Well, this was a totally different experience than the race I ran, just 24 some odd hours before.
So I got into Omaha (1.25 hours away from my hotel) at ~10pm the night before the race, which is never a good omen, especially because I was tired as heck and only got ~6 hours of sleep the night before.
This was the 33rd annual National Guard (Guard troops from all over the country running which was awesome to see, especially me being a National guard vet) Lincoln Marathon , so the entire operation was a well oiled machine. The town of Lincoln really supports this race. I heard the figure of 2000+ volunteers (for 5000+ runners), all of which were quite happy to help us runners out. Always smiling, cheering us on, it was awesome. The aid stations had something I have never seen before in my entire racing career, many of the water/Gatorade cups having lids and straws. Very labor intensive, but boy, did it make drinking while running so much easier it was so awesome. Weather was perfect, 45 degrees and no wind at race start, and I think it was maybe hit 55 by race end. You could not ask for more perfect marathoning weather, trust me. A total and complete different marathon than the one I ran yesterday.
I was hurting, so this was a perfect race to find someone who was running a reasonable pace and chat/run with them, making the miles go by faster. I spend time chatting with a few people (all of which later ‘took off’ leaving me behind, until I met this wonderful woman from Omaha. Turns out she was running her very first marathon, and she seemed cool, so I spend the next 2.5 hours running right next to her, coaching her and chatting with her keeping her mind off how much she was hurting. Before this race, she had never run farther than 18 miles. We chatted about school, jobs, the health care crisis, love (the story of how she met her husband is really cute, I have to say) anything I could come up with to keep her mind off what was actually happening. She thanked me profusely but I told her that if it wasn’t for her, I would have started taking walking breaks at mile 18. Turns out, I was hurting pretty bad, but being ‘there’ for her helped me stay strong. Another case of being a good Samaritan paying me back in spades. I wish I could do this for someone every race, pacing them to their goals. It feels awesome. I should sell my services :)
After a nice jog, the finish line was the 50 yard line at Nebraska Stadium (ya know, where the Cornhuskers play) which was cool. My first two ever marathons, Sunburst and Detroit also finished on 50 yard lines (Notre Dame stadium and Ford Field, respectively) so the handstand here was pretty cool.
As upset as I was about yesterday’s marathon, I was very happy with the Lincoln marathon. Great people, lots of support, well run race. My hat’s off to these Nebraskans. They know how to pull a marathon off. This one will be remembered as one of the most seamless and enjoyable. A quick drive, lots of food and a long 2 hop flight home followed by a 2 hour drive got me to Misty’s at 11:45 pm.
I was in the state of Texas for only 22 hours, and in Nebraska for just 18. A whirlwind trip, like most of my other marathon trips, only more so. This trip with all it planning, logistics, and running required a lot of focus and time, but I seem to be getting good at it. Once I finally achieve my 50 states goal, who knows what I’ll do. Every marathon within a 200 mile radius? I wonder how many that is