Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Little Rock Half Marathon Recap

I ran the Little Rock Half Marathon, and I'm happy to say I survived. I feel like we all need shirts that say "I survived the Little Rock Marathon." because that race will test every aspect of your ability to keep moving forward.

I prepared for this race. Not quite as well as I prepared for St. Jude back in December, but I did train. I ran all my long runs on Little Rock hills.
So when I set my clothes out the night before the race, I felt prepared. Not as confident as St. Jude because I was battling a major sinus infection that decided to show up three days before the race. But I knew I could run the distance.

Sunday morning was cold. 27 degrees is not what you want, and I knew it was going to be tough since I was still pretty sick. By the time we got to the start line, my toes were numb. And I didn't feel them again until mile 5. But more on that later.

The first six miles were golden. Minus the cold air, snotty nose and numb feet. Downtown Little Rock was lined with people, and I was super excited to see some elite runners pass us on their way back around the six mile loop. I felt good. I could actually breathe for the first time in days.

After mile 6, I didn't know the race course as well. But we weaved in and out of downtown streets before running up Capitol Street. I've ran up that street many times during training, but it's a whole different ballgame on fresh legs.

Mile 9 was the game-changer. One mile uphill. A slow climb. Calves burning. Quads screaming. Battlefield of the mind. I kept telling myself just make it through this mile, and you can take a walk break.

Miles 10, 11 and 12 looked exactly like 9. Slow uphill climbs with some downhills. Just to climb right back up the next mammoth. By mile 12, any incline of any shape or size was a mammoth in my mind. My hamstrings were screaming. I was exhausted.

When we turned onto Cantrell for the final half mile, I was basically a machine. Just. Keep. Moving. Your. Legs. I was hot and cold and tired. And I was starting to feel kind of hypoglycemic-ish.

I crossed the finish line in tears. And then sat down immediately. Tears of relief and joy and humility. I was just so happy it was over. And I was even more happy I didn't pass out at the finish line.

I looked down at my watch to check the time, but it was still running. I didn't stop it.

But I did something amazing. And absolutely not planned.

I finished in 2:39:45.

That's six minutes faster than St. Jude's.

I ran a PR on the hardest course I've ever faced while I was sick as a dog.
 This medal will be one of my most cherished possessions. I gave that race everything I had, and I left it all on the course. Those 13.1 miles were the hardest, yet most fulfilling, miles of my running life so far.

Let's do it again. But for now, I rest.