Friday, May 10, 2013

Guest post: The land, Lincoln

Greetings, folks. I have a very special post today. It's a guest one from my BFF and the first ever not penned by my husband. I hope you enjoy!

Hi! I’m Pattie (AKA “the Bestie”). Kim invited me to stop by and give her readers a race report as she has fielded several questions on my behalf from well-wishers. I would like to thank everyone for all the support! I think the race was wonderful and I am toying with the idea of doing it again next year.

I’m sorry. I am getting ahead of myself. I feel like I owe you some background. Let me back up. I am 32 years old (yikes!) I have a two-year-old daughter (yikes!) and I live in the non-interesting state of Nebraska. While this was my first official half marathon, it is NOT the first I have registered. It is not even the Second. It is the THIRD. And fourth I’ve actually considered doing. It always seemed like something got in the way, though - whether it was motivation, family obligations or a grizzly dog bite. Maybe not grizzly but seriously, I was bit by a dog and it put a damper on my running for a while.

I still wanted to do a half marathon – for the sake on finally following through. So I found a local spring race was opening up registration soon and I decided to do it. And it is a good thing, I didn’t “think” about it. Because the Lincoln Marathon sold out in less than a day. Yep. ONE. DAY.

Half marathon registration = half marathon plan. Intimidated by words like "tempo" and "repeats," I opted for Hal Higdon’s “Novice 2” plan as it was simple but factored in my runsume of multiple 5ks, 10k, 5 miles and the half marathon relay. I printed it off and put in my refrigerator at home. I wrote it on my planner on my desk and I even inputed all the runs into the calendar on Window’s Outlook on my work computer. There was no way I was escaping the plan. Over the course of the next 12 weeks, I kept at it. I didn’t skip runs – I may have adjusted some to work with my schedule. But I ran every mile that was required, and I'm happy to report that I ran 220 miles in those 12 weeks.

Going into my half, I wasn’t nervous about finishing. I knew I could cross the finish line. My #1 goal was not to walk. I read some not-so-nice comments on an online forum attached to a local newspaper about walkers at my event. I didn’t want to be a walker. I wanted to be a runner. My No. 2 goal was to finish in 2:20. I knew this would be tough as my usual pace is about 11:30 and as slow as 12:00. But I had just done a 10K two weeks prior with a time of 1:05. So in the back of my mind, I thought, I could do it.

Other things I was worrying about: the weather (rain was in for forecast); what to wear (I always seem to miss the boat on dressing appropriately and ether end up sweating bullets of freezing.); getting to the start/ parking (my hotel offered a shuttle service, but I didn’t find out until my check-in that the shuttle didn’t start until 9 a.m. on the weekend. And the race started at 7); and bodily functions (without fail I always have to stop for a bathroom break on my long runs).

And after all that worrying, Sunday ended up being perfect, slightly chilly but no rain. I drove myself and parked next to campus several blocks from the start. Then I texted my husband and told him where I was parked – as he and my daughter were going to cheer me on and then meet at the finish. I got my bag checked, used the bathroom (indoors) and wondered around the starting area. I found the 2:20 pace group and waited. The race started at 7. But I didn't start until closer to 7:40 - as I was towards the back and they were sending out waves of about 1,000 at a time.

As we kept moving closer to the starting line, my need to use the bathroom grew. I didn’t want to miss the start, so I told myself I would hold it and use a port a potty later.

 The race started on the Campus of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, went through downtown, past the Capital building, looping through some residential areas and ending back on the 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium.

When it was our turn to go, it was super exciting. I left the gate feeling good. So good, I even passed the pacers for 2:20. I think my need to pee, might have put a little more speed into me. I kept looking for portapotties and didn't see any. So I just kept running. In addition to looking for the John, I also was pulling and fussing with my running skirt more than I would like to admit. I hadn’t run in it for more than a year and am smaller than when I was purchased. I made it near to the 5K water stop and saw the port-a-pots. I stopped. I waited in line. I saw the 2:20 pacers go past. As I was waiting, I noticed someone to my right who looked familiar. It was my friend Gina. We quickly hugged and then it was my turn. I quickly emptied my bladder and got. I ran faster than before, trying to catch the 2:20 pacers. Fail. But I was able to adjust my skirt so it was no longer bothering me.

My husband, daughter and husband’s cousins were at the 5-mile mark. Which made me very happy and gave me a boost to keep moving. About a half mile later I took my fuel and had some water. I kept going. About this time the course went onto a narrow bike path and more people were walking. I was swerving in and out, passing people and getting mad that the walkers were not getting to the right. I crossed the 10K and was feeling good.

I didn’t have a watch or tracker going. So I was listening to people around me saying what their times were. Even though they might have left the gate at a different time than me, it was a gauge.

Between the 10 and 15K there was an uphill part. It seriously kicked my butt. The 4:50 (marathon) pace group got right behind me and it bummed me out. I knew that I was at least 5 minutes behind my goal. Plus they were annoying. I tried to run faster and get ahead of them. It worked for a while but then they eventually passed me and I didn't care as I was glad not to listen to them any longer. There was a water stop just past mile 10 and I walked a little longer than I normally do, but my legs were starting to feel it. After I started running again, I remembered that I had forgotten to take my fuel. So I jogged and tried to eat my chews as I went. It was pretty tricky but I got it done.

 My mom and dad were between miles 11 and 12. Seeing them made me happy and helped me find the strength I needed to make to the end. Just after I saw them, I was downtown and saw the stadium in the distance. I kept plowing along, passing walkers left and right.

I passed the full marathon turn-off and entered the stadium driveway. I saw the jumbo-tron and then myself on the Jumbotron. And I then entered the tunnel onto the field. At the time I was annoyed because it was so congested and there were some slow people all around me who didn’t understand the term “finish strong.” I wanted to finish as strong as possible. Three girls all held hands and crossed the field together, making a giant fence that I could not get around. I wanted to punch them. Each. (I get my aggression from hanging out with Kim too much).

Editor's note: Apparently she didn't get that much aggression from me because I would have cut the bitches. P.S. I know I shouldn't use such coarse language, especially in a guest post, but I'm very tired and have no social graces.

My official time was 2:29:22. Not quite what I wanted, but not terrible. My worst case scenario time was 2:35. In my fantasy world, had I not stopped for the bathroom I would have been about 2:25. So I will pretend that is my time. And I did not stop to walk (except for water but we all know that does not count).

Looking ahead, I am toying with the idea of doing at least one more race this summer possibly a 10K. I am also thinking about using a training plan that will help me with my speed.

I loved my half experience and would love to run Lincoln again, maybe even next year. It wasn’t the most beautiful or scenic race (although my husband, a devout Nebraska Football fan and season ticket holder, will tell you Memorial Stadium, where we ended, is his idea of heaven) but it had wonderful crowds and wonderful staff. I do not think there was one stretch of the route that didn’t have spectators cheering us on.

So, in closing (which is the lamest closing line EVER) thank you for all your support and advice! Kim is lucky to have such awesome readers! <---- i="">I didn't even pay her to say this!


  1. Congratulations on a great race! I too would have had to resist the urge to push those women out of my way. I find that incredibly annoying. That finish line is narrow.

    I ran the Lincoln Half last year and my favorite part...the cups of water with straws and lids! Every race should do that. My father-in-law did the half this year and my mother-in-law the full. I'm glad the weather held out for all of you.

  2. Great guest post and race report! Congrats on your half!

  3. Yay! Congrats Pattie! Those captions on the finishing pictures are hilarious! Is that your work, or Kim's?!

    I think you owe yourself the reward of a new running skirt (that fits!) after doing so well at this race. I think we also need to hear the dog bite story. That happened to my husband when we were running in my neighborhood. Someone said to us "Oh, my dog is friendly!" then the dog bites a hole through my husband's pants. Um... no :)

  4. I love it all Pattie. Congrats. I love the pictures of you at the finish line.

  5. Thanks! the straw cups were pretty amazing:) I am surprised more races don't do it too. I have to admit Kim did write the captions but the look on my face says it all!