Monday, March 8, 2010

Little Rock Marathon~ Post Race Thoughts

Ok this is a long one, so let me sum it up with (most important to least):
~ The medal is beyond anything I showed in the picture last week! WOW
~ I made my 25th state before 25 and I got 2nd in my age group-- the last time in the under 25 age group!
~ There is a "Perks Tent" and it is the best thing to happen to marathoning since GU

*Yep, that huge chunk of medal in my hand is the actual marathon medal! 10.5 inches long.

I met up with MB as the CVG airport (her layover was here and I’m from Cinci). We got into LIT with no problems (it’s me, so obviously flight problems to come later—stay tuned.) We went straight to the expo, which was a pretty decent size for this growing marathon. Highlights? The clothes! They had some really cool ‘casual’ clothing options to buy with the marathon name on it. Sommeeetimes a little too casual… see picture. Ummm did nobody realize that there may be a double meaning when you put “its natural” on a thong? Seriously? Had to snap a pic! I also bough a really cool razor back tank that I can wear to out and about—instead of excluding my marathon gear from all non-athletic activities. I also bought my first Bondi Band (pictured above)! They have SO many options to choose from—I went with bright and obnoxious!

And this marathon is dedicated to… D!

When we got to the hotel, there was a BIG surprise waiting for me. My buddy (and soon to be half-marathoner) D had sent me a fruit-bouquet to congratulate me on my 25th marathon-state! (*awwwwww*) I contemplated waiting until I actually finished the marathon to eat the fruit, but those chocolate covered strawberries were just too darned tempting. SO GOOD! I recommend this gift over flowers ANY day—but then again I like to eat more than the average bear.

D will be running her first half-marathon the first weekend of may at the Flying Pig Marathon-- if you don't know anything about this marathon, its freaking awesome!!! If you want me info let me know! I've taken D on a few training runs and she's got her miles in-- she'll do great!
50-Staters Meeting and Pasta Dinner
We’ve never actually gone to a 50-staters meeting and at the pace I’m going, there aren’t going to be many before I’m done. So, we opted to go. Every quarter the 50-States Marathon Club  picks a “reunion” marathon. A lot of 50-Staters go, they usually have a table set up at the expo with more details, we all get a $10 discount on the race and they have their quarterly meeting. They give out awards for people who have made their 50-states and they have a guest speaker. The speaker was Kelly Luckett (a transtibial amputee) who poke about her running accomplishments as well as her goals.

The pasta dinner was at the Peabody hotel in downtown, Little Rock. We didn’t know this before, but I guess this hotel is known for the ducks in their indoor fountain—more importantly, how their ducks make a trip twice a day! They actually climb the stairs of the fountain, and walk along a red carpet to the elevator when they walk in and ride up to their room. Crazy, right? Oh PS my favorite animal is a Duck so I LOVED this part!

The Pasta dinner was ok—not sure it was worth the $20 and I definitely wouldn’t call it the “best marathon pasta dinner” as I saw a couple times on the marathonguide comments. There was a good dessert after—an apple and blueberry crumb dessert (you could also get peach). I should mention that the marathon people were very nice. We left at the hotel misplaced my bracelet to get into the pasta dinner and they gave us a new one.
Race Day!
We got to the start about an hour early and I have 2 words for the morning-- Perks Pavilion!  This is seriously the solution to any marathon-organizational issues you thought you might have had, from overcrowding to pre-race cold weather to running out of snacks and drinks. Let me explain...

Perks Pavillion
The perks pavillion has extra pre and post race perks available for an extra $20. They limit the number of tickets so you can take advantage of all the perks without being overcrowded. The morning had a full line of breakfast foods (bagels, fruit, drinks, smoothies, etc) as well as pre-race massages, a place to get a free 5x8 picture they send later, a heaters in the tent to stay warm, and perk-tent only gear drop off (easy to find post-race), private port-a-johns with wash station)-- among other things. Post race the buffet picked up (including pizza, locks for your bagels, candy, cookies, etc), beer was added to the menu, and more. I loved not being overcrowded post race and still being able to get a ton of food and beer. Yay!

The Race
The first thing I noticed was that the half-marathoners and the relay runners had signs with "relay" and "half" on their backs, which helps mentally while running to pace yourself and it helps when the half and full turn in different directions, so you go the correct way. The course? I thought it was pretty cool. The uphills weren't nearly as bad as they looked in the elevation charts, but they were definitely there. I love long graded uphills then steep downhills- My fav! The course had a ton of pit stops and water stops throughout and the spectators were absolutely amazing! Non-marathon-organized spectators were outside lining the streets with everything: water, beer, mimosas, oranges, candy, cookies, etc. One spectator in particular caught my attention...

The Gov’na!
It was hard to miss the Governor’s Mansion with all its grandeur—esp. with the Governor chilling out front of the gate with his cute little red sweater on. So cool! His “house” is right on a turn, so I was already about 10 feet past him before I realized whom it was. I’m neurotic about my garmin mileage so I didn’t want to go back, but I was tempted to go up and say “HI! I’m Stephanie! Thanks for coming to my 25th state!”

My Race

I started the race with my new audiobook: Twilight- New Moon! Yep-- not afraid to admit it. I find I can really zone out because I've already read the books. My legs were a little sore the morning of the race (not too sure why) and I was hoping the pain would go away-- it didn't. It sort of felt like I ran hard the day before. It was ok though-- I was planning on trying out negative splits and running slower in the beginning really helps for soreness.

To me, there are 2 ways a marathon goes for you mentally-- 1) You zone out well, with little pain to distract and will find that you've passed miles at a time without notice. 2) You feel and are aware of every tenth of a mile that ticks by. Due to the early leg soreness, this was one of the second kind. It was ok though-- I felt sore through most of the race, but it didn't get so bad that I had to walk or slow down too much.

I took a few ibuprophen around mile 15, which helped a ton. Miles 18 to about 24 are an out and back. This was about the time I really started catching up to the runners who took an early start. What I found funny was that runners really started slowing down in this area. I caught a ton of people. I'm not sure if I felt good or there were a lot of early starters, or it was a tough spot for runners and they slowed-- or a combination of all of them. I don't mind these out and back spots because I can distract myself by looking at the fast runners and counting the women on the way out, and distract myself by looking for MB on my way back.

I focused on keeping a steady pace for the last few miles and encouraging all the 50-stater early starters I saw. I finished with a 3:44:36. Not bad for a rough marathon, 2 weeks after running the hardest marathon I've ever run. Also-- I took 2nd for my age group! This was great because it's the last time I'm in the under-25 age group!!!

Finish and Post-Race
As you come to the finish, there is a guy giving out lipstick to apply for your finish picture! I missed this, but MB picked one up and brought it in. When I finished they handed me the biggest medal ever and I lugged it back up to the Perks Pavillion to get food, beer and a massage!

MB finished and found me a few beers, smoothies, and hot dogs deep, very happy waiting for my massage.

That's when I got a phonecall from Delta saying my 4:45 flight was cancelled and they had rescheduled me for the next day. Umm no! So I called and they managed to re-schedule me on a US Airways flight. Unfortunately they did it wrong and when I got to the airport, MB and I had to run between delta and US Air counters to try and straighten it out. Ugh. Well I got home, but not til around midnight. Ah well-- it was a good, long day in Little Rock!


  1. That medal is bigger than your head! Unreal. Congrats on another race done (and another BQ even though you already got that) :)

  2. 25 while under 25! You are amazing! Great recap. Sounds like you ran an awesome race dispite the sore legs. Congratulations!

  3. Congratulations!!! It must feel so great to be halfway there!

  4. Libby said what I was going to say...that's some medal!!!
    Congratulations on another marathon/ state completed, placing in your age group, and another great race report.
    You are AWESOME!!!!

  5. Wow, the medal is huge!! Congrats on placing second in your age-group.

  6. CONGRATS STEPH! Killer time and way to go on the AG placement! Just in time for your B-day! :)


    I love the sound of that perks tent...

  7. Congrats on #25! Halfway there! When are you planning to finish? Have you picked #50 yet?

    I'm so bummed I missed you at both the 50 States meeting and the dinner! Can't believe I didn't see you at either.

  8. Congrats on your 25th! I was at the 50 states meeting too and never saw you. I'm looking forward to Bataan!