March 2, 2014 8:00 AM
Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Written by Owen:
This was another race where I went by myself. I try to keep those to a minimum, because my favorite part about the 50 state challenge is sharing the experience with my wife and kids. They were originally going to come with me, via car, and visit an old friend of Malissa's. But then that friend had a change of plans, and we added up the amount of driving, compared that with how long we would be there, and decided to just buy me some cheap plane tickets.
So I arrived the day before the race in enough time to go to the expo and then do some sight-seeing. I went to the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. At several of the Southern states, like Mississippi, Alabama, etc. I have gone to Civil Rights History related museums, and really have enjoyed it. If you have time, do some research about what happened at Central High, if you haven't already. What those nine students went through is incredible.
After the expo, and Central High, I checked into my hotel and just relaxed the rest of the day, having dinner in a restaurant next to the hotel.
I usually try to stay close enough to the start to walk, but wasn't able to this time, so I drove early enough to get good parking and then waited in my car for about an hour, because it was raining.
I failed miserably in packing for this race. The weather called for rain, but in the 50's, so I just packed shorts and my Taz Running singlet. By the time race morning came around it was raining and in the 50's, but forecasts called for it get much colder as the morning went on.
I had a throw-away sweater, but it got so water-logged that it was too heavy and making me work hard. I tossed it at mile two. My throw away gloves were a life saver, but after 15 miles or so, they were so cold and wet that I took them off and tucked them into my belt.
It continually got colder, and I got tired. At mile 22 or so I was not enjoying myself at all and decided to try to run faster just to get the thing over with. I put my cold, wet gloves on, not sure if they helped. At mile 25 there were some hills and I finally slowed down. I've only broke 3:30 three times, and this was a hilly marathon, but I was on pace to do it again until mile 25. I finished in 3:31:15, and have literally never been more cold in my life. I was so miserable.
I grabbed some finish line food and made my way to my car. I couldn't wait to get in and turn on the heater. I honestly started to worry about my health I was so cold.
I drove back to the hotel, showered and caught my plane. While I was waiting to board the plane I was talking to someone else who had run the marathon. I found out from her that they actually cancelled the race after 4.5 hours or so. So she didn't get to finish. I do remember a lot of lightning as I was driving to the airport.
I am so thankful I finished before they made that decision. I can't imagine the emotions of being told to get off the course after running for 20+ miles.