Today is Motivation Monday and that post will be up a little later. Right now, I want to fill y'all in on the Little Rock Half marathon yesterday.
As you know, my original goal was to run the marathon. Nagging injuries and a harsh winter made training difficult. I realized that a full marathon was probably not realistic at this time. As a result, I changed my registration to the half. After the Sweetheart Run on February 15, I had to take a couple of weeks off to give my Achilles and peroneal tendons time to rest and hopefully heal. I was a little nervous but I've run 13.1 multiple times so was fairly certain that I could do it. With a 2 week "taper", I was hoping for the best....fresh legs and hopefully, little to no pain.
We got up early Saturday morning for the drive to Arkansas. On the way, we decided to stop off at one of our favorite little, local wineries, Post Family Winery in Altus, Arkansas.
We tasted some wines, had some snacks and then resumed our trip. We arrived in Little Rock and went straight to the expo. Packet pickup was effortless and went of without a hitch. I bought some Swiftwick socks and then we headed to our hotel. We got v checked in and settled in and started to discuss dinner. I wanted to drive from the hotel to the start area to time the drive and figure out parking. I was pleased to realize that it was easier to find and much closer than I originally thought. Afterward, we grabbed an early dinner. After dinner, I got in a little retail therapy. When we got back to the hotel, the staff told us that there was a shuttle for runners in the morning. That was a game changer because that reduced the stress of trying to find parking in the morning. I got my race dummy/flat runner ready and settled in for the night.
All week long, I had been watching the weather forecast closely. They were predicting a winter storm for the area and I knew it could be a factor. I always tell my runners to "control what you can control". Obviously, I can't control the weather, but I could at least try to control my wardrobe. In this case, that was going to be challenging. I couldn't begin to figure out how to dress for a race where the temperature was expected to drop with a high chance of rain. I brought several outfits and decided that I would make my final clothing choice on the morning of the race.
The alarm went off at 5 am. I looked out the window and saw that it was dry. My weather app showed the current temp @ 54. I was cautiously optimistic. I ate my breakfast and started to get dressed. I was planning to wear a long sleeved base layer with a short sleeved top over it. I was going to carry a lightweight jacket because it was supposed to be windy. But, after looking at the hourly forecast, I opted for a long sleeved base layer and a long sleeved 1/2 zip over it. I still had the jacket packed in my hydration vest. We went downstairs at 6:45 to catch the shuttle. The temperature was perfect, but that would soon change.
Due to road closures, the shuttle had to drop us off a mile from the start line.
|Pre-race: 55 degrees and no rain--still smiling!|
|Still no rain, still smiling! Rain started 5 minutes after this pic was taken.|
It was starting to rain lightly. I put on my rain poncho and waited in a store doorway for the rain to let up. At about 7:55, I got in the corral and started chatting with other runners. It was still lightly drizzling. The wind was brisk and we were all wet. At first, I was concerned that I was overdressed. Later, I would be glad that I had changed clothes.
They were doing a wave start, starting each corral about every 5 minutes. I was in corral G so I didn't get to start until almost 8:30. I was planning to start out slow but I started in the front of my corral. I looked at my watch and was running a 9 minute mile. I knew that was way too fast and my angry Achilles agreed. It was hurting and I was only 0.15 miles in. Great! My plan was to walk if I had to and crawl if I must, so I was planning to make the best of it. I slowed my pace to about an 11 minute mile. I turned up my music, started to jam out and just run.....for as long as my leg would let me.
On one of the out and back sections, I saw a couple of my fellow Tulsa/Fleet Feet runners. That made me smile. It's my own race, but it's encouraging to see people I know out on the course. It makes me feel like I'm not alone.
I was a little concerned about nutrition due to recent diet changes but had carbed up really well for breakfast. I had carrying organic Sharkies and Honey Stinger chews. I planned to take some nutrition about every 30 minutes, which was no problem because I wad carrying my own water. I passed the first water stop but grabbed Gatorade at the next one for additional carbs.
I was hurting but feeling pretty good until about mile 6 or 7. I kept trudging along but it was obvious the weather was deteriorating. I noticed sharp pain in my left foot around mile 9 but I kept going. I was running about an 11:30 - 12 at this point and was taking short walk breaks as needed. I was starting to wish that I had my buff because the wind was cold on my face. I was starting to compare this run to Rt 66 last November. We ran past several area churches and apparently by the Governor's mansion. I didn't really notice. I was just trying to focus on finishing.
Mile 11 - 12, I was walking more frequently. I didn't have a goal time in mind. I kept looking at my watch thinking I might be able to make a 2:30 finish, exactly the same as my last half finish time. Mile 12-13, was a little bit downhill. I tried to make up some time here, but was hurting too bad. I saw the mile 13 flag and felt relieved! Just a little bit further now! I pushed as hard as I could, high fived Bart Yasso, and fist pumped my way across the finish line. I got my large medal, saw my hubs and immediately began to cry. It was the hardest thing I've ever done! Worse than Route 66 and that was very bad!
|Post race: fake smile, wet,cold and hungry, red cheeks and nose from crying|
There was no gluten free, dairy free post race food. I got to my hubs as quickly as I could so I could get my wet clothes off and dry jacket on and get some post race grub before I got sick. We had to wait a bit for the shuttle driver due to miscommunication. Once we were on the shuttle, we found out that they had black flagged the race due to weather. They pulled runners off the course. Some were made to wait in a Wal-Mart parking lot for buses back to the finish so they could collect their medals. Others chose to press on and finish without course support. If I had in fact run the marathon, I would have most certainly been stopped. Yet another reason I'm glad I chose to do the half instead. I can understand why they did it. It was 55 with light rain at the start and 35 with high winds, sleet and thunderstorms at the finish. Hypothermia was a real concern and the there was a threat of lightening in the area. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision to "re-route" the race but with that many people involved, safety had to come first. Yet, as a runner, I can certainly understand the disappointment of months worth of training and being so close, yet so far away. It would have been heartbreaking not to be able to cross that finish line.
After a hot shower and getting my belly full of post race fajitas, we headed home, right into a winter storm! It was sleeting and snowing making it a treacherous trip. We're home safely now and I can say that was the hardest thing I've ever done! I'm resting, icing, and elevating in compression socks today. Now it's time to get in to see a doctor to figure out what's causing my foot/ankle/Achilles issues. I'm so discouraged and frustrated! I've had 1 pain free week since the first of the year. Something has to change! We have to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it so that I can keep running without causing permanent damage, if I haven't already.