On Saturday, I was lucky enough to get a ride to the airport from my uncle, breezed thru security and sat in the terminal for about 20 minutes before my flight departed Chicago at 2:15. The plane was full with lots of Nebraska football fans who were making their way to Lincoln for the big game against University of Miami that evening (thank god Nebraska won—there would have been many unhappy people!). We touched down a little before 3:30— I’ll take a quick flight over the 9 hour drive it would have been!
I got my rental car easily and was on my way to the “fitness expo”. My first gripe with the race came with the parking. I wasn’t sure if I had to pay or if I was parking in the right area, but there was absolutely no signage. I just parked in the lot across the street (I went in the exit..opps.. no signage, what can you expect!). I walked across the street and this was the “fitness expo”. It was outside and roughly 10-15 booths selling race gear and races. The picture is kind of hard to tell but you had to walk the row to get to the registration/bib pick up. It didn’t take too long to get my bib, but the pasta ticket was a different story. I literally waited in a line for 15 minutes for the ticket… one girl was giving them out and I’m not sure she knew what she was doing.
This is the shirt for the race. Really not a fan… looks like it is for a 4th of July race. Plus the overall Omaha Marathon logo kinda sucks.
The “giveaway bag” really stunk. The clear plastic bag had your race bib, a couple of upcoming race pamphlets, a small deodorant sample, and a pamphlet about God in running (what?!). I honestly threw everything away but my bib, so sorry, no picture.
I picked up this shirt for $20… I probably could have just walked away with it because the people manning the official merchandise booth were spacey and I had to get their attention when I was the only person at the booth. This should have told me something about how the race was going to be run.
After the expo, I headed to the pasta party. Again, no signage what so ever. I had to put the address into my gps to figure out that it was just a short walk away—could have had some signs/volunteers leading the way! Oh well, once I made it to the pasta party (again, no signage at the entrance or parking lot there), I got right into line (there was only 1 line—bad mistake—because the line got really long) to get my dinner. The pasta was pretty good… it was free, so I cannot complain too much. I first sat with a couple from Iowa and then a man who has done 46 marathons of the states and will be completing the final 4 within the next year from Illinois sat with me. I always enjoy listening and talking with people who share this crazy passion with me!
Once I finished my pasta, I headed to my hotel. I got a great deal online, so I cannot complain about the hotel at all. It was a nice room, a bit small, but the bed was comfortable! There was no swimming pool (there was one but it was an indoor waterpark, so they wanted $25 to go.. no thanks!).. so no swimming for me before the race.
I wanted to get water and Gatorade before the race (plus my eye solution, because it was taken from me at security) so I figured out where the closest Walgreens was and headed there. I was in the Walgreens for 5 minutes getting my supplies when I came back out to my car to discover that my license plates were gone! WHAT?! I know they were there when I got to Walgreens but they were gone when I came out. So I ended up driving back to the airport to get a new car (not sure if I’ll be charged for the plates, they are supposed to call me this week or next) and then didn’t get back to the hotel until after 9 pm. I was frustrated to say the least… thank God it didn’t affect me the next day!
My alarm went off around 5:15, so I could get ready for my 7 am race start time. I ate my peanut bar, drank some Gatorade, got ready and headed to the race. I wasn’t sure how the parking situation was going to be, when I asked the volunteers they were clueless, so I didn’t want to be late. I easily got parking (only $5) and had a short walk to the start line (which was not very clearly marked either). I just hung out along the fencing when I noticed a familiar blog face. I follow Elizabeth, runningforbling.com, on twitter and facebook as she is doing the half marathon adventure as well across the 50 states. She is a speedy runner (her PR in a half is in the 1:30s range…wicked fast!) and is such an inspiration. It wasn’t her that I saw but her boyfriend Rich. I follow her blog, so I knew that a few weeks ago while racing in the Ironman Madison race he broke his collarbone—and this man had a sling. He was also carrying a Nuun bottle and Elizabeth always uses Nuun. The only thing that threw me off was that he was wearing a Seattle Seahawks hat (they live in the Atlanta area). After a few minutes, I just decided to go up to him and ask him if he was indeed Rich. He was and I told him that I followed Elizabeth’s adventure online. After a few minutes talking to him, she came up from her prerace run (she’s doing NYC Marathon in November, so she had to get in some extra miles pre-race!). She was so friendly (it’s that southern charm and the fact that she went to Auburn… War Eagle) and truly is an outstanding runner. She ran the Omaha race in 1:45… probably like it was no big deal :). I hope I run into her again at some point in this crazy journey!
After chatting with Elizabeth it was time to line up- there were no corrals but you were supposed to line up near where you thought you’d finish with the pacers. They only had up to 2:15, so I just lined up behind the 2:15 pace group.
This race was an out and back… I had never done that before, but it was certainly interesting because I knew what was coming up on the way back! It was kind of cool seeing the elite runners when they started to pass me at 4.42 miles in the other direction.
My hip was bothering me when I woke up, but the pain was non-existent during the run. I was so happy! The race was overall flat so I just did the best I could following my normal routine. I didn’t’ have to stop and take any extra walking breaks. As I went along, I knew that a PR was possible and I knew it was going to be close. Unfortunately, my shoe came untied and I couldn’t open my energy gummies (I had to actually get a key out of my Armpocket to get the gummies open)—so that wasted some time.
As I neared the finish, I tried to give it everything I had! I knew the finish was in the baseball stadium, but I didn’t realize I would have to run the outfield around the perimeter of the field to actually finish. When I crossed the line and looked at my watch, I knew my PR time was going to be close. And I actually missed a new PR by 9 seconds! Oh well, I wasn’t too upset, I was just happy to have a great racing time! I got my medal, water bottle and headed out (there was no food—there were a few things but the line was so crazy it wasn’t worth waiting for).
I’ll share my high and lows of this race on Friday and preview my next race!