Friday, October 28, 2016

(10.16.2016) Race Recap - Nebraska Marathon / Half Marathon

All three distances (Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K) were scheduled to start at the same time. Which was originally 7:30.

That meant I didn't have to get up until 6:15 and really I probably could have even slept in until 6:30 but I like to stick to my regular routine even when I'm out of town

It was a pretty foggy morning but warm. I did not need the throw away that I'd packed. 
I was super excited to see the two wonderful ladies (Jennifer & Joanna) that I had met at packet pickup on Friday & Saturday. They were at the announcer's platform so I went up to say hello. 

After milling around for a few minutes and taking some pictures, they announced that the start would be delayed until 7:55 AM. So we went back into the hotel so my husband could get something to eat. 
Back out to the start line at 7:50 AM and were told that now the start would be at 8:15 AM. Some of this was still because of the fog but we also learned that over night some hooligans had set a few of the porta-potties on fire down by the finish line.  Oh my!

Prior to the start, the National Anthem was sung by a beautiful young lady who is a Pediatric Cancer survivor. She did a great job! This race benefits the Pediatric Cancer Action Network. Two young soldiers were also introduced who would be completing the race in their fatigues and carrying their rucksack. 

Finally we are off! 
It was still pretty foggy but since we had driven a lot of this area yesterday, I was mostly familiar with it. I was NOT ready to run on the cobblestones in the Old Market area. I've encountered these at one other race in Indiana. They are a pain in the butt.  Mad props to the Tour de France guys that ride their bikes on them!

Here are some pictures from along the course:
Pictures of the Gene Leahy Mall - it reminded me a little of our canal area in Indianapolis.
Then we went past the Pioneer Courage display that my husband and I checked out on Saturday.
Next we went past Creighton University. I was surprised to see banners that said Big East because back when I was at Indiana State University they were Missouri Valley.  Guess I missed that change!  As you can is still foggy.
Past the TD Ameritech Park - home of the NCAA Men's College World Series.
After running on Abbott  Drive which was lined with some beautiful trees full of yellow leaves, we then turned on to Riverfront Drive. In the distance I could see a guy sitting in a lawn chair with what looked like a giant fist. Naturally this was going to be a photo opportunity. As I got closer to him, he thought I was texting and heckled me a little bit. But I told him I need a picture of us Fist Bumping.  So fun!
We ran south down Riverfront Drive, traveling past the west side of the Heartland of America Park. and then into the ConAgra complex. Don't tell my husband but I think I saw a quarter on the road and didn't stop to pick it up.  "Always pick up the silver."

I did not realize that the World Headquarters for ConAgra was located in Omaha. This was a very pretty campus.
I saw this sign on my way in. I've seen a lot of signs during my 104 half marathons but this was a new one. 
And I saw the military guys coming in and I was leaving.
Back toward the river and the Lewis & Clark Landing area which is were I would eventually be crossing the finish line. But first we had to go back up Riverfront Drive, on to Abbott for a bit more, then near the Gallup offices (Poll it!) and Freedom Park Drive which is where you would go to take an excursion on the River City Star.
 Finally, I was about to approach Mile 10 and cross the bridge!  
I'm not sure why but it didn't really dawn on me at the time that Miles 11 & 12 were actually in Iowa!

We zigzagged a little through the Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park and I saw this cool bicycle art.
We crossed underneath I-480 and I could see the Nebraska state line sign above.

At approximately the 11 1/2 mile maker was the turn around for those doing the half while the full marathoners would continue on past Harrah's Hotel & Casino.

During this stretch - on our way back to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, I had a couple of people in my sites that I thought I could pass.  If I remember correctly, I passed at least 5 people from this point to the finish line.

Let me tell you something, going back over that bridge from Iowa to Nebraska was a chore. You've already completed 12 miles and now you are making a steady climb. But you find things to occupy your mind. For example...this kid with one shoe. I wondered what his story was. Did he do the entire race with just one shoe? Or did he lose it along the way?
Of course, I had to stop at the line and take a picture again!  I'm such a serious competitor out here.  Hahahahahaha
As I made the final descent of the bridge, I quickly texted my husband to let him know I had less than a half mile to go.

He was waiting for me a the finish line and got video of it.

And new friends Jennifer and Joanna came over to congratulate me.  That meant the world to me.  I just met these ladies on Saturday but they were interested in my story and wanted to make sure they saw me finish #104.  That pretty much sums up the awesomeness of this event.  From the very beginning when I emailed to double check that we weren't JUST getting a finishers tree to my finish, I encountered wonderful customer service.

We couldn't dilly dally too much because - although I had secured a later checkout - with the delay of the start and me being slow there wasn't much time left.

I really wanted the bridge in my medal photo but with the fog still lingering it was probably not the best option.

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