I already wrote about the expo and opening day of races. Check it out here if you missed it. I was pretty calm on marathon morning, although indecisive on what to wear. I dressed out of my norm - heavy on top and no compression socks. (Tip: No matter the weather, always go with how you've trained. I was so unhappy with myself late in the marathon.)
The skies were clear and sunny, but it was a chilly 30˚ at the starting line. My friend Patty and I (along with 100's of others) huddled in the lobby of the Marriott Courtyard to keep warm. We were so busy chatting away with other runners that I didn't step outside until minutes before the starting gun.
I really liked Little Rock's corral system. There were three corrals before mine: Corral A (marathon 3:20 and under), Corral B (3:20-3:45), Corral C (3:46-4:00). Get all the fasties out of the way first. The start was alive with pumping music and excitement. The race directors, DJ and Bart Yasso were overhead cheering, dancing and giving waves to the crowd. When the Open Corral was finally released, the beginning was smooth and uncongested (similar to my experience at Route 66). It was easy to find a consistent pace from the very beginning and I love races like that.
After a week of nursing my poor ankle, it felt so good to be running again. I tried to keep it "easy" by hanging with the 4:25 pace group. Like every other marathon, it feels slow in the early miles with rested legs and pumping adrenaline... I tried my best to conserve (unsuccessfully).
Mile 1 - 9:55
Mile 2 - 9:35
Mile 3 - 9:39
Mile 4 - 9:44
Shortly after mile one, I saw my hubby and then turned to head over the Broadway bridge into North Little Rock. (A fellow runner told me the course will change for 2014 since they will be building a new bridge next year.) As I came up the bridge, the elite runners were on their way back already. There were three men out front in a pack and I took a close look and tried to guess who would win.
|I snapped some pix the day before the race while we drove the course.|
We ran a quick 4 miles in North Little Rock - through neighborhoods, downtown, past the civic center, along the river, past the baseball stadium (home of the Double-A Arkansas Travelers) and then back over the bridge. There were big crowds as we came back into Little Rock downtown. At this point, I started to feel my sore ankle (peroneal tendon) and said a little prayer that it would stay simply an annoyance and not turn to pain. I focused more than usual on my stepping, trying to avoid any rough spots that would turn my foot awkwardly. (Eventually it just went numb and never gave me a problem.)
Mile 5- 10:01
Mile 6 - 9:55
Mile 7 - 9:55
Mile 8 - 10:01
Just before mile 6, a guy keeled over right in front of me. It looked like he was having a seizure and went down face first with a huge plunk. A fellow runner rolled him over and it was frightening as he had white foam coming out his mouth. I waited until I saw medics on the way and continued forward... Yikes! I sure hope he is ok?!
The course cut out of downtown into some residential areas now. I started to notice the little elevation changes, but at this point, powered up them easily.
|Shortly after mile 8... a slow gradual climb|
Mile 9 - 10:00
Mile 10 - 10:08
Mile 11 - 10:08
Mile 12 - 10:01I was pretty pleased with how consistent I was keeping my pace. My goal was to hold it under 10:20 min/mile for a nice training run. I was obviously going faster than planned, but it was hard to slow my fresh legs down. Eventually, my mind just adjusted and said, "run whatever is comfortable". I really wasn't in the mood to look at my watch... so I didn't... for the rest of the race.
I liked the stretch where we ran towards the Capitol building (we did this twice actually - once during mile 8 and again in mile 12).
|photo from previous day|
|Arkansas Governor's Mansion (stock photo)|
Mile 13 - 10:11
Mile 14 - 10:51
Mile 15 - 11:30
Mile 16 - 10:34By mile 13, we split from the half marathoners and headed back towards the Capitol again. This time, we ran right up to it (literally UP as in elevation). It was a nice view of the grandiose building. This is when the hills kicked in... really, I should say hill. singular. It was one giant climb for three straight miles from 13 to 16. I pushed upward with each step, stopping just once for water. The area was really pretty and I tried to enjoy the quiet neighborhoods, but all I could think of was stripping off my UA turtleneck underneath. The sun was warming up now and I was getting hot. This long hill wasn't helping matters either.
Mile 17 - 10:15
Mile 18 - 10:22
Mile 19 - 10:25
Mile 20 - 10:45Finally we hit the top, but I knew from studying the elevation chart that it was a short quick drop. The fast downhill made my quads scream more than the uphill. I can't remember my quads hurting this bad in a race before. I felt really deflated... especially since I've been doing more hill-training lately.
|the only picture I stopped to take during the race...|
I felt a little refreshed and anxious to hit the straightaway that was the end. At mile 18, we turned left for an out/back along the Riverfront drive. At this point, I started to catch up with the walkers. (There was a 2-hour early start for those who would need 6-8 hrs to finish). Mentally, it was really tough to keep myself strong when there were suddenly so many people walking around me. In fact, it drove me mentally crazy (especially when they were walking 3-4 wide and I had to take extra steps to get around them. Grrr, my pet peeve.) The 2.5 miles to the turnaround felt like forever. In fact, when I reached the big "Mile 20" archway, my thought was "I'm only at 20?"
Mile 21 - 11:02
Mile 22 - 10:42
Mile 23 - 11:27
Mile 24 - 11:39I started stopping for water frequently after 20 - like every single mile. It was more an excuse to walk rather than a thirst issue. I was just so tired and warm. (It grew to 52˚ by the time I finished.) I had to laugh at the large WALL banner at mile 21. I didn't even have the energy to walk off the course and take a photo like so many were doing. I trudged onward, but it felt like my feet were dragging on the ground.
Now I'm usually pretty good with mental talking to myself, but not today. I tried to remind myself that this was just a training run and time wasn't the point. Who cares if I walk? And yet, my lack of strength in these final miles continued to grind at me. I flipped on my music for the first time and tried to numb the brain.
Mile 25 - 11:57
Mile 26 - 11:22Coming off the trail, we immediately hit a hill that felt like a mountain at this point. The reward for getting over it was that I saw my hubby at the bottom. When he asked if I needed anything, all I could respond was "for this to be over." There was a couple more inclines in the final miles. I picked a spot halfway up, ran to it and then walked the rest of the hill. It's all I had in me at that point. By time I hit the mile 25 sign, I was determined to just get it done. The final mile is honestly a blur. My eyes and mind were focused solely on finding the finish line.
I missed the 'Lip Stick Stop' completely, although I do remember seeing lipstick laying on the road. I heard later that it was used up before a lot of marathoners came in. That's the only bummer with running the full 26.2... many times (at any race), activities/food/etc are done before the average marathoner comes in. When my hubby went to get a chocolate milk, they were out. The guy laughed and said, "Next time, run faster." I wish I could.
I wasn't smiling during the finish...
But once I had that gorgeous plate-sized BLING, I was the happiest gal around!
So quickly the pain stops once I'm done!
|Top left in the picture... |
That's Bart Yasso in the crazy lobster shirt cheering every runner in.
This is now the 2nd marathon that he has been at my finish line. Cool, huh?!
I immediately found my hubby waiting with a big hug and my flip flops. We found a spot along the finish line and watched for my friend Patty to finish. Afterward, all we wanted to do was lay in the grass... and snuggle with bling as big as our heads.
Marathon #4 | State #10
Official Chip Time 4:36:51
10:34 avg pace
Overall #987 out of 2447
Females #317 out of 1151
Division #60 out of 179
The race was over, but the event was not. Typically, I shower and head out for home, but I heard rumors that the Little Rock post-party was worth an extra night of hotel. And boy, was it!! We had so much FUN on wobbly legs!
I loved how Little Rock took the "Lucky" western theme to the max... cute displays and costumes everywhere we went. The post party was held at the Statehouse Convention Center in one of the big ballrooms from 4-8pm that evening. We got there right on time (because I was ravishing hungry!). Our ticket into the party was included in our race registration - but you did need to RSVP. There was a huge buffet of food - pork sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken and all the fixin's. The bar was also hosted - free drinks all around. Our table took full advantage of the *free beer* until the kegs spit.