Sunday, May 22, 2011

05/22/11: The Gambler Half Marathon and 5K

Months ago, I was trying to decide between two half marathons that both were scheduled to take place in the middle of May. I decided on The Gambler in Council Bluffs, IA...and was THRILLED to hear that one of my closest friends from junior high/high school was going to come up and run it as well!!!

Rachel and her family (David, Hannah and Dessa) arrived Saturday afternoon. We took them to O Dining for lunch, then drove over to CB to pick up our race packets. David and I had signed up for the half, while Rachel and Mot signed up to run the 5K. It was going to be David's first half and Rachel's first 5K!

I had decided last in the week that I wasn't going to push my leg injuries any, and just run the 5K along with Rachel, Mot and my sister (her first 5K as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

After we picked up packets, we headed back to our place to hang out. Mot made a marvelous naked (olive oil, instead of a red or white sauce) pasta dinner. We sat out on the back deck...we sat inside around the dining room table...talking, laughing, and cutting up fruit for the biggest fruit salad ever. :-)

Some artwork done left for us on our pantry door, her youngest daughter was the artist. :-)

I can't put into words how great it was to see them! You know how you have friends, that no matter how long it's been since you've seen them.....when you see each other again, it's like you saw them just last week? Even though her girls are so darned grown up....she looks the same to me. Happy. You can't help but smile when she's around.

Because they'd been driving all day, the running around with us....we were all pretty tired and hit the sack early.

(They got their own pillows AND didn't have to sleep on the floor.)

(Sorry, inside joke.)

The next morning came quick. We all got up, dressed and met in the kitchen for much needed caffeine....then we shuffled out to our cars and across the river to the race start.

"Say cheese!!" At a red light...I stood up through the sun op!

David, Rachel, Inny, myself, and Mot before the race. ***

We tried to keep the pre-race atmosphere as un-serious as possible.***

Who, us? Un-serious?

No way!!!

One of the race sponsors, and the start/finish venue was Harrah's we had to get a few pics with the hotel in the background. ***

Starting area humor.

Mot and Hannah are two peas in a pod. They spend the weekend cracking up us.

A future Sunday Night @ The Worm member??

Finally, it was time to run. Participants had been milling around at the pre-race start area (the start line was actually ON the road into the casino, and wasn't closed down until 10 minutes before the race). Everyone was hanging out in the parking lot, and at race time...we all walked the 100 or so feet up the road to the start.

The weather turned out being really nice actually. The entire week they'd been forecasting chances of storms...and then heat in the mid 80's. We ended up with cloud cover and a chilly breeze through the whole thing.

Over the shoulder shot while running.

Since David was the only one in our group running the half, after I switched to the 5K...he took off on his own pace. Mot ran with him until the 5K and half routes switched....Inny ran a minute or so behind him, while Rachel and I decided to stay together. It was AWESOME getting to run along side her during her first event!

One section of the 5K had a small out and back. Perfect time to take pics of the others while they ran!

People were laughing at us as we ran by each other yelling and taking each other's pic.

(Mot ended up hitting the wrong button and shutting his camera off, instead of taking the picture of me - giggle.)

The last mile of the course was along some of the city's trail system. The route then ran under the parking garage of the casino, and out into the "concert cove" area along the river.

You can see (on the far left of the picture) that the flooding Missouri River has started to take over the lower level of the garage.

Rachel slapping hands of her family who were waiting for at the finish.

Her goal was to run it in under 45 minutes. She killed her goal by finishing with a 41:20 time. Rock on!!!!!!

The two girls, Rachel, Mot and I waited around (eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking Bud Light Lime - provided by the event) until David crossed the finish line.

From there, we drove back into Omaha. Everyone wanted donuts for breakfast, so we took them to an awesome donut shop in town. (The boys introduced us to Lamar's donuts last year sometime.)

(not sure what they were looking at)

After breakfast, we went back to our place so they could shower, pack and head back home. I hated to see them go....the weekend went so fast. But, trust me, we'll be seeing them soon. Now that they live so close (about 4 hours-ish?), we have to take advantage! :-)

(*** photos courtesy of Rachel's camera)


C2Iowa said...

sweet deal. sounds like a winner of a weekend.

Fran said...

What a great and fun race report. You read through all the lines how much fun you all had. It left a big smile on my face.

I hear you about friends like these. My best friend is the same. We live in the same town but are both very busy but it doesn't matter how long it has been since we saw each other. The friendship is strong and we pick it up where we left it the last time.

Brian said...

It's always nice to have that one person running the half when you run the 5K so you have that excuse to hang out eating cookies and drinking Bud Light!

Faith Ann said...

Looks like you guys had a lot of fun... love all the pictures!