Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Brownville Freedom Run Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Brownville, NE
Monday, July 4
Half Marathon #37
State #32/50
Weather - HUMID, Overcast, 70s

The Brownville Freedom Run Half Marathon was picked because it was relatively close to home and because it fell ON the 4th of July. The race looked super small - I mean all the results for the last few years are still listed on their main page. We even convinced L's boyfriend to join us - he had a good chance of placing top three if he raced well.

The trip obviously begins with a super long road trip. We had just done this drive a few weeks earlier when we raced in Iowa, but we wanted to get to bed earlier. We headed out just after 9:00. Quick stop at Starbucks and we were on our way. The drive to Nebraska is SUPER long and SUPER boring. Not much to say about it. We stopped and had lunch in North Platte at a Subway. We made great time and arrived at our Best Western in Nebraska City at dinner time. There was NO Applebee's within 40 miles, so we hit up Valentino's, an Italian buffet.

It was a little loud in the restaurant, but the food was fantastic.

On the left is S'mores pizza. Every pizza place should have that
After dinner we headed back to the hotel, changed into our swimsuits and sat in the hot tub for a bit. After a quick shower, I was ready for bed. I'd been taking muscle relaxers all day because my neck has been sore and one of the side effects is it makes me SLEEPY. I was in bed before 10:00.

Alarm goes off early, just after 5:00 am. We have an extra person that has to get ready so we needed to allow a little extra time. Not to mention we had to drive over 20 miles to the start via detour since the main roads were STILL closed from flooding. We were on the road by 5:50, and thanks to the modern technology of GPS, we didn't get lost. It WAS very foggy on our drive in, and a deer even ran in front of the car! Fog=Humid. Not looking forward to the head and the humidity.

We arrive in Brownville with just over 30 minutes until the race is to start. We were able to park just a few blocks from the start/finish area and got our bibs and t-shirts in just a few minutes. Quick stop at the port-o-potty and then drop off all our stuff at the car before the race. One more trip to the bathroom and then the next thing we know, it's time to start.

Thanks to the flooding the course had to be changed. We were no longer running a relatively flat trail run along the river. Instead we would be running on state highways. And they were NOT flat. I suck at running in the humidity. I grabbed a bottle of water at the start line and headed out. Slowly. I had driven the first mile of the course on the way into town and knew it was intense. Yep, I had to walk two different sections in the first mile. Not a good sign.

The first aid station was at the 5K turnaround, bottled water only. I definitely needed the water. And then we were out in the open on what some people probably call "rolling hills." It sucked. It was hot, humid, and hilly. And my stomach was giving me problems. I already knew that there were no bathrooms on the course but I figured I could hold it.

Next aid station at the 10K turn around - bottled water and Gatorade. I started running again and knew I was in trouble. Emergency bathroom stop - no where to go but into the corn... Without too much TMI - my sparkle skirt/shorties are NOT the best items to be wearing in an emergency bathroom situation. And corn husks work just fine for toilet paper :(

Feeling a tad bit better and I head back out. The two older men I had been chasing were not pretty far ahead of me, and no one was behind me. I had a sinking feeling that I was at the tail end of the pack. So hot. So tired. So done with this race. The hills are killing me. Who would have thought that Nebraska would be so hilly??

4+ miles in - STILL FOGGY

Isn't Nebraska interesting??
Next aid station was around the 5 mile marker when we were entering the town of Nemaha. Another super tiny town with a main street decorated with flags. I finally catch sight of the faster runners heading back. I wish that was me. Keep going. Have I mentioned that it is HOT??? I see R outside the town, he gives me a high five. I see L just a few minutes later.

We cross over a bridge, and then I can finally see the turnaround point. An aid station is there and a timing clock. Wow, I am going REALLY slow. I take some Gatorade and re-evaluate my strategy for the second half. I start to jog and my stomach starts aching again. Damn it.
Bridge of Nemaha River
Another stop, but this time it's just off the road by the bridge. Not feeling well.

I actually do see a few people are still behind me, if I look half as tired and worn out as them... One of the runners I see is a little kid, he can't be more than 10 years old. He didn't look good at all.

Entering town of Nemaha - See all the runners in front of me? No? Exactly.
Just. Keep. Moving. I am hot. Tired. Walking a lot. Stop at the aid station just outside Nemaha, and then there is yet another gigantic hill. How. How can the entire course be all uphill? The course is not closed to traffic and some of the vehicles are getting dangerously close. It really sucks to be running a super small race and be alone. It's dangerous.

My stomach is still not feeling right. The aid station at the 10K turnaround is in the middle of yet another huge hill. As soon as I am at the top of the hill I start eyeballing where I can go to the bathroom. I have to cross the road and head back into the corn. I'm so sweaty I have a hard time getting my shorties back up, and after I'm back running it takes about a quarter of a mile before I realize I have corn husks stuck in my clothes. Sigh.

More. Hills.

When I finally see the 5K turnaround aid station I know two things. One - I am ALMOST back. Finally. And Two - the rest of the course is downhill. FINALLY.

So I start to run. And it feels GREAT to be able to do that. I ran the fastest I have run in ages. And it felt good. I finally see the entrance to the town, and it looks like the race is over. There are people wandering around in front of the "chute." I see L standing to the side of the finish arch, and I cross.

Immediately I realize that there is no one at the end handing out medals. I see L and she doesn't have one either. We have been BAMBOOZLED. All information we had seen says that there are participation medals. They have been bragging on their website about the awesome medal design. Apparently only the top 3 in each division gets one. Which in a race this small is probably half the people running. I am not happy.

Grab a bottle of water and a banana, do our obligatory picture, and we angrily head back to the car. I know a medal is not EVERYTHING, but I really thought I was getting one.
L and Me - I'm getting chubby and my skirt is obviously not on right
R and L - We were the only ones dressed patriotically!
Garmin Time - 2:25:28 (Second slowest ever)
Garmin Distance - 13.15 miles
Garmin Pace - 11:03
Mile 1 - 10:46
Mile 2 - 10:27
Mile 3 - 10:56
Mile 4 - 12:11 (Corn trip #1)
Mile 5 - 10:33
Mile 6 - 10:33
Mile 7 - 11:16 (Corn trip #2)
Mile 8 - 11:21
Mile 9 - 11:27
Mile 10 - 11:44
Mile 11 - 12:35 (Corn trip #3)
Mile 12 - 11:27
Mile 13 - 8:49 (I was RUNNING!!)
Mile 13.1 - 7:58 (Energy from somewhere for a big finish!)

BAMBOOZLED. No medal :(
So, it was about a 30 minute drive back to the hotel. We had to all shower and pack. Check out just before 11:00 am. Ironically we someone in the parking lot wearing the race shirt. He wasn't wearing a medal. We start the long drive back.

We don't stop for lunch for a few hours, but see a sign for an Applebee's. BACON CHEESEBURGER AND FRIES!!! Best lunch ever. I continue to drive until we have to stop and get gas in North Platte. The rest of the drive is done by R (L can't drive a stick). I managed to doze off, so the second half of the drive went by pretty fast. We arrive back in the metro area around 6:30.

Longest. Weekend. Ever.

What have I learned from this race? I need to boycott racing in the summer. I am too delicate and fragile for the heat and humidity. Bleh.


  1. looks like you and i had similar racing scenarios yesterday- heat, humidity, hills galore, no port o potties, and no medals. On the upside of things- thank goodness there was the privacy of corn for you!
    Congrats on sticking it out and doing a race in sucky conditions.

  2. When not used to it (and even when you are) humidity is not a runner's best friend. It kills me as well (as does anything over 60 degrees.)

    So very good job on going the distance. And seriously, no medal?? 'They' really need to word that better.

    On a side node, could jetlag be a culprit too?? You have been on the go quite a bit here lately, maybe you are just bone tired. Your schedule after this next weekend keeps you closer to home for a while. The 2 'local' races will be a nice break for the fall push!

    Enjoying your trips!!

  3. I cannot run in heat and humidity! It's awful! And my stomach always seems to be upset on running days. I get too nervous!

  4. You deserve a medal :-) I love your recaps!

  5. I am seriously pouting. You can't advertise a medal and then not deliver! And what's with a race with NO bathrooms on the course?? Thank goodness for corn husks I guess!

  6. I would have been pissed about no medal especially after the scenic route. :P

  7. Hi Becca!

    No medal=b***sh*t.

    I think DLW is right, you have been hitting it super hard to begin with, never mind heat and humidity, which caused me to boycott summer racing too, even Peachtree! It's just the worst to run in.

    You're done with 37 out of 50 though! Awesome! Are you going to try to reach uber-goddess status with the Marathon Maniacs once you are done with your 50-state goal? And congrats on signing up for the 50-miler, you are a brave brave woman :)



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