In case you missed Part 1 of my Little Rock Marathon recap, you can check it out here. You'll learn about the expo, the pirate, and my pre race meal!
Now onto the good stuff. I woke up on my first alarm buzz and I was feeling good. I headed to the lobby to grab some coffee that the staff had put out early for us (major kudos to the Residence Inn for their stellar service). Then I got dressed and ate a banana while getting my gear all situated.
We then headed toward the race in the rain and cold. I'd be lying if I said I was still excited when I realized how gross it was outside. Thank goodness I had packed my new Flyer Jacket, because it was going to come in real handy! I ate my usual Picky Bar about 45 minutes before the race plus my usual Nuun.
It was finally time to ditch the car and go meet the rest of our crew! It was so crowded, so I was so thankful that we were able to find Tara!
And here was our whole group, ready to tackle miles and miles of hills!
The waves moved pretty quickly and we saw Bart Yasso sending us through the start line! I didn't get a picture but it was awesome to see the legend! The first few miles were pretty slow as we were weaving in out of other runners, all while trying to stick together. We also ended up needing to stop at a porta pottie in the 3rd mile. We were able to pick up the pace a little after that, but it was clear to me that the day would probably be rough. My legs just felt rotten and I was lacking something mentally.
I wasn't the only one feeling that way, unfortunately. Jana wasn't enjoying herself either, and her and Scott ended up falling back from us. I was worried about her because she wasn't talking much and I could just tell something wasn't right. But Tara, Debi, Don, and I carried on and kept up a respectable pace as we headed toward the half turn off. We fueled with our Honey Stinger chews every 5 miles, just like I always have. Not long before the turn off Debi got a text from Scott and Jana, and they had decided to turn in at the half. I was bummed, but if I had known how my day would have turned out, I might have done the same.
We carried on, eventually seeing Danielle who was waiting to cheer us on as Don headed toward the half marathon chute. He had just finished his first half marathon!
From here, things started to get a little rocky. There was a huge hill waiting for us after the half way mark and my less than stellar training did not include hill work. Therefore, I was rocked. Things only got worse when I noticed the familiar waves of nausea hitting me. I kept quiet about it, because I really thought I would be able to fight it this time.
The hills kept coming as we ran through some quaint neighborhoods. In any other conditions, I would have been so excited to be checking out new surroundings. But the rain, cold, and nausea were really bringing me down. And then we hit a huge downhill and the wheels really fell off when my left knee starting bothering me. I powered on until around mile 18 when I had to walk due to the pain. Apparently that opened the flood gates, because there I was, back in that old familiar hunched over stance, puking my guts up.
I tried so hard to keep running. But I literally puked every mile from there on out. Tara and Debi tried everything to keep me going, but nothing worked. I ate chicken broth and pretzels and I drank Coke. And I puked it all up. I was literally the most miserable running, I mean walking, partner ever. That's right. I walked pretty much the last 7 miles of the marathon. My body had completely turned on me, in the worst way possible.
I was unable to enjoy the amazing aid stations that various groups had set up. I didn't get to enjoy running with my best friend and my friend I'd waited so long to meet in real life. I didn't get to cheer for other runners. Instead I found myself hating every mile that passed, wondering why I couldn't get a hold of this puking issue that plagues me.
But I kept going because I wanted that damn medal the size of my face. I was pretty sure I'd end up crawling over the finish line because the puke kept coming. Eventually Scott, Jana, and Don found us, bless their souls, and I was able to get my gloves since I was absolutely frozen. I so badly wanted to just hop in the car with them, but I had come too far.
Eventually we made it to mile 25 and I knew I had to start running. There was no way I was letting my boyfriend, Bart Yasso see me walking. So we ran. And all of our sweet friends were there cheering us on. Tara's husband, Jonathan, was the best cheerleader, and he was so stinking proud of her that it made me so happy. Danielle was there screaming her head off, as she stayed with her family hours after she was done running to cheer for us. And Scott, Jana, and Don were there, so excited to see us cross.
There had been some issues with the medals so they gave us these temporary medals until our real medals came in. I was so glad to be done, yet I was not done puking unfortunately. Once again, I didn't get to enjoy my post race beer. Instead, thanks to some gentle prodding from Danielle, I ended up in the medic tent. I looked like shit and I felt like death. Scott and Jana stayed with me and let me cry and moan, despite the fact their day didn't go how they wanted either.
Once I was able to take in fluids without puking, I was good to go. But mentally, I was a wreck, and in some ways, I still am today. I'll save that for another blog post. The good news is, my medal came TODAY and it's a beaut! I earned this medal and all of its glory and I can't wait to figure out a way to hang it up!
Because I hate sounding so negative about my Little Rock Marathon experience, I want to make sure and mention how well supported and great the race was. There were water stops every mile with well stocked aid stations just where I needed them. The course is no doubt challenging, but it is pretty in many spots and it would be easy to enjoy the surroundings if given the chance.
Would I run Little Rock again? I'm not ready to answer that question. I have a lot of stuff to figure out before I can make that kind of decision. But until then, I'll leave you with a picture of me and Little Rock's finest.