After discussing when and where we would do our long run this past weekend Arland informed me he wanted to go to the River Trail. He said he was sick of hills and sick of Cabot. That was fine with me as everyone seemed to be kind of scattered about last weekend. I talked to Bailey and the Davis Brothers about it on Saturday and they all thought it sounded like a great plan.
Bailey just moved here in Sept. so she is still discovering all that central Arkansas has to offer. The first and only time she ran on the River Trail was during the 15K race a couple of weeks ago. This would be an opportunity for her to have a chance to enjoy the River Trail and we were doing the big loop so she pretty much got to run the whole trail including the "Big Dam Bridge". Arland has some great pictures and a good write up on his blog.
We have been wanting to run with the Davis brothers forever so I was really excited that they were going to join us. They are very speedy so I let them know up front this was going to be a long slow run.
Michele was also going to go with us but the time change nixed those plans. She was awake had been for hours but she hadn't changed her clock so she was just relaxing and reading her book. I called her but by the time she saw the missed call adn James has told her what time it was it was too late.
The Davis brothers were waiting for us at the Dog Park. It was a beautiful morning, kind of chilly but sunny and just very very nice. We were all very excited to have such a beautiful morning.
We were planning on running 11:00 minute miles but you know how that goes with me! LOL We did keep a very comfortable pace but I would find myself running and talking with Gary and the next thing you know we have picked up the pace.
With all of the rain and snow a portion of the Trail was flooded, but luckily there was a alternate route. The only dissapointing thing about going that was you don't get the view of the Big Dam Bridge. Oh well I have a feeling we will be at the River Trail a lot this spring and summer and Bailey will soon be sick of the Bridge!!
I mentioned earlier we were doing the "big loop" we did this route during one of the Little Rock Marathon Training group runs and I LOVED it. It is the best of both worlds, you get the River Trail and you also get to run through the River Market. Something about running in Little Rock that just energizes me. We really picked up the pace in this area. I did not have any tummy issues the whole run and passed each port a pottie stop with confidence that I didn't need it. However when we got to the River Market where I know there is a good bathroom I suggested we take a pit stop. I was still feeling good but thought I shouldn't take the chance. It turned out to be a good decision, but I do wonder if I would have been able to finish the whole run without a stop. We were almost at 10 miles when we made the pit stop.. which was kind of amazing because those miles just flew by to me. After our pit stop we headed back to the Main street Bridge and then back onto the River Trail.
As we were running back towards the Bridge we passed an elderly lady, we had been walking because of the crowds and she asked us "is this the door" I looked and no it wasn't a door. She was trying to get into a restaurant I had started going in the opposite direction to see if I could find the entrance for her when car drove up and started talking to her. I guess it was her son and he said it was around the corner, the others went on but I stayed with her until she got to the entrance. I looked up and the others had already crossed over Cantrell, this is kind of a dangerous intersection because there is a big curve and you can't always see the cars coming. Normally I would wait for the light but since they had gone on and I didn't see any cars I started running, all of a sudden I see a car coming so I started sprinting... there was a nice little family at the corner waiting for the light and here I come barreling at them saying shit shit shit shit all the way across the street. Talk about an adrenline rush!!
After we went over the bridge and were back on the River Trail it started to really warm up and we all started shedding clothes..
Curtis was like a pack mule, he carried all of Gary's extra clothes for him. I wish I would have taken a picture, he even offered to carry mine jacket but I told him no.
It was soon afer we got on the River Trail that Gary and I picked up the pace and got ahead of the others. It wasn't intentional we just started talking and the next thing you know we were off. Gary was awesome, he is so encouraging and really makes you feel like a fast runner! He kept telling me how great I was doing, and if I needed to slow down a bit he would slow down with me and then a few seconds later we would pick it back up.
I had been feeling a blister developing on my left baby toe for a good part of the run but by the last 2.5 miles or so it was really starting to hurt. Curtis had caught up with us when we got to the Skate Park and Bailey was right behind him. We decided to walk a bit so that we could all be together. My toe was really starting to hurt but once again Gary and I picked it up and got a little big ahead of the others. It didn't take long though before Bailey got tired of running at a slower pace and she caught up with and passed us. Bailey makes running fast look easy, it doesn't look like she is even trying. When she was a little ahead of us she jumped up and gave a playful little swat at a tree branch... wellllll That was just too much, she was taunting us ;) Gary was like wow she is just a ball of energy. I had started to fade a little and I told Gary "go get her" so they took off running together. As we were leaving the wooded area and approaching the wooden bridge Bailey, Gary, Curtis and Arland decided to race each other. I declined to race and I had the best view, I really really wish I had a video of Bailey leading that pack.
Specialized Bikes had a demo tent set up at the boat ramp so we had to make a stop there for Gary. While he looked at the bikes we kind of ran around in the parking lot. Gary talked to the guy and he needed his credit card to be able to test ride a bike so he told him he would be back. We had about a mile left and Gary and Bailey decided to run/race the last mile. Bailey have me her jacket, which by the way felt like it weighed 50 pounds. I tied it aound the upper part of my stomach... BIG mistake, I didnt' get very far before I started feeling really naseous! I don't know how Bailey ran 14 miles with it on! Curtis, Arland and I were together at this point but up ahead it looked like Bailey had slowed down and Curtis said no way and took off to make sure she kept with Gary. It didn't take us long to see why she had slowed down, laying on the ground in front of us was her hydration belt, and a few inches from that were her shot bloks. Arland picked up her belt for her and we slow jogged it in. I had to take several walk breaks during the last mile but was able to run it in at the end.
We had exactly 15 miles. 11:36 avg pace which considering the pit stop, photo stops, and the walking during the last mile I thought was really good. The best part was other than my little toe I felt great. Oh and although the course was mostly flat it did have some little rolling hills and of course Dillard's hill. This was the first time that Arland had run in downtown Little Rock other than a race and he really liked it. I think we will be doing this route more often on future runs.
Gary had banana's for us all and then we headed to Starbucks for chocolate mile and lattes. It was just an awesome day, wonerful weather, great running partners and a beautiful course.
Later that day Gary sent me an e-mail and said that Sunday morning was the most fun he had ever had while running. I think it was good for him to have a nice easy long run. He trains so hard and is such a maniac I'm glad he took the time to enjoy himself!