Mar 8, 2010

Little Rock Marathon

First a little note to Beth. I've tried to comment on your last two posts but for some reason it won't take my comment. Maybe others have had that problem.

Okay, on to the race report.

A little bit of travel excitement getting down to Little Rock on Saturday. Our (my family was able to go with me) flight out of Minneapolis was delayed 2+ hours so we missed our connection in Memphis. As we ran to the gate, the plane was just pulling out. Missed it by that much. Oh well, we just rented a car and drove to Little Rock arriving at the expo at 5:30, it closed at 6. A slightly close call. Also forgot to pack gels so I had to load up at the expo. At least I was able to make it to the starting line okay.

At the starting line it dawned on me that my balky left ankle wasn't bothering me at all (and still isn't); a good sign. Mr. Garmin had trouble picking up a satellite so when I looked for my pace, I got nothin'. I didn't really have a pace until about mile 2. Early on I saw a few signs, the obligatory "Run like you stole something" and my favorite "1. You are running. 2. There is no 2.". My pace seemed to be okay, in the 8:20's. 8:30's would have been better but you know how that goes. At around mile 4 I passed the 3:40 pacer but I was in the 8:30's at that point so he was a little slow there. A couple bridges early but not too hilly.

First time I was able to see my family was around the 7 mile mark. I saw them 4-5 times; always get a boost out of them. Before the race I put a couple notes in my pocket from my kids. One was "I love you so much" and the other was "Go Daddy Go. I'll run with you.".

Around mile 8 I was passed by the 3:40 pacer and I heard him saying he "might" be a little behind. He was definitely a little behind. I ran with the 3:45 group a little bit but then let them go. I saw a woman aiming with her camera but she had her lens cap on. I yelled that out to her and she and her friend had a good laugh. I went on to see them 3-4 more times on the course. At first they said "Go Az" because you could customize your bib. I told her it was A Z and she got it right after that.

Stopped for a potty break at mile 10, only one this race so I didn't mind even though I lost 30 seconds. Coming up to the halfway point I slowed down quite a bit (12th mile was 8:40) thinking that the slower my first half the better chance I had for negative splits. I went through half way at 1:52:24 so I'd have to go sub 3:45 for negative splits and I thought I'd take the second half easier than that so I let that thought go.

Miles 13-17 are very hilly. Long steep uphills and one big downhill that was so steep it didn't really help. Everybody was braking on the way down. Somewhere in there I was passed by the 3:40 and 3:45 pacers without their signs. Maybe they had a potty break and somebody carried on for them? Also saw a boy throwing the football around with his family. I stretched out my hands and he threw it to me. I had to reach back and catch it one-handed. As I backpedalled and returned it to him my throw was way wobbly and way off target. Oh well, I was running a marathon.

Those middle miles seemed to go by pretty quickly and mile 19 came and went. Just after that I checked my watch when I thought there was about 7 miles (one hour) left. My watch said 2:44. So one more hour at about 8:30 and I could go negative. If you remember my 2010 Goals include 1 negative split marathon. It looked like I could make this one so I tried to push the pace a little bit. Miles 21 and 22 were good in 8:07 and 8:16 but then I got a little tired. The next two were 8:34 and 8:37. Still, I was on pace to just eke out negative splits. Then mile 25 hit.

Mile 25 featured two and a half big hills and went by in 9 minutes. I'd lost what I had gained. By mile 26 I was working hard and I could feel it. I kept thinking to myself that I should just slow down and enjoy it but then I would think "when will I ever have a chance at negative splits again?", so I kept pushing it. I ran it in 8:14. After the last mile marker I was pushing pretty hard but my stomach threatened to explosively expel it's contents. Pretty sure that that would slow me down so I let up on the pace. The thought of doing that in front of several hundred people wasn't so appealing either. I still ran as hard as I could. I was so focused that I didn't even wave at my family even though I heard them cheer. I forgot to raise my hands to the crowd to hear them erupt. I sprinted across the line, but missed negative splits by 9 seconds.

All in all it was a good day, upper 40's at the start and low 60's at the finish. This is definitely a hilly course and has a long out and back from 18-24 that the breeze was in our face both ways (or so it seemed). Nice if you have friends in the race that you could see. Free hot dogs and bananas and oranges at the end but I went straight for the ice cold chocolate milk. Especially good. I have to say the goodie bag was sorely lacking. Really doesn't matter to me because I usually don't keep much from it anyway but they really didn't give anything but the race bib and chip. Shirt is kind of bland.

The medal though; the medal is a thing to behold. Ridiculously big. Obnoxiously big. But I earned it.

The final numbers: 204 of 1,544 marathoners; 26 of 147 in my age group and 166 of 970 men. First half 1:52:24; second half 1:52:35; total 3:44:59.

All in: 26.2 at 8:36


Jen said...

Great job. That medal is HUGE. My sister in law ran that marathon too. Haven't seen her race recap though.

Bill G said...

Great job! You'll have plenty of chances to negative split. It would help to have the 2nd half easier than the first rather than harder.

Karen said...

Great picture! That must have been exciting to have the family cheering you on :)
that is quite the medal there, it looks like the size of a dinner plate compared to the others. Way to go "AZ". Lol

Jill said...

That's awesome, A Z, awesome!!! I've only negative split in one marathon and it's such a great feeling to have legs and juice at the end. Nice job. And wow, that medal is the largest I have EVER seen....very cool!!

Jean said...

Fantastic job, AZ! Another great race. And that is an excellent picture of you running. Looks like you are having fun. And the medal ROCKS! Well done, you are having an amazing year.

For what it is worth, I am having the same problem commenting on Beth's blog too!

Julie said...

Hi Az,
Way to rock!! Congrats on a wonderful race! I love the medal! Oh, and another thing, that is a fantastic picture of look great and you are smiling:)

Meg said...

Sorry you missed the plane but you had some cute notes to make up for it! Nice run, you continue to amaze me in that you never seem tired! By the way, I'm glad you didn't "slow down" to throw up...great choice!
You rocked in Little Rock, nice job!

TokyoRacer said...

Way to go, AZ. You can get the negative splits on a flat course.
I hate it when the t-shirt does not have a nice design.
How long was the drive to Little Rock?

San said...

Missing planes and trains is so annoying, glad you still made it.

Sounds like you had a great race. Playing football and helping photographers, you are a sweetie.

Sorry that you missed the split by just 9 sec. Enjoy the rest and your medal.

Tony said...

Great Race AZ that was a great race report. I'm so happy everything worked out for you getting to the race, that would have sucked. Great run and don't worry about the negative split just yet you have 9 more marathons to give it a try. Awesome medal. The other ones look so tiny compared to it.

AZ said...

Thanks for all the notes.

Bob, the flight to Memphis was about 2 hours and then the drive to Little Rock from there was about 2-2.5 hours. Not bad but not great.

Glenn Jones said...

Great race and great report AZ! I can tell by reading that you had a great time (pun intended) at this race.

Also - is that an "official" race photo? If so, you broke a cardinal rule of racing - allowing a "good" photo to be taken.

lindsay said...

so close to the negative split! i'm sure you will get it soon. congrats on another solid marathon! love the medal too!

Beth said...

Hi AZ, thank you so much for telling me about the problem with my blog!! I noticed I was getting less comments but didn't know why. I hope that it is fixed now. Okay, now I'm going to read all about your race and I'll be back! Thanks again.

Beth said...

Great job! That medal is fantastic and I love the picture with all 3 from this year together. I also think the picture of you at the top is very spiffy. Congratulations on a great race. To come that close to a negative split with those hills at the end is something to be really pround of. Glad the ankle is well and that you had an awesome race. Yeah!