Nebraska Half Marathon

Monday, October 15, 2018

Cold, Wet, Miserable
Those are the best three words to describe the Nebraska Half Marathon.

The race started out in our favorite running spot in Omaha, Turner Park at the Midtown Crossing. We have run three Turkey Trots there, so we know the place well. Bonnie was a huge sport and drove us to the race and even brought her skeletons to cheer us on. Being this is a new race, it was very small. The start was cold at 37 degrees and misty.

The first couple miles went well for me. I kept close to my predicted pace and didn’t have any problems. There was a nice downhill and a short up hill. The windy wasn’t as noticeable when ran around downtown Omaha. Mile 4 had a nasty uphill that slowed me down and the corresponding downhill didn’t help.

During mile 5 we ran by the TD Ameritrade Park where the College World Series is played. It looked like a nice place. This meant we were around a lot of empty parking lost so the wind was really pounding us. And the rain started to get hard too. I’m so glad I wore my hat. I almost gave it Bonnie before I started.

Miles 6-9 were in the Lewis & Clark Landing and Heartland of America Park along the Missouri River. It was an out and back section which I love so much (just kidding). The highlight of this section was running around my nephew, Michael’s apartment building. Bonnie was out with her skeletons cheering us on. She said that some runners stopped to take pictures of them. Haha! The best part of out and back sections is realizing there are still people behind you. Yay for not being last! Also during this stretch we ran past the finish line twice. Such a mean trick they play!

Mile 9 is when the sleeting started. Oh how much fun that was. Sleet/ice pellets and 20+ mph north wind, doesn’t that sound pleasant? I had to deal with this crap the rest of the race. Mile 10 was a water stop and I spilled the cup all over my gloves. I was already freezing as the temperature kept dropping and now this. I spend the entire walk (because at this point I was too frozen to run) across the Missouri River (which will now be referred to as the “Misery River”) Pedestrian bridge to Iowa whether or not to take the gloves off. My hands were frozen and I’m not sure if the gloves helped but if I took them off there was no way I could get them back on. After so much struggle I left them on.

The Iowa portion of the race was the most miserable. I was slow because I think I was fighting hypothermia and the nonstop ice pellets were hurting my face. We got to the turnaround point for the half and I pitied anybody running the marathon. It had to be awful! I prayed to God, Jesus, Mary, anybody who would listen at this point help me finish this thing. You know it was bad if I resorted to praying for 2 miles! 

The last 2 miles were the worst. By this time it was at the freezing mark and I was running straight into the ice pellets. I would have been dead if where not for my visor/hat. I put my head down into my chest and let the ice just bounce off of me. I got back across the “Misery River” bridge and shortly was at the finish. I don’t remember much about the finish other than I tried to run in even though I couldn’t feel my feet, or legs or really any part of me. I got my medal, a couple brownies and bottle of water and high tailed it to the warm car. I shivered all the way back to Bonnie’s house even though I had three jackets on.  I think I took at 30 minutes HOT shower and put on several layers and eventually I was warm again.

I learned from this race I need a running rain jacket. If I had been able to stay dry during the 7 miles of rain, I wouldn’t have been so cold when the temperature drop. This is a first for me. I actually got colder as the race went on, not warmer. Very odd for me.  The starting temp was 39, 3 hours later it was 32. I think it dropped 7 degrees in the last hour of the race.

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Cheyenne Half Marathon

Monday, September 24, 2018

Half #22, State #17!  Elevation killed me!

This past weekend was my first true test to see if I could run 2 half marathons 2 weeks apart. My goal in 2019 is to run half marathons in back-to-back weekends in New England so I can cross two states off my list.

Sioux Falls was a great race for me two weeks ago. Cheyenne prove to be more a challenge. The biggest thing was E-L-E-V-A-T-I-O-N. Running at 6,200 feet is no easy task when you are not used to it. I knew I was in trouble in the first .15 mile when I struggled to breathe running up a tiny hill. I had to slow down to walk to control my breathing. This was not going to be my day. Thankfully I had 8 years to complete it. Ha! Well no, I actually had less than that because I had a plane to catch in Denver.

It was the inaugural year of this race so there were a few hiccups as you can imagine. But nothing major. The biggest thing was more water stops and maybe some sports drink for those that need it.

The course was ok. There some nice parts but quite a bit was on busy roads or next to busy roads like the long stretch along the interstate. Not so much fun.

The first three miles were tough on my breathing. Mile 4 I finally had a mile under 14. Woo hoo! So different from my last half. After that “spectacular” mile, I tried to keep as many of my miles under 15 as possible. I didn’t do so great at the goal.

During mile 6 the course wanted us to turn left. Well this woman in front of me (who drove me nuts the entire first 6 miles) didn’t turn. She went straight. At first, I was concerned for her that she got off course but what she really was doing was cutting the course. Seriously!  I saw her later and she was easily a mile ahead of me. We figured she cut about a mile. Argh so annoying.

We made our way around downtown Cheyenne. The silly capitol building was under scaffolding, so we couldn’t see it. :( The finish was at the cool old depot. But there wasn’t much fanfare. I got my medal, my banana and was on a bus back to our car.

It was an ok race. I’m not sure I would come back. I’m also glad to get another high elevation state out of the way. Idaho, Utah and Montana scare me. Hopefully I can find a race with a good time limit…I need it!

Finish time: 3:19:35. Only 35 seconds slower than I predicted. I’m getting pretty good at predicting my time. ;)