Saturday Oct-25th was the second annual Soaring Wings 1/2 Marathon. I ran this last year and LOVED it!
This year the race fell exactly two weeks after the Long Beach Marathon and two weeks before the Mid South Marathon, so I went into it just wanting to have a nice steady paced race.
Arland was also running this year, I think he was injured last year otherwise I can't imagine him missing out on a 1/2 marathon especially one so close to home.
We left home about 6:15, the weather called for a cool morning but turning sunny and a bit warmer later in the day. I dressed in a skirt and sleevless tech shirt with a long sleeve tech shirt. The long sleeve shirt is very light, I knew I wouldn't be able to wear it the whole race but it is light enough that it wouldn't bother me too much to have it tied around my waist.
When we got to Conway we ended up having to park about .5 a mile from the Mc Gee center. This actually worked out for warming up but I was a little bit stressed worrying about picking up our packet and then having to take everything back to the car and then back to the start line. We had plenty of time but with my need to use the bathroom at least twice before a race I was a bit worried.
As we were walking/jogging to the Mc Gee center I ran into Voula from Pine Bluff. Missie and I met her at the Noah's Ark 10K at the beginning of October. I need to blog about that race sometime!
So Voula and I chatted and ran together for a bit and then as we turned into the parking lot at the Mc Gee center I saw Cheryl and Tammy. They were Volunteering at the race since they have the Bass Pro Marathon next weekend. I ran up and gave Cheryl a scare as I gave her a bear hug... I really don't get to see her very often anymore and I miss her.
Packet pick-up was pretty quick but the line for the bathroom was already very long, luckily I remembered there was one on the upstairs runnign track. So I ran up there and luckily had no line. I took my time and put my chip on while waiting for things to move along.
When I got back downstairs the gym was PACKED! I ran into Curtis D. who I haven't seen in ages, got a big hug from him and then set out to find Arland and James.
We all headed back to the cars got our bibs pinned on, I had to put Arland's chip on for him and then we were headed back to the start. As we were heading to the start line I realized I probably needed to use the bathroom one more time, luckily they had a row of port a potties about 100 feet or so from the start.
I got to see so many friends at this race!! I swear every couple of feet I was hugging someone and really is there a better way to start a race????
We lined up in the 2:00+ hour corral, I think the third one back. This was really actually a good corral to start in since I spent the rest of the race passing people.
My plan for the race was to start off slow and steady and if I felt good the second half I would pick it up. I watched James and Arland pull away from me immediately at the start and I mentally sent them off hoping that this race would give Arland his 1/2 PR. I had already taken off my long sleeve tech shirt and tied it around my waist, but just after we crossed the start line I saw Cheryl and asked if she would take it for me and of course she did :) I probably would have been ok, but it was such a relief not to have it anymore!! Thank you Cheryl!!!!
I had my i-pod and had it ready for whenever I felt the need for some music. I was kind of lonely, I didn't know any of the people around me so I turned it on within the first mile.
About 1.5 miles into the race I started getting the weirdest foot cramp, it hurt to bend my foot and I was MAD!! LOL I mean really a foot cramp?? I tried to run on it for a little while but finally pulled off the road and took my shoe off stretched, and when I put it back on I tied it a little looser. It took about a mile but by mile 3 I didn't feel anymore pain, but what I did feel was the need to use the bathroom. I had really hoped that my successful trip before the race would be good enough. The sensation kind of came and went but by mile 4 I knew I had to find a bathroom soon. Just before it was about to be an emergency I was relieved to see we were running back past the start and the row of port-a-potties from before. I was really bummed about having to stop and unfortunately had to spend a few minutes inside. When I came out a little bit ahead I saw Caitlyn C. on the sideline cheering everyone and taking pictures and I put on a big smile but on the inside I was sad! BUT this happens to me all of the time so I just had to shake it off and keep running.
The great thing was that other than those two problems early in the race everything else felt good.
I had my raspberry cream accel-gel at mile 5 I took it while running knowing that there had to be a water stop soon. Luckily I was right and soon after I finished my gel I had some water to wash it down. Last year at the Memphis Marathon I finally learned out to grab water at the aid stations and drink while running and I used this method the whole race. Other than the shoe thing and the bathroom break I never walked.
This race has a great course, we run through a lot of really pretty neighborhoods, and while there weren't any really big crowds there were lot's of family's outside to cheer us on. It also has quite a few hills, most of them were just rollers but there were 2 maybe 3 pretty good size ones as well.
Mile 8 I started to feel just a bit tired and was thinking still 5 miles to go, but then I thought to myself at least I dont' still have 18 miles left and that gave me a little bit of extra energy!
The whole race I was passing people and even if I wasn't really running that fast when you are passing people you feel fast!! LOL
Just past mile 10 I saw James up ahead of me walking. His stomach had really been bothering him before the race and he almost didn't start. When I caught up to him I gave him a smack on the butt and he started running with me. He told me he had to make several bathroom stops!! :( he said now he knows what it feels like to be Annette! :( poor baby, believe me it's no fun!!!
He asked me if I thought we would finish in 2 and half hours, I told him that I had calculated a 2:20 finish time. A minute or so later he asked if I knew i was running a 9:40 pace, I looked down at my Garmin and oh yeah I guess I was. I lost James soon after that, I think he had to find the bushes again :(
Mile 11 had another good size hill but once you make it up that one it is a nice long downhill and then flat back to the finish.
I wasn't exactly flying but I was so happy to be feeling so good!!! At about 12.5 I saw Jackie C. and a friend of her's heading back out on the course to find some of their group to cheer/run in with.
Jackie told me later that I looked so happy and I really was!!
Once I got to the last bit I turned on the speed a little bit and could hear my name being announced and I could hear it being screamed on the sidelines. Turns out my friend Missie and her daughter had come to cheer us all in!!
After the race was great, again so many good friends were there and it was just so nice to catch up with a bunch of them and get even more hugs!!!!
My offical finishing time was 2:19xx... not my fastest but with the obstacles I had in the first couple of miles I thought that was pretty respectable!!
One really important thing I came away with in this race was that several times I felt my energy levels drop and had moments when I thought this is going to get hard I need to slow down but each time it happened I would try to just hang on and those feelings would soon pass. Of course a marathon is a whole different animal but I need to learn to not give up so easily! especially mentally!