On Sunday, I ran my 50th race and my 9th half marathon – the Little Rock half marathon!
My sister and I drove to Little Rock on Friday afternoon. We arrived Friday evening and went out to eat at Big Orange. I had a burger and sweet potato fries so I was still supporting Team Beef in Little Rock! 😉
Saturday in Little Rock was a beautiful day! High of 70 and sunny. We had breakfast at our hotel and then headed over to the race expo. I picked up my packet and they even had a shirt swap, which was great! The medium shirt was quite big so I was able to swap it out for a small and it was perfect!
I also stopped and talked to someone about the Route 66 half marathon in November. The medal looks awesome and someone online described it perfectly – part Christmas ornament, part Academy Award. It even stands up on it’s own! That race is definitely on my list in my quest to run a race in every state.
Otherwise, the race expo wasn’t too exciting as I wasn’t looking to purchase anything. I did ask at a running store booth if they carry my favorite PowerBar energy gels because I can’t find them lately. They said they do not. Sad day.
We used the rest of the day to explore Little Rock. First up we headed to Little Rock Central High School where the Little Rock Nine happened.
We toured the Visitor Center and learned more about the history. During the weekdays they do tours inside the school but on weekends they only do outside tours. We didn’t want to wait for a tour, so we walked around the school grounds ourselves. The school is huge!
Then we went to the Clinton Presidential Center and toured the library and museum. Then we headed down to the Little Rock River Market District for lunch. We explored some of the bridges and walked along the river.
We also went to the Old Mill where Gone with the Wind was filmed. It was pretty cute but very crowded on such a beautiful day!
That was about it for the sights of Little Rock! We headed back to the hotel to rest before going out for dinner. For dinner, we went to Olive Garden so I could carbo load up! I had pasta with marinara sauce and grilled chicken plus breadsticks.
Sunday was race day! Of course I woke up to find that it was raining. I ate my breakfast – two slices of bread with peanut butter, a banana, and a small carton of milk and got dressed and ready to run!
The temp was in the low 50s so I wore a short sleeve shirt with a long sleeve shirt on top. My plan was to abandon the long sleeve shirt once the race began.
My sister dropped me off near the start line and there was a big parking garage that a lot of people were hanging out in to stay out of the rain so I joined them.
Once the race began (on time, yay!), I did start to warm up. Around mile 2 I was still wearing the long sleeve shirt but debating when to ditch it. I decided to go ahead and shed it, and felt great at first because I was starting to get hot.
The rain never let up (luckily it was a light rain), and around mile 6, my IT band was really tight and starting to cause pain on the outside of my knee. I am not sure if this was because of the cold weather but I was not happy to have this happen so early in the race.
From there, I did a walk/run to try and prevent the pain from getting too bad. At mile 11, we ran by Little Rock Central high school and I thought about what those kids went through and that I could keep running despite a little knee pain!
Finishing the race, I was pretty cold at that point. I was handed my new (huge!) medal and made my way down the finisher shoot.
I got my picture taken with my new bling but since they are charging $24.95 for one photo (!!!), this sample photo will have to do:
They were handing out the blanket sheets and for the first time, I grabbed one! The post-race party was inside the Convention Center where the expo had been but it was so crowded and I just wanted to get back to the hotel to change clothes and warm up.
My sister picked me up and I was so glad to get out of my rainy, wet clothes! I foam rolled my legs, had a snack, took a shower and then we headed to Mellow Mushroom for a celebratory Mighty Meaty pizza!
Overall, the race was well organized and well run. It was a good size race and despite the cold, wet conditions, there were a lot of people out cheering us on! And I love my shiny new bling!
I am hoping my knee feels better soon and that I can continue training for the Nashville half marathon coming up next month! My goal for that race is just to finish and complete half marathon #10!