White River 4 Mile Classic- Lightening, Thunder and Hills- oh my!

White River 4 Mile Classic- Lightening, Thunder and Hills- oh my!

Last year as I drove myself home after the White River 4 Mile Classic I told myself “Never again!”  I had read about the “challenging” course online but naively went into the race thinking it couldn’t be that hard.  I guess some things you just have to experience for yourself.  Hello hills and hello Arkansas humidity in August… Two variables that are not going anywhere!

This year I was pretty relaxed about it.  In fact, how could I not run this race again?  It was only $10 which even included a t-shirt!  This race is hosted by the White River Runners as part of the Arkansas Grand Prix series and I knew it would be well run and organized.  It was less than an hour from my house and I very badly wanted to beat my time from last year.  I expected the heat, humidity and the hills.  The steady rain and lightening was just a bonus.

This year John and the kids came with me.  We left our house around 6:10 which meant waking up and basically carrying 4 sleeping children into the van.  The 50 minute ride to Batesville was very quiet!  Right around the time we got there it started to rain so I quickly switched out my headband and put on the visor I had brought “just in case.” According to the weather channel app on my phone it wasn’t supposed to rain until 10 am but you know how that goes…

John dropped me off close to the registration table so I could pick up my race packet (t-shirt, bib and timing chip).   I used the restroom and was ready for a quick warm-up.  I knew I only had time to get in a little over one mile but that was fine by me. After some strides it was time to line up.  At this point the temperature was in the 80’s and it was as humid as I’ll get out.  (Very similar to last year).  I was thankful for the dark rain clouds and I was hoping we could get this over with before the storm got too bad.

Photo courtesy of Arkansas RRCA

The Race:
Mile 1- 5:55.  I knew this mile would be faster than my goal pace (6:10). It is by far the easiest mile of the course and has a lot of downhill.  The other three miles are loaded with uphill climbs. I was still feeling pretty optimistic about making my target time but I knew the challenging miles were still ahead.  I was the first female from the get-go so one of my main focuses (besides pace) was maintaining the lead. 

Mile 2- 6:19.  The majority of this mile climbs uphill.  Last year mile two was my slowest mile so I told myself that it would be fine.  I would do better on the next two. 

I was feeling a little like this guy.  Running uphill in the rain.  Only I could come up with plenty of excuses…

Mile 3- 6:23.  So, this definitely wasn’t faster than mile two.  At this point I switched into race survival mode.  This is never a good strategy but sometimes it’s what you have to do.  The hills had caught up to me and I was feeling beat.  I told myself to just get through this thing.  The rain was steady and during this mile it started lightening.  I wanted to quit a few times but I knew that wasn’t an option.  I just had to finish.  I knew there was one more major hill ahead but it ended around the 3.5 mile marker. I had to make it to that point and then I could sprint in the last half mile to the finish. 

Mile 4- 6:27.  The first half of this mile was not good.  I’m pretty sure I was running close to a 7 minute pace up the hill and then a sub 6 down the last half mile to the finish line.  At one point at the final turn I glanced over my right shoulder to see how much of a lead I had on the second place female.  She was way too close for comfort so I knew I had to kick it in to gear.  I was not about to blow it in the last half mile! I saw the clock ahead but I just couldn’t make it there in time to go sub 25.  Next year.

Official Finish Time: 25:06.  (6:16 avg. pace)

Photo courtesy of Arkansas RRCA

1st overall female (8th overall).  Official results can be found here. 

Post Race:
After I grabbed some water and congratulated the second place female I headed back to find John and the kids.  They were in the van trying to stay dry.  Then I jogged an easy 1.5 miles with a friend who was also running in the race. 

The awards ceremony was moved inside of nearby bank lobby because of the storm.

Random post race family picture in front of a teller’s window

Post Race Thoughts:
Every race is a learning experience.  Not all races include shiny PR’s or contain moments of pure running bliss.  I guess technically this race did contain a PR but I know I didn’t run the race I am capable of running.  I did not run to my potential and it’s not a good feeling. As hard as this was I hope to be back next year so I can try to dig a few more seconds off my time.  Isn’t that what we do as runners?  We just keep trying even when we know it will be hard.

I can only compare myself to myself and how I ran last year compared to this year.  Even though I am a little disappointed in my performance I have to acknowledge the improvement from last year to this year.  Seeing this improvement gives me hope for next year.  Apparently I really like running a 6:27 last mile there! (What are the odds?!)

4 Mile Classic
Mile 1
Mile 2
Mile 3
Mile 4
Time/ Avg.
26:21 (6:35)
25:06 (6:16)

I took today completely off from running.  My legs are sore from all the hills and I just needed a break mentally.  Tomorrow I will start fresh and ready to focus.  I need to get my eating back on track too.  I made the best country apple dumplings last night.  They were so good but so not on my eating healthy plan.  Races always put me in the mood to bake. Why is that?  Anyway, it’s been a fun weekend but I have got to get back after it tomorrow!

Any other race day bakers out there?

How do you survive a challenging course in harder weather?  Do you lower the bar?

14 thoughts on “White River 4 Mile Classic- Lightening, Thunder and Hills- oh my!

  1. Great race, as usual! I mean, rain and all, that’s incredibly speedy. And congratulations on the win.
    I love baking! But I do it less now that it’s just David and I compared to when I lived at home with all the siblings. We just can’t eat it all and food goes to waste. I do like making breads and bagels, though, since I can freeze extras.

    1. Thanks Gracie! I knew you were a baker! 🙂 When I make the Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls I end up freezing a ton since the recipe feeds the masses. But it takes forever so it’s only worth it if you make a lot!

  2. You ran an awesome race, even if it wasn’t what you’re capable of… still a nice pr from last year! So funny how we can forget how miserable a race is and do it again and again. 🙂 And race day baking- definitely!! I am the same way!

  3. Great race:) I usually have no bar on a challenging course in bad weather. My 4 miler was horribly humid and hilly, and I just knew it was going to hurt the whole time. I have a much easier time bringing the hurt in a 5k or 4 miler than a half marathon – I am working on that!

    1. That’s funny. I think I’m the opposite. The shorter the race the more ideal I want the course conditions. Oh well! They all can’t be fast and flat, right?!

  4. Congrats on an awesome race! I live in Fayetteville and the hills are tough 🙂 It’s always counter-intuitive when you get a PR or award, but still end up being disappointed in your race because of your own personal goals or expectations. And, yes, I love to bake after long runs or races!


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