Little Rock Marathon Race Report

Well by now you know I did finish my first marathon, Yippee! This morning I’m feeling pretty good. Not too sore, but sore nonetheless! I was not feeling that great last night, headache, nauseous and very sore, but I slept like I had just ran a marathon.

Where to begin, Saturday night I slept about 5 hours, laid in bed for a long time and finally got up about 4:45, put on all my marathon gear, ate my granola bar and drank some water, piddled around the house and headed out about 6:15. I was a nervous wreck sitting in the parking lot of the Clinton library waiting on the crew from Cabot to get there. It was cool outside, 50’s I think, but I was shivering even with my heater running, nerves I’m sure, my mind was a jumble, I needed to get the race started so I could quit thinking!

As I sat there waiting, one of only about 5 cars, I finally noticed what a beautiful day it was, blue skies, slight breeze, this would all change! People started pulling in to the parking lot, it was a relief to watch other people get out of their cars, put on their bibs, get their fuel belts adjusted, just in general – people watching. I called Annette to find out where they were and to let them know there was plenty of parking at the Library. I started getting antsy about the time, even though it was only about 6:50, I was afraid I wouldn’t have time to drop off my dry bag and go to the bathroom before the start. I called Annette again close to 7 and told her I was going to start walking toward the River Market. When I was walking under I-30 I saw the Cabot caravan, there was Brenda in the lead and then I saw Annette a couple of cars back. It was good to see them.

I continued down to the River Market, there wasn’t a lot of runners there yet, I went straight to the dry bag drop and then to the bathroom. I then headed back toward the parking lot, it took a while before I spotted Annette and the gang. We were all excited, hugs, pictures, general good moods. I showed them where the bathrooms were and we went back down there and then headed up to the start area.

I saw Dianne, the Leader of our Women Can Run clinic and also Melissa, the Director, little did I know at that moment I would spend 3 hours with Melissa during the marathon.

About 15 minutes prior to race time I parted ways with my friends, I really wanted to stay with them, but I knew they were all had goals for the half, so hugs again and I headed back toward the 5:30 pace group. I saw the 5:00 pace group and was really wanting to find the 5:15 group, nowhere to be found, so 5:30, couldn’t find that group either, I was getting a little panicky. I had a plan and not finding the 5:30 group was not in it. That’s when I saw Melissa and her friend Cathy, I told them my dilemma, Melissa, so sweet, said stick with us, they were planning on finishing around 1:30. Since I couldn’t find the pace group and I knew Melissa would not steer me wrong, I said okay.

What I didn’t know at the time was they were doing the Galloway method, run 5 minutes walk 2 minutes, I had not trained this way, but I was willing to try it for a while and if I saw we were falling off track I could always go my separate way. Melissa explained that this way we would have energy at the end and we could always reevaluate at the half way point, etc.

Right before the start of the race I looked back and I saw the 5:30 pace group, it was such a relief to know they were there in case I did want to part ways with Melissa I could just fall in with the pace group. It took about 5 minutes after the gun for us to cross the start. We ran 5 minutes, walked 2, wow, this was weird! Not even 1/2 a mile, and in the beginning it seemed as though the five minute intervals were coming really quick, then it was like, has it been five minutes yet? I did suggest we run down the hills even though it might be a walk break and we kept leap frogging with the 5:30 pace group the whole time.

The sun was out early and the wind was blowing pretty good, I had a jacket and gloves which I ditched at mile 1. At the first relay station it was cloudy and VERY windy, average pace at that point was about 11:30, feeling great, no pains at all. This is where Cathy who was keeping us on track with the 5/2 intervals had a watch malfunction and we got off track with our 5/2 run/walk. I started trying to keep up with it for awhile and then Cathy fixed her watch, it started being a pain.

Right before the half marathoners split off at mile 10 I reached back to grab my water bottle and it was gone! Holy Crap, what the hell! That was so bizarre, apparently I didn’t put the elastic cord over the spout and it fell out, but what bothered me is that a) I didn’t hear it hit the ground, b) no one said “hey, you dropped your water”. Oh, I forgot to mention at two different water stations 1 was out of both water and gatorade and the other one was out of water, so I was a bit concerned. Luckily Melissa and Cathy had friends on the course who had extra bottles of water and they were around mile 11.5. They also had oranges, peanut butter sandwiches all kinds of stuff, I took an orange slice, yum, nice and cold.

My back/shoulder blade started hurting around mile 7, I was telling myself, no it will not hurt, but it did anyway, and when I would walk, it would get worse. At mile 13 Melissa was having a really hard time, she has asthma and actually had to get her inhaler out, this was her 8th marathon and she was very emotional, wait that’s supposed to be me! We were on a quick break, I thought do a quick walk break up this hill, do a carb boom and get moving (back was killing me). I got my gel out and as soon as I put it in my mouth I thought oh shit, I’m going to throw up! We were right in front of the State Capitol and they had it all fenced off, no bushes, no statues, no where for me to run and hurl. I just squatted down next to the fence and had to let the nausea pass, yuck. It did pass, thank goodness. This is where I pretty much had to keep running so I called my Mom when I got on Markham and told them I was two miles away. This gave me a little boost to get up the hill too.

I have been up this dreaded hill a couple of times on our long runs, it’s not that bad, just long, about 2.5 miles, UP. I lost Melissa and Cathy, but they had told me earlier if I felt the need to go on, to just go. I had to make a quick potty stop about mile 15, this group of people at the water stop were so fun, they were drinking mimosas, cheering my name (on my bib), held my water and fuel belt. The guy took my water bottle and filled it up for me, it was nice. Then it was off to see my family around mile 15.5. I was getting a little emotional knowing they were about 1/2 mile away, I kept it under control though cause I knew if I lost it I would have a hard time getting started running again. As I rounded the corner I could hear them calling my name. OMG, my throat was closing up, my heart rate was going up too. It was so wonderful to see my Mom, Sister, Daughter, Aunt and Cousin there with signs and hugs for me. It was all I could do not to cry. I stopped, changed out water bottles, ate a peanut butter cracker and then I saw Melissa and Cathy coming around the corner, so I started off with them again, but they were still walking and I had to keep running, and off I went.

I’ve been typing for over an hour and when I published half my report was gone. I will have to type it over, ARG!! I had pictures and everything!!


2 Responses

  1. Way to go Cheryl!!!! I can’t wait to hear the rest!

    Is that Melissa T and Cathy C? I used to be a member of the Hot Legs running group and knew them!

  2. Cheryl:
    I find your marathon account wonderful! I have just signed up for my first – even though I have been running for 15 years! I am a little bit scared, but you have made me feel like I can do it! Way to go!

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