The Omaha Half Marathon was a late add to my schedule for the Fall. When I realized that some more Midwest states might be doable, this one came across my radar. It wouldn’t be easy, but I kept trying to plan this with Minnesota. As I mentioned in my Circle the Lake race recap, logistics for this race weekend wouldn’t be easy, but to get 2 good states completed, I was willing to do whatever to make it happen.
After finishing my race in MN, I arrived into Omaha around dinner time. Luckily I found someone to share the hotel room with and she was kind enough to pick up my bib for me. Their expo, which from the sounds of it was just just some tents outside, only went to 6pm. I ended up making it to the hotel around 6:30pm and after settling went to the hotel burger restaurant for dinner. Since I was pretty exhausted from the horrible performance at the race that morning and I had a 7am race start, I pretty much went to sleep right after dinner. I was probably in bed by 8pm and pretty quickly found sleep. I was awoken a few hours later to what ended up being a crazy storm. I was glad it went through overnight instead of the morning.
Come morning, I was up around 6-6:15am. The hotel was within walking distance of the start line, so we headed down around 6:40am. We were at the start line in no time and just hung out for a few minutes before the race was set to go off. I surprisingly was not in pain from the previous day’s run. I really thought I’d be hobbling around more. Even still, based on how I did at the Circle the Lake Half, I was not expecting much of anything from this race.
The first mile of the race was a little stiff. It was also a little crowded for the first half mile. After that half mile, it opened up and there were never any issues on the course with crowding. In fact, when I took my first walk break, I jumped up on a median to try and avoid the masses. Luckily at the end of my walk break we were turning right and I had a bit more room on the course. Just after that, I overheard a pace group leader talking about the finish line area. I did not know it going in, but we finished in the TD Ameritrade Park. They mentioned a lot of people make their move to the finish too soon because they don’t account for running around the baseball field at the very end. I was very glad I overheard them talking about this as I would have probably been one of those people.
This course was a true out and back, which typically isn’t my best type of course, but this one seemed to love me. I will also say you seemed to get a lot from this course in terms of the areas you ran in through Omaha. You certainly ran through what looked to be maybe not the best neighborhood, a beautiful park, Creighton University and then a historical neighborhood to just name a few areas. The other nice thing about the course is for the most part it was shaded. The only parts that weren’t were the later miles.
Around mile 3 we came upon an awesome cheer group. They were on there giving out beer and shots. I laughed and told them it’s just too early but if I was up for on the way back, I’d grab some (sadly, I didn’t because of the side of the road they were on). This wasn’t a race with a lot of spectators but along the way there were some small pockets here or there. Some stayed out the entire time so I saw them on the way back, but most packed up if their faster runner had passed by.
By mile 5, I was pretty shocked at how well I was moving. I wasn’t really paying attention to my splits or time, but just stayed right on my 4/1 run/walk. I was feeling energetic and cheering on other runners as they started coming back. The weather was truly perfect for this race and I was so thankful for that. These miles were maybe the hardest in terms of the course. While they weren’t terrible, these miles just had the most hills. Mile 5 and mile 7 were mostly through Miller Park which. As we came out of the park, we headed a half mile down toward out turn around. Marathoners kept going for their second half.
As I got to the turn around part, I was still a little shocked with how I was doing. Not only was I still feeling strong, I was slowly starting to pass people on the course with very few beginning to pass me. I was almost waiting for the moment that I would hit the wall. I thought for this race it would be around the halfway point and then when it didn’t happen, I just kept waiting for it. I guessed that the next time would be maybe around mile 8. That seemed like a good place to crash. Again, no go. I was moving along kinda of strong.
I entered the last 5k still a little stunned at how well I was moving. I still wasn’t looking at my splits, but I felt pretty strong still. I was still in good spirits and loving that feeling. As we were headed into the final part, I was feeling the sun a little more. The temperatures were still pretty good, but you could feel that sun coming out more and more. I was really looking forward to the finish line ever since I overheard that pacer. I love finishing in any type of stadium so finding that out was such a wonderful surprise.
As I came toward the last half mile, I came up upon a man limping pretty badly. I cheered him on and told him he was doing great and was almost there. You could tell he was in pain, but he was also so determined to get to that finish line. Just before I entered the stadium, I came up on a walk break. Even though I was maybe 0.2 away, I was sticking to my breaks. This one person saw me walk and started yelling, not cheering, that I needed to run to the finish because it was so close. I typically don’t let this bother me, but her tone get to me. I told her I was a doing a run/walk and I was perfectly fine. It probably wasn’t int he nicest tone back to her because she just gave me a look.
Finally, I was inside the stadium. There were not many people cheering you on in the stadium as I have seen with other stadium finishes, but it was awesome! You ran around the entire field before you finally came upon the finish line. The best part is that as you made the last turn, every finisher was up on the big screen as they crossed the finish line. I wish I could have gotten a picture of that because that would have been cool to look back on. I was handed my medal and was excited by it. It might not have been the most decorative one, but I really liked it. I grabbed some water and walked out of the stadium. I then realized I had finished in a better time than I ever thought I would have. I also thought that I probably had negative splits but if I didn’t it was very close. I tried to see split times and even though they had a mat, there was no split time. I even tried to reach out and never got an answer back. I definitely would have loved to know my split times.
I hung around a bit at the finish line area and got a chance to try the recovery leg system. It was amazing! Then I ended up at a brewery for brunch and a chance to try some local beers. The beer and food was amazing and just what I needed. I then almost got stuck in Omaha. The original flight I had had to deplane and we were all moved around on different flights. I ended up not getting home until after 1am and I was miserable! I ended up in 4 different airports on my way home and when I did roll into bed, I was so excited. It was certainly a long weekend!
I really loved this race! Even though it was an out and back course, it was a good one. There were not a ton of spectators out there, but enough to help you though. The volunteers though were just amazing! They had water cups ready and were so energetic! Certainly what runners want while they were out on the course. Weather for perfect, but I could certainly see (as I did the day before) that it could be bad. September is pretty hit or miss out there. The fact that I felt so strong through the race and finished strong, I was so happy to have ended the weekend on such a high note for half #47 and state #28.
Official Finish Time:
61/79, Female 30-34