Temp- high 30s and windy- brrrr
B and I woke up around 5:30 so we could have plenty of time to get ready, stretch, find parking in downtown Little Rock, and meet up for the marathon maniacs / half fanatics picture @ 7:00am.
My most favorable race day outfits are a tank of some sort and a running skirt w compression shorts underneath. Due to the less than desirable temperatures in the morning, we had to make a pit stop the night before for some disposable long sleeve gear for the race start
Who doesn't love tie dye?!?! Makes me happy just looking at it.
So even though the race didn't start till 8am, we had to be downtown by 6:45ish for our group picture. Luckily with arriving earlier than other runners, parking was a breeze, and best of all, FREE!!!
We follow directions D gave us for meeting spot- "the little asian house"- then wait around.
B and I in all our tie dye glory!!!
While waiting around we talked to a few fellow marathon maniacs, swapping race stories, as well as watching all the others reconnect with old friends. Its neat to see how running can bring so many people together.
I'm in top back row on the right
We still had an hour to kill, so we headed for warmth and a bathroom @ the Peabody hotel. Since my last 2 half marathon races have been less than ideal with my right knee, I decided to take extra time to do more stretching in hopes that it will help loosen me up.
After 30 minutes we decide to brave the wind and make the trek to our corrals- B was in corral D, and myself in C, so we parted ways and wished eachother luck. I made way to the port-o-potties and just my luck, chose the absolute slowest line to get in. After 15 minutes of waiting (yes I timed it) it was finally my turn! Afterward I made my way into my corral. Everyone around me was so friendly. This girl, Shelby (who i might add was taller than me- easy 6'0) started talking to me about her bib and what to do with it and how nervous she was etc. A married couple in front of me, Ed & wife (didn't get her name) were decked out in tie dye, so I asked for a pic with them.
Turns out they are also doing 50 halfs in 50 states and this put them in the mid 20s. We swapped 'bests' and 'worsts' races & courses and wished eachother luck when the gun went off.
I didn't get a picture, but when you passed the start line they had cannons shooting out constant streams of shredded paper, aka confetti- was pretty cool. As with every race, the first mile was congested and was just bobbing and weaving through people.
Last race I feel that my first few minutes I went out were super fast, thus causing me to die. Since today I had no idea how my body was going to react, I decided to just keep it easy and let my body determine my pace (not my competitive mind) Right away my knee was bothering me, but instead of the sharp shooting pain which it normally is, it was more of a stiff 'caught' feeling as if it just needed to be stretched out. I decided to ignore it and see if it got better by 3rd mile once it would be looser.
This little trick worked because my first mile was an easy 8:50, 2nd mile 8:27, and by the 3rd mile, 8:35, I had ZERO pain in my knee. I wanted to cry I was so happy!!!
I hate to admit this, but I'm pretty bad about rehab- my rehab consists of just not running at ALL in between races, stretching when I remember, icing when its convenient, and anti inflammatories occassionally. I know there is PLENTY of room for improvement, so I wasn't expecting any type of miracle, but it looks like that might just happen in this race.
After mile 3 I ditch my tie dye shirt, and even though its not heavy, I feel so much lighter and slowly am speeding up a bit. I started to notice a tightness a little along my IT band, but more apparent along the greater part of my sartorius. According to my chiropractor, he thinks the major issue is the sartorius being too tight, thus pulling on both my knee and hip- resulting in pain. This was the first time I experienced pain in that area, and I completely agree with his diagnosis. If you haven't noticed from other posts, I'm both competitive and stubborn, so even though I was still in pain, it was much more manageable than what I have been dealing with, so I pushed through.
Miles 4 and 5 breezed through. For awhile I was running behind the 3:50 pacers, but there was way too much congestion for me, so I had to pick it up so I could pass them and their rather large following. Once I passed the water station for mile 6 I didn't even notice that I haven't taken my gu. I generally always take a gu around the 6 or 6.5 mark, depending on where the station is, so the fact that I wasn't in desperate need of it and was counting down till I could scarf it down was an awesome feeling.
Water stations on this course were plentiful- every.single.mile was equipped with either water, gatorade, or both. Mile 7 I pull over, take my Pineapple Roctane Gu, stretch out my quads and IT band, and am good to go.
The crowd support for this race was pretty great- quite a few clever signs, people on the sidelines dressed up, AND there was a Packer Family, complete with the dad wearing his cheesehead. I saw them 3 separate times, and all 3 times I thought about asking for a photo- I failed.
The one major hill was in between miles 8-9- one of the gradual neverending ones-I would much rather have short and steep and get it over with. My pace dramatically got slower around this point (or at least it felt like it did) and with the slowness, pain was becoming more apparent. Eventually I got re-passed by the 3:50 group, along with their large following, and now I was running without anyone around me. Although I don't feel the need to socialize with the fellow runners surrounding me, it is nice to have people to pace with and keep you accountable and aware of how fast, or slow, you are going.
Nothing much exciting happened the last few miles. Mile 10 there was a table of mints (never seen that before) so I grabbed one to give me something to focus on, mile 11 we separated from the marathoners for about 2 minutes and then met back up with them. About 3.5 minutes into mile 11, I see the mile 12 marker- this can't be right?!?! My watch had been off a bit with the mile markers all race, but if that truly was mile 12, that means I would run in the 1:40s- pfff I know I'm not going that fast. I figured it might be the mile 12 marker for marathoners, so to be on the safe side I don't pick up my pace and just keeping going steady. Unfortunately quite a few runners who don't have garmin watches or who didn't notice that mile 11 was only a few minutes back, really started to pick up the pace. One girl flew by me, I almost wanted to say something... almost.
Sure enough I finally do reach mile 12, but I really don't have much steam left in me. Throughout the race I was so excited to feel somewhat normal during the run, that I really did push myself more than normal while running as well as made sure to stop at every mile and stretch so I wouldn't get too stiff. I was truly tired. My legs were getting heavier and harder to move and I was literally staring at my watch counting down till i was done- at 3 minutes I finally picked it up. Finish line was no where to be seen, AGAIN. This is the 4th race in a row where you have to do all these turns and then suddenly the finish line pops up, I hate that- I just want to be able to see it.
Get to the final stretch, I pass the girl who 'flew by me earlier' and cross the finish line... completely satisfied!! Its been awhile since I can say that.
Mile 1 8:50
Mile 2 8:27
Mile 3 8:35
Mile 4 8:23
Mile 5 8:40
Mile 6 8:23
Mile 7 8:36
Mile 8 8:55
Mile 9 8:51
Mile 10 9:39 (really long stretch break)
Mile 11 9:28
Mile 12 9:01
Mile 13 8:36
I grab my medal, get my after race photo, and chow down on a banana and a few little debbie snacks while I wait for B to finish. While waiting for her and stretching, I talk to a few people around -and share our races experiences- look at me miss social butterfly this race!??!!? (normally keep to myself and speak until spoken to)
Finally meet up with B, who also had a good race, and we swap stories from the race. Turns out that the girl who owned that tie dye shirt B was wearing, came up to her at mile 2 and asked if she purchased that at Good Will bc she just donated it last week (the last name was on the back of the shirt)- aside from that being random, it was just funny bc earlier that morning B said it would be hilarious if the previous owner happened to be running the race and spotted her- and walah!
don't let this pic fool you, we were FREEZING
Immediately after this pic we make a mad dash for my car (and more importantly warmth) and it was an easy shoot to the highway and we were back at the hotel in 15 minutes- how great is that?!?!
Naturally spent some quality time in the hot tub, showered and then barely made our checkout time, 12:00pm, before hitting the road and back to Nashville.
Overall I'm pleased with the Arkansas race, both B and I had a lot of fun just socializing with everyone and not taking the race too seriously. I'm glad to finally have a breather in races and hopefully when I venture to South Carolina for state #10 in 3 weeks, I can have an equally positive experience!
Arkansas complete and conquered.
Official time 1:56:49
Overall place 543 / 2915
Div Place 28/ 264