#303 Little Rock Marathon Marathon

Marathon #303 Little Rock Marathon done! So a 637 mile drive from Albany seemed a good idea when I booked it, maybe an hours sleep and a threatening ice storm so took the early start to beat the weather and really, really, really tried to s tick with the pacer for an experiment! And for 4 miles I plodded along like running in treacle trying to go slow enough, then turned a corner and bang! MSO hit! 2 McGriddles for $3 (You've not heard of McDonalds Special Offers?) So popped in there for a bit of a second breakfast and then chased the pace group down after a couple of miles, then in 2012 there was a beer stop about mile 8 so carried on past them and waited for them to catch up whilst I had a beer. But then it was raining so didn't want to wait, got waylaid by a doughnut, so was back on track. Had a sit down at a BBQ (they may have been English as was raining, had some Tater Tots) then another beer at the top of the hill, and helped the guys unload the beer at another beer stop, and another doughnut, and a packet of crisps. Then ran down the big hill, chatted with some folk, messed about, another beer about mile 24, and another at mile 25, and I lost interest in any actual running by this stage, and some cookies, oh and some peanut butter biscuit things. I did wave to the pace group as by now was miles away but saw them on a long out and back. Oh and ran a bit. My second favourite marathon, nothing much to do with any actual running mind you, but its just a fun one, and he bling is insane! Don't think I'll worry about trying this even pacing malarky again for a while! Yesterdays very nice medal and a garmin for comparison!


I wasn't originally going to make this weekend a "double" was just going to do Albany and then drift up North East for Graveyard the following weekend, but I was in the US, I had no other run that day, and it was "only" 600 miles away and one of my favourite marathons. So in the end I convinced myself that it was a good idea! Not convinced even now it totally was! After Albany it was a 637 mile drive to Little Rock, so off I went, stopped every hour or two for a bite to eat, drink or doze and eventually rolled up about 4:30am. That was a long drive. I couldn't quite make up my mind to do either the early start or the main one, but what sealed it for me was the weather forecast. A storm was due in that would bring in rain, ice and plummeting temperatures. Probably by about lunchtime or a little after and so the early start it was, the more time I could spend not getting wet the happier I would be!


I found my friend Steve Young who had helpfully picked up my number and shirt from the expo and before long was standing at the early start, it was pretty chilly then but figured that I would soon warm up. I looked our for Carol Earles doing her #200 that day and had a quick chat with her and then we were off. I wore a "throw away" t-shirt on top, which in fact I kept on the whole way around. There probably aren't many marathons where it starts about 55F and finishes near freezing!

The instructions for the early start were basically don't overtake the motor cycle outriders, who would peel off when the main start leaders came along and then you could go at whatever speed you wanted to. So off we went and I tried to stick with the quickest pacer, but that didn't work for too long, I think I just cannot fundamentally run at somebody else's pace is half the problem for any extended period of time. Very quickly it became a bit of a "mess about" run if truth be told!

My right knee was a bit sore too, I think from all the driving, enough to be a mild concern but not enough to really make any difference.

The rain started, never really getting too heavy (until about 30 seconds after I sat in my car afterwards when the heavens opened) and the temperature slowly dropped to the point I wished I had gloves with me by the end. But otherwise I goofed around as described above, the second half is rather better than the first I find (although that does contain the big hill, which didn't seem so bad as 2012!) and once the leaders went past. (As a mildly amusing aside the lead pace/timing car caught up with me just after the crest of the big hill, after which is a brilliant mile or so down hill, so I ran after the pace car who seemed to be way ahead of the first runner as I couldn't see him, and for maybe 400 yards was "leading" the race to the rather confusing half cheerings from some spectators! My moment of glory didn't last too long though as the lead Kenyan chap soon effortlessly sped past me and the lead car resumed it's proper speed!)

I discovered afterwards that the weather had got so bad that the event was either cancelled or rerouted depending on whose account you read about it. In which case I was doubly glad to have taken the early start as otherwise I would have been caught up in the confusion and worse weather, I'd actually changed my hotel reservations to drive south to avoid the storm and it was a horrible drive for a couple of hours as was about freezing and belting it down. Can fully understand why they changed things, would have been horrendous to have been standing around in that for the poor volunteers let alone the runners!

Things I Learnt

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