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.
6:31 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!!!