Omaha Race Report

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Omaha Race Report

Omaha not just a place to buy insurance!

The Omaha Marathon Race Report Sep. 23rd, 2012

So this took a while to write. Not because it’s all that long, but more because so many others had way more interesting race reports (Yeah Omaha or a 100 miler, not quite a comparison) but I’ll try and hit all the highlights.

As my September marathon, I chose Omaha because a., it was easy to get to, b., the price was right, c., it fit in my schedule. Because of all of these reasons I consider this a very successful race.

The race was on Sunday and because of the ease of flying in, Michele and I were able to leave Saturday morning.

Our flight with plane change in Chicago was pretty uneventful. Michele even got upgrade to first class on the Detroit to Chicago leg, proving once again that I have no class. I was in coach.

The flight to Omaha was pretty cool. After having flown so many different places this year, I was amazed at the view from my window seat.

Nebraska from the air looks like an artists dream. There are these amazing windbreaks that take the flat squares of land and make them into a crazy quilt design. While every thing to my colorblind eyes appear green, the shades were numerous and varied. A big change from the mountains of my last few races.  

Upon arriving we took the Holiday Inn shuttle to our hotel. Our shuttle driver Gary was very helpful in suggesting what we might do with the little time we had in Omaha. It was only 9:30am Omaha time and we had the whole day ahead of us. Our room was not ready yet we decided to mossy over to the expo to get our packets.

The walk was about a half a mile around Ameritech’s Stadium, home of the College World Series. Why do I mention this? Well as we get into the marathon itself, you’ll understand.

The expo was small but just about perfect. There were enough things to look at and anything you needed for last minute was there for the buying. Speaking of buying, I couldn’t resist getting an awesome Omaha Marathon sweatshirt for only $15!

Back at the hotel we met another runner named Jim. Jim was actually on a business trip that brought him through Omaha. He didn’t even know there was a marathon planned until he tried to book a room at the hotel. Being a runner, he decided “what the hey, I’m here I may as well run a marathon”. You can tell we were instant friends! We settled in for a drink with Jim while our room was getting cleaned.

It’s funny. Runners are a rare breed of people.

Here we are, two women in a strange town and instantly we accepted and welcomed by new friends where ever we went.

Jim decided to join on the shuttle to downtown and for lunch at the Upstream Brewery. We had a nice lunch but after learning that Michele and I planned to walk all over downtown window-shopping, Jim said farewell. We made plans to walk to the start in the morning.

Omaha was cold! While walking around Michele decided it was probably a good idea to buy a toss away for the next morning.

From window-shopping to active shopping in less than half an hour!

The stores in the downtown area were very eclectic. There was everything from very upscale boutiques and antiques stores to a Goodwill resale shop. It was at Goodwill that Michele bought a stunning (and by that I mean not a homeless style) sweatshirt to use the next morning as a toss away.

One of the bonuses of the Omaha marathon was that it included a free pasta dinner. Since I was quite full from lunch (and didn’t want to wreck my gluten free diet) Michele went and brought her pasta back to our room.

You get what you pay for!

Thank goodness Michele wasn’t very hungry. The line to get into the Pasta party, hosted at our hotel, was out the door! There was really nowhere to sit. It was actually a good thing that Michele came back to the room or she would have had to eat standing up!

Off to bed by 8p.

Now I know that I have said in past reports that my patience with young children has run out but I need to clarify. I love for kids to be kids. I love laughter and fun. I love the way that they look at the world with bright fresh eyes. Most of all I love that they go to bed by 9pm!

We had a young child on our floor that ran up and down the hallway from 8p to 9p shrieking at the top of their lungs.

Knowing me you would think someone was going to get hurt but thankfully Michele was able to put some music on her ipad and I was able to drift to sleep.

Marathon morning was beautiful with clear skies and cool (okay cold but perfect for running) temperatures.

We walked over the start near the Ameritech Stadium, checked bags, went to the potty and it was time to start!

Why do I keep mentioning the Ameritech Stadium? Well here it goes.

It seems that for the past 50 years the College Baseball World Series has been held right here in Omaha. A few years ago a beautiful new stadium was built just for this event. Sooo for one week a year there are people in the stadium, the rest of the year, nothing! That was the highlight of sites to see in Omaha.  

Michele and I started together before each settling into our own paces.

It was in the first mile that I saw this older man ahead of me. He had a 50 state club shirt on that said, “Steve, 50 states finisher times 3”! I couldn’t believe it! It was none other than Steve Boone, the creator of the 50 state marathon club and finisher of over 500 marathons, basically my hero.  

Since he seemed like a friendly guy, I introduced myself and basically horned in on his run. It was amazing running with him. The first 5 miles flew by with stories of places he’d been, races he’d run and people he’d met.

Speaking of people he’d met, I got introduced to the most awesome runners including Larry Macon, world record holder for most marathons in one year and a host of others that like Steve had run a marathon in Kansas the day before.

Yeah, I just did some name dropping of people you’ve probably never heard of!

At about mile 5 and a half, Steve sent me ahead since he was wiped out from the day before and I still had fresh legs. It was hard to go but I could tell that if I stayed my lack of fatigue could easily break my new found friendship.

Now when you think of Nebraska you think flat right!

Well it turns out that Nebraska is flat except for one town, which just happened to be named Omaha.

The hills (with the exception of one or two pretty decent climbs) were long inclines on at least 80% concrete, which played havoc with my calves!

Having run with Steve I felt energized. I ran with another gal for about a mile before she had to back off at a water stop to send me ahead.

It was at it was at 7 that I met Gregg. Gregg was an awesome run companion. He was born and raised in Rochester Hills but moved out west in the 70’s. He had a goal of breaking 4:30 and since we were running that pace we stayed together and swapped stories.
At mile 12 ish I had to make an unscheduled potty stop. Yikes, I just hate that. I was really enjoying running with Gregg but didn’t want to mess up his goals. I ran off the course to a vacant lot. I think I used some port o potty’s that were meant for construction workers, not marathoner’s but when you have to go, you have to go.

5 minutes later I was back on the road feeling 100% better. As a matter of fact I felt so good that I started to pass people since at this point the ½ marathoner’s had split off.

In the out and backs I had plenty of shout outs from all the new friends I had met.

At mile 21 I heard some huffing and puffing behind me. Believe it or not, there was Gregg! Somehow I had gotten ahead of him. Feeling strong we ran together for the next few miles. At the last water stop Gregg urged me to go ahead. He said that he couldn’t keep up but would like to be able to chase me to the finish.

Before I knew it the Ameritech Center was in sight and the finish line just around the corner.

Marines in their dress blues presented the finishers with handmade, recycled glass medals that were each unique.

After some congratulatory hugs I went to mile 26 to cheer in Michele.

Side note for those who don’t know Michele: Michele signed up for this for basically the same reason’s that I did. What she didn’t plan on was having some pretty severe heal issues during training. Up until the week before she wasn’t even sure she could or should run the marathon.

Watching and cheering folks in is one of the most rewarding things to do once you have crossed the finish line. Every face has a tale to tell. You see everything in that last point 2.

Before I knew it Michele was turning the corner. She was amazing. I couldn’t believe that just one month before she was barely running.

Marathon complete and Nebraska checked off the list.

You may ask, Did Gregg get his time? The answer: Totally rocked it with a 4:28:02 finish. For me, I’m more than pleased with my 4:26:10 but more important it’s game on till the end of the year. 10 down, 6 to go!