In the grand scheme of things, have you ever been engaged in a worthwhile and enjoyable project – but as part of it needed to go somewhere or do something that you really couldn’t get excited about? Welcome to Nebraska! It IS a state – and even one of the 50 states, but it was hard to get excited about a trip to Lincoln! Consequently, we planned it for a quick weekend, with no extended travel or sightseeing on our agenda. However, as has invariably been the case with such trips – it turned out to be a good one and we enjoyed our time in the Cornhusker State.
From a race support standpoint, it was among the better ones. The National Guard was a major sponsor and they did an excellent job. (Anyone wishing to be on the Guard’s traveling marathon team has to qualify in this race – and we met a number of team members, including several from Utah.) The support along the course was exceptional and this may have been the only race we have done where water and sports drinks were handed out in cups with lids and straws! It may sound like a little thing, but drinking as you run a race can be a bit messy – but not in Lincoln! The post race food was not bad, but even better was the post race party with drinks, sandwiches, pasta salad, cookies and prize giveaways. Needless to say, we did not pass up free food. The course, itself, was nothing to get excited about (don’t forget, this WAS Lincoln), but there was one very attractive and affluent residential area we ran through that was nice and the finish was at the 50-yard line in the University of Nebraska Memorial Stadium – which was fun. Neither Karen nor I set any records, but considering the two week hiatus we were in South Carolina and Spain, we were okay with the results. I was back down in the 1:45 range and tinkering with a mid-foot “barefoot” running style that was advocated in the most recent book I read: “Born to Run”. (If you think you are ready for a running book, this is one I would recommend as both interesting and informative – with even a bit of suspense!) In fact, it was in this area I had the limited “deep thoughts” associated with this race – and they dealt with habits. Having run somewhat seriously now for 20+ years, how difficult would it be to change some things about my running style if I became convinced it might make me more efficient? What would it take to convince me? What risks would be involved? Would it be worth it? You may have heard people refer to a “runner’s high”. I have always felt a bit cheated in this area, as I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced one. Is it because my running is inefficient? It became apparent that habit, history and routine can be difficult obstacles to overcome – but certainly not insurmountable. Where – besides running – might the effort be merited?
Our sightseeing was confined to the area between Omaha and Lincoln. In Omaha we spent some time dining and strolling in the Old Market and we enjoyed a visit to Boys’ Town. The latter has a very interesting history and story – made famous by Spencer Tracy’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Father Flanagan in the 1938 movie “Boys Town
”. In Lincoln, Old Market became the Haymarket, where we enjoyed wandering around among shops and eateries.
We enjoyed a great tour of the State Capitol – a unique building housing the only unicameral state legislature in the country. We also wandered around the University of Nebraska campus – although we weren’t overly impressed.
(That was especially the case with me and their bowling alley. We were their only patrons for a couple of games so got special lights and music – but I shall quickly forget the disastrous results!) On the way back to Omaha we drove across a section (one of many, no doubt) of prairie and cornfields-in-waiting, and also along a piece of the Mormon and Oregon trail on the Platte River. All in all, it was a good race and trip – although should we go again, western Nebraska will be on the agenda.