It’s always an adventure….

When Kim and I go on our Saturday long runs you can count on something weird, interesting or just plain miserable happening, today was no different. I was scheduled to do an 18 mile run today so we met at 5:30am to head to the Arts Center, the meet spot for the Little Rock Marathon training group. We arrived early so I decided I needed to go to the bathroom first so we turned around and went to the Shell station, keep in mind we are NOT in the best part of Little Rock, when I go inside the guy behind the counter is behind bullet proof glass, that gives you an idea of the neighborhood. I had to stand in line to ask where the restroom was, well of course, no Public Restroom, I asked where the closest place was and he asked if it was just me, and I said yes and so he let me use the non-Public Restroom and I was so nervous, I couldn’t go, dang it.

This was not a good start to the day, I had been on this route before and it is quite a few miles before we get anywhere that has a restroom. Kim and I both got route sheets just in case one of us lost one, it took up the whole page, whew, it was going to be a long 18 miles. The morning was not hot, but terribly humid, thank goodness the sun was not out, there was a lot of cloud cover.

We had run about a mile and a half and I knew where there was a Sonic and they had to have a restroom right? it is a restaurant. So we made a detour from the route and ran down to the Sonic, ran around to the back of the building where I thought the restrooms would be, but no, so I went back up front and asked a worker, she came out and showed me the nasty bathroom. I was able to use the bathroom this time, but was still nervous, it wasn’t very clean and I was afraid someone would walk in.

After my little break we had to make up some ground, I thought we had lost about a mile, but it ended up being only about 1/2 a mile, we kept going. When we got to Markham it was nothing but hill for the next few miles, this was the same route we had ran 2 weeks ago when it rained the entire run. Up we went, we trudged up Markham, I think we walked once, but not for long and then it was on to Kavanaugh, ARGGHH!!

This hill goes on forever and ever, we were on part of the Little Rock Marathon course for about 2.5 miles, which is all uphill, I think we were pretty decent today running up the hill. We saw lots of people running down the hill, odd, no one was going up the hill. Once you get to Mount St. Mary’s it’s not over, there is another 1/2 mile of hill to go and this is even more steep, but we ran up it and never stopped, we might have been slow, but we made it.

When we got to the top of the hill it was a relieve, even though we knew the hills were not over, there were lots more to come in our route, but something odd happened at the top of the hill, this cold wind started blowing and then we noticed these black clouds overhead, this did not look good, we were only at about 7 miles into our run. I told Kim we needed to find a yard sale and buy a couple of hats, because it was going to rain and soon. She agreed after a minute of me assuring her we could find a “new” hat. We both had stuck $5 in our fuel belts. We immediately saw a sign for an “Alley Sale” and so we turned into the Alley and there wasn’t a sale that we could find, great, the wind was really picking up and you could tell the bottom was going to fall out at any minute.

Kim asked if there were any stores around, and oh yes we were right around the corner from lots of “boutiques”, we were now in the best part of Little Rock. We thought we would run down to Starbuck’s or Kroger’s and see if we could buy a hat, we were determined to get a damned hat! We could run in the rain, but not without a hat.

So we actually ran a lot faster down to Starbuck’s and we were looking for Kroger’s since we only have 5 bucks apiece when I saw a Sherwin-Williams store, it was still pretty early in the morning, but they were open, so a girl who worked there happened to be outside and I asked her if they had any hats, and she replied, just baseball hats, PERFECT!! So Kim and I went inside and they gave us two white hats with red brims, cotton hats, but hats nonetheless. We were set. As soon as we stepped outside the paint store it had started raining, perfect timing.

We were off our route again, but not by much, we had actually just run parallel to where we should have been, so we headed back to our route, the rain was cold, the wind was cold and our happy run was turning sour. We continued to run for another mile and a half and it started lightning and now it was coming down hard, not just raining, no good, we needed shelter. We were in Cammack Village, not around any stores anymore, but we saw a park, and a slide, we thought we would run and get under the slide for cover, it was one of those big things that had a bridge thing and a couple of different slides, what we didn’t know was the steps and bridge and all was not solid, the rain poured through like a sieve, so we had to crouch down under the slide, there was barely enough room for us, the rain was still hitting our arms and legs, but at least we were not getting the brunt of it anymore.

We made jokes and laughed at ourselves cowered under the slide, but we had to get out from under the slide, we were getting stiff and we were cold and wet. It slacked up a bit and we took off, not a block away Kim spotted a canopy, it was the Cammack Village Swimming Pool and Police Station and just in time because here came another round, we ran up under the porch at the police station, what a relief.

We were so cold, goose bumps, shivering, wet and no way to get dry or warm. We stood there for awhile when I looked around the corner and saw another little area with a bench, we sat under there for a while too, then we went back up on the porch. Yeah, at times we probably could have started running, but we were too cold, it was just more than we could stand at that point. We both agreed we didn’t want to start running until it stopped raining, so we sat on the porch and shivered for 1 1/2 hours. It gets better.

About an hour after we had been sitting there, oh I forgot to mention, the Police station was closed, no one was there, this truck pulls up and this guy gets out and he says “did you get stuck in this mess or are you waiting on a class?” We tell our story and he says “I feel for you, I really do” and walks inside the building, oh and on the back of his T-shirt it said “Sheriff’s Dept”. He never asked if we needed a drink, if we wanted to call someone, go inside, nothing, but he felt for us, I guess that was good enough. We were shocked, we just couldn’t believe he didn’t offer to help, I mean come on, we were two hot chicks, oops I mean two wet hot chicks, well maybe we weren’t so hot.

So, we thought it had quit raining and we took off on this hill, of course and we start running and at first it’s okay, we are really stiff from sitting so long and we are still cold, but it’s getting better as we go and all of a sudden it starts raining again! I knew Kavanaugh was just ahead and I told Kim and we took off in a sprint. We made it without getting completely drenched again, we stood there for a couple of minutes before we decided to go into the Pet Hospital where they were kind enough to let us hang out. There was this old geezer in there who was babbling away how it wasn’t going to stop raining until tomorrow, oh boy, this is not what we wanted to hear.

We were actually talking about having someone come get us, who would we call, when should we call, we were sick of the rain and cold. We were at 9.5 miles. And then it quit raining again, I suggested we run down to Starbucks and see how we felt then, so we took off again, I’m sure you can guess what happened next? Yes, more rain, not as hard and we just rain on to Starbuck’s where we spent our money on coffee to warm us up. Let me say that the people at that store were not near as friendly as the people in NLR or Jacksonville, far from it. And the coffee sucked too, we ended up throwing it away about two blocks away.

As we were walking with our Starbuck’s, the sun came out, YIPPEE, I was so happy, it started warming us up, but then my shoulder blade started hurting and I almost threw up, don’t know why it makes me so nauseated, but this was not good, but at least the sun was out! So we decided to pretend it was a new run and we were about at 10 miles and we took off, happy again. Well, maybe happy is too strong of a word.

When you run with the Little Rock Marathon Group they want you to sign in with your mileage and then mark your name off when you get back and someone always waits on you, well today I did not write our names on the list, I didn’t want anyone to spend their morning waiting on us to get back. As Kim and I were running down Markham in downtown Little Rock this car pulls up to us and asks us if we need anything, water? are we okay? I’m a little confused and then she tells us she is with the Little Rock Marathon group, OMG!! They were out looking for us, she actually said we wanted to make sure you weren’t in a ditch or something. I was so embarrassed! We explained what happened and told her to call back to “base” and have them go home, we were only a couple miles out.

I thought we might get in around 16.5 miles, but the closer we got I realized we were going to miss that a little, when we turned on 10th street into the Arts Center we had 15.5 miles, oh well, all those hills surely added some mileage right? As we were running into the parking lot there was Leah, clapping, OMG again, she waited on us anyway, I felt so bad, it was about 11:45, we had been out for as long as it took me to run the marathon. What an adventure! You can always count on some kind of something when we do a long run. Next week is 20 miles, I wonder what that will hold?

Had to share the splits – we took our rain break at about 8.5 miles and I wanted my pace for the entrie run to be under 12:00 mile it ended up being 11:41.

  1. 11:48
  2. 11:06
  3. 11:03
  4. 12:59
  5. 11:39
  6. 13:32
  7. 12:11
  8. 11:04
  9. 12:41
  10. 10:50
  11. 10:31
  12. 10:26
  13. 11:29
  14. 13:12
  15. 11:24
  16. 10:36
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