Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Tag: “Little Rock Half Marathon”

2013 Little Rock Half Marathon

So on Sunday, March 3, 2013, I “ran” by fourth Little Rock half marathon. The weather forecast predicted it was going to be cold and I had a cranky left calf that was tight and getting sore so I was a little apprehensive about this race. My sole goal this time was to finish without hurting myself. That’s called “setting the bar low,” folks.

This was also the first year that I did the race without my Mom here. I have since moved to the central Arkansas area and so there was no need to rent a hotel room and as a result, no need for my Mom to come up here and make it a mother/daughter event.

I picked up my packet after work on Friday. The expo seemed smaller than it was in previous years with fewer total vendors. I was short on case this year but I did buy this t-shirt That says “Keep Calm and Run On” Yeah I am loving it.

Keep Calm and Run On. Best shirt ever.

Keep Calm and Run On. Best shirt ever.

I also got my official half marathon shirt, which is a tech shirt.

Turquoise and emerald green. ODD CHOICE

Turquoise and emerald green. ODD CHOICE

Yes it was emerald green, which is the official Pantone shade this year, with turquoise letters. It is as odd as you think it would be. But hey I got my shirt in my size. Good times. Also, I stopped by the GO Running space and got a special “VIP” ticket (because I shop there so much) which meant I had pomegranate margaritas. See Go Running! is the store for you! Or it should be because you didn’t get pomegranate margarita at your expo, did you? I also met the woman who wore the cool Wonder Woman socks at the Bowen 5K. I also took advantage of the volunteer massage therapists and got a nice little rub down. Then I went home and ate pasta.

Saturday. I don’t even remember what I did that Saturday except to read Rebecca’s recount of her 5K experience which mentioned that she got snowed on and promptly exclaimed several curse words. I don’t mind cold but cold falling wet stuff is my limit. I am just not that hard core. Needless to say, I was very apprehensive. I had received an email that the “Hot Legs” (My running club was going to meet in front of the library at 7:30 for a group picture.
Saturday. I don’t even remember what I did that Saturday except to read Rebecca’s recount of her 5K experience which mentioned that she got snowed on and promptly exclaimed several curse words. I don’t mind cold but cold falling wet stuff is my limit. I am just not that hard core. Needless to say, I was very apprehensive. I had received an email that the “Hot Legs” (My running club was going to meet in front of the library at 7:30 for a group picture.

So I ended up carbo loading at my house and went to sleep in my own bed which is 30 miles away from the race site. This is a new development. Usually, I stay at the Comfort Inn near the starting line. I woke up and put on my clothes that I had laid out the night before and “OH GOD” it was cold. I had put on gloves and a headband to cover my ears but I didn’t bring a jacket. I figured it would warm up as soon as I started running. When I finally walked outside, I noticed that there was a light layer of ice/frost on my car that I had to scrape off with my Panera card.

MY MY.

I drove in to Little ROck and traffic was a little more difficult than I had anticipated. everyone was trying to get to the same place. I finally found a place to park but missed the 7:30 picture. I also managed to get to the perks pavillion just in time to pee and get to the starting line. IN fact, I heard the national anthem while I was in line. I got to the race line just in time for the elites to go. This year they did the start in waves with the elites going and then A and B having an official go time a couple of minutes later. This is a completely new development. In the years before, the announcer said go and everybody started walking and then once you passed the line, you started running.

I don’t think the open corral even got to the starting line until 12 minutes later.

So I was off. I didn’t think my phone battery would last so I decided not to listen to music until I got back from North Little Rock. This also means I didn’t have my run keeper pace timer. There are usually a lot of people cheering in North Little Rock there is enough to sustain me. I just ran from one street line to the other. It was a little odd but overall, it seemed close to the same. I knew i wasn’t going to get any PR’s due to cranky calf so I had it in my head to take it easy. That’s what I did.

I don’t remember being tired and so I would run. Friends kept passing me. I saw Brian who is a prosecutor. I saw my friend Rebecca. I saw Eric. And then I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in person since High school but thanks to the beauty of social media, had been chatting it up with him for quite a while. I finally made it across the bridge. I was feeling good. It was slow. Occasionally, I could feel my calf but it wasn’t overwhelming in its tightness or pain. I did, as a result of the first bridge, come to the decision to not even try hills. I walked all the hills.

By this point, I had my music and was trucking along. I was using Stinger waffles as my fuel of choice. I discovered during the second half that maybe they are a little too sweet. Near mile 10, I started to feel a little nauseous.

I managed to run and walk the entire way. I even made a little spring near the end.

Good times. I got my medal.

The Yee Haw cowboy hip hip hooray half marathon finisher's medal.

The Yee Haw cowboy hip hip hooray half marathon finisher’s medal.

BOO YAA!

I felt good. I did wait for a message therapist near the end and that was fun. I think it helps a lot. It gets the main kinks out that ruin your day. I then went home and took a nap.

When I got back, I checked my time. It ended up being

2011 Little Half Marathon recap

Winner Winner Chicken dinner

Well I did it again. This is my third Little Rock half marathon finish. I knew what to expect out of this race as far as the route and the number of people. This year was different in that it was expected to be a lot colder than the previous two years. Also, I managed to procrastinate and didn’t get a hotel close to the race route. This put me in a position where I would have to either drive or use the hotel shuttle and hope it gets me there in a timely manner. Also this year, the race was four days after my father’s leg surgery and so my mother would not be attending with me. This put an end to what was becoming a family tradition. Who am I kidding? She’ll be back next year.

The expo seemed smaller than previous years. I’m not sure if there were less vendors or if the huge display at the front took up so much space. I did manage to get a new headband to keep my ears warm. It says “Will Run for Margaritas” I am a big believer in truth in advertising. I talked to my friends at Go Running!. Then I spend 5 dollars to spend seven minutes in the Aqua Massager.

The Aqua massager was interesting. You place yourself on a table face down with a whole to put your face through to breath. They put a top on top of you similar to a tanning bed but instead of light it squirts water. There is a plastic lining that is against your back. The water then shoots down on your back in a forceful spray similar to the type of “shower massage” you find on some of the fancier showerheads. Although you don’t get wet. The water shoots in a horizontal line that goes up and down your backside from your neck to your feet and back up to your neck again. It was relaxing but a little rough on my neck. Maybe I should have scooted up. I also could definitely tell how tight my quads were after getting off that thing.

I carboloaded with my friends Rebecca, John, and Sophie (aka the most awesome six year old in the world!) at Lily’s Dim Sum, Then Some. Cold Sesame Noodles are carbs. Yes they are. I also had the Dim Sum platter with all of the different Dim Sum that they offer: Chinese potstickers; Wasabi Pork Shaw Mai, Shrimp Dumplings, and Vegetable Goyoza. It’s meant for two people but I was eating it as dinner. GOOD!

RACE DAY

I woke up at 4:30 with some weird soreness in my left glute. I was worried and PISSED. It’s four thirty in the fucking morning on race day. What the hell?! I finally went back to sleep but it wasn’t restful. I woke up with my alarm and I didn’t quite know where I was. I had a weird dream but I don’t remember enough of the details to recall it down. I just remember being very confused. I brushed my hair and put it into a ponytail. SNAP! It broke. Wait. I haven’t run without my hair in a ponytail. I am frantically searching through my bag. No ponytail holder. I am searching through the suitcase. I am searching through the little bag that had my toothpaste and other toiletries. Still no ponytail holder. Houston, we have a problem.

This was a big deal. Running is more mental than anything and that swinging hair was really going to mess with my concentration. I ate French Toast at the hotel and then drove myself to Walgreens. Then I drove myself to the race site. WEll to Heifer International which was semi-close to the race site.

My lower back was hurting. I had to use the restroom. I stood in line for what seemed like a thousand years to use a porta potty. Then I noticed the massage therapists. The line was short. Hell yeah, I took part in that perk. Whatever he did, the therapist got that kink in my back out just in time for me to make it to the “open corral” in the back. By that point, the race had already started and I started walking forward to the starting line.

THE RACE ITSELF

I used Runkeeper to keep myself with intervals of 45 seconds of running and one minute thirty seconds of walking. The first four miles were faster than any of my training runs previously but I felt good so I didn’t even attempt to slow down. I could tell by the log that I was slowing down slightly but I still felt pretty good until about mile 7. Then I got tired. The incline towards the capitol wasn’t pleasant.

Mile 9 in front of the First United Methodist Church of Little Rock was my last hurrah. The steep elevation to the Governor’s Mansion was a killer. Then right after that, my cell phone that I was using for my background music (via Pandora) and my “running coach” died. Well, the battery was out. I knew that there was no way to beat my personal best and no way to do worse than my worst time unless I crawled so I just walked the rest. I didn’t pay attention to pace. I attempted to jog one last time near Vino’s at Mile 11 1/2 but my quad trembled and Isaid “Okay leg, you win.” I continued to walk the rest of the way.

My 10K time was 1:44:14 which was recorded as a pace of 16:47. My Run keeper stopped at distance 10:24 miles with a time 2:54:20 and a pace of 17:01. My finish time was 3:56:47 with a pace of 18:05. Not my best but not my worst. Overall, it was a fun race. No particular bad pain but a nice journey.

I got my medal. I didn’t see anyone I knew by this point. Most of them had finished earlier and were long gone. I started to wait for another massage but for whatever reason, this year, you had to stand in line to wait for one. Screw that. I went back to my hotel and went to bed for a nap.

Little Rock Half Marathon: what to expect

For some reason, I seem to know a lot of people who are running the Little Rock half marathon for the first time. This will be my third race. I do it for fun and I’m one of the slower in the back people. In fact, last year I got some weird back spasm around mile 3 and walked the rest of it slowly and ended up being the last person to finish. I still had so much fun that my cheeks hurt from smiling.

So for all my friends and whomever reads this. Here’s what to expect, the Penguin edition.

EXPO

packet pick up

You have to print out your registration confirmation ticket from the website or your email box to bring to the expo to pick up your packet. They have it divided up between type of race and your race number so that part goes rather quickly. There’s a list at the front of the expo in alphabetical order that will tell you your race number. So you’ll get a manilla sized envelope with your goodies and then you’ll go and pick up your t-shirt. Then you go to another guy to get your chip swiped. This confirms that your chip will show up as you in the results. This is how the event tracks your time and confirms you finished. MAKE SURE YOU SWIPE THAT CHIP! All they do is swipe the entire envelope like they do at the grocery store. It’s fairly easy.

Goodies

In the packet, you’ll find (1) your chip (2) your race number (3) the tag that says half that you put on your back (4) your entry bracelet for the post race party (5) your entry to the Hatcher Perks Pavillion if you paid for that. Then there is some reading material.

Since the packet pickup is in the back, you’ll pass the vendors who are there. This expo is pretty small and won’t wear you out like some of the larger race expos (for example: The Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC). The local running stores have spots and that is where I got the running gloves, headband to keep my ears warm in winter, and running socks. They’re usually on sale. They have shoes but I have never found my type. Also, there is a guy selling THE STICK. If you have never heard of this thing, it is a plastic stick that is slightly flexible with hands on both ends. You roll it over your sore muscles like a rolling pin over dough. It is amazing. Seriously, it will get those kinks out. Now, depending on how tied up those knots are, it will hurt a little but it is definitely worth the cost. Also, there are places selling refridgerator magnets, bumper stickers, Christmas ornaments and all sorts of other running paraphenalia.

Pasta party

Confession time. I have never gone to the pasta party. I usually have bready deep dish pizza but that’s just me. Do what you usually do and don’t be a hero or listen to me for pre-race eats. I do not want to have you vomiting on race day on my head. But I am familiar with the hotel and they usually have good food.

Hatcher Perks Pavillion

I have done this both years. They have porta potties really close to the starting line. They also have a space to leave post race change gear. They also have MASSAGE THERAPISTS!! oh sweet baby Jesus this makes the thirty something fee worth it.

The Race itself

If you’ve never run a longer race, you’ll notice there’s a lot more people than you’re used to seeing it a race.

IF I recall, one year the start was ON TIME!! and the other year was a little late.

Due to the chip, you don’t have to actually start “racing” until you cross the official starting line. So walk that sucker. Don’t worry everybody else will be walking and people are friendly so if you forget, someone will tell you to slow down until the line. It can be up to five minutes for you to even reach the starting line depending on how far back you are.

A. The First Five miles

Mile two and Mile five are on the Broadway bridge. The cool thing about this is that the elite athletes will becoming back on the bridge by the time you make it there. Remember, they actually started five minutes before you even crossed the starting line and they go a lot faster than you. The amazing thing is that they’re going really fast and yet they make it look so easy.

North Little Rock is really proud of their participation in the Little Rock Marathon. Usually, the mayor is at the end of the bridge to welcome you to North Little Rock. There’s a lot of entertainment on this side of the river: marching bands, country music, cheerleaders, people just cheering to be cheering. You’ll also pass your first water stations.

The downer to this part of the race is that there is a lot of passing of people. It’s still crowded and you will encounter the bane of my existence. The more than two group of people, usually women, who decide to just walk in a horizontal line. Now when it’s four people, it’s beginning for an impromptu game of Red Rover. Also, when it is that large of a group, they are just chatting and having a grand ole time and are OBLIVIOUS!!! to the people around them. Seriously, I’m glad that three or more of your besties are running and walking with you at the half but seriously, you make it impossible to pass and you take a significant chunk of road when you do this. For some reason, I think these groups split up because I don’t notice this phenomena near the end of the race as much as I do in the beginning. It harshes my running happy and turns me into an F-Bomb machine!!!!

Okay… now that rant is over. Seriously I hate those fuckers.

Okay now it is over.

The Second Five Miles

Once you get across the bridge, it’s pretty urban with office buildings until you get to the 10K marker. Then you’ll be approaching McArthur Park. You’ll run around half of the park on 9th and then Commerce. It’s fairly quiet around here. Then you will cross the overpass that cuts you across I-630. Just on the other side of I-630, you’ll get to the ENTHUSIASTIC water station. They are happy to see you and you are happy to see them. Then you’ll get back on Scott Street and pass Villa Marre aka the Designing Woman House

Mile 8 is up Capitol street to the Arkansas State Capitol. It’s pretty much one big upwards climb. It’s tiring.

Then you turn around and at mile 9, there is a Methodist Church that really does it out for the runners. They got balloons, music, and a big crowd of people cheering you on.

Then you’ll go down Center over another overpass over I-630 to the Governor’s mansion. That road is a steady incline too. By this point, I am tired. You’ll be tired too.

The last 3.1 miles

For some reason, these last 3.1 miles is sparse. There are three water stations and they are screaming and enthusiastic. There are people playing music from their porches but other than that it is pretty bare. Also, due to the fact that it is the end, you’ll be tired and your knee or back will act up if it is going to act up by this point. It’s the part of the race where you face the mental test of whether or not to stop or keep going. It’s the time where you are making deals with God and giving yourself the “okay three steps and then I’m walking and then two more steps” Once you get past the overpass on Chester, it’s all downhill and/or straight until you get to the turn at La Harpe. It’s pure adrenaline because you know you’re ALMOST DONE! There are people all lined up by this point. You get one last water break. If you’re a woman, you can stop for free lipstick.

Then you’ll see the crowds of people hanging out and then you’ll cross the line. There are bleachers at this point. Someone will come and take off your timing chip. Another people will wrap you up in mylar. Yet another volunteer will put the finisher’s medal around your neck. Another person will be handing out bananas. THen you’ll be in the Athlete’s village. Usually, there is someone handing out bananas, milk and chocolate milk, and hot dogs. ‘

And you’re done. yee haww.

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