Hi again! It’s been a bit of a hiatus but I’m back!
Today was a LONG day, and I’m comfortably snuggling on the couch by the fire with Adam and Miss Truckee, while it thunders and ices outside. “Thunder Sleet” and “Thunder Snow” are actual real weather terms, and it is the craziest thing! It’s been thundering all afternoon and night like a thunderstorm, but sleet and ice pellets are falling from the sky and our yard and deck are completely iced over.
If you were following me on Twitter or Instagram, or were following the Little Rock Marathon at all, then you know all about Titan – the winter storm that clashed with a warm front and brought epic weather chaos to Arkansas today, and eventually forced marathon officials to reroute the course and call it off early. Lots of broken hearts out there tonight, as lots of marathoners were unable to finish.
Let’s start from the beginning!
One of my roommates from college, Jenn, and her husband, came and stayed the weekend with us. This was Jenn’s 2nd half marathon, so I was excited to spend the weekend and race with her! We went to the expo Saturday afternoon, and spent an hour or two looking at all the booths and picking up last minute essentials. The Little Rock Expo is actually fantastic! It’s full of great exhibitors like all of the local running shops, tons of upcoming races, Swiftwick, Bondi Band, Momo Bands, The Stick and many more that I can’t think of right now!
After the expo we headed home before going out to dinner. Normally, I’m a pretty big stickler for my ritualistic pre-race meal of a few bites of pasta and a Totino’s frozen pizza. It’s tradition and I’ve always had good luck with it. But since friends were in town, we wanted to actually go out to dinner together, so we went to one of Adam and I’s favorite places so I knew my stomach would tolerate the food. Unfortunately, with 15,000 extra people in town for the races, our 30 minute wait turned into almost 3 hours, and by the time we got our food it was almost 9pm! We just laughed it off, but had no idea it would just add to our “epic” weekend. More on that in a minute!
I think our biggest concern for the race was WHAT ARE WE GOING TO WEAR??? The temperature at the start of the race was low 50’s, but in the 30’s when we finished. Usually when you run a race the temperature is either pretty constant or raises, like most normal days. Today was just bizarre. And throw in the fact that it would be raining the whole time, and your outfit is really thrown for a loop. We didn’t want to run in rain jackets because of how hot it would be, but we wanted to be covered up from the rain. We finally just decided to go with capris, compression socks, our normal layers on top, and a hat. I wore: Swiftwick Aspire Twelve compression socks, Under Armour running tights, Oiselle Flyte long sleeve shirt, Old Navy pullover, Brooks running hat, and a Momoband headband, which I probably could have left off! A lot of runners were rocking trash bags, and when I saw one girl’s bag basically turn into a parachute on the bridge I was so glad I didn’t go that route. Talk about drag!
Pretty much all week they were calling for “possible” winter weather and “possible” rain during race time on Sunday. But as it got closer to the weekend it became obvious that the 12th Little Rock Marathon/Half Marathon was 100% going to be wet, with falling temperatures throughout race time, possible thunderstorms, and an impending ice storm. Luckily northern Arkansas buffered the winter precipitation for us all morning and we just had rain during the half marathon. It was however very obvious from start to finish that the temperature had fallen and you could almost feel when the cold front passed through because the wind started picking up pretty drastically. Basically, it was pretty miserable! Thank goodness I wore a hat, because it would have been even tougher mentally having the rain and wind in my face the whole time!
Above is the forecast as of 10pm Saturday night! Feeling less than optimistic at this point 🙂 I thought FOR SURE they would call it off first thing in the morning like they did St. Jude.
So this morning we woke up at 6, and were happily surprised that it wasn’t raining! But, not even 15 minutes later it started and our hopes were crushed. The dramatic weathermen were right. We ate breakfast and got all ready to go, and were out the door by 7:15. Had we left 5 minutes later, it would have been disastrous! While we were on the 430 bridge, we heard a loud bang and just thought we ran over something in the road we didn’t see. Two seconds later, a light came on the dashboard of our NEW, I repeat less than a week old NEW, car. Adam asked what it was and we just assumed maybe it was something small like I didn’t get the gas cap on tight enough. We exited onto 630, and whomp whomp whomp whomp whomp whomp, FLAT TIRE! Don’t worry, it was only 7:30 so Jenn and I were *slightly* freaking out. I knew we still had to get into downtown LR, fight traffic to the parking garage, go to the bathroom again, and get up into our corrals. So, Adam exited at the very next exit, and he and Jenn’s husband Tyler, changed out the tire and put on a spare in less than 10 minutes! They truly saved the day. Had me and Jenn been alone, we would have had to call a cab or call the the boys to come and get us and we might not have even made it to the start in time! We got back on the road and pulled into the parking garage about 7:50. Jenn and I sprinted into the nearest hotel, one last potty stop, then weaved our way up into the corral chute as far as we could, and immediately the first corral was released! We barely made it! Luckily, they did a GREAT job of spacing out the wave start so we actually ended up waiting in our corrals for ~15 minutes. I was supposed to start in corral C, but could only make my way up to the very front of E. A flat tire 30 minutes before race time is possibly the most stressful situation ever!
Here’s how the race went down:
Wet. Windy. Colder by the minute.
2:02:15 Garmin, 2:02:13 Official Chip Time
Mile 1 – 8:52
Mile 2 – 8:50
Mile 3 – 8:58
Mile 4 – 8:44
Mile 5 – 9:00
Mile 6 – 8:53
Mile 7 – 9:06
Mile 8 – 8:56
Mile 9 – 9:21
Mile 10 – 9:51
Mile 11 – 10:06
Mile 12 – 9:35
Mile 13 – 9:41
Mile 13.1 – 2:24
Up until mile 10 I was on track for a great PR, but my tired ankles and feet got the best of me, and I just couldn’t pull it back together after mile 10. I feel like I just hit a wall at mile 10, and my legs just felt heavy. Pretty frustrating, but I feel like I truly ran as hard as I could the whole time, and have to be proud of that! I felt like I was killing it the first 9-10 miles and was feeling really good, but I just couldn’t get my giddy-up going again! I knew this race would be tough since it was the first big race since the marathon, and I really wasn’t sure how things would hold up or how much slower my times would be. I was terrified they would call the race off early too so I ran the first half of the race extra hard. They actually did end up calling off the marathon early, thanks to a line of thunderstorms.
My A goal was 1:55, B goal was to just PR 1:58, and C goal was to PR my previous LR Half time, which I ended up doing.
Considering the weather and terrible race conditions, the flat tire stress, and it being my first big race since the full marathon, I’ll take it. Needless to say though, this will be my last half or longer race until at LEAST October (Soaring Wings Half). Now that this race is out of the way I can finally REST and RECOVER. (Except that I’m running a 10K on my birthday weekend in two weeks, but I won’t be racing it, don’t worry!) I actually felt really beat up this afternoon, more so than usual, and maybe even a little more than the marathon! But in a different way. I slept all afternoon, and still just feel WIPED OUT. It has definitely been a LONG day.
All in all though, I completed my 6th half marathon, and crossing the finish line of ANY race is an awesome feeling!! Regardless of what your time is! It really is no small feat.
I was able to hear and see Adam in the grandstands when I came through the finish line, and saw him take several pictures of me finishing.
Huge congrats to Jenn too, she PR’d her previous half time by almost 30 minutes!!
I was pretty miserable after I finished, just felt woozy, exhausted, wet, and cold, so we quickly went into the River Market to warm up and wait for Jenn and Tyler to come meet us when she finished.
Such a fun memory!
We hurried back to the car to get home so they could get on the road back to Jonesboro. The freezing rain and sleet was getting closer and closer to LR and it was getting colder and colder. As soon as we got home it started to thunderstorm and I instantly knew the marathon was probably called off. Such a huge bummer for so many runners!
Adam surprised me with a 13.1 cookie at the finish!
Little Rock Half Marathon – see you next year!