Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lincoln Marathon

My wife and I got to do something last weekend that was a lot of fun. We ran a marathon together for the first time since 2001. We choose to run the Lincoln Marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska as the course looked interesting and well, it was in Nebraska which was a state that I needed.

The marathon starts on the campus of the University of Nebraska and finishes on the 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium. It is a very good race, well organized, fabulous volunteers, nice amenities, easy logistics but beware as you do run on a lot of concrete. The race is actually called the Lincoln National Guard Marathon and there are guard members from all over the country who participated in the race or who volunteered at the race.

Outside of Memorial Stadium

We arrived in Lincoln on Saturday, checked into our hotel and headed over to pick up our packets at the embassy suites where they had a small expo. The University of Nebraska campus kind of butts up right against Lincoln's downtown which makes it easy to find your way around. After that we headed over to Centennial hall, where they were having the free spaghetti dinner. The lines weren't too bad and the spaghetti was good and you couldn't beat the price. We sat with some Nebraska students, one who was running the 1/2 marathon and they did a nice job convincing my wife and myself that our daughter should add Nebraska to her college visit list.

My main plan for this race was to increase my S-cap consumption to 2/hr and to do better with my hydration and to help Karyn get a marathon PR. The other thing that I decided to try was Les's foot lube, you take vaseline and mix in some desitin and then rub it on your feet, he said he hasn't had a blister since.

Before the race, we have that normal pre-marathon confidence look.

The race starts at 14th and Vine, right in the middle of campus near their student recreation center. It was a beautiful morning, just a few clouds in the sky and the temp was in the upper 40's with a forecast headed to the low 70's. One problem with the start is that they funnel you down a bit to hit the mats for the chip timing. Since it was chip timed and we knew our time would be around 5 and 1/2 hours we went towards the back of the pack, it took us about 17 minutes to finally cross the start line.
Heading to the start line, it was a bit crowded

We settled into our early pace and tried to find the right tempo, our plan was to take a 2 minute walking/hydration break every 2 miles or 25 minutes. We knew that the course had no major hills but did soon discover that they often had long gentle climbs. One thing Londell had warned us about were the roads and he was spot on, potholes were plentiful. I felt like I was on trails, I needed to keep my eyes down for fear of tripping or falling into one. Since we got to start with 6500 half marathoners, it was fairly crowded, but we enjoyed the early miles through Lincoln. At about mile 7 we moved from the road to a bikepath, a concrete one. This is where Karyn probably first had some issues, she was running in old shoes and this bikepath took a toll on her legs. After the bikepath you move back on the road and fairly soon you go up the one significant hill they have, we ran it so I don't think it was that bad. One thing we were both struggling a bit with was the heat, by now it was in the upper 60's and we worried about how hot it was going to get.

As we came down 10th street towards the 1/2 way point we were on pace for Karyn's PR, I was feeling great and was happy to bid the 1/2 marathoners a good day. Karyn on the other hand was still feeling the affect of her shoes and I thought she was showing signs of dehydration.

We headed past the stadium, never good to be near the finish line and then to head away but this wasn't so bad. The 2nd half of the race is an out and back. We knew we would leave the roads and be on bikepaths and sure enough, they were concrete again. Any clouds had long since disappeared and it was toasty on the bikepath. We were still holding pace but it was not looking good for the long term, past mile 16 we went, thankfully there was a breeze at times they seemed to help cools us a bit. We continued on, our walking breaks had become a bit more frequent, finally we made it to the turn around and now we were on the way back with just a 10k left. We came up the hill out of Holmes Park, and on we went. Karyn was definitely feeling the affects of dehydration, she was having increased stomach issues and lacked energy. Shortly after we left the Holmes lake area, the police decided to quit stopping traffic so we lost a bit more time. This was the only thing that bugged me about the race, the 17 minutes we lost to get to the start line was held against us as they had a 6 hour cut-off so it seemed like the police were using the 6 hour clock time as when to move runners off the course. Even though we were on pace for a 5:40 finish at this time, this was a bit frustrating, anyway, we lost a little more time waiting at a couple of stop lights. One woman that we had kept passing/getting passed by would go out into the traffic directing them to stop. She was a 50 state member who was walking the course at a very fast pace. I thought she was nuts to do this but once she stopped the traffic we ran on through as well. By now Karyn's stomach was giving her fits and she had to walk a bit more. We made it finally back onto that concrete bikepath and continued to run/walk our way towards the finish. We soon had the stadium in sight and headed on in and we were done, a bit disappointing for Karyn but a marathon finish none the less. Our time was 5 hours and 52 minutes. We ended up losing about 15-20 minutes in the second half of the race, not great but not a disaster at least based on some races I have done.

Memorial stadium as you come through the finish

As we came across the finish, we found out that we could still get the post race massage so we did, it felt pretty good. I was also able to eat for the first time right after a race in memory. Granted it was only a yogurt and some cookies but I was able to eat. My hydration and increased S-caps had worked as had Les's foot cream, no blisters, no hot spots. As to the race, the bottom line is we finished together a little slower than we planned but we finished and despite a few issues on the course, I think we both enjoyed the day.

Marathon participation shirt and finishers medal

My wife couldn't resist buying this t-shirt

After the race, Karyn took some pictures of her shoes and I would say that they do look a bit worn out.

One last thing about this race, it was really cool to see the National guard members running this race, when they passed they wore the state's name they were representing and folks would yell out "go Indiana". There were also guard members who volunteered at aid stations, the presence of the guard made this race a bit more interesting to participate in and it was fun to see the joy and smiles from the guard members and to be able to say thank you.


wildknits said...

Nice report. Too bad about the lack of traffic control at the end and all of the concrete!!!

Glancing at your potential races I see Wild Duluth is listed. Do it!! Fun course (though I may be a bit biased ;-> )

SteveQ said...

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see someone else wears their shoes down as much as I do!

Julie said...

Way to go guys!! Great race recap:)

Karyn...girl, you need some new shoes:)

chris mcpeake said...

great report.
Time for a new pair of shoes tho...
congrats on the race

Londell said...

Nice job.... Now I would suggest getting new shoes before they get to that point.

Wayne said...

Congrats to Karyn on the finish! They are never guaranteed - you always have to work for it.

And yay! to you for no hydration or blister problems. BTW, I’d like to see a picture of you wearing that finisher’s shirt to work!

And yeah, the shoes… do you both do the retire/unretire/retire/unretire sequence?? :)


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