My National Guard Lincoln Nebraska Marathon

Medal Front
     Going into my National Guard Lincoln Nebraska Marathon, I already knew of the possibility of it being a bit more difficult than any other marathon I have done.  Because having ran the climbs and drops of Big Sur only one week prior my body hadn’t even really begun to recover.  Truthfully never having attempted something like this before, I had no idea what to expect.  There was a chance it could go fabulous or completely wrong so there was a little excitement for me with the suspense of what would happen.

The good news was a day before the marathon when I would take a step I finally didn’t feel the sharp pain shoot through my torn quads, not that meant much but it was a good sign.  My lungs were also showing signs of recovery.J  I had been mentally preparing myself for this race and the possible pain for quite a while.  In my mind I was thinking the race would end up being 25% Physical 25% Insanity and 50% mental. (In the end I think it was more like 80% mental, LOL.)
Medal Back

The couple of days before the marathon Lincoln Nebraska was around 99 degrees, I was a little worried that I would be running in the hottest and most humid temps I have ever ran in.  But come race morning during the night a huge storm rolled through cooling things off a bit.  At first when I woke up I thought I was going to be running in some crazy winds and downpour.  I was having flashbacks of Oklahoma City Marathon almost exactly a year ago so I had my garbage bag to run in ready, LOL.  But by 6am the storm was rolling out and the day was shaping up to what would be Perfect Running Conditions.

Me coming into Stadium
The race was very well organized, and started each wave of runners on time (I love races like that!)  The first mile of the race was as I expected, painful.  Forcing my body to want to run again when it was still hurt and a bit exhausted from the week prior was difficult with each step I took.  To put it into words, my quad with each step felt like a sharp stabbing pain would shoot through it.  The soreness in my knee’s felt even the slightest incline.  For my runner friends reading this, imagine the feeling your legs feel right after you finish running a marathon, how all you want to do is limp and get off your feet and legs, well that is how my body was feeling to start out with. To be honest, my body really didn’t want to run, but I knew that if I just pushed through it eventually things would start going better.  (In TheoryJ)

To help with this, I also increased my normal pace.  About a minute faster per mile than I normally run the start.  Basically miles 1-4 and leading into 5 went like this.  Painful steps, forcing the motions.  (One note, I wouldn’t say I was being speedy by any means, I ran with the 4:30 marathon pace team for most of these miles.  Normally I pace behind them a little.) On a good side, my lungs were not bothering me a bit, if anything they were completely accepting of the faster pace and run. (Thank goodness!)
View of stadium and 50 yard finishline
Around mile 5 things changed as I hoped and the sharp pains went away a little, or just gave up and went numb… Not exactly sure which, LOL…  I was actually feeling really good and enjoying the run.  We’d already past the state capitol and went through some beautiful neighborhoods.  The community was cheering us on pretty much the entire way.  They really love this race and have a fun time supporting and cheering.  You don’t always get that in all races!  Eventually we turned and did a little paved trail running.  It was a little crowded, and I was feeling so good I was actually getting annoyed when I would get stuck behind a slower group.  But slower runners were shifting to the right, and eventually got the hint to give a little room on the left for those who wanted to pass.
Nebraska State Capitol - AKA race mile 1 point

Things were going great, but I did have little struggles around mile 9.  Not because I wasn’t feeling good, but there were a few hills and my knees were just having a bit of a painful hard time on the inclines.  But things started going better soon after and I was still feeling quite good as I passed the halfway point.  Where the half marathon runners would run into the Nebraska Football Stadium and the rest of us carried on.

Miles 14-15 were on what I call the rolling paved trails of Lincoln.  Beautiful little city trail park, with a manmade small stream and mini waterfalls along the route.  The only discouraging thing was seeing the really fast runners (this portion of the course was an out and back) on my left as they were about to finish the marathon I still had a ways to go.  Eventually we came back out onto the streets again heading towards the lake at the mile 19 and a half turnaround point.

I have to mention, this marathon did something that I really LOVED!!!  The water and Gatorade cups handed out had lids with straws on them.  So not only did you not have to worry about germs or bugs having rested into your cup.  But it was easy and quick to grab and continue on your way drinking without getting sticky Gatorade all over you.  I have never seen that before in a race, and to be honest I really liked it!  It was like that at every water stop.  Not only that, but ALL the cups were completely filled, so you got plenty of liquids as the day was coming on and heating up.  Also EVERY water stop had ice; you could grab an entire cup.  During the warmer parts of the race, I did as my dad said he used to do and dumped my cup of ice up under my hat so as I ran it would just slowly melt down meJ
Chimney Rock National Monument

Shortly after mile 15, things started to head downhill for me.  Not the course, the course was mostly flat with a bit of some actually good uphill around mile 18-19…  But my body was starting to suffer and the fatigue and fact that I just ran one of the toughest courses in the country the week prior was catching up to me.  Mile by mile I was slowing down and the pains were coming back times ten.  My feet were totally tender and felt like I was running on some major bruises, not to mention some major new blisters coming on.  My knee’s felt every single step of the hills (Yes Nebraska DOES have some hillsJ

My quads, well they were just in pain all the time, but really bad whenever I would hit a decline.
I kept reminding myself that this was something I wanted to do, and how proud I was going to be of me if I finished and actually was able to accomplish my goal of two 26.2’s just one week apart.  Not only that, but I had family running the half marathon, I just kept saying “You can do it, you don’t want to be embarrassed by having to say to them, I couldn’t finish it, LOL” It worked and got me through the hard times.  But I won’t lie; those last 4 miles were a killer, a serious torture for me.  I was spent, but what was getting me through was a couple of things, I wanted it, and I was mentally prepared to push on.

Finally the stadium was in sight, and eventually I made it down the path leading to the green carpet that lead into the football stadium and then the fake green grass was in sight and so was the finish line on the 50 yard line.  I knew I was on the jumbotron, but stupid me, I forgot to look up and see for myself.  Thankfully my family took pictures of it for me!  It wasn’t my fastest finish, not by a longshot.  But surprisingly, not my slowest either.  All that mattered was it was a finish and I had just finished my 30th Overall Marathon and now my 23rd state on my goal.  To add the icing and cherry to the top, I had also just finished running 2 marathons only one week apart, and one of them one of the toughest courses in the nation.  I was thrilled, but more so all I was looking forward to doing was getting off my feet and legs, they were killing me.  There are no words to adequately describe the self-inflicted pain I was in!
Nebraska Football Stadium

The race was great, had I not just ran a marathon and trained normally I think I would have had a pretty decent finish time, if not one of my best.  I’ve also been battling a bad hip injury, bursitis and some tendonitis.  Luckily, it didn’t bother me too much in the races, and I don’t feel as though I have injured it any more.. YAY However, I’d be even more thrilled if it would heal!!

The race organization and all the National Guards men and women out along the course offering support and cheers were wonderful!  The volunteers and course cheerers were also just as great!  My dad used to run this marathon with the Utah National Guard team, and they would win the team race when they entered.  I obviously am not as fast of runner as he was, but I had a fun time with my own pace running one of the races he used to.  I was just glad I didn’t have to do it with fierce winds as he had previously warned me he always had to run with and intoJ

I also enjoyed meeting up with my cousin Kim and her daughter Katy who were also running that day in the half.  It was actually her daughter’s first half marathon; they ran it together, doing quite well actually!  Nebraska is home to quite a bit of my relatives, and since we took the trip by car we were also able to swing in and say hello to others on our way.  We had great times seeing and visiting with them all!
Now, I have decided I REALLY need to give my body a break and recover a little.  (Mostly so I don’t risk injuries.)  So a marathon I had tentatively planned for in a few weeks I have decided to pass on and wait until June to hit up a few more states marathons.  I am excited, hopefully sometime in June I will pass the halfway point on my 50 states plus D.C. goal... WAHOOOO!

1 comment :

  1. I additionally appreciated meeting up with my own cousin Kim and also the woman's little girl Katy who were furthermore operating tomorrow in the 50 percent. It was your ex daughter’s initial 50 % marathon; they will went it collectively, performing very well really!

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