Friday, August 17, 2012

Couch to 5K Run #4

Getting ready to run with the weenies

Example of Racing Sausage Shirt from Brewers Blog
Last year was the first that I had heard and paid attention to the talk about the Famous Racing Sausage 5K Run/Walk at Miller Park. If you know anything about Milwaukee, you know that we love our sausages - brats, hot dogs, chorizo - we love our meat! At the 6th inning of any home Brewers game, there is a Klement's Racing Sausage race where people dressed as the racing sausages race from 3rd base to 1st base. This is definitely something that Brewers fans enjoy watching and place friendly wagers on with their game seat neighbors. I am partial to the Polish because of my heritage but its always a race to the finish.

Apparently I'm a little out of the loop because fourteen years ago the Brewers started hosting the Racing Sausage 5K at Miller Park to raise money for the Brewers Community Foundation that helps many local organizations annually. I say apparently because I have only known about it for two years. But with my new found love of running and my home team Brewers pride, I knew that this race would be a blast.

I signed up with two of my friends months and months ago. It was good that we did because between the runners and walkers, this run did sell out - 4,000 spots! I drove with my friend Tory and we arrived to the Miller Park parking lots about an hour before the race started to make sure that we wouldn't feel rushed. Apparently an hour is a bit too early unless we needed to pick up our race packets (which Shauna nicely did for us earlier in the week). We had plenty of time to stretch out and see the die-hard runners getting in their pre-runs.

This race start was well organized by pace. Volunteers held signs that read different paces and the pace that you fell into, you went by. This is a better way to do it than just runners/walkers and helps keep the runners a little more organized and less likely to trample each other.

The 5 taller blobs at the front are the Racing Sausages
I was towards the back with a pace in the 12 - 14 min mile area and Tory stayed with me. Shauna is an 8 - 10 min/mile runner so we said bye and wished her luck. It was a much smaller cattle call this time because we were organized but my adrenaline was pumping greatly when I stepped on the timer mats and took off down Canal Street.

The horn sounded and the runners started
The route headed east and then north around the general parking lots. We then followed the road towards the stadium and went over the Milwaukee River. It was just west of this river that the winner passed me heading towards the finish already. He was followed by two others but not super closely. I couldn't believe how fast he was. I then went under the bridge to the first water stop. I was very happy for water at that point because I had done 11:13 for my first mile and was pretty parched.

Preferred lot heading into the shade
It was a little bit of an uphill from the bridge and we still continued around the outskirts of the preferred parking lot. I got pretty warm at this point because I was running with the wind and the sun was pounding on my head :( As soon as I made the turn over by the I-94 entrances/exits to the stadium, I felt the wind against me and cooled down a bit. There was a little girl running in front of me on her tippy toes and I just couldn't imagine the pain that I would be in if I ran a whole race like I was in heels. Then I thought that another child was coming up on my left and was about to cheer both of them on to keep up the pace. When I turned to cheer, I realized that it was actually a really, really short woman in her 70s with her poofy permed hair. I just smiled and continued on. That would have been embarrassing.
Serenaded by Navy men at Miller Park
Miller Park Tunnel

I was pretty excited to get around the side of the stadium because I knew we were heading onto the field soon. When we got to "right field" on the outside of the stadium, there were four Navy guys sitting in chairs playing music for us to motivate us. A few people stopped to take pictures by them, but I was too excited heading onto the field to stop there. We entered the stadium through a tunnel that smelt of hot dogs and headed onto the field.

Everyone taking in the view at Miller Park
I was instantly thrilled to be on the warning track and as much as I wanted a good time for the run, I wanted to enjoy my time on the field and take it all in. I pulled out my phone and took a ton of photos as you can see. People were stopping by the bases and behind home plate. Brewers players and staff were talking to us on teh jumbotron motivating us and saying things like "hey you in the red, this is a race - pick up the pace." It was some good humor.
Brewers dugout
Setting homeplate
looking at my 10-pack seats WAY up there

Time to leave the field - that was fun
I left the stadium in left field, went through the tunnel and back under the bridge where we got the water stop on the other side. Again a welcome relief. Here is where I started setting mini goals - run to the tree, run to the port-o-potty, run to the dumpster, run to the turn in the road. By breaking it down, I was able to continue running and not focus on how far I still was from the finish line.

When we turned into the middle of the lot, I took some nice deep breaths and prepped myself to run to the finish. I started about 3/4 of the way back in the lot and ran up the sidewalk and over the bridge to finish.
After run party

The finish was mass chaos as the water and food wasn't far enough away and large crowds looking for people were everywhere. I found my friend Kathy while trying to get water and then followed them to get a beer. My stomach wasn't ready for food, so I gave my hot dog ticket away to Jack and just enjoyed my water and sipped my beer. 
Red Faced Runner
All in all it was a good time and I finished with a time of 40:33:18. The goal was under 40 and well I stopped to take those pictures so that's why I wasn't under 40. I was number 2,076 of 4,000 so I'm pretty much the middle of the pack. Too bad there were only 2,500 runners and the rest were walkers. I still didn't come in last and I have another run under my belt. Gotta love my Red Face after I was done - but that smile is pure joy and runners high!  Any something I learned after the race - the sausages ran the whole thing in costume!

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