What would you like first: the good news or the bad news?
Personally, I like starting with the bad news and ending on a happy note. So, that’s what we’re going to do.
Bad news: Oh. My. Gosh. I am SORE. And, I think my pinky toe needs to be chopped off.
Good news: My mom and I rocked the Lincoln Half-Marathon!
Dan and I got to my parents’ house in Lincoln a little after 9 last night. We spent some time catching up with my parents and I stayed away long enough for my sister to swing by on her way to prom.
Then I turned in for bed. Someone had the fantastic idea to start the race at 7 a.m., so I needed my rest!
Day of the race started off bright and early with a 5:15 wake-up call. Groggily, I got dressed and went downstairs and made the world’s most boring bowl of oatmeal.
Just peanut butter and oats. Carbs, fats and protein to fuel me through the race! A few sips of coffee also jolted me awake. My mom said that volunteers would be handing out water and Gatorade cups with lids on them, so I decided to leave my water bottle holder at home.
By 6 o’clock, it was time to go. The race started next to the University of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium, so my dad dropped my mom, my mom’s business partner, Vladimir, and me off on campus to walk to the start.
For the first day of May, it was quite chilly with the temperature hovering below 40 degrees leading up to the start. That wouldn’t have been so bad, except we didn’t cross the start line until closer to 7:30, even though the run went off promptly at 7. It was hard to tell what was going on, but I think they held people so it wouldn’t be a 12,000 person bum-rush.
Either way, we got going and we got going strong. My goal was to focus more on my pace and keep it steady through the race.
Around mile #1, which took us right past the Nebraska Capitol, my mom and I split up. Before the race, we decided to just go out their and run for ourselves, rather than worry about sticking together.
Even though I was running alone, it never seemed like it. The whole course was lined with extremely enthusiastic fans, as well as quite a few familiar-to-me faces — like my sister, who was still hadn’t slept!
She was staked out on a roundabout just after mile #4. As I was running up, she jumped up out of her chair and yelled “That’s my sister!” Seriously one of the highlights of the race.
I gave her a big double-fist pump and a thumbs up as I ran by…
By that point, the temperature had risen enough for me to take off my windbreaker and tie it around my waist. The best part about the weather was that there was virtually no wind.
The course itself was also great. There were a few steady hills, but it was all very familiar territory for me, so I knew what to expect. The best part was a long steady hill that took us from mile #5 to #6.
Around mile #7 or 8 was where I hit a wall in Lawrence, but this time I just kept going. I was feeling strong and confident.
Between mile #8 and 9 is “the hill” that everyone worries about with Lincoln’s race. Unlike everyone else, I had a little extra incentive to push it all the way up — I knew my Dad and Dan would be waiting at the top!
Up until that point, I thought I was ahead of my mom. After breaking up at mile #1, I got out ahead and we later saw that I had a faster 5K split. But, apparently somewhere before the 10K, she got ahead of me!
My dad snapped a few pictures of her as she made it up the hill.
Less than one minute later, I came by!
I tossed my jacket aside and kept going! Shortly after mile #9, there were a bunch of spectators handing out orange segments, banana slices and jelly beans. I took a banana chunk to eat on the run…
After the long uphill, it was only right to have a long, steady downhill. So, that’s just what we got! At the bottom, I looked ahead a little ways and saw a familiar blue hat and grey leggings — my mom! Until that point, I still thought she was behind me!
I found her at the perfect time, too, because I was hitting a wall. She helped keep me motivated and also talked me into taking a vanilla Gu.
Before I knew it (in retrospect, at least), we were winding through downtown and working our way back for the big finish. As we crossed the gates into the stadium, my mom and I grabbed hands and ran hard past people and across the finish line.
Official time for 13.1 miles: 2:19:28.
In other words, a six-minute PR from Lawrence, which was a 20 minute PR from my first race!
I felt proud about the PR, but the very best part was finishing with my mom by my side. I honestly don’t think I could have made it under 2:20 without her!
Even though I ran the whole way, I could barely walk afterward. I guess that’s a good sign that I put it all out there!
Still, I somehow made it through the water stations and got my medal. Then, we saw Dan and my dad up in the stands.
We decided to meet up outside the stadium for some more pictures.
Some people surprise runners with flowers. My dad surprised my mom with a box of doughnuts.
I think he’s onto something…
We waited around a while until my mom’s co-worker was done, then we walked (or hobbled) to the car and went home.
I was tempted to lay down for the rest of the day, but Dan and I had plans to meet up with my best friend Katelyn and her boyfriend for lunch.
Afterward, I was able to go home and take that much-needed (three-hour) nap.
Dan and I stuck around Lincoln long enough for dinner with my parents and then hit the road back to Kansas. Even though it was a short trip, it was totally worth it.
In other news: God bless America.