Sunday, March 02, 2014

Little Rock Marathon Review

Whooee - I made it!  This is a great marathon, but the weather was not our friend today.  54 degrees at the start, dropping to 40 at the finish, with on-and-off  rain, sometimes heavy, and gusty winds.  The race organizers were so concerned about thunder and lightning that they rerouted and shortened the course at some point, happily after I had passed by.  I ran every single soggy mile.

My Race:

We ran by the Arkansas Capitol
I was slow, intentionally because of recent pneumonia, finishing my 79th marathon in 6:08:14, about eight minutes later than I was shooting for, third of seven in age group 70-74. I was prepared for the weather, and was never cold, wearing pants below and  two shirts above, with gloves and ear cover.  I carried my running jacket around my waist, and at about mile 13 the temperature had dropped enough and I put it on  for the rest of the race, using the zipper to adjust for wind and temperature.

In the last five miles or so I had one muscle in the right calf that was cramping up.  Not the big calf muscle, but a smaller one high up and toward the inside.  I just had to walk.  If it bothers again I'll look at a map of the calf and figure out which muscle it is, but for now it's enough to know that it was the limiting factor today.  I had intended to stay with the 6:00 early-start pace team, and did so up to at least mile 21.  I'm sure I could have finished in 6 hours, except for that calf.  I don't really care, though, because I did finish and apparently a lot of runners were not able to do so.

I had fun, and now I feel great.  Tired for sure, but not the overwhelming muscle-weariness that I feel when I run a faster marathon.  I chatted with lots of runners, especially one guy from Fayetteville, and the two 6-hour pace team leaders.  I saw lots of runners in odd costumes, Elvis (of course), Santa Claus in too-tight tights, Batman, and many more, some of them undescribable.  I saw a pretty young woman wearing a shirt that said "I go all the way!" on the back.  I assume that the front said 26.2 or the equivalent.  I thanked a zillion volunteers and police officers, and high-fived a few kids, especially one shy little girl who grinned from ear to ear afterward.

Whining: Except for that naughty calf muscle, NONE!

This is Myeloma Awareness Month.  I ran this race in support of the International Myeloma Foundation ( and Team Continuum (  Both organizations support cancer patients and their families.  And, I ran it in memory of a sweet woman, long-time member of our local support group, who died of myeloma and whose funeral was today.  I'm sorry we had to miss it.  Further, I ran it in honor of another woman, close to our family, who is doing battle with ovarian cancer.

The Little Rock Marathon:
We ran by the Governor's Mansion

I'm happy with this marathon, but my sweeties are not so much.  They registered for the half, and therefore were not eligible for the early start.  They were assigned to corral M, the 13th (and last) corral, and weren't able to cross the start line for 50 minutes after the first corral started.  Because they were at the start in plenty of time, they were actually standing in the cold and wind for well over an hour.  I doubt that the 50-minute delay itself was weather-related, but in the meantime they were getting colder and wetter, and when they did cross the line they were shaking with cold and decided not to risk running the race.  They turned in their timing chips and found warmth.

As it turned out that may have been a good decision for another reason: The half marathon was also rerouted, and my sweeties probably wouldn't have been able to finish anyway.

Further, if I had not elected the early start (which requires that you promise to finish NO SOONER than six hours), I would also have been in Corral M, and would also have been upset at a 50-minute wait to start.  Further, I would certainly have been in the group of runners whose race was rerouted and shortened, so I would not have completed the marathon.

Otherwise I love this marathon:
  • It is very well organized, with lots of years of experience,
  • The start and finish areas are very nice indeed, and they are close together.  No bussing!
  • There are lots of hotels, and lots of parking, right at the start/finish.
  • The roads were mostly closed to traffic - I never felt like I needed to be ready to dodge cars whizzing by.
  • The expo was great - lots of booths and a great variety.
  • The marathon finishers' medal is 8 ½ inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick.
  • The medal is easily the biggest (and heaviest) in my 79 marathons - I suppose that's a plus.
  • The weather is definitely not their fault.  We had a lovely race here eight years ago.
The weather isn't our fault either, but we do have a saying in our family - "Don't invite us to your marathon!"  Stuff happens at marathons that we go to.  One was cancelled before starting, two more after starting, and now two were shortened to a non-marathon distance.  A couple of others probably should have been cancelled.  And I may have forgotten some.

Splits: 13:38, 11:29, 26:28 (2 mi), 13:20, 13:07, 13:58, 59:46 (4 mi & nature break), 13:05, 12:33, 27:59 (2 mi), 26:06 (2 mi), 13:51, 13:34, 14:23, 15:33, 14:13, 14:56, 17:31 (photography delay), 29:24 (2 mi), 3:21 (0.22 mi), total 6:08:14, pace 14:03.


Running Librarian said...

great job on your marathon!

Pastor Peggy said...

I salute your awareness of all the marathon elements and your generous appreciation to all whom you met. Peggy