Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Date: Saturday, February 4, 2012
Location: North Little Rock, AR
Distance from home: 10.41 mi. (16.75 km)
This month I've volunteered at two races. The first was the River Trail 15k held Saturday, February 4th in North Little Rock Arkansas. It is one of three 15k events in the state. Last year it was my first 15k to participate in and the start was delayed due to snow. This year that would not be an issue, however rain was in the forecast.
Initially, I was going to be the race director of this race when the race appeared to be in jeopardy. Honestly, I was hesitant since I know about running a race. To my pleasant surprise, there was a committee created to keep the race alive. Upon finding out the news, the pressure was officially lifted when I found out.
As many of you know, I love running and what it can do for one's health, confidence, and/or mental well-being. For those reasons and many others, promoting the sport is near and dear to my heart. Paying it forward is not an option, it's imperative. Without the volunteers or people putting on the races, we could still run, but it's something about races that add an extra element to the equation. Ultimately, I want to keep that feeling that we all get from the camaraderie, competition, and accomplishment alive. We all have our methods, right?
I had a great time being involved with the River Trail 15k. It sprinkled a bit before the race, but thankfully it stopped and aside from the humidity, the weather was acceptable. A number of runners celebrated PRs and I heard great things. I look forward to it next year.
Afterwards, we had the Arkansas Grand Prix Awards. I brought home some hardware from last year's "iron" season. I was pleased with my 5th place age group award, which included a gift certificate to one of the running stores. I was ecstatic about my Iron Man award. I was able to share these honors with my Arkansas running community, which is more than a community to me...it's my family.
River Trail 15k T-shirt
Grand Prix Plaque I (5th Place Age Group)
Grand Prix Plaque II (Iron Man)
2011 Grand Prix Iron People!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Date: Saturday, August 21, 2011
Race: 1st We Did It All Night Long Half Marathon
2011 Race Number: 30
Total Races: 36
Location: Batesville, AR
Distance from home: 103.71 mi. (166.91 km)
Weather: 73°F (23°C); Humid
Time: 12 A.M.
The race I had earlier in the day still had me somewhat drained. It wasn't that the 5k killed me, but when the IT Bandit is lurking, healing takes more than one day. I iced it, elevated it, foam rolled it, but I can't exactly say I rested it. Maybe this was not a good idea.
I took a nap later that day to prepare for the race that would start at 12AM. Yes, that is not a typo. Another night race! Woohoo! I would have my headlamp this time, but what I needed was some fresh legs! I woke up from my nap to thunder and lightning. Uh-oh! That is not good for a race. Should I make the 2 hour trip to Batesville? I'm going to be upset if I drive up there and the race is cancelled. I checked the website and there were no updates, so I could only assume the race would still happen.
On my way to Batesville the rain did not ease up one bit. I actually left early, but had to drive slower than usual to be able to see the road. "Maybe I should turn around." No one does races when there is lightning. I was able to reach a friend that was doing the race. She, too, had doubts about the race. It was another one of my "in the nick of time" races.
Welcome back to BatesHILL!
I couldn't decide which singlet to wear. Hmm...This would be a good race to debut the Half Fanatic singlet. I have my water bottle that I'm going to carry ready to go. I looked up and didn't see any lightning. I didn't feel any rain either. I guess the race was meant to happen. Later I would find out that many didn't make it because of the weather dwindling the field to a large number of 14. At least it wasn't 13. That would have been unlucky, right?
The right started at City Hall on the historic Main Street. I was told by the Race Director that this course would be basically three loops. We'd pass the start three times, so if we needed to stop after 1 or 2, we wouldn't be stuck out in the middle of nowhere. The course was comprised of the old White River 4-Miler and the new White River 4-Miler courses. Having already been exposed to the new 4-Miler course and from what I knew about Batesville, this was going to be one hilly adventure.
There would be 8 aid stations, but the Race Director had this posted on the site:
"Since its a midnight race, volunteers are scarce. For some reason, people don't want to stay up late and stand beside a road. There will be signs all over the course with arrows. Try not to get lost, ok?" He's a cool guy. I always admire his honesty.
We ran through the city and eventually hit the outskirts. The first couple of miles went by fairly quickly. I was right behind a guy that I'd later befriend. It was around mile 2 that there was an aid station. Thankfully, there was a volunteer pointing us in the right direction once we passed the aid station. We run into this neighborhood and did a loop. We came out and headed back down White Drive.
It was rolling hills for the next few miles and as I looked around I told myself this looks familiar. Oh, this is the new 4-Miler course I'm running, but in reverse. That means...Yes, the Golden Overpass is...right in front of me. I tackle that and there are volunteers at the top with oranges, gatorade, and water. I took a few oranges with me. The old course took is back to the starting point down Main Street. This is where disaster would strike!
I knew going in that the infamous and now notorious IT bandit would not be fond of the hilly adventure. Why is it always around the 10k mark? Who knows? What started out as a pain at this point would develop into deplorable agony. The course looped around and we took the new 4-Miler course again, but this time in the proper direction. The Golden Overpass hurt going down and everything after that hurt. Maybe I should stop when I make it back to the start this time. I thought about this as I continued on slowing down and eventually stopping to walk.
I had people passing me and asking me was I okay. No, I'm not okay and to be very honest with you I want to cry. I don't want to cry because of the pain, although it does hurt. I want to cry because I realize this would be the first time I would have done a half marathon and not complete it in less than 2 hours. Well, it's either that or a DNF (Did Not Finish).
My mind is in full gear, but my body isn't, so I have to drag it along. When I do make it to the start again, I see friends that have finished and they are cheering. Had it not been for them I would have stopped. I'm not kidding. Back down the historic Main Street once again.
The vintage, historic Main Street
I don't know where Davy, the Race Director, thought up this last course. It was some type of darkening labyrinth. I thought I was in a Saw movie or something. I ran down this rocky rode and around what looked to be some abandoned buildings. I did say this was going to be adventure. *smiles* If something comes out to get me, it can have me! It's not like I'm going to run from it. Maybe hobble from it...or even crawl. Whatever the case, it's going to be faster than me, so why bother??
I'm glad there was someone out there pointing me in the right direction. Surprisingly, I see Davy at some point and he knows I'm looking and doing horrible. When I emerge from the depths of darkness, I found myself back on the west end of Main Street. I'd be happier when I reach the end that has some lights and civilization.
Oh, what's this up ahead? Yes, light, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Not really! The are lights though, which makes me partially right. As for the life part of that popular phrase, I don't think of it remains. What's pushing me to the end? Any and everyone reading this! I don't want to start out doing something and not finish. Yes, I know it is completely stupid to continue, but I'd prefer to say resolute. It sounds better.
Look at the pretty lights!
I make it to the end and as I'm crossing the finish line I'm relieved. I hear one of my friends say that she had to stop. The combination of the heat and mugginess was not doing it for her. I figured I was last, but I wasn't. Did I care? No!
To sum this race up, the first 10k was enjoyable, but the last 11k was damnably difficult! I did it all night long, but it was nothing to brag about. Undoubtedly, this race was the reason I stopped writing race reports. I did not want to re-live this catastrophe. As I continued, I realized that even in defeat I could come out victorious. Sometimes what we consider failures are just trial runs for success. Oh, and I haven't worn that Half Fanatic singlet since.
What are you looking at? This was NOT a good race!
overall place: 12 out of 14
gender place: 8 out of 9
- Next race -
YMCA Night Flight 5k (North Little Rock, AR)
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Date: Friday, August 26, 2011
Race: 2nd YMCA Night Flight 5k
2011 Race Number: 31
Total Races: 37
Location: North Little Rock, AR
Distance from home: 13.86 mi. (22.30 km)
Weather: 88°F (31°C); Humid
Time: 8 P.M.
Beneficiary: YMCA of Little Rock
I heard about this race while I was taking swimming lessons at the YMCA. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to run for a good cause and do run at night. I enjoy night races albeit the previous one, We Did It All Night Long Half Marathon, did not go as planned. As a runner, you sometimes have to think like a quarterback. Each pass is not going to be perfect, but do not allow a bad throw or mishap to dictate the next one.
I stayed late at work and drove over to the Lakewood Property Owners Association complex. I saw some friends warming up as I arrived. I saw one of the guys that I was pretty sure would win. He's a good runner and so is his father. Dusk was on the horizon and wonder why I hadn't brought my headlamp. It shouldn't be too bad though.
We lined up and were told there would be people on the course to guide us. We started out close to the lake. It was a very relaxing place to have a race. We start out and make a right staying on Lakeshore Drive. The plan is for me to use this as a nice tune-up for the race on the next day. This would be the first time I run a 5k and then have a 14-mile race the next day.
We ran around the entire lake and headed up a nice little incline. The sun was down by this time and I was using those in front of me as light. One guy had a blinking red light that I followed for the rest of the race. After making it up the incline we made a left and headed into the neighborhood.
Being that it was dark, I couldn't get a good look at the houses, so I focused on the blinking light. Residents were out walking their dogs and one asked what was going on. We are running from the cops! No, there is a 5k going on. At least they didn't give us dirty looks. I have witnessed those looks during races when people feel we have invaded their space.
We follow Lakeview Road and we go downhill and hit a straightaway. I can see some of the runners going back the other way as we run over the lake. I know this would be nice to see during the day. The downhill becomes an uphill push and then we make a right and soon reach the turnaround point in a cul de sac. Back the other way we go!
The guy with the blinking light is still in my view. I pick it up going down the decline and across the lake again. Retracing our footsteps I actually see the couple still out walking their dog. Hey, again! The humidity is starting to get to me. As I'm thinking that, I see an aid station. "Gimme whatever you have!" I drank one cup and splashed the rest on my face. Rejuvenating!
We run past the point where we turned the first time out, so I guess we'd enter the complex in a different place. After we veer to the right, one of my friends tells me to be careful when we re-enter the complex. Huh? Why? Another right and I'm sensing the end. We prepare to enter the complex and we had to run through these posts. What? This is not an obstacle course. It wasn't too bad, but if one was not paying attention it could have not been good. One of the posts could have clipped you.
The see the bright lights lighting the path for the finish. Woohoo! LET'S GO GET IT! I had a good finish and I was pleased with the result. I stayed and talked with some others that had races on the next day, too. Most of them were running 5ks and one was also running another 5k on Sunday. Really? Who would run 3 races in 3 days? *grins*
I did predict the winner! I'm looking forward to seeing him run at some college next year. Maybe it was the heat, but they had some of the best oranges I have ever tasted. They were very juicy and refreshing. I think I had about 3 or 4 of them. I even took some with me. Hey, they were going to throw them away.
I was dreading what the next race...the next day would bring. It would not be a pleasant experience. One of the guys that ran this race as giving me the inside scoop. I know he was being jocular in describing the switchbacks, but something told me he was only trying to soften the blow. This is going to be ugly isn't it?
overall place: 15 out of 61
division place: 5 out of 8
gender place: 14 out of 31
- Next race -
Mt. Nebo 14-Mile Trail Run (Dardanelle, AR)
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Date: Saturday, September 17, 2011
Race: 30th Arkansas 20k
2011 Race Number: 37
Total Races: 43
Location: Little Rock, AR
Distance from home: 23.34 mi. (37.56 km)
Weather: 57°F (14°C); Humid
Time: 7:32 A.M.
After the fiasco in Batesville the previous weekend, I figured this race couldn't be too bad. I hadn't done this type of distance since Tupelo, but I felt prepared for it. My body felt prepared for it, too. I felt like I was energized and ready to go. That's a good feeling to have considering the IT bandit! LOL!
I arrived at the race early. Uh-oh! Maybe a trend is starting? I grabbed my packet and suited up for the race. One of my friends asked me was I better today. She is the person that commented on knowing how I could run faster at Tupelo. I told her that I felt like today would be a good day. Okay, Mr. IT bandit, you need to stay in check today.
We had a chip start and finish. Ready to GO! We start and make a quick right before plunging down a hill. Hmm...Being an out-and-back course, that's not a good sign. I'll deal with that when the time comes. I hear a runner comment on how hilly the route is. Another runner said, "It's not Batesville!" I see someone else has visited BatesHILL as well.
This race has great support on the course. There was a police officer or a student in the JROTC in full uniform at every possible intersection. For the students to be out there really meant they were dedicated. I always say that for someone to sit idly waiting on you takes serious dedication. That is true of supporters on the course whether they are volunteers, family, and friends.
We continue down Sevier Street which takes us through downtown Benton. When I say downtown, think of an old downtown area and not a major city. We run past the historic Saline country Courthouse. Next, we run into the neighborhoods. Some races choose to take you through the worst parts of town, but I enjoyed running through the neighborhoods of Benton.
The IT bandit is not bothering me, so I'm smiling as we run across the Sevier Street bridge over Interstate 30. People are honking as we make our way across. Seeing the Interstate briefly reminded me of running on the access road during the Run with the Son 5k. After making it across, there is a water stop up ahead. That is around mile 3.
We run back into some residential areas and then we find ourselves on a highway. I don't mind this because it's peaceful out. We cross the Saline River Bridge. I hate running on that concrete. I see someone in the distance that looks like they are in pain. I stop and ask her if she is okay and she tells me to go ahead. I let her know that I will tell them at the next aid station. I hate to see anyone in pain, especially a friend.
As I continue on I see the leaders going back the other way. I can't be that far off from the turnaround. We take a right onto an access road. Uh-oh! Luckily it's not too far from the turnaround. Many of my friends are going back the other way and seeing them always makes me feel better. We cheer each other own and I'm shocked that my IT bandit has been pretty tame. It's a little rolling and then we reach the halfway point. It's time to go back the other way.
I could post a decent time today if I just keep this up. For whatever reason I decide to speed up. That worked for me until I got to about the 15k (9.3 mi.) point and then IT hit me! This is not good! Screw this freaking IT band! I resorted to walking and running the rest of the way. I shouldn't have sped up. That is what did it.
I struggled through the last 5k. The JROTC students were still out in full force. If I do pass out, I won't be alone is what I thought. With about a mile or so to go, my running club president came out to run in Dan "The Man." He's an awesome guy. He is one of the people I had brunch with the previous weekend.
I heard him telling me he was going to catch me. I told him, "C'mon!" He doesn't know how much he helped me take the pain for the last stretch. That blasted hill that we flew down at the beginning was not fun grinding up at the end. I made it up and headed to the finish. I sprinted as best as I could and was relieved with another finish.
I felt horrible and I thought the IT band on the other side is was started to act up. That would not be good to be down two IT bands. Why do you do this to yourself? It's not about me anymore though. It was at first, but when I realized how many people were aware of this quest, my motivation for finishing it changed. If one person would push to complete a goal because of me, I'd be happy.
Afterwards, I went out to brunch with Dan "The Man" and some other friends. I enjoyed that food and it was on that day a group decided to run the Green Bay Marathon. I'm coming to you ON2VICTORY, but you already knew that.
This race put me in more post-race pain than any of the others. It hurt to walk and the 50 race quest was seriously in jeopardy after this one. It was a painful week following this race.
Dan "The Man's" spot...Not really...
overall place: 150 out of 186
division place: 9 out of 10
gender place: 103 out of 116
- Next race -
Tyler Curtis Memorial 5k (Little Rock, AR)
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2011
Race: 10th Tyler Memorial Curtis Memorial 5k
2011 Race Number: 38
Total Races: 44
Location: Little Rock, AR
Distance from home: 9.96 mi. (16.03 km)
Weather: 56°F (13°C); Chilly
Time: 8 A.M.
Beneficiary: Tyler Curtis Memorial Scholarship
This was a very fun race for me last year. I got to run with some of my fraternity brothers and that made it a special race. This time around I was on my own. Another change about this year was this race was a Grand Prix race. That was not the only change. This would be the last time this race would happen. It saddens me to see it go, but I understand that things happen. I'm glad I had the chance to do it last year and I would enjoy it for its final year.
I picked up my packet the day before. When I arrived I had everything ready to go. No rushing this time. Talked to some friends and joked about the challenging schedule up ahead for the rest of the Grand Prix. We had 3 10ks, a half marathon, and a full remaining.
The 20k the previous weekend wreaked havoc on my body and I knew this wouldn't be a good race. Once again, I told myself that all I had to do was finish. The course has hills, but having done this race before I was fully aware of them. The course weaves through the Otter Creek subdivision. I wanted to make sure I didn't start out too fast, but how often does that work?
I went out hard and fast and knew I would eventually fade. The first mile was a blur as surprisingly I ran it around my normal pace. That would prove to be doom for the rest of the race though. I remember seeing my friend Jesse on the course providing much needed support for me. I was thinking throughout the rolling hills, "Where is the second mile marker?" There you are. Where have you been hiding?!
I remember this part of the course from last year. We ran up a hill and then made a right. We took the entire loop and came back around retracing our footsteps from when we entered the loop. As I came charging down the hill, mentally I was prepared to end strong. I can always kick, right? I see the 3-mile marker and tell myself to convert the pain into energy!
I push hard and I'm going to finish strong. I pass this guy as I'm approaching the finish and he is NOT going to be beat by me. He turns it on and I'm right there giving it my all pushing through the pain. We are going back and forth, but he finally pulls away at the end. WHAT?!
He outkicked me! That doesn't happen to me. Well, it did on this day. I suffered a defeat. I'm in shock. Another experience I will chalk up to the IT band. Had it not been an issue, I probably would have been racing an entirely different person to the finish.
overall place: 122 out of 230
division place: 12 out of 16
gender place: 93 out of 127
- Next race -
RunWILD 5k (Little Rock, AR)
Saturday, October 8, 2011
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