Marathon #2 – Lincoln, NE

I know, I know…this is long overdue.  What a race!

I improved from October by 12 minutes, sped up my pace from 9:03 minutes per mile to 8:38, and I made it to work the next day!  My official time was 3 hours, 45 minutes, and 50 seconds, which was only 5:50 from qualifying for Boston…bummer!  After September the qualifying times are dropping by 5 minutes, which is about 11-12 seconds faster per mile.  I’ll just have to keep on trying!

Enough math already!

Here is a little breakdown of race day… (My apologies for the lack of photos today)

5:00 am – Wake Up!!

Alarm goes off and AC and I are awake and making coffee.  Remember those snacks from my last post?  I went with a banana and pop tarts.  I can honestly say I have not had pop tarts since high school…they were delicious!!

We got ready, took our time to wake up, and left around 6:00 am to find out way downtown and to the start line.

6:00 am – Find our pacer

AC and I decided to run with the pacer.  This is something we’ve both done or tried in the past (me in October, until I fell behind and lost them).  We had our wrist bands declaring the pace we’d run during each mile.  The idea was to start out slow, because this is when our bodies are warming up and are the most inefficient.  You increase your speed in the middle of the race to make up time so that by the end of the race you’re able to slow down a bit.  You can find information about the “Lincoln Marathon Pacing Strategy” or the Domino Effect on their website.

Our pacers had red shirts on and we actually had two different guys that switched on and off.  Personally, it would be been fine, but one of them was really inconsistent and didn’t stick with the pace schedule very well.  Oops, I’m still talking pre-race, huh?  Well, on to the start!

7:00 am – Ready, Set, Go!

An interesting start, they shuttled us through a little corral to keep people spread out a bit over the start.  We stayed with our pacer and quickly felt like we were going too fast, but that’s why you have a pacer…to keep you from jumping the gun and using too much energy at the beginning.

We ran the first half of the race with the half-marathoners.  I have to say I’m not a big fan.  Though Des Moines is not my favorite course, I do appreciate that the half marathoners separate fairly early on in the race, leaving more room to move around.  In Lincoln, this was especially frustrating when we got to a trail and were running 3-4 people across, trying to pass on the grass.  A lot of your energy goes into avoiding runners at a different pace, spectators standing close to the trail, and just making sure you’re not losing too much time.  AC and I chose to get ahead of the pace group during this part of the run.  It’s hard to say whether it hurt, helped, or maybe didn’t make a different.

Either way, I wish there weren’t so many people during the first full 13 miles.

9:00 (ish) am – Separate from the pack

We were finally able to separate from the half marathoners, which was such a relief!  One thing I haven’t mentioned that I absolutely LOVED about this race…the water cups (and Gatorade cups) had lids and straws!  Now, I’m normally one that doesn’t mind walking through an aid station to sip my water, but this totally allowed me to simply slow down for better breathing, but keep moving.  After so many miles it can be really difficult to get moving again.  AC on the other hand, rarely stops…the whole “starting again” thing can be really painful!  I only wish I had her level of motivation!

The second part of the race (miles 14-26.2) was done in an out-and-back fashion.  At first I was feeling pretty good about that.  Mentally, it’s easy to think…ok, out 6.5 miles and back 6.5 miles.  Plus, once you get out, you have to come
back.  For some reason this wasn’t as calming as normal.  There were all these rolling hills for the first part of that second half and it wasn’t appealing to know that’s what we’d be finishing the race on.

Overall, the route had more hills than I expected.  Though there were only two larger hills that really stick out in my mind, it still wasn’t as flat as I expected.  That being said, it was much better than other routes I’ve ran on (part of Des Moines, New Bo half in Cedar Rapids).

10:00 am – Finishing the final 45 minutes

Once the pace group caught back up to AC and I around mile 14 or 15, I stayed with them until about 20 or 21.  AC dropped off at one point in there, but after a while I lost the group and had started walking occasionally, so eventually
she caught back up with me.  We finished together, though with one mile to go I was ready to stop and walk.  With AC’s motivation I actually finished pretty strong, walking through the aid stations and then catching back up with her before the next.

We finished the race on the Big N in the center of Memorial Field at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  This was pretty cool, but I still wish I’d worn some Hawkeye gear. J

Something I still have not had confirmed, was the fact that my Garmin GPS read 26.43 miles…0.23 miles more than a marathon distance.  It killed me to see 26.2 and know we still had a ways to go into the stadium!  I’m hoping there was something off with my watch and that it wasn’t a longer race.

Either way, I consider it a success!

Recovery

I felt extremely nauseous after the race, for about 20-30 minutes.  It was so hard not to sit down as soon as we were done.  We grabbed bananas, water, and some chocolate milk and headed to the football field to attempt some stretching before heading towards the car.  Of course they had to lead us out of the stadium right up a pretty steep concrete hill! 😦

Compared to the Des Moines marathon in October, this recovery was so much better!  We made our way back to the hotel for our late checkout, showered, changed and hit the road.  To reward ourselves, we hit up Taco Johns (which didn’t help the nausea).  To keep our legs stretched out, we stopped a few times throughout the 3 hour drive back just to walk around the use the bathroom.  I cannot thank AC enough for driving us there and back…especially when our legs had turned into Jello. (Thank goodness for cruise control)!

Also compared to Des Moines…I actually made it to work on Monday!  In October I couldn’t even move and I felt utterly exhausted.  This time I was certainly sore and tired, but as long as I walked slow and took the elevators, I could manage.  It’s got to get better each time, right?

What’s Next?

After my first marathon and the pain it caused, AC sent me an email that simply said, “Marathons are like childbirth.  You forget what it feels like so you just keep doing it.”  I’m beginning to see the truth in this.

As I mentioned in the last post, I have a goal to visit all 50 capitols in the U.S.  I misspoke…it should actually be 51, because I have yet to visit the U.S. Capitol in D.C.  Either way, I have a lot more to go (49 more)!

I’ve started doing some research about marathon races held in capital cities and I’m not sure which one is next, but there are a lot to choose from.  Not every capital city hosts a marathon, but there are others held within driving distance and no one says I can’t do a half marathon instead.  So many options and lots of other races not even close to the capitals.  Plus, who wants to visit Honolulu and go home feeling that sore?!

In the meantime, I’m thinking of spending the summer switching it up and trying a triathlon.  With some swimming lessons under my belt, a new bike waiting to get outside, and legs screaming for a little bit of a break, we’ll see where this takes me.

Stay tuned for updates, as well as AC’s update from the race on another post!

Until next time!

——————————————————————————————

Are you running or competing in any races this summer?

Got any suggestions for good races throughout the U.S.?

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