I think we have run every freaking hill in Little Rock by now. This mornings route reminded me a lot of the last 4 or 5 miles of the Tulsa Marathon. Just hill after hill after hill.
I dressed for the cold and wind this morning and thank goodness I did, it was freezing and the windy was just merciless.
Hills, Wind, Cold it all sounds like a receipe for an awful run but guess what it wasn't. Oh it had it's miserable moments and I am hurting now but over all I would say it was a good run. I know when you read Cheryl's blog you are going to think we must have been on two different runs, but no, we were together this morning along with Michele.
When I got to Team 1 this morning to meet Michele she said she wanted to drive, sounds good to me. She had the heat and the heated seats cranked up so I was in heaven.
We went to Academy Sport's to pick up Cheryl and she immediately had to use the bathroom. Lucky for us the Shell station was right there and they had an outside bathroom, I decided I better use it too just in case.
The meeting spot for this week's LR marathon training group run was in West Little Rock on Rahling Road. We were actually a little early which just gave us longer to stand in the cold and wind.
Starting off we did a little loop that took us right by our parked car, this turned out to be a godsend for Michele. I had on an earband around my head and then another fleece one around my neck and I kept pulling it up to my mouth and nose, Michele made the comment she wished she had one... lucky for her when I was getting stuff out of my car I scooped up an extra one so we stopped at the car and got it for her. Those things saved our lives today, Cheryl had one too.
Pretty much right off the bat we were running hills, we started off on a bit of a downhill but you know that old cliche... what goes down must come up. Once the hills started they never stopped. I remember thinking at one point ok surely we've run enough hills, I know we are training for the Little Rock Marathon but there aren't this many hills in that race. In the past I thought this particular training program for the Marathon was a bit "light" they only have one 20 miler but I think if you go on all of their training runs you will be ready for LR, they definately prepare you for the hills!
I guess we had gotten a couple miles in maybe 4 when my stomach started misbehaving. It wasn't terrible, I've definately experienced worse but it was enough to worry me. I knew we weren't too terribly far from a possible restroom stop so I kind of just put my head down and just ran. I didn't realize I had gotten so far ahead of Michele and Cheryl until I came to an intersection, I could see if I went straight there was a Burger King and a possible bathroom but the group was turning right, I knew there would eventually be a bathroom that way too. I didn't want to risk going to Burger King and the girls losing me or me losing them I should say so I turned back for them. When I got there I found out that Michele was hurting and had been contemplating turning around. I don't know exactly what her plan was, but something about walking and then we could pick her up when we were done. I don't know, but I asked her did she want to turn around stop make a smaller loop???? But by then she said no let's keep going, I decided to pass up the Burger King and was rewarded by the sight of a Shell gas station just ahead. I am now officially boycotting Shell and EZMART, you all remember what happened a couple of weeks ago at another EZ-Mart in Little Rock, well this time I didn't push it. It wasn't that bad but good grief it made me mad!!!
While Cheryl and I had attempted to make that pit stop Michele had continued on walking. When we caught back up with her she was walking with a gentleman I recognize from a lot of the 5K races we do locally. We struck up a conversation and we ran/walked along side him for a mile or so. He told us this will be his second marathon, he did it last year and he wanted to prove to himself that it wasn't a fluke. Unfortunately we had to part ways when we found Nirvana... I mean Kroger. Thank goodness for Kroger it came along at exactly the right moment. I was able to take care of my problem and Michele and Cheryl were able to warm up a bit. We were right around 6 miles when we got to Kroger and up until that point had not taken in any nutrition. The thought of a Honey Stinger or Luna moons just made my stomach flip. Instead while we were in Kroger I bought, or I should say Michele bought me a little package of peanut butter crackers. PERFECT! I was able to eat a couple of those and then a little later I was able to take in a little bit of the honey stinger. It was enough to get me through, I think I am going to start bringing those along more often, the only problem is how to carry them?
The rest of the run was a combination of running and walking. I was able to be pretty strong on most of the hills but towards the end we probably were walking every other one and then the big monster one on Taylor Loop... we walked it. I think it was a good thing though although we are all pretty sore now, we managed to finish the run injury free. Michele was thrilled to be able to finish 16 especially when she thought she was going to have to quit at 3.
While we were battling up that hill we saw an older man in front of us, we had been closing in on him the last couple of miles. Well after we reached the top of the hill he opened up the space between us, until that is, he ended up sprawled out on the sidewalk. Oh my gosh that was a scary sight. I didn't actually see him go down, it was just more like all of a sudden there he was on the ground. We sprinted over to him and by that time others had arrived. I asked him if he tripped and he said yes... I wanted to make sure it was a fall and not a fainting thing. He laid there for quite awhile or at least it seemed like it at the time, finally he was able to start to get up and you could see that he had hit his head on the sidewalk, he was bleeding from his head and his nose. His wife was there with her car and another runner had his SUV either one could have taken him to the hospital or home. I really thought he would just get in the car with his wife, but NOPE he forged ahead. When we realized he was going to keep running or at that time shuffling we said hey well I guess we'll just hang with you. We ran/shuffled along side him for a good while, he was training for his first marathon. He said his goal was to beat Katie Holmes..LOL
I guess we had been with him for a little bit when I looked back and realized his wife was following him in her car. I can just imagine how worried she was about him. We got ahead of him a little bit after that, we still had some more killer hills to tackle.
Michele and I had slowed down and Cheryl got her second wind and took off and left us in her dust... well soon the older gentleman caught up with us we said to him darn you we didn't want to have to run anymore but if you are running then we will too! LOL
Several times while we were running today Michele and I talked about why we run and basically it comes down to because we can and so many people in our lives can't. I told her about my mom's emphysema and she told me about some of her young Physical Therapy patients... and then you add in the guy who kissed the sidewalk and then got up and ran 2 more hilly miles, well it just puts it all into perspective. I am so thankful that I can run, and somedays those runs are going to be really hard but I am going to try to stop beating myself up when they are and just be thankful and joyous that I can get out there and do it.
It was a tough run today, we weren't anywhere close to being fast, but we survived it and we shared some nice moments with other runners and it was worth every miserable cold hilly moment!!
Oh and the cookies they have set out for us at the end of the run... those are the best damn cookies I have ever had in my whole entire life!!! LOL
12:28 avg pace
1 - 11:33
2 - 11:15
3 - 10:19
4 - 10:52
5 - 11:44
6 - 12:36
7 - 11:28
8 - 12:51
9 - 13:54
10 - 13:07
11 - 11:08
12 - 10:42
13 - 14:31
14 - 16:29 (sidewalk incident)
15 - 13:15
16 - 14:24
.25 2:43 10:34 pace