This is a hard post to write. Especially following my last marathon race recap. I knew going into this one that it was going to be tough for many reasons but this was truly the most painful victory I’ve ever experienced.
But let’s start with some positives! With me for this race were two of my Searcy Rush teammates which made for a fun weekend. In fact, they are the same two ladies I road tripped with to Texarkana for Run the Line Half Marathon in February. We left Saturday afternoon for Fayetteville which is about a 3.5 hour drive from where we all live. We made a quick stop along the way in Conway to Target and Panera Bread. We could have easily spent the whole afternoon there shopping but there was the little matter of running a marathon the next day and we need to make it to the expo! We got to Fayetteville around 4:30 to pick up our race packets at the Chancellor Hotel.
The Hogeye Marathon has been around for years and this was a special year since it was the 40th year anniversary of the first race. Bill Rodgers, 4-time Boston Marathon winner was the special guest speaker at the pasta dinner Saturday night. He was very nice and extremely humble.
I was warned (several times) how hilly the course was. I knew it would be tougher than Little Rock and I was prepared to adjust my pace. I definitely did not adjust it enough. I had been sick the week before marathon week and on antibiotics. I missed a couple workouts and I guess it took more out of me than I realized. The week leading up to Hogeye I felt back to normal so I hoped I would be fine.
For Little Rock I was aiming for 6:40-6:50 pace range. I thought 6:50-7:00 would be fairly doable for Hogeye. When mile 1 beeped at 7:00 and mile 2 (huge hill) beeped at 7:20 I realized a 7:00 min average was going to be a little more challenging than I thought. Around mile 5 I got a huge stabbing side stitch. I knew it would pass within two miles so I kept running and talked myself through it. I don’t seem to get side stitches often but when I do they generally take 1-2 miles to work out and this was no exception. After the 10k mark I noticed my left hip/ glute area was starting to hurt. With every step the pain worsened. I could still run on it but if it had been a regular run at home I would have stopped running. Obviously this wasn’t just any other run and I was going to push through it. I’d deal have with my hip/ glute after the marathon. By the halfway point my split was 1:32-something and I knew a sub 3:05 was not going to happen. I had been warned about the five mile uphill finish and knew I’d be running in headwinds of 20- 25 mph.
By mile 14 I was struggling and my pace was slipping. My hip was still bothering me and I knew it was only going to get worse. I started running marathon splits that I don’t even remember the last time I ran. (2012?) I had no idea what my finish time would be. If I thought too hard about what I was doing it made me want to cry. I was wishing I had music or someone to run with but I didn’t. I was completely alone and in a bad place (in my mind). Unfortunately, I had 12 more miles to slug through and it wasn’t going to be pretty. I knew there was a guy pretty close behind me so I tried to keep pushing. Every once in a while on a straight section I could see the lead guy in front of me but other than that it was just me. I wanted to cry, quit, and give up so many times but I knew that wasn’t an option. Around mile 20 I realized the guy in front of me was slowing down so I passed him. I was also slowing down so around mile 23 (I think?) another Grand Prix runner I know came up to pass me. I really wanted to stay with him but I was struggling too much. The last 5k was a bit of a blur. I remember seeing some 8’s (pace-wise) and then in the last mile there were two huge hills before the finish. In the last one I had to run completely on my tip toes it was so steep. My time goal had changed from a sub 3:05 to a sub 3:10. That didn’t happen either but I’m really ok with that. My finish time was not a huge priority in this race but finish placement was. I was going for the win and at this point that was all I had in me.
Official Finish Time- 3:10:19. 1st Female/ 3rd OA. Results can be found here.
As soon as I finished a couple of reporters asked me some questions but I was definitely in a bit of a daze. I was happy with the win and so relieved to be done running! Hogeye marked the end of a personal goal I’d set months before and while it was a painful way to finish it was still a victory. Several months ago when planning out some upcoming races I decided I might try to run four of the bigger marathons in Arkansas- all within a span of six months. Of course you never know what competition will show up at any given race but I thought if I could I would like to try and go for it. This race marked the final win in my own Arkansas marathon series challenge. There was the Midsouth Marathon in Wynne (November), 3 Bridges Marathon (December), the Little Rock Marathon (March) and finally Hogeye. There are a couple other marathons in the state and maybe someday I’ll run them but not anytime soon. This racing series challenge ended here!
I grabbed some gatorade and someone handed me my finishers jacket (very nice bonus!) and I looked for a place to sit down. I wandered over to a quiet grassy area and lay under a tree and started crying. All the pain and emotions that had built up over the last couple of hours were too much and I was DONE. It was so exhausting physically with the headwind and constant hills but the mental battle was the hardest. I don’t know how long I stayed there but I finally got up when I heard the race emcee make an announcement that post race massages were available under the pavilion. I knew my hip and glute needed all the recovery help they could get so I hobbled over for some rehab!
I met up with one of my teammates Natalie outside the massage area. She finished 2nd female overall and her time was actually within a couple seconds of her Little Rock Marathon time (3:28)! Our other teammate Trish set a big PR and finished first in her age group with a 4:15.
After awards we booked it back to the hotel where we had late checkout. They were kind enough to extend it even more as we were moving slow! We grabbed some lunch and coffee and headed home. I made it home in time to a special service we were having at church so I was able to hear my son read a scripture and lead a song. Then we went out to celebrate the victory at our family’s favorite Mexican restaurant in town.
Originally, I had a few races planned including a half marathon and some 5k’s in the next few weeks following Hogeye. On the drive home from Fayetteville I texted John and my coach that I needed a break from racing. They were both very supportive of this! I’m not running at all this week and will probably start back with some easy runs next week but I’m not racing at all until the next Grand Prix race which is over a month from now. It is very hard for me to say no to local races but I know I need a break. Time to rest and regroup!
Until next time…