race scorers displayed them on a projector, so every lap we could see our pace for the lap, and how many laps we had completed. An announcer periodically called out some of our lap counts, and except during the awards ceremony, let runners know when they were on their last lap, and when they finished.
Volunteers manned tables with bib number ranges on them. Bring your own bottles, set them on the tables according to your bib number, when you want your bottle, tell a volunteer your number, and the next time around, they hand it to you. This worked great. No cups allowed on the track, because of the mess that would cause. Can't really throw a nearly empty cup of gatorade on the floor indoors, some would consider that rude. And sticky. And gross.
So here's my favorite part - being able to see all the runners throughout the event. All running their own paces, we passed each other many times, and could have short conversations. Ashley Kumlien, Mary Gorski, and Pam Grzbowski also ran both events, and my dear friend Dennis Hanna spectated on Saturday, and ran on Sunday. It was so great to see them during the events!
It helps break things up when you can see a friend ahead of you, and can catch up to them again. Dennis insisted that I tell him something funny every time I caught him. Well, I could only come up with one: "Cialis and Boniva should trade names."
Here's what's tough - when you start to feel like crap, the spectators and volunteers are able to watch you progressively deteriorate. And you know it.
I felt good the whole time on Saturday, and for the first 22 or so miles on Sunday. (Read - felt like crap for last 4 miles.) I chuckled to myself when volunteer Gerry Cameron emphasized that I looked really good, during that last stretch, because I knew my discomfort was starting to show, and Gerry knew I needed a little encouragement. Thanks Gerry!
I really enjoyed the challenge and uniqueness of this event. It was very well organized. Great awards and prizes from InStep, Nathan Hydration, and Lakefront Wellness Center. Great job RD, Chris Ponteri!