September 23, 2012 – Just coming off the Corporate Cup last week and a quick decision to run Omaha Half this weekend made for a crazy week. I also spent a big chunk on the week traveling. Wednesday in Iowa City and Thursday and Friday in Madison, WI for some Gallup recruiting. Needless to say, the race came up fast! On Thursday morning, I did get to spend some incredible time with a 6 mile lake run in Madison. The temp was cool, the air was clear, the wind was zero and the timing was right. Ran right from the hotel, picked up a well-paved bike trail and follow it around until I thought it was time start heading back. RunKeeper kept me honest. This morning’s race started off with a alarm and a departure to Gallup. I planned to meet Dave Cihal there at 6:00am to gear up and walk over to the course. Gallup is just about a half mile from the start. The temps had dropped overnight and for the first time in quite a while, it was cold. I layered up and put on the gloves as was ready to go! We made the half mile trek to the start line and waited 15 minutes for the race to begin. They started promptly at 7:00am! Dave has been training for the Market to Market 50K solo race and this was a training run for him. We had agreed to run with the 4 hour pacers and started with that group. By mile 4 or 5, the group was still big and inconsistent. Dave and I both moved to the front of the pack. It proved to be a good decision. Less speed changes and people swerving. The first 10K of Omaha is fast and flat. They save all the hills for the second 10K. Dave and I run this part of the city at least once a week, so we are very familiar with it. It starts with the ConAgra campus, under the UP Bridge, and up 6th Street to Bancroft Ave. Just when you think it’s over, you make the right on 10th street and there is one more hill in front of you. But from the top of 10th, it’s all downhill, into downtown and the finish line at TD Ameritrade Park parking lot. A finish on the field would be great, but they have not gotten that part figured out yet. Not a big deal, the Marines greet you at the finish and award you with a clear glass medallion that is handmade and unique. It’s a great experience. I left Dave somewhere before the 12 mile mark and headed for the finish. He did very well setting a new PR of , smashing his old time by almost 20 minutes. I was able to head back onto the course and finish the last 2 miles running with him. It was the best part of my race. Sarah came out and was a huge part of the race for support. She was there at the halfway point was well as at the finish. She walked the first mile with me when I went back to catch Dave and was there again at the finish for Dave. Thanks for spending the morning with me Sarah! It was great. Nothing planned for the future. Have a few options but will have to see what comes up. Been thinking about some trail running to change things up a bit. Might give that a try in the next couple months or before winter sets in.
September 26, 2010 – There couldn’t have been a more perfect morning for a marathon. It was just short of 50 degrees at the start of race and almost no wind. After a long summer of 5 AM runs with warm and humid conditions, it felt great! This was going to be a good day of running. The Omaha Marathon starts down at Rick’s Boatyard, just a quarter mile or so from the Gallup parking lot. I arrived at Gallup by 5:45 am and beat most of the crowd and hunkered down in the Fitness center for the next 30 minutes getting mentally prepared for day and taking in some calories. They say that running is 90% mental and the other 10% is mental. So I sat calmly and watched a little HGTV while I waited for the 7 am start. By I was ready to make the walk down to the starting line. It was still a little dark. I ran into Ronny and Jen Miller, who were preparing to run the half. I hung with them until the race started. While the Omaha Marathon is still an up and coming event in Omaha and attendance is growing each year, they still have some work to do on how they get the race started. There were no visible pacers and walkers who trying to start the race in the front. The street is narrow and will not be able to handle the amount of runners that they could get in the future. Once I got past the start line and weaved around a bunch of walkers in the first mile, things settled down to normal pace. I was shooting for 9 minute miles the entire day. The course route loops around downtown and north Omaha for the first 10K and returns runners back to Rick’s Boatyard. While not setting any land speed records, this loop was what I really needed. At , I was feeling warmed up, on pace and ready to focus on the next 10K. I also took a strategy of breaking down the race into four 10K races with a 2 mile finish at the end. For me, it’s easier to think of it that way as opposed to one long mile race. I crossed same place we had started just an hour ago feeling great. First section down…oh, and did I mention that I was doing live updates to Facebook? I made the first update at this point (see above). The next section of the race takes you south, through the ConAgra campus, under the railroad tracks and up one of the longest hills on course. To be honest, the hill seems a lot tougher last year when I was just running the half. I think it was perspective. At the top of the hill, the halfers turn right on Hickory and those running the full head straight on a path to the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. The next two miles were mostly down hill (which is always bad because you know you have to come back up those hills!) and easy. Just before the South Omaha bridge, the course turns back and it’s a 3 mile trek back to Downtown. Some where in there (I think back at the ConAgra Campus) I crossed over 13 miles and finished the 2nd 10K (updated Facebook too!). Sarah was there throughout this leg to greet me (like she had been all morning) as well as several very dedicated friends from Gallup. So dedicated, that at a very steep hill just after the Zoo, Stacey (one of those cheering me on) jumped out and ran with me up the hill! Very helpful. Thanks Stacey. Once you pass the downtown and the new stadium for the College World Series, the halfers make a right turn to go in and the rest of us head up into north Omaha. It gets very lonely and very quiet during the 3rd 10K. From mile 15 to mile 20, it’s a very flat run through some very old neighborhoods in Omaha. At 16 I had some lunch that Sarah had brought me and took a second to update Facebook from my phone. At both mile 18 and mile 20 (because the course double backs) there was very good crowd support. By this time, my body was beginning to feel the effects of running for 3 hours. My 20 mile time was , the legs were tight and hips were giving me some pain. I’d come this far. If I could just run the final 10K in less than 50 minutes I would have a sub 4 hour marathon. Like in Lincoln in the spring, I had some very amazing friends join me running during the race. If you have never run this distance, you have no idea how helpful it is to have someone running beside you. This race was no different. At the 20 mile mark, Stacey (who had run the hill with me an hour earlier) and Yvette (both Gallup friends) joined me and would run the next 6 mile with me to get in. There was lots of encouragement and some painful running. Thanks gals! Traditionally, the last 10K has been a disaster for me. In Kansas City last fall, I ended up walking the entire final 6 miles. In Lincoln last spring, I really struggled with 22 to 26. I struggled in Omaha, just not as much. In fact, we recorded a mile for the 22nd. With good training, I had moved the wall from 16 in KC, to 20 in Lincoln and now 23 in Omaha. It was good to see that all those early morning runs were paying off! The race gets a little fuzzy right at mile 24. It was everything I had to make it to the finish…but what a finish it was! At just over the 25 mile mark, Jamie, the other Gallup fitness trainer, joined our small group of runners and encouraged me all the way to the finish. Interestingly enough, the last mile loops through the Gallup campus and provides an excellent reminder of why I do all this running. The course also takes you under the new Bob Kerry Pedestrian bridge and to one of the most scenic finishes I have ever done (only second to Mt Evans of course!) The gang dropped off a few hundred yards before the finish and it was solo to get it done. I will admit, I walked a bunch in the last 2 miles. It was just that hard. However, once I saw the crowd and heard the screaming voice of Ryan Wolf cheering me in, there was no more walking. In fact, I even found some speed left to use across the finish! It was amazing. Officially was the entire morning and mission accomplished. The entire gang that had been encouraging me throughout the race was there to see me finish. Top 10 moment in life for sure. Worth it! If you have never run a marathon and your body can take it, I highly recommend it. Yes, it hard. Yes, it takes lots of time to train for it. Yes, it hurts when you are done. However, the sense of accomplishment when you are done is incredible. It’s kind of a physical, spiritual and emotional journey all rapped up into one event. If I can do it, you can too. This fall ended with two more amazing events here in Omaha. Watch the blog. There is more to come. Remember, I search (and blog while running) so you don’t have to!
Omaha Half Marathon : Jim’s Official Results 1:54:53 and Commentary on the Race – Link to All Race Results As Well!
The official results are in and I couldn’t be more happy with my ; It’s not a PR ( in the Papillion Half) but the Omaha Half was just supposed to be a training race for the Kansas City Full on October ; I’ll take it! The Omaha Marathon doesn’t have the best reputation with runners here in ; Some say it’s too ; Other say it’s not supported well by the ; Others complain about the lack of ; All could be true. The course does give you some elevation, although not as much as you might ; I didn’t run the full, and I know there were more hills on that course, but the half was ; There was really just one good size incline, around mile 8 or ; It was a good challenge! I hope they leave it in. It’s true, the people of Omaha do not do a great job of supporting the racers from beginning to end (by showing up to cheer!), but hey, we are not in Boston here! There was one incredible moment served up from my good Friend Chad Stoner and his band at mile ; Chad goes to my church and he and his band were rocking the ; It was a nice ; Thanks Chad! The only suggestion I would have on the organization of the race would come at the ; Everyone started in one big ; You had fast runners mixed with walkers and slow runners for one big jumbled ; I would only hope that next year they find a way to sort things ; How about a seeded start? Maybe put the walkers in the back? Otherwise, the course was clearly marked and the OPD was doing a fantastic job at street ; Shame on the drives who didn’t follow their directions! All in all, a great day for running! The temperature (cool at the start and a bit warmer towards the end, maybe 60) was ; No rain and very little ; You couldn’t have asked for a better ; There were 1488 runners ; I placed 513th overall, 337th among the men and 43rd in my age ; Not bad for just starting running back in March! We move on to the Kansas City full in a couple ; This summer I have completed two 10Ks and two half ; This will finish the set! I’ll keep you posted right here! Remember, I run and blog about it so you don’t have to! Full Race Results can be found here: