When I had a half marathon tune up on my schedule, I knew I had to find a new state. It worked out perfectly because I had 2 free nights to use from Marriott that were going to expire at the end of October and the flights weren’t too expensive. Done.
Rich and I flew in Friday evening and had time to grab a late dinner at Blatt Beer and Table. Saturday morning I got up for a easy 4 mile run and went exploring in the downtown area.We went to the expo right when it opened but there wasn’t too much to it so it didn’t take long. My plan was to do a little touristy stuff but be back at the hotel to have afternoon to rest. We walked around Old Town, stocked up on a few local items, had lunch at Upstream Brewing, found my Nebraska ornament, and headed to the Iowa/Nebraska line on the pedestrian bridge.
I chilled for a few hours and then headed to an early dinner at Twisted Fork.
I woke up and ate the usual, toast with almond butter and cherry limeade Nuun Energy. My stomach was off a bit more than usual. I wasn’t really nervous, so I’m not sure what it was. I needed to run my warmup, so I headed out with enough time and got 2.5 miles in and met Rich at the start.
I also ran into Kathleen, who is racing the states, too. A few minutes later and it was time to start. I told Rich I thought I needed a bathroom again, but I didn’t really have time and assumed it would pass. So, I lined up right behind the 1:45 pace group with a plan to start around an 8:10 pace and then at the half way mark run at a 7:50 pace.Miles 1-8
The first few miles ran through the downtown area. I was really focused on not running too fast and focusing on form and I didn’t really pay attention to much around me. I really wanted to stay at an 8:10 average, but apparently I was a bit faster than that.I must say, the course was a bit uneventful. There weren’t a ton of spectators and the roads were pretty rough (needed to look at the ground more than I wanted to). The course ran through some nice neighborhoods, a golf course/park, and then hit the turn around. I literally spent the first half of the race hoping to find a bathroom and had no luck. PLENTY of water stations (they use Heed as electrolyte replacement and I’m not a fan) but no bathrooms.Since the course was an out and back, that obviously meant I was never going to the bathroom. I had no choice but to focus on something else, and that was dropping my pace closer to the 7:50 range. I had my eye on the 1:45 pace group and the goal was to slowly get in front of them.
I slowly picked off runners around me and caught up and then passed the 1:45 pace group. I felt good. Again, it was pretty uneventful scenery wise until we got back to the downtown area and we had a few turns to the finish.
Right before the stadium, I saw Rich cheering and he told me what to expect. We looped the entire outfield to the finish line. Definitely an adrenaline rush to run on the field and I picked up the pace with the excitement.
Official Results:Garmin Results:
First stop, bathroom! Somehow, I made it the entire race. I wasn’t really hungry after the race, which is unusual for me, but I grabbed 1/2 a banana and a chocolate milk and found Rich (other options were bagels and orange slices).We had already picked out our breakfast spot at the Diner, so we walked up from the finish to the Old Market and had breakfast. We went back to the hotel to shower and were able to leave our bags to go enjoy the city a bit more before our flight. We had local beers at Borgata Brewery, lunch at Stokes, browsed the shops a bit, and my favorite that I had been waiting for all weekend, ice cream at Ted & Wally’s!We walked back to the hotel and had the shuttle take us to the airport.
- Volunteers- all of the aid stations were well manned and all super nice
- Having a race sherpa (thank you, Rich)
- Lots of water stations
- Plenty of race photos (but won’t purchase at $60 for all of them)
- Hotel within walking distance of race and downtown and hotel that had free shuttle
- Flat and fast course
Not So Much:
- Lack of bathrooms on the course
- Lack of spectators
This is my second medal to light up! It’s a pretty good one, but apparently years past they were glass. The shirt is women’s cut long sleeve.
I was pleasantly surprised by our weekend in Omaha. If you are a 50 stater, this is a good race to do. It’s an easy flight in, don’t have to get a rental car, it’s flat and fast course and a no frills race. That’s really all I can say about the race, it’s good. There wasn’t anything over the top great or terrible about it, but a few changes would make it even better. Perhaps more at the post race or even cheer stations? Yes, there was a band or two and a few pockets of people cheering but other than that I really felt like I was on a long run at home.
I’m really happy with how I ran the race, even though it was a bit faster than I had expected. It was the perfect tune up before NYC in November and a great way to hit my half way point on my racing the states adventure!
Do you care about the race frills? When you travel to a new city/state, are there things you must do or get (I get an ornament and I love trying great restaurants and local spots)? Any questions on my 50 states journey so far?