At the end of January, as I have blogged about, I attended the Arkansas Heart Association Heart Ball. During the event, there were a number of things in the auction. I chose to bid on an entry to the Little Rock Marathon. The package included registration fee and a $50 gift card to a local running store, Go! Running. My starting bid of $60 won; meaning I would return to Arkansas only five weeks later. This made me glad to have a race on the schedule and happy for the opportunity to return home. Since my training had not been in full swim and I had such a short time to prepare, I opted for the half versus the sold-out full.
Last Wednesday, I began my journey up from Austin for this half-marathon. I stopped in Magnolia to visit family there, including my 92 year old grandmother (sharing stories), and stayed until Friday. On Friday, I finished my trip to Little Rock. Just outside of the city, my aunt Amy and uncle Pat have a home set on 20 acres that looks up to West Pinnacle. It is one of my favorite places in the area and since my parents no longer live in Little Rock, I decided to stay here. When pick up my packet on Friday I ran into a friend from high school, Thomas Chapin. He is now an ultra-marathoner, runner-up in the 2012 Arkansas Traveler 100. Thomas said it best with, “a half-marathon is a great excuse to visit home.”
This is really what this trip has been about, a trip home. During this trip, I have been able to see most of my family. The race may have been the instigator for the trip but it was never really the focus for me. Turned out to be a good thing too. The weather for the race was not ideal. It was mid-50’s at the race start and 38* when I finished – raining, to some extent, the entire time – with winds ranging from 15 – 25 mph. This was my first time for me to race that distance in the rain, first time to run that untrained, first time to run with the temperature dropping and first time I was super thankful to have simply run the half versus the full. I typically prefer to keep running. All in all I was happy with my 1:43 time. Though some around me found ways to complain about the conditions, I did my best to just enjoy being out there. The marathon was eventually (around 11:30) rerouted due the weather; the race officials and organizers handled everything wonderfully.
Today, I am iced in. It is the coldest day in March, in Arkansas, EVER. The weather that came through yesterday, Winter Storm Titan, left a blanket of ice on the roads from Central Arkansas north to Missouri. As the day goes on, the roads are fine about 45 miles south of here but getting to the interstate is one thing while driving on that ice for 45 miles is another. That said, I will spend another day here enjoying family.