Kate Wasn’t Kidding – Omaha Marathon Weekend, Part 2

To say that we were all basically less than enthused about running when we woke up on Sunday morning would be an understatement. Although we always hate getting up early, there’s a different kind of hate when you know you’re not really prepared physically or mentally to run 26.2 miles. Amanda, Kate and Jenn erred more on the side of being annoyed by the concept. Because of how shaky my recovery from my stress fracture has been, I erred on the side of afraid. I was not sure how my leg was going to feel or even if I would be able to make it through the race, to say nothing of the fact that I had only been running for 2 weeks (a total of 7 times) and was horrendously out of shape. No matter.

I realized on one of my flights from South Carolina to Omaha that I had somehow forgotten my Marathon Maniacs singlet, marking the first time that has ever happened. Kate had brought an extra shirt, but it had sleeves, and it was way too hot for sleeves, so I decided to just wear one of the tank tops I had brought to run in. We had to wake up pretty early to head to the race, and for once, we actually made it to the Maniacs picture on time without having to sprint in screaming at the last second. Progress!

Not the most organized group.

It was actually pretty cold in the morning, although we knew it would be hot by the end of the race. My friend Terri loaned me her throwaway shirt as Jenn, Kate and I began to panic over not being able to find Amanda or get in touch with her. She had stayed with some friends of hers the night before the race, and she didn’t meet up with us at the time we had assigned and wasn’t answering her phone. As we made our way over to the starting corral, there was still no sign of her as I looked frantically everywhere. I kept reminding myself that the only other time we had met up at a race, she came running up to me at the starting line no more than 30 seconds before the race started, so there was still hope. Sure enough, right before the gun went off, she appeared. I have since banned her from making her way to the start line without supervision, because that is way too much stress for me to deal with. This is why we can’t have nice things!

The company that put on the race thought it would be a great idea to have the marathon, half marathon, and 10k all start the race together with no separation or sense of order. It was not a good idea.

We had heard the course was flat for Omaha, but the early miles took us on some hills. I guess the adrenaline was going because I didn’t really feel it too much. Kate, Jenn, Amanda, Patty, Terri, Aaron, and I all started together, but we separated at pretty much the first aid station because Patty, Aaron and Jenn ran through while the rest of us walked. Jenn has never run a…shall we say…leisurely marathon, and even though she kept telling us she wanted to stay with us during the race, I kept thinking to myself that she had no idea what she was getting herself into. When we’re slow, we’re really slow, so I was glad that she made friends with Patty and Aaron and they went on their way. The first few miles felt surprisingly easy, although we kept a very relaxed pace. We had to weave through a lot of people for awhile as we waited for the 10k to get to their turnaround, but we still took plenty of time to hang out.

I’ve never met a square dance during a marathon that I didn’t like.

My leg was feeling fine at this point and with aid stations each mile, we had plenty of walk breaks. The course was one long out and back with turn arounds for each race at the halfway points of the 10k, half marathon, and marathon distances. While it didn’t make for a very exciting course, it’s always depressing fun to watch the leaders come running back past you when they’re at mile 17 and you’re at mile 9. At one point, a college-age guy running the half marathon ran by shirtless and cheering for everyone and I remarked, without even thinking and to no one in particular, that I would “date the shit out of him,” much to the amusement of the crowd of middle-aged guys apparently running right behind me. Oops!

We took a picture at this sign because it said “Nebraska.” That’s the end of the story.

Right as we got to mile 11, my leg started to KILL me.  I had told the girls back around mile 6, right before the half marathon split, that I knew I had more than a half marathon in me but I had a feeling that I had less than a full marathon. I figured I had about 18 good miles. I shook off the pain at mile 11 and figured I would reassess at the half marathon turn around. If necessary, I would stop at an aid station and have them take me back to the finish line. Meanwhile, we harassed people around us, including a soldier who was running the full marathon in uniform! I think I told him that one of my best friends is serving in Afghanistan. I am pretty sure he didn’t care, but Tom, just know I was thinking about you.

Our new friend, Brent. He ran away quickly after this picture.

We were running along the river at this point, and although it should have been lovely in theory, in reality, it was all concrete and it smelled like burning rubber. Not exactly ideal marathoning conditions. I was more than happy to get off the concrete, which was surely not helping my leg, and we were all super excited to see Patty, Jenn and Aaron when we were at mile 12-ish and they were at 14!

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Don’t mind us, we’re just taking a group photo in the middle of a marathon.

By the halfway point, my leg started miraculously feeling better. The problem was that now almost everyone else felt worse. The lack of training had caught up with Kate in particular, so we were now running slower and walking at more frequent intervals. I had no problems walking as much as necessary because a) it’s fun and b) I figured it would be better for my leg, but we all agreed that the second half of the marathon went by REALLY slowly. We hit the halfway point at a little under 2:30, hypothetically putting us on pace for a sub-5 finish, but it was getting hot and we all knew better.

I have to say, I found the whole situation a little amusing. Kate is a very strong runner who has a habit of telling us on a regular basis that she’s “injured” or “undertrained” so she wants to go slow – and then she ends up totally leaving me and Amanda in the dust. When she said that she was out of shape, I took that with a grain of salt. I figured she’d be leaving me behind in no time, but apparently she was really serious. And she got very cranky very quickly, which was basically the most entertaining thing that I’ve ever seen. Fortunately, the situation was temporarily remedied somewhere around mile 17 or 18 when we saw a group of spectators with a cooler and Kate asked them if they had beer. THEY DID!

Any bad marathon mood is immediately remedied by beer.

We all felt better after splitting a beer (Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest, for those who care to know) and everyone was in better spirits. Tragically, my leg was immediately again in bad spirits. Sure enough, at mile 18, my leg called it quits. I was quiet for a little while as I thought about whether not to drop. On the one hand, it seemed like the smart thing to do so I wouldn’t do further damage to my leg. On the other hand, my leg had started feeling better before after there was some pain at mile 11, so maybe that would happen again. I (stupidly) decided to reassess at mile 20, and sure enough, it was feeling better by that point.

From about mile 16 or 17, we had started doing half-mile run, half-mile walk intervals to accommodate our general lack of fitness and desire to move any faster. That worked well until mile 22 or so, when the wheels fell off. Kate was pretty angry by that point (at herself, I think, or perhaps at her boyfriend, who has been distracting her from running) so we switched to quarter-mile intervals. Anything to get it done, at that point. Of course, at mile 22, my leg was done. DONE. I knew that it was not going to feel better. But could I really quit a race with only 4 miles left to go, given that I would have to head back to the finish area to get to the car regardless? Of course not. So we very, very slowly made our way to the finish.

Not at mile 22, but a view from the race nonetheless.

We were winding through town and it seemed like the finish was never going to be there. Fine. Mostly it seemed like the finish was never going to be there because Kate kept telling us it was never going to be there. She was so angry and I thought it was hilarious. I had to do everything I could to keep from laughing! The best part was as we approached the finish. We could see the finish line right in front of us, but there were cones blocking it and directing us into the TD Ameritrade Stadium, where the College World Series is played. The look on Kate’s face when she realized that we had to run a lap through the stadium before we got to the finish line was absolutely priceless.

Don’t let the smile fool you. She was about to kill us all.

As we entered the stadium, we heard shouts from Donna and Jenn, who had long since finished their races and were waiting for us! As we did a lap around the stadium, we saw that they were showing all the runners on the jumbotron, which was pretty cool. I’ve had that happen at a couple of races and it’s always fun.

We basically are the College World Series champions.

So long after we began the race together, we finished the race together. Battered, bruised, sweaty, and a little angrier than when we began. Ok, the only angry one was Kate.


The best thing about the marathon is that despite the fact that a new company has taken it over, they kept the style of medals that was previously used. The medals are hand-blown glass, and each marathon medal has a unique combination of colors, so they are all different (the half marathon medals are clear glass). Some people don’t like glass medals, but at this point, I love something that’s a little different!

Happy campers!

I think we all learned some valuable lessons from this. Kate learned that new boyfriend or not, she has to run SOMETIMES if she’s going to enjoy marathons. I learned that I really should have dropped out the second my leg started hurting. I’ve taken this whole week off and my leg is starting to feel better, so I anticipate going for a short run in the next couple of days to test the waters. I’ll be easing back into training very slowly. The thing is, no matter how bad we feel or how slow we run, being out there together is fun no matter what. Broken leg, lack of fitness, whatever – running together and having fun is the reason we do this month after month. But I’m still an idiot.

And a bonus photo that I forgot to post in Part 1. This is my hillbilly pose, apparently.

LEAVE A COMMENT: Please yell at me and tell me to listen to my body next time. Thanks in advance.

21 thoughts on “Kate Wasn’t Kidding – Omaha Marathon Weekend, Part 2

  1. Congratulations on your finish! My foot is not speaking me right now, so I am getting nervous about Philly, but I am being optimistic. I just need a new pair of shoes and hopefully they will come in this week. I buy them from a local small business just because the owner is an awesome guy and deserves my support. plus his prices once you put in shipping and handling are just about the same.

    1. On the plus side, Philly is still a good few weeks away, so there is hope! Love that you’re supporting local small businesses 🙂 I hope your foot feels better soon!

  2. It was so great to see you! Sorry we didn’t get more of a chance to catch up. Until next time… happy, pain-free running! 🙂

    1. It was great to see you too! We kept thinking about you when it was hot because we were like “Abbi is wearing tights right now OMG”

  3. Congrats on another finish. I’ve got my first double in two weeks and my foot isn’t any better. It’s not gonna be pretty but I’m determined to finish them. Hoping I don’t have to downgrade to the half on either day, which will be problematic on the first day since the marathon splits at like mile 2. Ugh.

    1. I hope your foot gets better! Looked like you knocked out a 20 miler this weekend so maybe there is still hope? Kate will be at the double too!

  4. I totally want to run a marathon with you with that attitude. I can’t run an easy marathon, but I think I need to learn how to do it. Stopping for a beer with a group of girlfriends mid-race sounds awesome.

    1. I think it’s pretty fun, personally. I didn’t know how to run an easy marathon until I was forced to by my stomach issues…now I need to remember how to run a hard one! 🙂

  5. Congrats on another new state. Hope your leg heals up. Omaha was really tough on my plantar fasciitis and I finished quite a bit behind you. Hated that stretch on the river. It could have been pretty if there weren’t ugly, smelly industrial plants on one side of us and if the path had been asphalt or dirt instead of concrete. Overall I was disappointed with this race and some of the logistics. And the generic shirt sucked. The fellow Maniacs, the awesome glass medal and the jumbotron were about the only good things. But -Nebraska DONE!

    1. Yuck, that concrete was not good! Couldn’t agree more about the smell by the river. Definitely not the most scenic choice of routes, but I know they did it to make the course flatter. I was disappointed as well, but I still had fun. It was great to see you! I hope you feel better soon!

  6. You always have both sides covered – yes, you should have quit at the half point … but on the other hand you set out to have fun and interact so much that every mile is a story.

    Hope the recovery goes well!

  7. I’ll be the adult & yell at you. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?! More damage is possible… what would you do then? … more so, what would WE do then if we didn’t have your race blogs to look forward to? 😉
    (You know we love you no matter what you do)
    remember, if you want to learn to knit & have a blog on that, I’ll teach you…

    TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    But congrats on another marathon!
    Awesome to have friends around you that you can laugh at to take away the thought of pain! 🙂

    1. Ooooh! I do kind of want to learn to knit! I’m not sure that would make for a very funny blog, though! Actually, now that I think about what the things I would knit would probably look like, maybe it would.

  8. The minute you learn that an injury can come out of nowhere is like when you’re 5 and you learn that just staring at the sun can make you go blind. Something as simple and innocuous as looking UP on a sunny day can BLIND YOU. I remember panicking that day.

    Similarly, the idea that having tens of marathons behind you and still being vulnerable is an equally horror-inducing realization. Impressive that you managed to stick around for the full distance and earn another state in the process … but yeah, now’s the time to chill and rebuild so you can run another one without excruciating pain.

    Well done.

    1. Ugh, since when am I not invincible? It’s so annoying.

      ALSO I met your friend Jay out in Colorado this weekend! We had a meeting with his company about some development work and when I told him the name of my blog, he recognized it from yours! We started talking all about you and Otter. Such a small world!

  9. I just discovered your blog!! I have run two marathons but my last race was 5 years ago. I’ve run more than a dozen half marathons.

    I am recovering from an injury myself. Basically, I’m not supposed to run but after reading your blog, it makes me realize how much I miss distance running. I hope you heal quickly, and I promise to keep reading. Is there a place to see what races you’ve run so far?

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