So, I am registered for the Little Rock Marathon in March 2016, and I figured I need to get my training together if I want even the remote possibility of finishing that thing. I texted my running friend earlier this week to see how many miles she had to do for her St. Jude training this weekend– I was hoping I could do my scheduled 9 with her. She told me she was doing the Gateway to the Delta 10-miler in Batesville, MS and that I should sign up for it, too. “It comes with a hoodie and cool bling!” she said. I’m all about hoodies and bling, so I signed up for this race, feeling a little overwhelmed, underprepared, and regretful about giving up my anticipated Saturday morning sleep-in.
Saturday morning came quickly, and I woke up early to meet Allison at her house by 5:45 AM. Batesville is about an hour away from Memphis, so we carpooled down. Much to her surprise, I got myself out of bed and was on time. At the end of our drive we found ourself on the race course where there was an interesting looking bar. “If you never see me at the finish line, you’ll find me at that bar,” I joked. We wanted to leave early to ensure we could pick up our packets, and we definitely made it with plenty of time. We walked right in to get our numbers and swag (hoodie and glass), and then we had a little over an hour to kill before the race, which we spent the majority of keeping warm in her car. I was glad we had gotten there early because it made parking super easy to find and the line for packets got much longer as it got closer to the race start.
The time passed quickly. We made a quick trip to the port-a-potties (my least favorite part of any race), and since this race was pretty small there was no waiting in line. I debated whether or not to take off my Underarmour. It was a chilly morning (about 50-55 degrees) with light rain. Thankfully my friends convinced me to take it off. I brought a hand warmer to the start line which kept me warm enough, and then the exertion kept me plenty heated the rest of the race.
The race had a gun start with a time limit of 2 hours and 30 minutes to finish (15 minutes/mile). I was nervous because it had been awhile since I had run this far. My longest previous run was the 10K in September when I developed plantar fasciitis. However, I had a plan of running intervals, and I was feeling pretty positive. I started with 3:1 intervals for the first couple of miles, but then I took it down to 2:1. Once I got past mile 1 (which went by really quickly), I felt confident that I could finish the race. I made a short goal to get to the 5 mile mark by 1:05, and I made it there just a few seconds over. The middle miles of the race were full of rolling hills, which I am not used to for running. The hill after mile 5 was brutal to me. I walked almost all of it. The rolling hills continued until about mile 8 if I remember correctly. Although it flattened out at the end, I definitely struggled. I shorted my intervals to 1:1 and starting running again was difficult; it felt like my legs were led. With about .3 miles left in the race, I saw Allison & another Memphis runner coming towards me. They had finished before me and wanted to run with me to the finish line (as well as get in some extra mileage). I silently cursed them in my head because I felt bad asking them to stop and walk so I didn’t, but it was nice to finish running the last .3 “strong” (my legs felt dead). Before I knew it, I ran across the finish line! 10 miles done.
Honestly, I am not a fan of this picture and debated whether or not I should post it. I don’t think I look very good or like an athlete. HOWEVER, after thinking about it some, I decided to post it because that body–no matter how good it looks– got me through 10 miles on foot, and that is something to be proud of. Also, constantly filtering pictures so that only the most attractive ones are posted sets unrealistic expectations for people. So, my time is slow, my form is bad, and I don’t know what my face is even doing– but here I am, crossing that finish line!
The finish line area had water and a food truck (which we got a free taco from), but I chose not to eat anything. I find that I’m not really hungry after long runs… more sick feeling. My legs hurt, but I saw two dogs walking around! I pet them and instantly felt better 🙂 If I were to write a list of the top 5 reasons I subject myself to these events, petting people’s dogs would be on there. The rest of the day involved getting breakfast at Cracker Barrel, driving back to Memphis, and napping.
Obligatory post race selfie.
Feeling sore, warm, and comfy in my new hoodie!
Start2Finish organized the race, and they did a nice job. There were water stops with water and gatorade starting at mile 2 about every mile. The water did seem to be lacking at the end of the course, though. One water stop was closed. My only other complaint would be that there wasn’t a 9 mile sign (there was a 2 mile sign where that sign should have been, though). Overall, I enjoyed the race and was proud that I did it. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next year at this time, but this would be a race that I would do again. The course was challenging, the sweatshirt is super comfy, and the medals are nice! I am honestly just grateful that I was able to run. There were several big races yesterday that did not go as planned for runners (Savannah Rock & Roll, Disney Wine & Dine).
On another note, this was my first run with my new Garmin Vivoactive. I loved it! I was able to set intervals on there so that it vibrated when it was time to run/walk, and this was sooo much better than looking down at my phone. The watch is comfortable, and I’m pretty obsessed. Expect a more thorough review in the future.
And my official results:
Time: 2:19.10 (13.55/mile)
Age Group: 10/10
Definitely room for improvement, but I am just glad I finished! 🙂