Miles to Health

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

LIttle Rock Marathon Runcation

First race of 2015, I think there was a long build up to this probably more social media base than anything, lots of Marathon Maniacs, National Black Marathon members and Black Girl Runs running it, or is it the dinner size bling that we all love.

 Training didn't go as expected due to weather but with the minimal running that I did, I also focus on using Cathe Ripped With HIIT series which I think is a great supplement to running. Yes, I used the Hanson program again, I do not see any reason to change that. I will say 70% of the running was on treadmill and I did not do a 16 miler straight through.

Part of running out of state is to make this a mini vacation for my husband James and I, I am happy to have him along with me and try to make it not all about running, most of this places are location I will never go to for vacation so I try to see as much of what they have to offer, instead of just hanging with running friends drinking, eating and talking about running, not fair to James, do lots more of that when am by myself.

Day 1 Friday (2/27):

Flight out was at 6am on Southwest, Cleveland to Baltimore then with a quick plane change onward to Little Rock, no delay or problems, we arrived by 10:30am. The Southwest flight was 8791 points + $5.60 per person.

Little Rock Airport is fairly small and we made our way to the Thrifty Rental car company where I have a compact car reserved we ended up with a Dodge Avenger, rental cost 4days @$10.53 per day with hourly rate at $1.79 with taxes and fee total for 4 days came to $72.87

We picked up the car and drove over to the Fairfield Inn at North Little Rock that I have booked for 2/27-3/1, initial plan was to fly back Sunday but there was no decent flight back and I didn't feel like rushing after the race to get to airport, remember this was a runcation not just a race so I needed to book one more day but price was significantly different. Hotel rate $71.10 + taxes per night, for a total of $162.82. I had done a mobile check in the night before letting them know I was going to be early around noon even thou check in wasn't till 3, we got there at 11am and the manager was able to get us in, after a quick nap, we started day one exploration and a trip to the expo.

First Stop William J Clinton Presidential Library, admission fee $7 free packing, right downtown little rock, also going on at the library was a Peanut exhibit.

From the library, you can see this beautiful bridge, the library is sitting on 30 acres and it is a community park.

 This was a beautiful library with lots of information and history, one of my favorite is that of the Little Rock Nine, so much has been said/read about them but it was nice to be learn more about their history.

After spending almost 3 hours here, we headed off to the Convention center for the Little Rock Marathon expo, this was a lot smaller than expected, but I found a great deal on a Newton Energy running shoe in 11.5 for $25, very rarely do I find the 11.5 since 12 is normally to big and 11 tight by the small toe.

Right next to the convention center was the H. U Lee (founder of American Taekwondo)  International Gate and Garde, free admission.

 Since like this was enough for one day and we were tired and hungry, it was also colder than expected with temps in the 30s and winding, we headed off to Chinese Pavilion Hunan for the buffet Total cost with drinks and tip $31, this was good that we actually ate there twice.

Picked up a bottle of local moscato wine ($9.62 with tax) and headed back to the hotel.

Day 2 Saturday (2/28)

Woke up nice and refresh, we skipped breakfast for some extra sleep, today since we are staying in North Little Rock we decided to start from there although this location is only about 15 mins from downtown.

First stop The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum to see the U.S.S Razorback SS394, this is a decommissioned submarine that was in service for both the US and Turkish Navy, you can read a bit of the history here. Admission $7.50 each

We left the Maritime museum after the tour and headed off to The Old Mill at the T. R. Pugh Memorial Park, this mill is recognized at the last standing structure from the classic film Gone with the Wind, looks like it will be great for weddings in the summer when everything is in bloom. Free

We left the Old Mill and headed off to Little Rock Central High School sight of the 1957 desegregation crisis, I can imagine how the kids felt entering the school and being threaten and being escorted daily by armed military personnel.  The school is still in use as a high school and it stands majestic and strong.

There is a visitor center down the street from the high school that has lots of information and footage about the crisis.

Time to get something to eat and call it a day.

To wrap the day up we decided on going to Diamond Bear, local craft brewery in North Little Rock, order a flight so we got a chance to try a variety of their beer, pretzels, wings and a bowl of mac and cheese (homemade and delicious) Great beer and food Total + tax and tip $38

Sunday 3/1 Race Day

I always have the fear of over sleeping so end of waking up early to check the time, since I was going to be parking the car, I wanted to go as late as possible, what is the rush in one of the last coral after all. Race starts at 8am for there by 7:30am, had two honey waffle, normally have 1 but was very hungry so went with 2 and coffee. Got in line for the porta porty, always interesting when their are people doing 10ks in a marathon they tend to be bubble and full of energy, you either want to crush them or want some of what they are having. This was going to be  a cold and wet one, 30 degrees and drizzle rain.

Race start was confusing, not sure where all the pacers where, waited and with only a hand full of people left to cross I started the race, also whose brilliant idea was black lettering on dark blue background, could't see the numbers, please stick to black and white or a bright background color.

Somewhere around mile 3, the early starters joined us on their way to mile 12, I am not crazy about the course, saw reference to mile 12 3x before I actually got to it, the 1st 9 miles was just us meandering through the city, rolling hills at least people around  kept saying, love the 10k aid station with the couch potato theme. For some reason, I mentally checked out at mile 9 and was oh so done with the race, my music wasn't working and I was by myself but I rally back and just kept on going.

Miles 11 - 13, I ran a bit with Peggy, another maniac, she is a nutritionist so I picked her brain a bit while we suffer together, she was having some stomach issue and her running partner was back with her so I moved on.

 Miles 15-17 had a nice much welcome hill I think I was happy to be out of the city, mile 17 - 22 crush that spirit since this was flat, boring and no crowd support. out and back in a park. The cycling club had an awesome aid station at mile 20 with a wall to sign and hot chicken broth. Also a nice spread of food at mile 22, didn't stop just wanted to be done, only station I didn't walk.

By this time I had been to the porta potty, 3+ times, something about the start/stop rain keep making me want to pee. For the race also since I know my training hadn't been 100%, I made the decision to walk every aid station from the start. Nothing really hurt the Puma FAAS 500s worked fine, my nutrition was fine too a gu at mile 9, and Gatorade at the aid station since I decided not to carry my own fluid.

We came out of the park, cross the street and back towards the city, then you slam into a nice hill, this crushed a lot of people since they probably ran faster than needed on the flat and was done, pass al ot of people here since they were walking the hill, oh so ready to be done, I was very cold and wet.

Saw James at mile 24, saw the lip stick makeup station, I took a bead and kept on moving, just wanted it done. Lots of people slowly down, was trying to get them to keep moving no time to quit now, some followed including and older gentleman who used me as his rabbit till the end. He thanked me when we were done, that made me happy.

So happy I didn't have to stand in line for my checked gear since I was shivering so bad but was able to stand still long enough to get my picture taken by James after I have taking off some of the wet stuff. Also we are changing hotel since I screwed up with Fairfield and the Sunday price was much higher we switch to Hampton Inn which was a walking distance, unfortunately my room wasn't ready but the lobby was warm and they had free coffee so was happy to sit and wait. Room was ready in about 20mins and I went up for a much needed shower. For dinner we went back to the Chinese Pavilion Hunan total cost $31, it was still raining and cold so decided to skip the after party especially since James was already feeling sick.

Oh the dinner plate size medal, which I guess is one of the lore of this race, was stuck in a Port Authority strike so we got a temporary one, thanks to a local vendor and the other one unfortunately will have to be mailed once it cleared the port.

Early to bed.

Monday 3/2

Last day in Little Rock, we decided to enjoy the morning in bed before starting our day, to work out the kinks I did Travis Live Yin Yoga class from You tube

This was perfect and I felt renewed, all kinks nicely worked out, went down to the lobby for breakfast since it was free, well came with the room and aslo asked for a late check, flight out wasn't till 6pm and unfortunately lots of things are closed on Monday in Little Rock.

Check out of the hotel at 12:30, total cost $117.01, first stop MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, free and another beautiful park created for the people, admission Free. The Arkansas Korean War Veterans Memorial is also at this location.
We left the museum and went down to the Old State house which is now a museum, a lot of exhibits were on display so there was so much to see Arkansas Hollywood, which is all the actors/actress in Hollywood from the area quite a lot, on about bikes and also the First Ladies of Arkansas. Admission Free

Not much else to do now but head to the airport, stop at the Fourch Dam Phillip 66 gas station which I will advise people to bypass since their unleaded gas at pump #3 charge you for premium and they claim the machine is fine, no I didn't press the wrong button, was standing right there looking at price and total, would never have caught it if I didn't get a receipt Total $30.15

Drop rental car off, another weird setup, they check the car outside but I still needed to go inside and get in line with all the new renters to get checked out, luckily we had time. Dodge Avenger, rental cost 4days @$10.53 per day with hourly rate at $1.79 with taxes and fee total for 4 days came to $72.87.

Flight out was on United, Little Rock to Chicago then to Cleveland. Cost per person + tax $157.60   Got through security, I had boarding pass printed out at the hotel so no need to weight in line and we have TSA precheck but off cause this is Little Rock and TSA line closes at 5pm, we just missed it but no biggie since there is a short line. Plane came in but issue with brakes, initially flight was cancelled but I guess pilot wanted out of Little Rock as much as we did so we were able to get on another flight and finally leave for Chicago around 9pm. Since we were leaving Little Rock so late, we missed our connection and there was no other flight out till the morning, United put us up at the Hyatt Regency by the airport and also gave us some vouchers for dinner and breakfast.

We checked  out of the Hyatt at 6am since we had an 8:45am flight, but when we got to the counter the flight was oversold and they needed volunteers since we are already missing work and cancelled all appointment we took them up on the offer and got compensated nicely and waited around for the 10:45am flight.

Got home safely, to another snow storm, we left my car at the Cleveland Fast Park lot Cost $50

A great time in Little Rock, probably a place I may not have visited if not for racing, all the free museums had donation jar which we gladly donated to since we were quite surprise they were free. 

4/15/15 - Medal came in the mail, beautiful, big and heavy #3. Love it


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