Put your Big Mac down and drive!

That was our mantra yesterday as we were nearly run down or riddled with rocks on our 18 mile long run at Pinnacle Mountain, there were more than a few choice words spoken to more than one driver yesterday.   I don’t think any of us were looking forward to this route to begin with, I know I had just put it out of my mind the whole week.  This course is, how do I put it, FUGGLY, comes to mind.  It even beats Rahling Road.

Lets start at the beginning, Tammy meets me at my house and we head to the Kroger store on Hwy 10 to pick up Kim, we get there way too early and just sit in the parking lot watching these two cats, mind you it’s dark thirty, our start time is 6am.  Kim shows up on time and as we head out of the parking lot I start to turn right for Pinnacle Mountain Visitor’s Center and both Tammy AND Kim say NO wrong way so I turn left, and I drive and I drive and before you know it we are back at the interstate, wrong way!  So, the lead we had, gone.  Turn around and head from which we came past the Kroger store for maybe a block and up the damned Mountain where we are following a butt load of vehicles, oh this is not good, parking is at a premium.

As we are climbing the hill we already know we are not going to have a parking spot, the road goes to the right and there is a sign ‘Stay Right’ or something to that effect, we loop around and I start to back up where the parallel bus parking in and this bitch and I use this term loosely, whips in going the WRONG way, parks her itty bitty piece of crap right in my parking spot, HOLY CRAP, I was ready to explode!  For one I was backing in, going the right way, she was going the wrong way on the road, no courtesy AT ALL, she could plainly see my back up lights, it was just rude!  We were all trying to get parking spaces, this is not Chicago or New York, we are in Little Rock Freaking Arkansas at a Saturday morning run!  I wanted to scratch her eyes out!  Okay that got me going.  As we finally get parked we see everyone running down this 3/4 mile hill, and its a huge hill.  Yes, we are late.

We get signed in and see the girly who stole the parking spot she was stretching and talking to her buds about how she forgot her ipod in her car, I wanted to say something, but I kept my mouth shut, until she was gone and then I was going to KICK HER ASS!! LOL

We finally get under way, the run down the hill was pretty cool, weather wise, I actually had a few goose bumps on top of the mountain, but we warmed up, it was still pretty dark and blinkly lights were abundant.  Lucky for us there wasn’t much traffic on the hilly section of the road down to Maumelle Park, all I could think was “This is going to be hell on the way back”, it would be about the last 2.5 miles of our 18 miles.

Everyone was in excellent spirits today and it made for a great run, until we got to the stupid road with the gravel, I think its County Farm Road, whatever it is, for the record it sucks.  They have been putting this huge blue green pipe underneath the road bed and since they haven’t finished they haven’t paved it where they’ve been working, so more than half of the road is torn up with gravel, dust and just debris.  I’m not sure how long we were on this road, but guessing it was somewhere between 1-2 miles of misery.

On our way down to Two Rivers Park it wasn’t so bad, still early, once we got into Two Rivers we were in there for a while, we had to run both trails inside the park which seemed to take FOREVER, it was really quiet and not hardly anyone out, not like the River Trail at all.   Part of me was wishing we were on the River Trail for some sort of distraction, I do not like the nothingness and that is what it was, a lot of nothing, just green grass and some funny talk about Bamboo and poop.

Okay, here is where the Big Mac comes in, as we are heading out of Two Rivers Park I think it was around mile 12ish, so it had to be around 8:30, traffic picking up quite a bit, and people are number 1, flying down this road where the speed limit is 35, we made a joke about was it 55 or 35?  There is no shoulder whatsoever on this road so we would run single file and people were just not paying attention.  Tammy is the one who said “Put your Big Mac down and pay attention!”  It was insane, they would either be WAY TOO CLOSE to us or fly by us throwing up rocks.  We couldn’t get a break, it was every couple of minutes here would come another car headed straight for us, it was scary!

As we were getting closer to the turn off onto Pinnacle Valley we hear a car coming up behind us because we can hear the stupid gravel under the tires and it sounds way too close, we turn around and Tammy and I both scream because the car is on our ASS, literally, if we would have been an inch over they would have mowed us down.  It was a lady in a gold Toyota, my heart rate shot up to about 170, scared the shit out of me, closest I’ve ever come to being run over.  Tammy said her elbow almost hit the side mirror.

Not to mention the numerous times I was yelling at drivers to slow your ass down and the huge ass rocks under our feet.  Kim did a half twist on her foot.  We were really happy to get off that piece of shit road.

We reached Maumelle Park a little over 15 miles, I had to pee really bad and was happy to take a break, but knew the worse part of the run was coming, ugh, I was absolutely dreading it.  Especially that 3/4 mile climb up to the Visitor’s Center.  From Maumelle Park there is a straight stretch, but as soon as you see the sign for Pinnacle Mountain State Park, be prepared, no relief in sight until you reach your car!  It’s uphill from there.

Tammy had been feeling some pains and was wondering if she was going to make it while we were in Two Rivers, but let me tell you, she popped some Ibuprofen and it did wonders for her, she loves those hills and is like the energizer bunny, up she went.  Me, I was running really well and all of a sudden, no air, I had to take a walk break before I got to the top of the second hill and that was a mistake, should have never stopped, but I just couldn’t breathe.

We finally saw the sign for the Visitor’s Center, but holy cow, that stinking hill was coming, there went Kim and Tammy, both of them, up that damned hill without a walk break one!  Me?  I had to take a few walks in between my slow run up that massive mountain.  Hate that thing.  But, then I saw my vehicle, woohoo, thank goodness!  We made it in three pieces!  Once again thankful for such great weather and that we were able to complete another long run which I questioned all week long.

My Garmin 17.88, not quite 18, but I did not care.  Tammy on the other hand ran around the parking lot until her Garmin beeped 18, my back at that point was about to put me under, so no way.  Average pace 10:31, actually too fast considering I took some walk breaks at the end.  Mile 16 was a 10:00 pace, where my last mile was a 12:20 pace.

I think we will be ready for Tupelo next weekend, Kim running the full, me and Tambo the 14.2 mile course at 5am, should be interesting!  Wish us luck!  I am hoping for between 2:15 – 2:30 finish, but I really will just see how I feel that morning, you never know.

Just stuff

Lots of stuff going on, a big change from a couple of months ago.  I didn’t get the job I wanted they went with someone else, at least they were nice enough to call.  Went on another interview and I had to turn it down before it even got to the offer stage, pay was WAY TOO LOW!  I may not be saying that in another few months!

Running is good, can’t ask for better weather, makes me worry about winter though, if our summer is this mild does that mean our winter will be extra cold?  I hope not.

Ran with Tammy and Kim on Monday morning, it was so nice and cool, if I would have had more time I could have run some extra!  Tammy told me last night she did run some more when she got home.  Which makes me say, hmmm, isn’t she the one who was questioning me about making our loop a little longer on Monday?  Hmmm.

Last night was the Running Clinic and as usual I was dreading it all day, I don’t know why I dread it so much, well, it is hard and it should be, we don’t pay for easy!  Our workout was ramped up a bit, Coach Dennis wanted to stretch the rubber band as he calls it, take us into the Interval Threshold for longer than usual.  I don’t mind the Interval Pace, actual somewhere deep inside I really like pushing myself that hard, but I don’t like it for anything over 200 meters, cause it is tough.  Last night we had a total of 8 – 200’s at interval pace, 4 of them were in the middle of a 400 where you would try and run the first 200 at Lactate Threshold and the last 200 at Interval Pace, that was hard for me to do, I kept running my LT pace to fast and then would really push on the Interval pace.

Of course you are out there by yourself and I’m always in some sort of lala land, after my first 200 at Interval Pace Coach Dennis met me when I was doing my slow jog between 200’s and said I want you to start driving your arms more, it will make you run faster but you won’t be expending any more energy.  HA!  I did it on the last 3 – 200’s each one was about 7 seconds faster than my normal Interval Pace and I think I was expending more energy!  I was definitely huffing and puffing.  7 seconds doesn’t sound like much, but believe me when you are running it’s a lot!  Thank goodness that was the end of  my workout, I only had my cool down left.  I ended up with 5.65 miles with an average pace of 9:35, fast for me.

Well, it’s done, Kim, Tammy and I are headed to Tupelo, MS, Elvis Presley’s birthplace for the Tupelo Marathon on September 5th, Kim had already signed up for the Marathon so Tammy and I are running the 14.2 mile race, more than a Half so they don’t call it a half.  We are looking forward to it, should be lots of fun.  There are a lot of folks from the Little Rock Marathon Training Group who are going and last night Tammy said she heard our Superstar Leah say she was going too.

Tomorrow I go back to the dentist to finish my root canal, ugh, really dreading it, even though I had no pain or discomfort last time, I just don’t want to go and fork over money and then I have to get a new crown too, which is the most expensive part.  This is not the time to be forking over hundreds of dollars for dental work.  Thank goodness I have the COBRA plan, it helps for sure!

Another thing or two, I’m hungry all the time, I eat all the time!  I think I have a worm, I can’t be this hungry all the time, I eat all day, just about every hour I’m looking for something to eat!

I went to the Doctor about my back, I’m sick of having this unknown pain under my shoulder blade when I’m running, well, no luck, he had no idea, he thinks maybe a pinched nerve, but he said he is really not sure and wants to consult with a Neurologist, so that appoint is later in September.  Oh, and he called me a skinny white girl, that made my day, weird I know.  The context was about osteoporosis and how I’m more susceptible.

Oh, and my skin is getting old looking, I am old and there is nothing I can do about it, I don’t think you can get new skin.

Finally, a decent long run

Long runs don’t come easy to me and don’t get me wrong, easy is all relative, what I mean by easy is I wasn’t dying when we finished our 16 mile run yesterday.  Long runs are long and hard, but at least for the most part yesterday’s run was good.

The weather was outstanding for August in Arkansas, about 10 degrees cooler than normal and much lower humidity which made for about a 65 degree start at 5:30am.  I picked Tambo up at 5:15 and we headed to our brand new meet spot off Cantrell, the old Harvest Foods store parking lot.  Tammy had requested and received a 16 mile route from our leaders Tom and Hobbit, pretty sure it was Hobbit who laid out the route.  Two thumbs up!

Kim was already in the parking lot when we arrived, we expected to see more people starting early, but there was no one else and we were a little unsure of which way to go to get on Riverfront Drive, we figured it out in short notice and were off.  Thank goodness it was dark, we had a long trek down to the Big Dam Bridge through Murray Park, we all hate the Murray Park area, it’s just so long and BORING, but in the dark it’s different, still long, but since your are paying more attention to the road than your surroundings I think it goes by quicker.

I of course made a customary bathroom stop around mile 3, just guessing, I really have no idea how far we were into that damned stretch of road, but we could see the Bridge and the road is about 4 miles long.  When we started out Kim and I both commented that we had goose bumps, there was a breeze and it was blowing toward us, but it didn’t take long for us to warm up.

The miles ticked off pretty quickly and once we got across the Bridge and onto the trail in North Little Rock no one was talking and it was so quiet and peaceful, so serene, I can’t describe it.  Once we got onto the main River Trail we started seeing a lot more runners and bikers, the sun was up and the weather was uncommonly perfect.  We trudged along.

Part of our route took us through the soccer fields and once again, quiet, I can’t tell you how nice it was to just be out there in the woods with my friends running and appreciating life.  I kept thinking about Vicki, one of the ladies we have run with, laughed with, who was at the finish line when I finished my first marathon; while we were out there running, she was burying her husband who had died of a massive heart attack and I just kept thinking how short life is, how it can be taken in an instant.  I hope her strength gets her through this horrible time in her life.

Okay, still on the River Trail, we came back out close to the Golf Course and more people, lots of bikers today.  Up the hill and into the Skate Park, it was Kim’s turn for a bathroom break and we took the opportunity to fuel, soon we were on River Road, which is actually a real road so a little traffic, not much since it was still a little early.  We got some whoops and hollers from a group of cyclists, which was odd, that has never happened!   We had a good laugh about that, then we were back on the River Trail close the to RR Bridge where we encountered a mass of bikers, we had to run single file for a long time, I think until we got to Riverfront Park which was a little over mile 13.

Now I had to pee and knew this was my last chance since we would be taking the Main Street Bridge into Little Rock and it would be the local streets for the next 3 miles.  Quick potty break and I was ready to get this run completed.  I did forget to mention my back, it started hurting around mile 6, Tammy had given me a Salonpas patch and we had another good laugh when Kim tried to put it on my back and she said “I don’t think its going to stick” luckily Tammy was watching and noticed she was trying to put the paper backing on me instead of the patch.  I am glad we can laugh at ourselves.  It was pretty funny.  I don’t think the patch helped at all, but I was hopeful, it seems as though if I keep running it doesn’t hurt as much, it’s the walking that kills me.  So, I made an appointment for Monday, hopeful the Doc can give me some sort of diagnosis and treatment.

Once we got on the streets in Downtown I didn’t want to stop, I had a mission and that mission was to get it finished.  I remember saying “2 more miles” and thinking “thank God” I was still having a good run, but I was getting tired, or shall I say, I was tired.  My knees were hurting some and the back of my left knee hurt for some odd reason, not to mention my stupid back.

We took a quick walk break around mile 14.5 and were off again, no grass was growing under our feet.  Once we got over to Cantrell we saw a guy in front of us, odd, we really had not seen many runners in this area, we came up on him and he started talking to us, he too was with the Little Rock Marathon Training group and was also doing 16 miles, we didn’t mention we had started early 🙂 He was training for New York and we mentioned our Tupelo Full for Kim and Tammy and I both sent in our registration for the Half which is in a couple of weeks!  It’s weird once we caught up to that guy he seemed to speed up, because we were on the move and were going to pass him.

One more mile to go!  The taste of victory, it’s like finishing a race, almost finished, on Titus Trail and I can see the Harvest Foods store in the distance, YAY!!!!  We come out on Riverfront Drive and Kim is shocked we are finished, but we are!  Tammy didn’t have the best run, but she had a great run last weekend, it just seems as though we can’t get in sync, but I haven’t had a GOOD run in a long, long time it seems, but yesterday, it was GOOD.

When we finished running, we stretched, I passed out our ice cold Diet Mt. Dews, and we discussed plans, my friend Sheryl was in NLR and wanted to meet for coffee so I had to drop Tammy off at her house, she jumped in her car and we all met up at Starbuck’s, it was just grand!  Hot coffee, goose bumps and some of my best friends.  I really enjoyed relaxing and talking, sometimes we get our coffee and go, but just sitting around and talking is much better.

I felt good the rest of the day, but ravenous, seemed like I was eating all day!  Even this morning, still hungry!  I did some of my errands yesterday, but have lots to do today too.  This temporary job is getting in the way of my life!

Oh, another little side note, we finished our run in 2:49:23, 16.02 miles with an average pace of 10:35, the only time I turned off my Garmin was for bathroom breaks.  Hell, that’s faster than some of our 5 mile runs!  But, that route yesterday was mostly flat and the temperature made a huge difference.

Where has the summer gone?

I can’t believe it’s the middle of August and people are out in full force with school shopping, what is it they need besides school supplies and how long can that really take?  Don’t they give you a list?  You buy it, you get out.  I guess school clothes, but at this time of year I would think you would still be wearing your summer clothes, maybe not.  I remember wearing cords on one of my first days back to school, is that possible?  I’m sure we started later in the year, this middle of August crap I don’t get, but who am I to question the validity of when school starts?  On to more things I know nothing about.

My mileage keeps creeping up each week and I really don’t mind, couple of miles extra each week can’t do much harm, we’ve been adding a little jag to our “loop” and we end up with over 5 miles each day and then our long runs are inching up as well.

My runs last week started out pretty bad, Monday I had to cut my run short, I had to find a bathroom around mile 3 and send Tammy on, I wasn’t going to make it so I only ended up with 4 miles.  At Tuesday nights Clinic I was doing great till right at the end, I had 6 miles and all of a sudden, BAM, where’s the bathroom, well there isn’t one and I had to leave without stretching or cooling down, I was lucky to make it home.

The rest of the week was mediocre, not horrible but better than the first part of the week.  Kim came and ran with me on Thursday and I did have to make a stop at Kroger and then we finished up with close to 6 miles.  Friday was my Birthday, Kim and Tammy both came over and we did a birthday run, once again another stop at Kroger.  Still close to 6 miles.

I had a great Birthday on Friday, Kim gave me a gift card to my favorite store – Target, Tammy gave me a new subscription to Runner’s World, mine had expired months ago.  My friend Sheryl took me to lunch and also gave me a gift card to Starbucks.  And a ton of Birthday wishes from all my Facebook friends.

On Saturday we had 16 miles scheduled, UGH, I was not looking forward to it.  AT. ALL.  We had decided to meet early instead of the normal 6am time, I picked up Tammy at 5:15 and we met Kim at Boulevard Bread at 5:30am.  Tom our Leader of the Little Rock Marathon Training Group was already there too, we talked to him a bit, I had to make a bathroom stop to get something out of my eye and still had issues with it, but we ended up leaving a little later than we had planned.

We tried to keep our pace pretty slow, I wanted around 10:45, after last week I thought maybe I just went out too fast, so we really did start out fairly slow, and lucky for us the temperature was great, 67 degrees, but not nearly as cool as Friday, felt as though the humidity was sneaking back up.  Of course it was pretty dark still and we were running in downtown Little Rock, crossed over the Broadway Street bridge to North Little Rock where we made a huge loop and around mile 4 I started feeling like I better start looking for a bathroom.  Luckily we were close to the River Trail and we made a little side jag over to the facilities and I felt SO MUCH better.

At mile 5 we had just crossed back over into Little Rock when we decided we better fuel up, Kim had not turned her Garmin back on at the bathroom and had lost .25 miles, she was not happy, so she was determined to get that mileage back on her Garmin and kept running and eating.  I stopped and realized my back was starting to hurt like last week, holy cow, this is going to suck, so we took off again.  I don’t think we stopped again until we got to the Governor’s Mansion at mile 10, maybe for traffic, because this route was all in the streets of Little Rock.  I think we ran all of them.

My back was really hurting and it really hurts when I stop running, but I had to get my breath and get some honey stingers out of my fuel belt, so I sat down on the wall at the Mansion, I know it’s not a good idea to sit down, but I was afraid I would throw up if I didn’t.  Quick stop and we were off again toward Central High, only 6 miles to go.

I started struggling around mile 13, Kim wanted to get some of her fruit snacks because she didn’t get any at mile 10, we stopped and I immediately felt a wave of nausea, I had to sit down, my back, UGH!!  The girls ran on a bit and I guess they realized I wasn’t behind them and came back for me, I had to make myself get up, it was difficult.

Once we got up Markham to our turnaround spot, close to mile 14 I started feeling a tad, and I mean a tad, bit better, for one we only had a couple of miles to go, yippee!!  And we were on a downhill, but not for long, there was this monster hill right by where Susan from Benton used to work when she lived here.  I could only make it about half way up, Kim and I both were huffing and puffing, NOW, Tambo on the other hand was like a machine and was at the top of the hill, just a getting it!  She stayed ahead of us until about 1 mile out.

We met up at Broadway where there is always some traffic, we thought we were going to be way short, Kim ended up with right at 16 miles, me and Tammy both had 15.85, not sure how Kim ended up with more….

I felt okay once I got over to my vehicle, downed about half a can of ice cold Diet Mt. Dew and stretched, my back was still nagging me, but I was so glad we were through.  It was still nice out, the temperature was now about 78 and the Farmer’s Market was open and in full swing.

We all grabbed some coffee drinks and sat outside next to Tom and Hobbit, where we now may be running the Tupelo Half Marathon on September 6th.  Kim is already running the full and I was already going with her, but seems like there is a lot of people going from the Marathon Group and it sounds like a fun time.  We shall see.

My Garmin total time was 2:48:xx, which is an average pace of 10:35, too fast.  I looked at the laps and some were right around 10 minute miles, while others were around 11, so no consistency whatsoever!  Not sure how to do that.

I’m really enjoying the cool mornings again, but today it was not cool when I stepped outside to get the paper, it was back to muggy, so maybe the summer will stick around for another 6 months, wouldn’t that be nice?  I don’t even want to think about winter at all.

Yesterday afternoon I headed to my Mother’s house in Carlisle where she was grilling and had a great Birthday feast.  I stayed way too long and couldn’t wait to get home and take a nap!  I did get a quick nap in around 6pm, but it was almost too late for a nap and I felt groggy the rest of the evening, it may have something to do with all that food I ate!  But I enjoyed every bite and felt no guilt at all!

Today rest and I’m going to try and not eat everything in the house like I normally do on Sunday, then I pay for it on Monday morning.

Bad Runs

Have I really been training, running 5 days a week forever, doing my running clinics on Tuesday nights, because the last two runs have sucked, big time.

On Saturday we had 14 miles on our Marathon training schedule, okay, to run 14 miles you have to have some sort of base, and I do, but it sure feel like I had not been training, the last 4 miles were miserable.  The first 4 miles were great, flew by, what the hell?

Saturday we were running the River Trail loop, started at the NLR boat ramp, me, Kim, Tammy and Kelli, nice and easy, no speedsters.  One thing not in our favor was humidity, it was a bit more humid than previous runs, but we are accustomed to it for the most part.

Kelli ran until around mile 3 and then made her turn around, she is pretty new to running and was only running 6.  We went on and I really couldn’t believe how fast the first 4 miles went by.   I needed to stop at the bathroom around mile 5, and it was a good chance for us to do our nutrition.  When I came out of the bathroom there stood Brenda, Cindy and Lisa, what a shock.  We were going to meet them after our run at Boulevard Bread, but thought they would be way in front of us, they were doing the same loop, but started in the River Market on the Little Rock side.

We all took off toward the Big Dam Bridge, the three fast girls quickly were out of sight.  When we got to the bridge we ran into Arland, we had seen him earlier at the skate park and I thought he was unloading his bike, but he was actually running 10 miles out and back and then riding his bike.  I talked to Arland for a bit while the girls talked to another friend Dianne.  Amazing the people you run into on the River Trail.

Off again up the Big Dam Bridge, what a climb, especially after standing still talking.  We were halfway through our run and I still felt okay, getting a little tired and the sun was out in full force.

We were now in the dreaded Murray Park, I just don’t like this part of the run, it still reminds me of the Little Rock Marathon, which I’m contemplating running again next year, it is just so damned straight and boring, ugh, and miles of it too.  We actually come up to mile marker 24 for the Marathon and I am not feeling well, for one, my back is killing me, this is right under my shoulder blade and I have no idea what causes it or when it will flare up, nothing makes it go away.  For another I feel like I can’t breath, my heart rate is not that high, well 160’s which is a little high, but not extremely high, I can run for awhile and then I just have to stop and bend over, I feel bad for Tammy and Kim, I really don’t know if I can make it.

We only have 2 miles to go and I really am hating this run, hating myself, my back, my breathing, this damned hill, everything.  We just keep going, I remember with 1 mile to go I actually said “I don’t think I can make it” and I heard Kim say something, like yes you can, it’s not that far, you can make it, and at that point I knew I could and started running again.

We got to the Main Street Bridge and my Garmin beeped for 14 miles, thank freaking heaven!  But we still had a way to go to our vehicle and for some reason when I’m not running my back hurts even worse and makes me nauseated, it’s so bizarre.  I told Tammy and Kim to go ahead and they kept running across the bridge and I decided I could run to0.  I caught up with them at the stairs that took us back down to the River Trail, my God, are we ever going to get back?

At the bottom of the stairs 14.31, geez, I took my fuel belt off, that’s always a relieve and I look at my cute new top and my pink sports bra has bled through and I now have pink boobs, cute.  I don’t care, just get me to the car.  I walk for a bit and my back is getting worse and worse so I start running again, just carrying my fuel belt, gotta get back, gotta get back, NOW!  It was all I could think about.

We did make it back and I didn’t collapse, it was such a relief, not sure why I felt so bad and I know everyone has bad run days, but this was just too much, it makes you question what the hell you are doing out there and how you will ever run a Marathon, seriously, run 26.2 miles when I can’t get through 14.  Holy Shit.

The Heat is Back!

Last night was a little uncomfortable at our weekly running clinic, it’s never cool, but last night was the first night in a while that I can say, uh, it was hot.  We were lucky to have such a wet and cool July and we got a little spoiled, 65 degree morning runs were not uncommon, those days are gone.  August has reared it’s hot head!

I was working yesterday and had to drive from West Little Rock to Cabot, not a short drive at all, I had an hour and it took me about 40-45 minutes to get there.  Tammy was already at the track running her warm up laps so I decided to do the same, get it over with and get out of there early.

Only got in about 3/4 of a mile before the 6:00pm start time and Coach Dennis had a really good discussion about Lactate Threshold and why we need to run in that threshold and not go over, it was very interesting and I always learn something.  I almost backed out of going this month, but once I got out there I was glad I did.

Our workout was tough, at the end we were running 200’s at Interval pace and Coach Dennis asked us if we could run more, maybe 1 or 2 more, but that’s about it!

I’m amazed at how hard people run and sweat!  Leah T, our Superstar was at the clinic and was running 400s in 77 seconds, 83 seconds, 90 seconds, is that possible? me 2:14, she laps me.  When we were finished she was sitting on the ground wringing her socks out, they were soaked with sweat, OMG, I could never run that hard, my heart would explode.  Yes, she is an elite athlete with years of experience, me just an old fart with 3 years.  Oh well, still amazed.

Rest day today, Cardio class tonight.

Did someone say rain?

Ahh, Arkansas in July was pretty wet, I think I heard yesterday record breaking rain for July and cooler than normal too.  But today was the first day of August and of course as usual it’s our long run day and we had 14 miles on our schedule.

I woke up in plenty of time this morning, went outside did a little run in front of my house, it’s a ritual and it helps with any stomach issues.  I noticed it was warmer than yesterday and bit more humid, I knew there was a chance of rain after the noon hour and threw my hat in with all the rest of my running gear.  I was off to get Tammy at 5:30am.

Got Tambo loaded up and we headed over the River to the Arts Center, today’s meet spot for the Little Rock Marathon Training Group.  I got a text from Kim on the way, she was already there, since she is back in town she most likely will be running with us again on Saturdays!  We were still pretty early, but it gives us time to gear up, get our route sheets, sign in and mingle before the “Good Morning Crackheads” announced by Tom our leader.

Tammy’s friend Kelli was back again this week for a 6 mile run, she would probably run 3-4 miles with us before we turned off.  We were on our way around 6:00am, without hats, the clouds did not scare us, but they should have.

I think we could all run this route without directions, it goes over to the Governor’s Mansion, up by Central High, around the Capitol and up the dreaded Kavanaugh Hill, ugh.  We turned off toward the Capitol and Kelli kept going straight, I’m thinking this was around mile 3.  Kelli is a fairly new runner, but did a great job staying with us, this is her second week with the group, everyone loves it, I hope she likes it as much as we do.

We were on MLK headed to the Capitol and then over to Markham up past the Deaf and Blind Schools and up to Kavanaugh.  Right around mile 4-5 Kim said she felt rain, WHAT? NO WAY.  Oh yeah.  We still had a long way to go, but I started feeling the drops too.  None of us had hats on, we thought the rain would pass, but it just got worse, never a torrential downpour, but rain nonetheless.  I don’t know how many times I have been up this same hill and it has rained, what is it with this hill, cursed perhaps?  We kept moving, we had many miles to go.

I’m sure people were looking at us like we were crazed, I’m sure we looked like drowned rats, we were not prepared for rain.  Once we finally got up to the top of that damned Kavanaugh Hill and made some turns up in the Country Club area we were back on Kavanaugh, Kim and I had once before stopped in at the Sterling Paint Store and bummed hats, that’s what we were planning again, but it was about 3 blocks in the wrong direction.  But, the rain was coming down pretty hard and we still had 6-7 miles to go, I wanted a hat, it’s one thing to run in the rain, but if I can keep the rain out of my eyes I can at least see.

We finally made it to the paint store and they were not open yet, we were 15 minutes early and we did not want to wait, since we were right next door to Starbucks I thought they might have hats they would be willing to give us, Tammy thought I was nuts, but I was determined.  When we were going inside these 3 guys sitting at an outside table said something to us about isn’t it time for coffee?  Oh yes it was, but we were on a mission to find a hat!  So I asked the doofus behind the counter if they had any hats, now keep in mind there are three girls standing there soaking wet and he says, “uh, no, but you might look online”, maybe he just didn’t read the situation well, but I think I pointed it out to him.  So, one of the guys that was sitting outside had come inside and said something and one of us said something about a hat, and he said he had one he would get for us, so we followed him out and he ended up finding 3 hats!  We were so thankful, but we did tell him we would drop them back off at Chain Wheel, a bike shop in Little Rock.  It was so nice of him to dig around and find the hats and it made a world of difference for the last half of our run.

The rain NEVER let up, it would just rain and then it would RAIN, and since the ground is so saturated we were constantly running in puddles, our feet were soaked in no time at all.  But, no one really complained.  We just kept running, it did seem to take forever though and the last mile I was feeling the run, my calves were beginning to feel tight and both knees were achy.  And then my shoe came untied about mile 13.5, holy cow, bending down to tie my shoe like to have done me in!  Oh I forgot to mention the lightning, a few times we would hear thunder in the distant and all of a sudden this flash of white, EEK, scared the crap out of me, I do not like the lightning!  But thank goodness it was not constant or I would have been finding a shelter.

We made it back in piece and as we ran into the parking lot there were a group of runners under a walkway sitting and talking, they all started cheering for us, that’s a funny feeling, it was like we had just finished a race and my legs felt like it.

There wasn’t a dry spot left on my body and of course the first time I forgot my towel.  We talked to Tom and Hobbit for a few minutes and then headed to Starbucks where Tammy had a few issues trying to get her coffee, but eventually I think she got what she wanted and we headed to Chain Wheel to drop off the hats.  Yes, it was out of our way, but those hats saved us, the guy probably thought he would never see those hats again, but I was determined to get them back to him.

When we got to the store it was not open, this time we were about 30 minutes early, we were trying to decide what to do with the hats and a guy that worked there was walking up, we explained the hats and he said he would pass them on with our Thanks.  Ahhh, our duty was done and I was in desperate need of something dry on my butt.

Dropped Tammy off and headed home, stripped that wet crap off and put some warm clothes on, can you believe I’m saying warm clothes on the first day of August?  They felt so good, warm fleece pants, t-shirt and socks, toasty.

Nice run regardless of the rain, it was nice to have Kim back, it’s a good mix and Kelli too.  Not sure what’s on the book for next week, thinking another 14.