October 6, 2008

Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon

What a wonderful time I had at the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee! I arrived on Thursday afternoon and was picked up by race volunteer Dennis Wantland. Dennis made sure I got everywhere I needed to be during my visit. I can't thank Dennis and his wife Julie for everything they did for me, you talk about nice people!

Besides being in Milwaukee as their invited guest to speak, I also had been training all summer long to race the Lakefront Marathon, needless to say I was very excited, although my excitement to run was a little tempered because I had hurt my knee a couple of weeks before, not running, but goofing around in the Atlantic Ocean and I got hit in the right knee by a big wave! My doctor said I could give the race a try and see what happens, more on that later!

Friday I was up early for a nice easy 3 mile run as I was in my last couple of days tapering. It was then down to the lake front where I was greeted by 2000 Milwaukee elementary school kids who were there to get pumped up about leading a healthy active lifestyle! I, along with some others, got up on the stage and said a few words and then it was off for a mile and a half walk with all the kids, it was wonderful!

Friday afternoon I had the opportunity to speak a couple of times to a large group of students at Brookfield East High School and the boys and girls cross-country teams, the kids were super! A big thanks to teacher and Coach Kim who helped make it all possible!

After my high school talks it was back over the the Lakefront Marathon Expo and I gave a short talk along with Jen who is from the Detroit, Michigan area and has a written program for getting kids into a running program.

Friday night it was on to In-Step Running for a VIP reception for many of the team leaders who help with volunteering for the race. We had a wonderful time, I told a few stories, had pictures taken, and answered questions from the folks that were there.

Saturday morning Dennis picked me up at 6:30 and it was off to the local FOX TV station for a interview, then back to the expo center and a nice fun run with about 10 other folks for about 3 miles then off for my favorite meal of the day, breakfast!

Saturday afternoon I gave two different talks to a full house, sold and signed books and had a super time just chatting with people!

On Saturday evening it was out to supper with Dennis and Julie along with others including race director Kris Hinrichs. What a energized person Kris is! She along with her volunteers do a amazing job!

Sunday morning was the perfect day for a marathon! They were talking rain but not til later in the day. Dennis picked me up at 6:30 and off we went, north to the Grafton, Wisc. high school. The race started there and the school was open for everyone to get into before the race started.

At 8AM the gun was fired and off we went on a gorgeous morning! It was about 42 degrees, sunshine and no wind! I felt really good for the first 5-6 mile and was in a nice group of guys running 6:15-6:20 pace. By 7 miles my right knee started to really bother me, by 8 miles I noticed a limp, by 9 I'm really hobbling, and at 10 miles my day was done! Running means to much to me to try and hobble in just to finish and perhaps really wreck my knee, so I saw race volunteer Judy and she was kind enough to give me a ride back to my hotel.

The hot shower along with breakfast felt good, and then it was over to the finish area to help with the awards.

I had such a great time in Milwaukee! Thanks to everyone who made my trip there such a memorable one!

If any of you are looking for a great fall race, that is not too big, really well organized, and is run on a beautiful course, the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon is the one to run!

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