Monday, August 4, 2014

Packers 5K race recap

Continuing the recap of my Green Bay weekend visit (click here for the first part). After a busy several days, I'm finally getting around to writing about the Packers 5K. I'll continue with the Bill Simmons timeline-style blogging that I used in Part 1.

5:45 PM - Helen and I arrive back at Lambeau Field to get set for the race. In the interest of maintaining neutrality, I purposely chose to wear pink. This is because no NFL team uses pink as a team color, but they all wear it for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Pretty clever, eh?

6:08 PM - After making a quick stop at the indoor restrooms, Helen and I work our way back outside. I run one mile to warm up. It is bright and sunny, and the temps are in the low 80s. My legs are feeling shot from the 10K I ran less than 48 hours earlier. I attempt some acceleration gliders and my legs aren't having any of that.

6:15 PM - Amidst the mob of Packers fans creating a sea of green and gold, Helen makes a Superman sighting!

6:25 PM - I line up in the corrals behind the Corral 2 sign. I had asked Helen to take some pictures of me during the race. To help myself stand out in the crowd for photos, I pose in increasingly spasmodic ways.

Upper L: Obliviousness
Upper R: One-handed wave
Bottom L: Two-handed wave
Bottom R: Best "Fonzie" impression. "AYYY!"

6:28 PM - The president of the Packers plus some Packers alumni address the crowd. A local school choir sings the national anthem.

6:30 PM - Packers-themed music blares from the loudspeakers and Corral 1 is off!

6:31 PM - The emcee gives countdowns to the release of each corral, which include repeat renditions of the Packers jingle (credit to my friend Dale for finding that video). The crowd is fired up. Everyone around me is cheering along and pumping their fists in rhythm with the jingle.

6:33 PM - I realize too late that I actually lined up in Corral 3. Apparently the Corral 2 runners were supposed to line up in FRONT of the Corral 2 sign, instead of behind it. Oops! Oh well. I take it as another sign from the universe that I should run easy tonight.

I start moving along with the flow of runners but I get boxed in right away. It is very, very crowded, and there is very little room even to bob and weave. That officially seals the deal on taking things easy tonight.

One of the photos that Helen took of the crowd

6:45 PM - We wind through many residential neighborhoods surrounding Lambeau Field. Lots of locals have come out to watch the fun. A couple of folks have their lawn sprinklers towards the streets and many runners take the opportunity to enjoy the spray. There are lots of kids running and they are all having a marvelous time.

6:52 PM - There are gentle hills along the course. My legs are aching.

This is an official event photo (the organizers allowed us to download them for free!) The camera angle makes it look like I am leading the crowd but I assure you that I am most definitely not!

6:59 PM - We enter the stadium. The course narrows considerably, forcing us to slow to a walk several times. We are side by side with oncoming runners, many of whom exchange high-fees with us along the way.

After a short pass through some hallways, we run through the player's entrance and emerge onto the playing field. The course includes a lap around the warning track. It was very cool taking in the sights from ground level.

7:00 PM - I see myself on the Jumbotron! Since Helen has my phone, I couldn't take a picture of myself. But plenty of other folks stop on the field to do so, causing a logjam along the path. Nobody minds, of course.

7:01 PM - After completing the lap around the field, we head back into the stadium halls and reemerge from a side door. In the adjacent parking lot, there is a replica 50-yard line set up which is our finish line. Wooo!

7:02 PM - Helen sees Superman again.

By the way, yes, that is a giant Packers logo "G" on the ground.

7:03 PM - I come barreling across.

...and I am in the end zone. Finish line/touchdown!!!

My official time: 30:13.

7:10 PM - I've collected my finisher's medal and gone through the post-race refreshment tent (apples, bananas, pretzels, and fresh cookies!) Helen and I head back into the stadium to hang out, enjoy the atmosphere, and watch other runners on the course.

We see lots more runners photographing themselves on the Jumbotron. Some figure out where the video camera is placed, and lift their kids up right in front of it.

Notice the one woman doing some kind of cheerleader pose in the background.

Best photobombing, ever. I bet some of those pictures end up on people's holiday cards. =D

8:30 PM - Helen and I are having dinner at Kroll's, right across the street from the stadium. This is a landmark restaurant in Green Bay which has been around for over 70 years.

Upper L: The sign
Lower L: At the restaurant, you seat yourself, then press the button when you are ready to order
R: Covered parking for my car. I think Kroll's used to be a drive-in?

As you can probably glean from the pictures, Kroll's has a unique, old-fashioned vibe. They also have really, really good burgers and milkshakes/malts. =)

I had a great time visiting Green Bay! I really enjoyed the local atmosphere at the Packers 5K and all the weekend events, as well as the true friendliness of all the residents. Many thanks again to Helen and her aunt/uncle for being such kind and welcoming hosts for the weekend!!!


  1. Looks like fun! Now I'm hungry for a burger.

    1. So a quick note on the burgers at Krolls - they actually put a pat of butter on the patty underneath the bun! So unhealthy but really delicious!

    2. Butter burgers?! I'm dying!!

    3. Yes ma'am! Kind of like the Culver's "butter burgers" but this time for real. =D

  2. Wisconsin has some awesome drive-in type burger and shake places. I will have to remember Kroll's if I ever find myself in Green Bay. Very cool that you guys got to see yourself on the Jumbotron. It's funny that it basically ground the race to a halt while people took pictures of themselves! I get frustrated when I line up too far back, but like you said, it's probably best to just take it as a sign to run the race easy!

    1. I love drive-in type places! They make me so nostalgic. Do you ever watch Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network? Guy Fieri has the best job ever. Definitely check out Kroll's if you ever find yourself in Green Bay. It's a very local joint. =)

      I'm all about signs to run races easy, LOL. I do find, too, that races geared more towards families or special events, like this one was, tend to have lots of first-timers. These types of events are always great bets for just having fun on the course!

    2. I don't have cable so I have never seen the Food Network. I have however seen the huge lines for restaurants once they have been featured on the show! Yes, fun is the key at a race like that. You need to savor all of the sights and sounds instead of blasting passed everything. Bette to save the PRs for a race on a more boring course!

    3. I love the idea of saving the PRs for boring courses! I never thought about it that way but it makes so much sense! That would be a great idea for a future blog topic - the top X number of most boring but PR-friendly races in the U.S. =D

  3. I will repeat the question I asked during your awesome Chicago Marathon performance two years ago. Should not Superman be EASILY winning this race? I mean...he's SUPERMAN !!!

    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! In this case, though, Superman didn't have his Super Friends with him. Maybe that took the wind out of his sails?!?

  4. Girl you are running ALL the stadiums this year! Looks like so much fun, even for a cheesehead affair. ; )

    1. Thanks, Marcia! It's too bad that the Race to Wrigley doesn't actually allow the runners on the field, otherwise that would be a great race to do. Admittedly I did feel a little out of place at this cheesehead affair but I think us Midwesterners can all blend in pretty well when needed, no? =)

  5. What a fun race! Seems like it had a great environment - especially if people were really NOT mad that people stopped to take pics of themselves on the jumbotron ;)

    That was a clever reason to wear pink! And, you definitely stood out. :)

    Totally LOLing at the lady using her iPad to take a pic of superman. Ha haha.

    1. Yes, this was one of those fun races that very few people cared very much about time. It was just about enjoying the experience of running on the playing field at Lambeau. Given that literally the entire city of Green Bay revolves around the Packers, probably the vast majority of the city's population took part in the festivities! Literally - the city's population is just over 100,000, but their stadium seats about 80,000. So on any given game day, 80% of their population could be in the stands! Crazy, eh?

      Thank you on the pink color!

      I LOL'd at the lady using her iPad to photograph Superman, too. =)

  6. Cool! I love pink and love that you are wearing it too.

    Free race day photos? Why can't all races be like that right?

    1. Yay for pink! Is it your favorite color? For some reason I thought that purple was your fave but I could see you liking pink, too.

      Yes on free race photos for all events! Normally it's rare for me to have race photos that are both free AND turn out to my liking, so this particular instance was a nice plus!

    2. I like pink, blue, and purple. :-)

  7. Any post-race spread that includes cookies, is my kind of post-race spread! Hat tip for another well run race, my friend. It's crazy how crowded it looks from the pictures and your description. Crowding is probably my least favorite thing because there's nothing you can do about it!

    1. Thank you, Amy! Agree on post-race cookies, especially freshly-baked ones. Any race that offers desserts gets an A plus in my book, too! I once saw a race that was entirely themed on serving ice cream at the post race party. Would have loved to have run that one. =)

      I also completely agree on the crowding being frustrating. There have been so many times that I've wanted to attempt a PR but the crowds made it too difficult, you know? But on the other hand, on the days when you're not feeling like pushing yourself, it's kind of nice to just go with the flow and then blame the crowd, LOL.