|I assure you, my official time was NOT 2:00.1|
(Check out the rest of the Race Recap after the jump)
The Race Plan
Like Disney, I used a Races2Remember pace band, and I used the “Modified Warm Up” plan. During training, I determined that my goal for this race would be 1 hour, 50 minutes, although I had also bought a 1:48 band (with the bands I bought, you get two for a single order). I might have gone for the 1:48, except the forecast for race day was 70s-80s and humid. Since I was used to training in temps in the 30s, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to push myself in this heat.
Wake Up, Pre-Race Prep, and Transportation to Race
My alarm went off at 5:05 AM (race time was 7:00 AM). I had not slept well either of the two nights I had been staying in Lincoln. Friday night, my two-year old daughter (who came down with me while my sick wife and son stayed back in Minnesota) did not sleep well in her new environment. Saturday night, she slept better, but still fussed a few times through the night so that I woke up in case she started screaming.
After my alarm went off, the first thing I heard was incredibly LOUD rain and what sounded like hail. I grabbed my phone to check the weather map, and it showed a pretty big thunderstorm cell, but it looked like it was moving quickly and should be through the area before the race started.
I got up, got dressed, and got in my car to drive over to my cousin’s house. She’s also a runner and her, her husband, and her husband’s sister-in-law were all running the race. My cousin’s brother-in-law (her husband’s brother) drove us to the University of Nebraska campus, where the race started. There, I waited in a long line for the rest room (because of the anticipated heat, I had drank a very large bottle of Gatorade to make sure I was hydrated). Then it was time to line up.
The number of runners was nowhere near as many as Disney (which had something like 27,000 runners), but it was still a very respectable size (10,000). This included both the half marathoners and the full marathoners (about 75% half marathoners, though). They started us in waves, with the elites and everyone up to about 7:30/mile going in the first wave. They then held us back for about 5 minutes to let that wave clear out before starting us in the second wave. And we were off
(Note: I’m not going to talk too much about specific locations in this race. But, I will mention specific streets or locations for part of this. If you want to follow along, there’s a nice map of the course here)
The race course started in the heart of the athletic portion of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, and the first third of a mile or so was through the campus (although it just looked like a normal street to me). Almost immediately after the start there was a left turn, followed by a right turn two blocks later onto 16th Street (which we stayed on for almost two miles).
Mile 1 also runs right by the State Capitol, which I still think is a beautiful building. Just past the Capitol was the first spot where my dad set up (he had come down from Minnesota with my mom to help with my daughter and to be a spectator). He actually went to several places along the course (a total of five different locations, I believe), and he took pictures of me at several. The picture below is of me and the Capitol right near the first mile marker. I almost missed him, but after he shouted loud enough, I saw him and waved “Hi.”
Mile Split: 8:36
Total (so far): 8:36
The second mile of this race was run almost entirely on the same street (16th street), with a slight downhill throughout. My goal pace for the mile picked up a bit (8:23, assisted by the downhill), and I was close (I lost a few seconds for the mile, but overall was only a second or two behind the plan). There isn’t much to say about this stretch. It was pretty crowded, so it was a bit hard to maneuver (although you didn’t need to maneuver since it’s just a straight line), but otherwise it was just running down a typical street.
Mile Split: 8:29
The first “adversity” of the race! Right at the end of Mile 2, the course turned left onto South Street and went up a fairly big hill for almost the entire mile up South St. and turning onto Sheridan Blvd (one of the older streets in Lincoln, with big old houses). Not only was the hill fairly large (although manageable), but we were crowded onto two lanes of traffic, so this was one of the more congested parts of the race for me (even worse than the bike path from Miles 6–8). Because of this, I was unable to position myself very well and got stuck behind some slower people, and missed my Mile 3 goal of 8:29.
Mile Split: 8:40
Mile 4 and 5 are probably one of the nicest parts of the course. As I mentioned above, this runs along Sheridan, which is a nice wide Boulevard. It also was the section of the course that had some of the better crowd support (a lot of people set up on Sheridan), so that was nice. This was also the section where I ran close to my Grandma’s house (as I mentioned in my post about my race playlist, she and I were close so the song I had playing when I basically passed by her house was a song we played at her funeral... I actually avoided crying, which was a plus). Somewhere in this mile I spotted my dad for the second time... then it became a game of “Where’s Dad?” for the rest of the race.
|Who's got two thumbs and loves racing'? THIS GUY!|
My goal for Mile 4 was 8:18, and I was starting to have trouble keeping up with the goal pace at this point (nothing too worrying, but I could tell this wasn’t going to be my best feeling race).
Mile Split: 8:18
More running along Sheridan, more great crowd support, another Mile goal of 8:18 that was a bit challenging. Come to think of it, Mile 4 and Mile 5 were pretty much identical when it comes to how they felt.
Mile Split: 8:18
Just before the start of this mile, we turned south off Sheridan and onto 48th Street. The entirety of Mile 6 was pretty much down hill (which is why the time goal for this mile was 8:09 rather than 8:18). Somewhere along 48th Street the 1:50 pace group flew past me, and this is about the point that I knew I probably wasn’t going to hit my goal. I thought about trying to keep up with them (even though they weren’t running my race plan, so it probably would have been a bad idea), but the sun had come out by this point, and the temperature and humidity was starting to creep up, and I knew pushing it was a bad idea. I still pushed fairly hard, I just knew my goal was probably going to be out of reach.
One nice highlight of Mile 6. My mom and aunt were able to get my daughter up, dressed, and over to the race toward the end of Mile 6, so I actually got to give my little girl a kiss for just a brief moment before moving on. That was kind of cool. I guess before I got there, my daughter had been clapping along with the other spectators for people.
Mile Split: 8:11
Miles 7, 8, and more than half of Mile 9 are run along a bike path right next to Highway 2 (a divided highway in the south part of Lincoln, and one of the biggest streets in Lincoln). It was kind of weird because all along this stretch, people were parking on the side of Highway 2 (which I’m pretty sure isn’t allowed) so they could cheer on their runners. One of these people was my dad at his third stop along the route. I spotted him about a half mile past where I saw my mom and daughter.