State # 33- Nebraska
After a painful and de-motivating half marathon completed in Iowa, I was not looking forward to having to run through more corn fields in Hooper NE the following day. Since our Iowa half didn't have ice, I managed to snag some from the hotel and iced my knee after lunch and for part of the trip to NE while Kim drove. It's a long and boring 4.5 hour drive from Clear Lake, IA to Freemont, NE where our hotel was.
Half-way through the drive L texted me something about how the entire course was on gravel--- WOW seriously, the whole course?!?! Pity party of 1 the rest of the drive. We met up with her at the hotel, then ventured off to Logan View Public Schools for packet pickup and FREE spaghetti dinner.
Kim and I chowed down on our spaghetti, garlic bread, and cookies, but apparently L doesn't like spaghetti so we also went to Vincenzo's Italian Buffet afterward (yes Kim and I ate again- double headers require extra fuel haha)
Due to the higher heat temps in the morning + water stops were every 3 miles, we decided it would be a good idea to pick up some water bottles to be able to run with so we don't die. I highly recommend Smart Water as it has the handy dandy top that is easy to flip vs. a traditional twist off cap.
"I don't want to race, I don't want to race, I.DON'T.WANT.TO.RACE" was constantly going through my head in the morning. It's not particularly a good sign when you have trouble going down 1 flight of stairs on your way to run a half marathon.
Between my knee, my weird new stiff arch pain, heat, gravel roads and the elevation, I knew I'd be lucky to break 2 hours.
Despite not wanting to run this morning, I tried to put a smile on my face because this will be the only time I'm in Nebraska, and I get to be here with my two matchy matchy buddies
Randomly enough at this uber small race, there happened to be a few marathon maniacs and 50 staters racing (they did the marathon, which I cannot imagine doing on this course)
As we go line up on the sidewalk chalk line, I happen to make a friend who I never caught his name so we will call him yellow shirt man, ysm for short. Turns out he lives in VA and happened to be in town for weekend visiting wife's folks so he thought it would be a good way to get in base training for his first full, marine corps. His PR was from the previous week, 1:59 and asked what I was shooting for and if we could run together. I told him I'd be lucky to break 2 hours and he said that was a good time for him considering the conditions.
After a quick prayer they did the "on your mark, set, go" and we were off. YSM was keeping a decent pace and we were talking about random items- turns out the Omaha Zoo is the best zoo around--- the skeptic in me has a hard time believing anything in Nebraska is deemed "best ____ around", but I could be wrong. Shortly into the run I notice that the dirt ground is severely uneven and I found myself having to work kind of hard to bob and weave to find even ground. In this process I tire out super quick and just tell YSM to continue onward since he's aiming for a certain time.
For once in a LONG time I actually entered a race with no goals in mind--- technically thats not true- I wanted to beat the day before's mileage of 1.8 miles before giving up... unfortunately I failed and at 1.77 I gave up. The first mile was all down hill and then the marathon split off--- there was no one in front of me (catchable distance) and no one behind me. I was literally by myself the entire race from mile 2-12.
I didn't realize how hilly the course would be, or how much running on gravel would suck- add on top of that having to be fully engaged in looking at footing on the ground to know when to shift the side of the road and I was mentally just not with it.
If you look really closely, or blow up the photo, you will see a black speck right where the arrow is pointed... that was the same guy who was in front of me the entire race (who I eventually did pass)- not a lot of motivation here to pick up the pace.
That was pretty much the entire view of the course- add in some cows occasionally, some hills, and a tiny tiny patch of beautiful black eyed susans, and you can pretend that you saw everything that I did. (this patch lasted about 30 sec)
Although the water stations were sparse, they did have some of the best NON-watered down gatorade I've ever had in a race. I only made it shortly pass mile 2 before having to get rid of the water bottle I carried, so I was appreciative and took my sweet time at every stop. Sidenote- how in the world do people run with a water bottle in their hand, I could not stand the constant feel of it sloshing around. Mad props to Kim who lasted 10 miles with it.
At the turnaround I noticed I was 3rd female (shows how pathetically small it is with as slow as I was running). I remember YSM telling me that top 10 get place medals, so I really didn't care if I kept it or fell back. I waiting till I passed Kim and L on the turnaround before taking my shirt off- had a sneaking feeling if they saw me they would have laughed and snapped a photo. Now taking my shirt off this go round wasn't this amazing magic that it was the day before, but it definitely did help as well as cooling off.
I'm pretty sure I got progressively slower, walked a lot more, and my feet were REALLY bothering me. I noticed my black speck getting closer in view, and finally right before mile 12 he hit a MAJOR wall and starting walking up the monster hill bent over so he was a complete 90 degree angle- given my stellar speed it took me a LONG time to finally pass him, but when I did I asked if he was okay and he just looked at me, weird. During this process I got passed by a girl and now I was in 4th- whoop di do.
With about .4 mile to go we hit normal pavement, HALLELUJAH! We did a loop around the school and then the meanest thing the race director could have ever done- she made us run on even MORE uneven ground in the grass following a chalk line (think cross country days) and then we entered the track and had to run 300 meters before the finish. I had an older guy catch up to me and you could tell he felt bad about passing me in such a small race so close to the end, I told him it was okay and he beat me by 10 sec.
No parties, no music, no announcer, just some buckets with flags designating the chute, a clock, and a medal hander outter. whoopee.
I made my way to refreshment table- grabbed an orange, chocolate milk, and chatted with YSM who got a new PR (on such a tough course)! I hobbled to the car, took off my shoes, put shirt back on, and walked over to the medics to get some ice. Yet again, NO FREAKING ICE. What is with these corn states and not providing ice. Luckily I saw Kim coming in the distance so I couldn't mope for too long, had to put my cheerleader face on.
Since L doesn't have a blog, you get to see her finishing. Great shot of the finish line
Once we all finished we got some refreshments and slowly ventured off to the hotel.
Kim and I had minor brain farts and we're thinking it was a 2 hour drive back to des moines airport- problem was once we hit the road and plugged it into gps it was 3 hours. High anxiety the entire trip trying to bank time since my flight boarded at 2:45. Funny story- my flight got delayed, delayed again, and then I was told there was no way I'd made my connection and no possible way to get to Nashville till the morning- what a crappy ending to an already crappy weekend.
Delta put me up in a swanky Best Western, luckily the king was oober comfortable- then my flights the next day were upgraded to first class (first time) From Des Moines to Atlanta I got to sit next to the Iron Man race director and some of his crew / officials--- what a great experience an oppty to pick their minds.
State #33- done. Worst double header thus far-done. Am I ever coming back to these states- not a chance.
This weekend was the most I've ever ran 9 mins during a race, and the first time in over a year I've seen a 10 min mile on my watch- can only improve once I heal!
Mile 1 7:43
Mile 2 9:13
Mile 3 9:34
Mile 4 9:33
Mile 5 9:06
Mile 6 9:14
Mile 7 9:10
Mile 8 9:34
Mile 9 9:23
Mile 10 10:04
Mile 11 9:56
Mile 12 9:55
Mile 13 9:28
Mile .25 8:25