Just 10 days to go until the Little Rock Marathon and I am getting EXCITED!! It’s difficult for me to put into words what this race means to me. I should point out that it has nothing to do with the course. In fact, the course itself is fairly challenging. It is by no means an “easy” marathon. The Little Rock Marathon Course is usually described as hilly. Running legend Bill Rodgers once said “any marathon worth its salt has a few hills. Little Rock is a little salty.“
|Little Rock Marathon|
I have had many different race experiences in the Little Rock Marathon. I have been a spectator, run the relay, run the half marathon and last year was my first time to run the full marathon. Even though it is challenging there is something about it that I love and it brings me back every year.
In the spring of 2006, I was no where near being in competitive running shape. I was 8 months pregnant with our second child and I was only at the Marathon for moral support. My sister and brother-in-law had asked my husband if he wanted to compete in the marathon relay with them. My husband, a former college basketball player who had never run more than 5 miles at one time in his life agreed to the challenge.
|This time he was running and I was the cheerleader!|
|He did it!|
|Team “Family Affair” came in 2nd place in the co-ed division|
Three years went by before my next Little Rock Marathon experience. In the fall of 2008 my husband had the crazy idea that we could run a half marathon together. We had just had our third child and I was only running a few miles a few days a week to lose some baby weight. I thought that running this far might help with some of my weight loss so I agreed. We had no time goal- we only wanted to finish. We had a college baby-sitter come once a week on Saturday mornings so we could do our long run together. I remember how excited I was the first time we ran 10 miles. I had not run that far at one time since college and it was a total adrenaline rush!
We ran the Little Rock Half Marathon together that March and finished in 2:12:40. It was our first half marathon and we did it together. Before I even crossed the line I was already thinking about when I could do it again!
By the following spring, I had a whole year of running under my belt. I had just run a 3:35 marathon in December and was ready to run a speedy half marathon. And yes, I just noticed I did wear the same shirt in 2009 and 2010!
|At the starting line|
|Kicking it in at the end|
I finished in 1:36:45 and felt amazing. I had started the first half pretty conservatively and picked it up the second half, finishing strong and loving life! A very non-descriptive recap can be found here.
In between the 2010 and 2011 Little Rock Marathon my husband and I had our fourth baby. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to participate at all but went ahead and signed up with my running friends for the relay. I thought surely I could run 6.5 miles 7 weeks after a c-section.
I was following an extremely
insane aggressive training plan that I had concocted on my own that spring that went from 0-26.2 miles in 13 weeks. (I was attempting to run the Boston Marathon 13 weeks after giving birth via c-section.) SPOILER ALERT- the plan was a complete and total failure but that’s another story!
The week of the Little Rock Marathon I decided why run 6.5 in a relay when I could race 13.1? So I also wore my husband’s half marathon bib and chip (which he wasn’t using), along with my relay tag. It’s the only time in my life I’ve ever worn anyone’s bib and since we did share last names and I wasn’t planning on winning anything I didn’t think anyone would mind. I know it’s no excuse but I was desperate to race! Long story short(er) it was one of my favorite race experiences EVER. There was no race day pressure or expectations. I had spent the majority of the past 7 weeks nursing a baby so I felt a sense of freedom that only a new mother can feel. I crossed the line in 1:47:07 but in my mind it felt like I had won the Boston Marathon. I was on top of the world! More on this experience can be found here.
|Time for a celebratory lunch!|
Last year I decided to run the full marathon. It just didn’t seem right that I had lived in Arkansas for over a decade yet had never run a full marathon in my home state. I’m pretty sure only runners use this kind of logic.
It was a challenging race but I finished with a smile on my face. I fought hard for my finish time of 3:15:17. A more detailed race recap can be found here.
|Gotta love the hills!|
I am not sure what is in store this time around but I can tell you that I am excited about giving it my all. I have put in the training and I know what I am capable of running. I just need to believe in myself and put it all out there over the course of 26.2 miles.
I still have ten very important taper days to go but this race is on my radar and it won’t be off until I cross the finish line Sunday morning, March 3rd.