So Cheryl set yet another Personal Record for her Half Marathon distance. That is 13.1 miles in 1:42:25! A full minute and a half faster than her previous PR. She came in 4th in her age group. ( so close!) 20th Female to finish with a average pace of 7:49 per mile. Not bad! The purpose of this “Training Race” was to work on the marathon pace for Twin Cities ( Anything under 8 minutes per mile) and that was accomplished. Yeah! Now that we got the “unimportant stuff” out of the way…..let’s continue with the interesting stuff…. Let’s go!
The crowd seemed smaller…just over 1100 runners….most running the half marathon. I guess there were only 50 people running the full marathon! ( And a female won it!) But we were here only for the Half as well.
A smaller crowd is good for me…because I can find Cheryl in the crowd easier. Check out how the crowd parts for me, allowing me to get a clear shot of Cheryl while she is imbedded in a cluster of runners. It was like I was being allowed special treatment!
The gap between the “elites” and the average runners was pretty striking in this race. Cheryl was pushed toward the front with other “serious” runners ( due to her planned finish pace) . However, no one was from Kenya; And….the gaps between runners was pretty huge in some cases. ( The skill level among the runners that were there was quite different) Example…the TOP three females in Cheryl’s age group were almost 5 minutes ahead of her! ( But hey! Cheryl was closing in fast!)
And here is were the fun begins! I ran to the finish and found that they were diverting people into the stadium. I followed some people and “finished” runners into the tunnel and was able to capture even better close-ups of Cheryl as she ran past. I could hardly believe that I had such a great place to take pics from. I could not understand why there were not more people here….Then I thought most of the spectators were still out on the course waiting for their runner to come in. Cheryl was in the front with the “faster people”.
I then followed Cheryl down as she ran a lap around the field. I snapped a few moments as she kicked towards the finish. (I was cheering kind of loudly) I looked around and saw that I had total access to the finish line. Unlike Grandma’s Marathon, these smaller races tend be slightly friendlier…..or so I thought. This was going to be the first time I could capture Cheryl finishing!
Moments after I captured these semi-blurry shots, I heard a voice asking if I had credentials to be here…..
At first I thought it was the camera man taking “official” pictures. But instead it was a Racing Official! At least I Think he was a race Official, He looked Official….and we were at a race. Come to think of it…I can’t remember much about him other than he had glasses..( I think…)
My first thought was,” Yeah, I’m taking pictures of her….See my camera?” I guess that was the “wrong” answer….Cheryl barely got her medal before seeing me get “escorted” off the field. Kind of embarrassing….But I got my finish photos…..And how was I to know that I was not supposed to be there?…..There were no signs
Cheryl thinks that no one stopped me because I was dressed in my official “coach” outfit. ( Khakis with a black button-up shirt) I must have blended in with the rest of the “official” people. Perhaps I blew my cover when I began cheering for one specific runner. Ah well! At least they did not think I was a terrorist….(I left the Hello Kitty Satchel Charge in the car!)
So, Being a little shell-shocked about the faux-pas, I shuffled along towards the outside where Cheryl showed off her HUGE OFFICIAL Finishers Medal. And by HUGE I mean it is the largest medal in her collection thus far. I hear that Arkansas has the largest finishers medal for a Marathon. Perhaps that is their draw. After all, only 50 people showed up for the official Marathon here in Omaha. Sometimes you have to give non-local people an incentive to drive out to participate.
So, in passing, it was a good race, though possibly not very memorable ( aside from the “misdemeanor trespassing” experience for me!) We accomplished a training race at a desired Marathon Pace; Achieved a new PR finishing time; AND ran a race in a new State, (Nebraska.) I have never been in Nebraska before, so I can cross another State off my list…Bummer there were no mascots to pose with this time. ( I would have been happy with a giant ear of Corn)
In addition, it was a fairly close race, (meaning: Close to home) even though it took us longer to get back home than we had thought. Ah well, a safe trip is always a good one. Cheryl is now ready for the Tapering weeks leading to the Official Twin Cities Marathon in two weeks. Hopefully the anticipation will not derail the experience….we shall see. In the mean time, enjoy the additional pictures.