I think Greg did a great job of capturing the race and weekend in his blog post, but I wanted the opportunity to share a few of my thoughts coming out of the weekend. I was pumped that Greg accepted my recommendation that he make his first marathon the Lincoln Marathon, and I was glad to hear it did not disappoint.
I was extremely excited to get Greg and his wife Chelsea down from Sioux Falls on Friday night. The Nebraska race team that I helped found (LRC Racing) has hosted a pasta feed two nights before the race for the past five years, and I wanted to introduce Greg to the running culture we have worked to create down here. These are incredibly competitive individuals who just enjoy the sport of running! We had some catered food from Noodles and Company, while everyone brought some food to share, buffet-style. We've always had this team social event two nights before, because it allows each individual runner to eat what they feel comfortable with the night before. I mean, who wants two pounds of spaghetti sitting in their stomach on race morning?
I was glad to hear Greg say he wanted to get out for a short run on Saturday morning. Not only did I need the motivation in getting out on a rainy morning, but I thought it would be in the best interest of Greg to do something...anything. I did offer to "walk the hills" though, to avoid any unnecessary fatigue. Greg, being the strong runner he is, politely declined. We then splurged on a breakfast of "knock-off" Lucky Charms, and they were off to Lincoln for the day (stopping at the Gretna outlet mall, of course).
When we met up again Sunday morning, I was essentially a tour guide. I navigated backed up traffic to the point that Greg and I could jog about a half mile to the start, and about 10 minutes before race time, we meandered to the appropriate corral.
From the minute we crossed the start line, my goal was to make the first half of the full marathon seem easy, and I think I succeeded in doing that. Greg did a great job of laying out the race in segments, so I won't rehash that, but I really focused on running a calm race. Despite areas of the race where it is easy to say "I feel good, so I'm going to go", I knew that if he could reign it in, it would be especially beneficial in the later stages of the race (especially miles 20-26). All that to say, he ran a great first half in just under 1:54 and came in under his goal of 4:00! While I like to take a little credit for it, the truth is, Greg would have been able to do that whether I was there or not. I maybe just made it a little more fun.
One lesson I will take from this is the importance of picking the right shoes to run a race in (it's ok to have multiple pairs for different conditions). I went with the Mizuno Wave Inspires, and my foot would have welcomed something with a little more cushion in it. I've only been able to run two miles in the past 10 days as I suspect the extra support in the Inspire caused me to bruise the bottom of my right foot. Regardless, my experience with helping Greg get to his goal was all worth it.