Latest reviews by Jeremy Murphy

(2018)
"Hilly Hour of Trail Power"
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This is a fun trail race. I ran the new race distance (the 10k) in the January race this year. I've run the 5k trail race the past two years so there was 5k of surprises after the first 5k I was familiar with. The course was hilly (as expected) and a little muddy in spots. The snow was mostly melted but we did encounter it on the course. The new course is a 2 loop format. I didn't know what to expect on the second half of the course and didn't have time to scout it out ahead of time. The race begins in a rustic western-style location of Carol Holling Camp near Ashland, Nebraska. It's helpful to come early to make sure that you have everything, have a good idea of the weather and wind for layering. There are trees lining the course but they don't block a lot of the wind. Some trail hazards you will encounter on the 10k course will include snow, ice, mud, branches, large logs, and there was one point where we had to jump from one side of the ground to the other (just a few feet) crossing an empty riverbed. So practice your hurdling skills before you run this, you will need to hop over a few things. After 1 mile or so, there is a top of a hill near a cross and you pass by that cross again before you finish the first 5k. It's a helpful milestone as there are many twists and turns on the course map.

My goal for the race was to simply try to run it in an hour or less. That seemed reasonable given the unpredictable second half of the course.

Make sure before you run that you have your wristband already for drinks (they have some good microbrew beer). I love the hot foot meal served after this race. After a tough trail race, barbeque sandwiches and hot soup is mighty delicious.

I like to warm up on this course (about a mile or so) before I race it. That's what I did this year and it helped remind me what the first 1/2 mile of the course was.

I carried my own water in my OrangeMud vest. There are water stations about every 2 miles or so. I didn't need to stop for that.

Shoes: Definitely make sure you wear trail shoes for this. Other shoes won't work as well.

The 4th mile of this course is the most difficult with the steepest incline. It was my slowest mile. It's tough to accelerate in mud and there were parts of the course that you have to climb single file up trails/steps. Patience is helpful here.

After an uphill 4th mile, the last 2 miles are easier and downhill. You an hear the loudspeaker from the finish line pretty far away as you near the finish.

Reaching the finish line, you are on bricks (same surface you start on). Not for very long though. The rest of the surface is grass/trail.

It's a tough course to run the whole way without walk breaks. I did take some. I run-walk so that works best for me.

I did enjoy the stretch of the course where there is an out-and-back line so you can see the leaders returning in front of you and runners you might know for high-fives passing you by. That was planned well. It helps everyone to get a little more support. It's in the second 5k.

Reaching the finish line, I saw that I was going to at least be (barely) under 60:00 by Garmin. Then I got the official printout (chip) time which somehow was barely over an hour. Oh well. Close enough.

After running, you can eat in the buffet with families and it's a wonderful lunch with great food, beer from the microbrewery and various raffles. Speaking of raffles, I did win a free year of beer from Empyrean Brewing Co (one of the sponsors) with a $20 investment in a raffle ticket. That was a pleasant unexpected surprise.

It's a wild, fun, exciting trail race to run. I highly recommend it. Be aware of the conditions of the course. And they have a 1 mile race for kids or people who just want to walk a mile if you don't want to run the 5k or 10k. So families can really participate in all three events if you have enough people. Some of the race volunteers did the 1 mile so they could be back in time to support us with the finish/lunch afterwards.

I highly recommend the race without any reservations. Bring your appetite and enjoy the scenery!

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(2017)
"Family Fun"
Overall
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Last Sunday, I ran the Lincoln Half Marathon (signed up for the full but changed to run the half: if you do have to change you can do it early online or just tell them at the expo) with my youngest sister. I have run this race many times as a local resident, both the full and the half. Sometimes I have changed my mind halfway through the race which one I am running and it's nice to have that flexibility. The expo was very impressive this year, with Dave McGillivray, director of the Boston Marathon giving a very inspiring keynote speech. It was a privilege both to hear him, meet him, and run with him (Dave ran the half). I was able to pick up my sister's packet at the expo the day before since she lives out of town (just had to show a proxy form and ID) and my sister was grateful for that. Also picked up mine early the day before. The expo is always very crowded so I like to get there early as possible in the morning and stay for a while to allow for shopping and connecting with other runners.

On Sunday, we arrived early for the race, about an hour early. We like to park in the elevated parking garage just west of Embassy Suites on 10th Street. Or you can park for free on the street but your car will be warm if it's a sunny day. We had no trouble getting a good parking spot and had about a 1/2 mile-mile walk to the start near Memorial Stadium. The Colisseum was open for restrooms, drinking fountains, and stretching/late packet-pickup. We were able to walk around and stretch a little bit. My sister and I were both in the green wave (waves by pace groups now). Shortly before the race, we walked outside to the start, wished each other well, and found our spots in the green wave of people. I think our wave was maybe the 4th one in the progression of 7-8 waves of a few hundred runners each. Keeping us a few minutes apart limits the congestion that I have noticed in prior years, especially early in the race.

Close to 7am, we began our journey. An unusual aspect of the race course this year was running south on 17th Street instead of 16th Street early in the race. Some runners were still confused and worried that we were supposed to be running on 16th instead of 17th. My goal for the race was to run close to 1:40. My hydration strategy was to carry my OrangeMud hydra quiver double-barrel vest so I didn't have to stop to receive water. I wore a 1:35 pace band knowing that I was not going to run the splits that fast for the entire race. Pacers were available and plentiful for the full and the half and some of the pacers were locals that I recognize from group runs. For the first 5k or so, the course runs south and then east on South Street towards Sheridan Boulevard. If you're trying to run this course fast, you will need to weave around people a little to find space for at least the first 5k. By then, it spreads out a little bit. Sheridan Boulevard is a beautiful point in the course with ample shade of trees and lots of spectators lining both sides of the street. Along Sheridan Boulevard, there is a water stop or two if you need one. Good place for pictures. After that, the hills begin eastward to 48th Street.

My heart rate began to spike a little at about 4 miles so I had to slow down from the splits I was running the first 5k. I walked a little more and more frequently to try to get the heart rate back down. There is a stretch of Sheridan Boulevard that is not protected from the sun. The most challenging part of this race was having it be a cloudless sunny day. This led to dehydration in some runners and we were all shedding hats and visors. I wore a visor but ended up carrying it half of the race. As I was struggling to get my heart rate under control, I recognized a 3:15 pacer from local group runs and he spoke to me and encouraged me to stay with his pace group. He also advised us to take it easy on the hills going up to mile 5. That is a very smart strategy. At about mile 5, there is a significant downhill all the way to the 10k point pictured below. At around 5 miles, I recognized Dave McGillivray running by wearing his Boston Marathon adidas shirt. I decided to try to keep him in sight as best I could to try to keep the pace faster. Most of us flew down that hill between 5 miles and 10k. There's a good water stop at 5 miles. Usually water is on one side and Gatorade on the other. I began drinking more water to stay hydrated. It's pretty easy to gain momentum with that downhill going all the way to 10k if you accelerate. At the 10k point, the course winds westward on the Boosalis Trail heading back towards downtown. There is a 10k chip mat so make sure you find it. This is a good area to see people you might know and to pick up the pace if you so desire. By this point, I realized that Dave McGillivray and I were passing each other back and forth. He was varying his pace and I was taking walk breaks. This stretch of the race seemed very warm. There isn't much shade until you reach hills near 10 miles or so. I realized my 10k split wasn't quite as fast as I was hoping but I decided to run the best race I could, my pace. I did pack a Mamma Chia energy pack and a few Clif Shot Shot Bloks. I did eat a whole sleeve of the ShotBloks and the Mamma Chia kept the hunger away.

The half course is mostly flat with the exception of the hills ascending to 5 miles and the more noticeable one before the 10 mile mark on 20th Street. At least the hills on 20th were in the shade. There is a great water stop/aid station at 10 sponsored by Bryan West Hospital and their staffers/volunteers. Good music along the course, both live and recorded. There was an Elvis impersonator, he's usually by the Federal Building on the normal course but was along 17th on Sunday. Funny signs and costumes (dinosaurs). Lots of kids wanting high fives and holding inspirational signs for friends/family. Good crowd support throughout the first half of the course. I drank a lot of water at around 10 miles and realized I was beginning to get a little dehydrated. By 11 miles, I realized I couldn't keep pace with Dave McGillivray anymore and let him surge to the finish. Runners behind me were discussing dehydration and I almost stopped here to check on one of them but the runner behind me offered to run with the straggler and help him finish. Good teamwork.

There was another water stop/aid station near 12 miles. Once you reach this point, you can see Memorial Stadium and know you're getting close. I tried to pick up the pace near the end, realizing I wasn't going to reach my 1:40 goal but a good effort for a warm cloudless sunny day. As we neared Memorial Stadium for the finish, something funny happened. A giant video board was playing Peter Gabriel's song Sledgehammer (appropriate for a marathon or half) and so I tried to capture that on Snapchat. When I waved at the screen though, I realized the screen was also interactive and showing runners while still playing Sledgehammer (multi-tasking). So it was funny to see myself waving at me;)

The final finishers chute is a little different. Single file to keep it orderly. The finish is at the 50 yard-line of Memorial Stadium, a sweet spot for Cornhusker fans. Flags were everywhere. Love seeing the military support at the finish and along the course. Many National Guard/military folks run/walk this in full rucksack gear. After I finished, I received my medal and key chain and waited for my sister still running behind me. My official time was 1:44, my second-fastest time on this course. My sister finished in 1:53, a great effort for her first half here. While I was waiting for my sister, someone from MyLaps interviewed me, telling me about the video/photos they captured of me entering the stadium and asking about the race. It's cool that you can scroll through about 16 free pics of you running from inside the stadium to the finish. They captured my sister finishing her race too. We finally found each other after my sis finished and began a very slow meander through the drinks and snacks lines. This area was extremely congested and maybe they can spread it out a little more somehow. Maybe we were all going through at the same time, I don't know.

One key thing you want to make sure not to miss is the Rita's Italian ice outside the stadium on your way out. Very delicious, especially after a warm, hot race when you're feeling dehydrated and hungry. Plenty of food and drink options: bagels, bananas, donut holes, water, gatorade, pop, and Italian ice. Don't skip the Italian ice. Overall it was a wonderful race experience for both of us and I highly recommend this race to anyone. Lots of families run it together: siblings, parents/kids. Make sure you do a little hill training before the race to be able to handle the hills but they aren't too challenging compared to the back half of the full marathon course (the Holmes Lake portion).

The widening of the Boosalis Trail has eased congestion somewhat that we used to experience but the first 5k of the race can get a little more clogged with people. A very enjoyable race experience. Well run and managed and well-supported by volunteers and fans. Thank you!

P.S. Watch for a more detailed account of the race later this week on RunningGrooveShark.com blog.

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(2017)
"Good Run-Walk Race"
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Last Saturday, I ran the Tabitha 10k (also 2 mile option) to EmbRACE Aging. I chose the 10k option but there was a 2 mile race that is part of the Lincoln Track Club Grand Prix series for kids. This race course is familiar but was just taken over by a new sponsor this year, Tabitha, a local charity. Also, it was celebrating 50 years of Meals on Wheels on Lincoln. I used to deliver Meals on Wheels as a volunteer for Tabitha. And to see a sponsor celebrating aging, embracing it even is very appealing. I arrived at the race site a little early. It's wisest to park on the east side of 70th Street. Don't park at Holmes Lake, it's too difficult to navigate where you can/can't drive. There was clearly marked parking (even marked as overflow parking with signs) so it was easy to find even for people who may be new to the race. I ran a slow 1.5 mile warmup from my car to the Holmes Lake dam, then wound my way back to the starting area. Although it looks like the race will start at Holmes Lake, it actually starts just north of that on Normal Boulevard. The finish is right next to Holmes Lake. There is a fancy artistic large lightbulb early on in the race and I stopped there before the race for inspiration, positivity, and an energy boost. My biggest challenge during this race was actually the air quality. (We were in unhealthy range according to local health department.). The race began at 9am and the 2 milers started about 4-5 minutes later so they could run fast. At 9am, they played the national anthem and lined us up. It's a chip race so make sure you are wearing your bib with chip and that you cross the start and finish mats. We began winding west on Normal Boulevard and I was reminded how I was running upon the Lincoln Marathon course (just not in the Lincoln Marathon). Winding in a short loop around the north side of Holmes Lake, I began checking my watch to make sure that I was keeping the 7:00 splits I was aiming for. I noticed the first split was just under target at 6:51. Then looking up we were reaching 70th Street to run north. Here I realized the importance of law enforcement volunteers, who were preventing cars from trying to turn into Holmes Lake just as I was running by. He was successful in keeping us safe and so I was grateful for his help in ensuring our safety at the 1 mile mark. We climbed up a short hill on 70th Street, turning again onto Normal Boulevard until about 50th Street before turning again. There is a nice downhill from the top of the hill at Holmes Lake, just be careful running downhill there was some broken up pavement there that needs to be replaced. Otherwise, it's a nice downhill to accelerate and re-establish a new pace or to at least have a great energetic speed burst. My second mile split was 7:15, closer to the 7:21 target that I was aiming for in this race. The Normal Boulevard stretch of this race is all on the Lincoln Marathon course. There are trees providing a little shade. But it felt warm, sunny and 55 degrees, wind out of the southeast at 7mph. Wind really wasn't a factor. The sun was, also a little bit humid so prepare for that, too. At 50th Street, the race course deviates from the Lincoln Marathon course and runners turn south, winding through residential neighborhoods. More trees too provided a little shade from the sun, not many clouds so we were feeling the rays a little bit. I chose to carry my OrangeMud single hydraquiver vest with water so I didn't stop at any of the water stops although they were plentiful. One thing to remember in this race is to exercise extreme caution when crossing 56th Street as it is a major street with lots of traffic. Last year I had a problem at the 56th Street junction but this year I did not. Police were very good at controlling traffic at 56th Street (last year a disobedient driver was a problem). So you cross 56th once going west (first crossing). Reaching the 3 mile point, my split slowed to 7:24, a little off target but not by much. At the 5k mark, I was very happy to see a 5k sign. I laughed a little because I think I told them they should add the sign after last year not having a 5k sign. But it helps as a runner to know if you are running the tangents or not. That's why the mile markers and 5k markers are so valuable to me. Also, sometimes GPS fails (last year my Garmin failed). But this year, no problem with the Garmin. I did have to calibrate the altitude on my Garmin Fenix before the race, though as it was off a little. When I don't do that, especially near Holmes Lake, I have had major GPS/altitude issues with my watch. The 5k split was 23:00+ something. I was hoping to maybe run a 45:00 if possible but was not able to do that. After winding back to 56th Street, we very carefully turn south onto 56th Street. This was the toughest part of the race for me. Uphill into the wind in the sun and starting to feel a little tired. There were about 3 runners who were unofficially pacing me up to this point. Two of them got away. One of them I was able to stick close to until the turnaround on 56th Street. Having not done a lot of hill training for this race, maybe I just felt the hill on 56th Street more. Also, exercise caution as runners leading this race will be coming back your direction (led by bicycles). That happened at about 3.6 mile or so for me. So we just have to stay far right in your traffic lane to let the leaders go by. Cresting the hill at 56th Street, I think I overran the turnaround a little. But the runner pacing me was running all the way up to the volunteers a little past the turnaround sign. So I followed him of course. Nice downhill from that point after turning around which is helpful after the effort to crest the hill. The 4 mile marker is right before the turnaround. My split was 7:32 here, disappointing but when you're tired, sometimes it shows. We still need to exercise a lot of caution on 56th Street running north (runners behind you running your direction plus traffic going back and forth on 56th Street (controlled by police). This is a tough stretch although running north was easier (wind at our backs plus the downhill I mentioned). At Van Dorn Street, we turned east and the car traffic disappears mostly. Except for one car that very slowly and carefully crept by me in this area. There were about 3 or 4 water stops during the race but I drank from my OrangeMud water bottle instead. The 5 mile mark is on 56th Street very just as you approach Van Dorn to turn. My 5 mile split was 7:42, slower than my target but showing a little fatigue. I knew I wanted the last mile to be faster. Near 60th Street, runners turn north and start running back towards Holmes Lake. This was about where that slow car I told you about passed me. Save some energy for a final uphill when you reach Normal Boulevard, it's not a steep one but you feel it after running almost 6 miles. We crested the hill at Holmes Lake and I was able to accelerate down that hill to speed up on my way to the 6 mile mark. The 6 mile mark was probably my favorite part of this course. Partly because it's the last turn (you could call it "Amen corner" like the Masters Golf Tournament since they were held the same weekend). You can see Holmes Lake very clearly at this point and that helps boost your spirits and gives you a little bit of energy to burn it and run faster (and you can see the finish line approaching around the corner). Also, at this point, there was a did you know sign for Tabitha reminding us that Meals on Wheels only cost about $6-$6.50 per meal. Not much. Less than some of us spend for a meal and/or coffee. That really struck me so I returned to capture this picture afterward with a few runners still running the course. This is a good shot to take a picture if you're looking for one. The mile 6 split was faster, 7:38. Just a little more left. Boosted by the 6 mile mark and the Meals on Wheels sign and cause, I accelerated and ran 6:44 pace the last .22. The finish is very clear and obvious, I did have to dodge some walkers here, many people just walk this course. Runners finish in the finish chute on the left. So I moved left and crossed the finish. Somehow I accidentally missed stepping on the first chip mat but made sure I landed on the second one. Might have added about a second to my time. Garmin said 46:19. Official time 46:20 (7:28 pace officially although I ran 6.29 by my watch for 7:22 pace, :01 slower than my target). Although I didn't finish in the 45:00 range like I was hoping, I was pleased to finish 3rd in my age group and 57th overall, 45th among men. There was some confusion as the results were being posted. The person they posted as winning at first said 3:45 pace (and no one ran that fast that I saw). But the race officials expertly placed official sheets atop the raw sheets. At first I was in 63rd place, then 61st by the corrected sheets and 57th by the time they emailed me. The post-race food was awesome! I found some cranberry bagels. After eating one, I switched to cranberry oat. Then back to cranberry. The bagels were delicious! Don't know where they got them. They also had donut holes and bananas. I waited around for results to see if I placed and to support other runners who were still running the race. I won a $10 gift certificate to Lincoln Running Company so that will come in very handy. The race is an excellent tune-up and test race for the Lincoln Marathon and Half-Marathon. Hills are slightly challenging, primarily on 56th Street. Great race! Very impressed with the new management of it and how they handled everything. No stone was left unturned. They were prepared and supported us well with volunteers, fans, and police to guard and protect the route to ensure our safety. Highly recommend this race. It's important that we not be intimidated by our age but that we embrace it, just as the organizers did here, even in how they named the race. Hope you enjoy this race in the future. Will do a fuller report on my blog at RunningGrooveShark.com so watch for that. Thank you for a wonderful fun race! The 10k race shirts say Walk-Run-Race on the back in that order. But I do run-walk so I'm titling this in that order (took two :15 walk breaks and that's all I needed). But whether you like to walk, run, or run-walk, this is a great race.

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(2017)
"Mud Run Fun"
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Ran this race for the second straight year recently. It was a fun muddy run. Roughly 8 miles of the race is held on the East Mopac trail (I ran my first 50k on that territory), which is composed of crushed limestone and dirt or if it's rainy, mud. March weather in Nebraska is always interesting to say the least. Very unpredictable. Last year for this race, we had snow. This year, we had rain and mud. The first mile of the course shoots south from State Farm Insurance on 84th Street and the finish is held at State Farm Insurance also. The easiest miles to run fast on this course in normal conditions are the trail portion. With the trail being muddy, we had to be careful, there was a lot of slipping and sliding in spots and once, I almost fell due to mud. It would be wise to wear trail shoes if it is muddy. If not, probably not necessary to wear trail shoes unless that is your personal preference. On the MoPac trail, you have to be careful once the leaders head back to the finish to stay right (out of their way). There were gigantic muddy puddles on the trail. It was like a steeplechase course in some spots. Also, be careful crossing some major streets that intersect with the trail as they are busy intersections. The police always manage this very well with stopping traffic but best to be safe. There was water every few miles or so but I didn't stop for that as I was carrying my OrangeMud hydraquiver single vest. I was too preoccupied with trying to stay upright, didn't hydrate much during the race. It's important in this race to wear layers and bring gloves if it's cold because you are really exposed to the wind (especially the north wind). There is a little windbreak on the trail with trees protecting us but the wind usually jabs us at least one direction on the trail (so adjust accordingly) for this race. So the course heads east on MoPac trail, then winds back after the 5 mile mark, runners return west from whence we came. The bridges on the trail portion of this race are epic in scenic view and length (see photo). Aiming to run under last year's 1:19, I set my target to run steady splits in the 7:00-7:30 range and mostly hit those targets. I ran with two ladies who were good pacers, one was doing run/walk like me. I did run/walk for the whole race, sprinkling :15-:30 walk breaks throughout. It worked. I was amazed to see I was in zone 2 heart rate for almost the entire race. Just felt very relaxed. At 8 miles, I knew that the course PR was within reach, I just needed to execute my strategy and not slow down too much. I was about an hour into the race at that point. Finally, we neared the race finish and I knew that I was going to run sub-1:19. Finished with 1:18:11, 7:45 pace, 9th in my age group. I met my only goal for the race. And I didn't slip and fall in the mud (although avoiding that was definitely not graceful). If you wish to read my full race report, please visit my blog at RunningGrooveShark.com and it's the Stay the Course post. Fun to see families running the 1 mile with their kids before this race. There is a 5k option too. Some people ran that. It looked like the attendance for this race was down a little, possibly fewer people running it from Omaha. It's a great test race for running the Lincoln (Half) Marathon in May. Nice to run a race longer than a 10k but less than a half: very comfortable middle-distance race. Well-run. Weather is frequently a factor. Just bundle up with layers and prepare for precipitation. Watch out for mud on the Mopac trail. I basically just watched other runners' feet/shoes to see where they were slipping or not slipping to know what to avoid. That helps. It's an enjoyable fun race. Try it, you'll enjoy it!

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(2016)
"Don't Worry, Run Halfsy!"
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Ran this race on November 6, 2016 for the first time. As we say here in Lincoln, I ran my HALFSY off! It's HALF the length of the full marathon but TWICE the fun! Or Don't Worry, Run Halfsy! (the cleverest marketing motto of all of this race). This is a slightly unusual point-to-point half-marathon which featured 6000 awesome runners this year. Unusual because well you might see pink gorillas. (Pink Gorilla Events is a co-sponsor). This race fills up VERY FAST so the most important thing I can tell you is this: if you want to run this, sign up right away. It sells out quickly. Procrastination kept me from registering on time last year before it sold out. The pre-race vibes were impressive at Seacrest Field in east Lincoln where the race began. A large number of volunteers and race organizers assisted and made this an amazing pleasant experience for all of us. Very tall pace banners greeted us along with many festive signs. The Snapchat geofilters were impressive for this race, too (I used the official one a few times at the race start which cloaked snaps with a 13.1 miles to go with the race logo.) I promised myself I would not "snap" the race on Snapchat but did snap video of going through the starting chute so I could remember what it looked and felt like. Then I put my phone in airplane mode for the entire race.

My goal for this race was to PR it. My previous PR was 1:39 from 1999 (Lincoln Half-Marathon).

Near 8:30 am, they lined us up a few minutes early. The national anthem was played and sung. A wheelchair athlete started about 5 minutes before us.

Then at 8:30, the starter gun fired and we were off! The start is in waves, they let about 100 or so runners go at once. I was fortunate to be in the first wave with the 7:00 pace group (marked by a very tall large banner, making for a great visual and beautiful photos). I had memorized most of the course other than the beginning but the beginning 5k or so seemed familiar from other Lincoln Track Club races I have run here.

There is a little uphill in the beginning of this race (not significant, but enough). We had beautiful weather for the race, the temp was about 50 so I was able to shed my warmup jacket and just wear my Galloway run-walk shirt, a visor, shorts, compression sleeves, and my Mizuno shoes. But I did wear gloves for the beginning of the race (my 2004 NYC Marathon gloves). I did wear these thin gloves for about 6 miles and they helped keep my hands warm. There were 6 water/aid stations that provided water, Gatorade, gel (only at mile 8), and toilets. Although I told myself I wasn't going to stop for water, I did stop for water a few times to make sure my OrangeMud bottle didn't completely run dry.

My run-walk strategy for the race was to use about 3:00 in strategic walk breaks whenever I felt I needed them to drop my heart rate and conserve energy, putting me in position for a PR.

The race begins on 70th Street in east Lincoln, runners wind south to about Pioneers Boulevard, then we turned west towards Holmes Lake.

I made a smart strategic decision to wear the 1:35 pace band. I tried to run those splits or less as often as possible, making sure the first mile was not too fast.

My first mile was a little slower than 7:00, significantly the second mile was 6:59 and running under the 7:25 target from the pace band helped a lot in helping reel in this PR. My first 5k split was 21:47, a little off 5k PR pace but fast. I do remember taking my first short walk break right after 5k.

At about 4 miles, runners run by Holmes Lake (lake on your left) so beautiful scenery and very familiar territory for runners who run around the lake. We run some of our Galloway runs here. By the 5 mile mark, runners are leaving Holmes Lake area, heading for the finish on Normal Boulevard. This is the point where the Halfsy course has great congruence with the Lincoln full marathon course (runners return from Holmes Lake on Normal Boulevard also).

I decided to try to run with the 1:35 pacers as much as possible since I was wearing the 1:35 wristband and running with the 1:40 group was impractical as I wanted to ensure that I could make the PR happen. So for at least 10 miles or so, I had 1:35 pacers running with me or within sight. At no point did any of the 1:40 pacers pass me. The 1:35 pacers were running about 1:34 pace, negative splitting each split slightly to stay under.

I had a special fondness for the 6 mile mark (close to halfsy of the Halfsy) as I made the point to stop there the day before the race to snap a picture of it to remember where it was. I was surprised these mile splits seemed to be flying by a little faster than I was expecting. And I was running under almost all the suggested 1:35 splits.

I was impressed that the race had five major cheer stations. They were very helpful and supportive with music, signs, encouragement, high-fives, thunder sticks, musical instruments, cowbells, noisemakers of all sorts and lots of people concentrated in the cheer stations. These were very helpful in picking us up when we needed it. Forgot to mention there is a brilliant "smile station" at Holmes Lake that a local dentist office runs during this race. They were trying to capture the best smiles on camera with runners going by, at least trying to encourage and support us to SMILE! It worked well! Great idea!

By 7 miles, runners reach 40th & South intersection with Normal Boulevard, realizing that much of the hard work is done and only 10k or so remaining.

At 8 miles, I did notice a little fatigue, so I inserted a short walk break maybe :30 or so. I also decided to walk through a few water stops to make sure fatigue didn't take over my race. Fortunately, 8 miles is near one of the major cheer stations so that helped offset some of the fatigue.

By 9 miles, runners are on Capitol Parkway running back towards downtown. Downtown highlights become visible, the State Capitol building primarily. Just seeing that Capitol building on the way back always gives runners a boost and it did help me realize we were getting closer to the finish.

At 10 miles, there is another cheer station. My middle 6.9 mile split was 51:49. This is a beautiful section of the course running along Antelope Valley Trail. I recall this cheer station being very festive, loud, helpful, encouraging, and supportive. So I accelerated a little. I was feeling wind in my sails.

I can't remember when my Garmin gave me my heart rate data but I recall seeing +8 meaning that I was doing well controlling my heart rate in a race. It's a dramatic jump. I had run a warmup mile with the dog before the race and I know my heart rate was higher during that mile.

By 10 miles, the remainder of the race course was familiar to me as I had run it with our Galloway group a week ago. Between 10-11 miles, runners enter Salt Creek Roadway for a short loop before reaching Charleston Street, passing through residential neighborhoods. We did run by the State Arsenal, that's an interesting highlight.

During this last 5k of the race, I was a little frustrated with my splits. I was struggling slightly to stay under 8:00 per mile, knowing that I had a little time in the bank from that fastest 2nd mile. But I was trying not to slow down too much.

On Charleston Street, I noticed runners were passing me and I decided to let most of them go, except for one who was pacing me who suddenly stopped. I immediately told her: you got this! She was exhausted.
I made the strategic decision here to conserve as much energy as possible for the uphill climb to the L-I-N-C-O-L-N bridge (yes it says that on the side and it's an actual Strava segment that I've run before).

It's important if you run this to save energy for that last LINCOLN bridge/hill. There's a sweet downhill on the other side of the bridge where you can accelerate, coast, glide, and cruise.

When I reached mile 12, I realized the PR was right there for the taking, I just had to execute my plan.

Very close to mile 13, runners reach the LINCOLN bridge, turning and running uphill to crest it. By this point, I knew the PR was going to happen so I turned on the jets and accelerated, using the downhill to bank a little more time and stay under PR pace. Descending on the other side by Pinnacle Bank Arena, I became very excited about the crowd, the finish being visible, finally being able to crush and slay a 17 year-old half PR dragon. The finish of the race is on Canopy Street and runners are videostreamed to a very large monitor near the Railyard so you can see your family/friends finishing on a big screen. When I reached the finish, I was elated to see the finish time of 1:38:19, more than a minute under my previous half PR. Walk breaks baby! The walk breaks work!

After finishing, I walked to receive my medal from a helpful volunteer, walking gently, slowly, grabbing food (cookies, chocolate milk, bananas, bagels), and quickly told my family the results. My wife texted me back telling me I got 8th in my age group (45-49). I couldn't believe it. For an asthmatic runner, it was an amazing race. 222nd place out of 6000 runners, 165th among men, 8th in AG. My third consecutive PR race in 3 weeks.

The race volunteers offered me a post-race aluminum blanket which I accepted and that helped warm me a little. It did help to wear a visor during this race (I wore my Galloway one). It was sunny.

After the race, we were treated to a free beer (just remember to bring your ID to the finish), results printout, and food galore.

Oh I forgot my last 5k split was 24:42, slower than the first 5k but adequate for the PR. 1:38:19 officially (7:30 pace or 7:28 according to Garmin since I ran 13.2, almost ran the tangents).

I rode the free bus from the finish after eating and drinking and meeting other runners. It was an amazing local and regional celebration! I met a runner from Minnesota who is a fellow Run the Year participant with me. He had a great race.

The busses took us back to our parking place at the start and we were able to easily get home from there. There is a little bit of a traffic jam when you arrive for the course to park. I parked in a parking lot near Seacrest (commercial) only a few blocks away. Got a spot pretty easily. But come early for parking. More than adequate port-o-lets at the start, finish (many restrooms too here), and along the course.

If you love downtown Lincoln, the Haymarket, the Railyard, you're going to love this race. Lots of family fun! Saw lots of kids out watching their parents. Some of the older kids ran the race, too. Fun for all ages!

Highly recommend the Halfsy to anyone! Want to run it again, hopefully next year. Enjoy!

After the race, they had photographers who took our picture for free and they just uploaded those to Facebook for free use. We got to pick which color backdrop we wanted. That's very helpful.

I was just amazed at how well this race was run and how they went the extra mile to make all of us feel special, supported, and encouraged. The race medals are very unique showing Abe Lincoln with shades (very cool!) and can be used as a bottle opener just in case you are thirsty.

Also, there is a special pace car that had all 6000 participants names on it. I snapped photos of the pace car but forgot to look for my name. That's impressive!

Don't Worry, Run Halfsy!

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