Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My 100th Half Marathon!

100 Half Marathons!! I knew that this milestone was looming on the horizon several months back. But the problem was that race cancellations - either by me or by the race organizer - were making the actual 100th half marathon a moving target. So when friends started asking me what race would be my 100th, I honestly could not answer that question until it happened.

I wanted the Chevron Houston event in January to be my 100th. After all, it's where I got my start running. But this plan started to fall apart last fall. I cancelled my plans to run a race in Savannah so that I could work the sound booth for our play production. I reneged on the Galveston Santa Hustle in December because of brutal weather. I decided to change registration from the half to the full for the Texas Metalsaw race on New Year's day. Then the Mississippi Blues event was cancelled in early January due to an ice storm. The target kept moving farther and farther away as races were falling off of my calendar.

Finally the dust settled and I could see that a small little late-February race that I'd registered for in the Houston area might end up being my 100th. I wasn't thrilled with that prospect.  I knew no one doing that race, it's very small, and the thought of doing this little race, crossing the finish line, and then just driving home to an empty house just wasn't doing it for me. So I made the decision not to do this race, even though I'd registered for it.

The next race after that was Little Rock where I'd registered for the full marathon. There were dozens of running friends planning to be at that race. I gave it some thought and concluded that the best thing to do was to change my registration to the half so that this event could be my 100th half marathon. Perfect! I had just 2 days remaining to make that change before the deadline. Phew! Then I posted at the 100 Half Marathons Club Facebook page that this would be my 100th.

Even though I would not be finishing this goal in my home town, at least I'll be finishing it at a large and very well done race event with lots of excitement and lots of running friends.

View from the sound booth....rehearsals

My original plan was to drive to Little Rock. But I was in rehearsals for our next play, which would open the weekend after the race, so I felt that flying to Little Rock would be the better way to go. This way I could fly out Friday afternoon, after rehearsal, and fly home Sunday night after the race, and not be absent from the sound booth.

rehearsal in the morning, Little Rock race expo in the afternoon!

Friday's plan went like clockwork. Rehearsal was done by noon, I drove home, made myself lunch, then left for the airport mid afternoon for my 4:15 PM flight. I was on the ground in Little Rock by 5:30 and to the hotel soon after. The packet pickup expo was still open, so I walked the pleasant distance to the convention center to get my packet and check out the vendors a little bit.

Packet pick up at the expo

Heifer International is one of the sponsors of this race. They had a large display booth at the expo, and two adorable pigmy goat babies that were getting lots of love and attention!

Adorable baby goat!

The next morning - Saturday - I got showered and dressed and out the door of the hotel so that I could watch the 5K race run by. I had camera ready, searching the faces of the runners for any friends. I did manage to pick one out of the crowd, but didn't see any others, though I knew they were out there.

A son cheering his mom on in the 5K on Saturday

Arkansas History Museum...a great way to spend an hour or so...

Once the runners passed by, I walked back to the convention center with its attached Marriott Hotel with Starbucks to get my much-anticipated cappuccino then went back through the expo again, taking more time to look at the merchandise and visit the many booths promoting half marathons in other parts of the state and the country. Back out and wandering about, I walked over to the Arkansas History Museum, a living museum preserving a small group of original buildings and dwellings. Here I spent a very nice hour visiting with the docents and learning about the history of these buildings and their original occupants.

I was just a block away from the restaurant I'd picked out for our post-race lunch, so I stopped in to check it out in person. It was smaller and a bit more rustic than it appeared on their website, but our group was small, so hopefully this will work out. Next door was Andina Cafe, so I stepped inside, checked out their menu, and decided to stay for lunch.

Back to the hotel, lay out my things for the race tomorrow and relax before meeting up with our 50 States club for dinner at Dizzy's. I wanted to get there early, eat, and get out fairly early. Fortunately the restaurant owner decided that, with our large group, they would just set up a pasta and salad bar and let us eat as we arrived. Easier for us, easier for his kitchen and waitstaff.

Race day morning I was out the door and walking the short 3 blocks to the start line. The corrals were arranged in a very weird way that pedestrian traffic was severely impeded along the sidewalks. I worked my way along with thousands of others toward the back corrals, getting into my corral just moments before the start gun went off. They cleared us through the corrals and to the start line fairly quickly given the size of this race, and once over the start line I could settle into my pace. It was overcast and in the high 40's with light rain the entire time I was out there. I wore capris, a long sleeve shirt, and my favorite cheap Russell Athletic windbreaker jacket with ample pockets. It kept me warm and dry, and I had the hood up over my running hat for most of the way.

Race route, data from my Garmin GPS watch

The route was similar to the route when I did this race back in 2012, but there were some changes in the early miles (going in the opposite direction in North Little Rock, which actually worked out better) and then some differences in the middle miles, once back across the river and past the Bill Clinton Library. it still went past the Governor's Mansion (but no governor greeting the runners this time) and then spent more distance near the capitol building which was much better than last time.

Nearing the finish line

Finisher! My 100th half marathon!

Across the finish line, finisher medal collected, I made a beeline down the stairs in the convention center to check out the post-race feed. I didn't take the pasta, but I grabbed some other snack foods, sat and drank a beer, then walked back to the hotel to get cleaned up and go to lunch at Blue Canoe Brewing.

Finisher...100 half marathons!

Celebrating at Blue Canoe Brewing

We had a nice little turn-out, just right for how small the venue was. Good running friend Colleen went above and beyond to bring a festive feel to the post-race lunch, as we celebrated my finishing my 100th half marathon. She made posters and signs, and brought me a little bundt cake for later. She and I will be doing Go! St. Louis Half Marathon together next month. It will be her 100th half, and will be my 100th half according to the Fifty States Half Marathon club criteria, which does not accept distances longer than 13.1 miles, such as my two 25K races and one 30K race.

Delicious little bundt cake and a cappuccino at the airport

I returned to the hotel, packed my things, including all of the posters except the largest, and then took Uber to the airport. I arrived plenty early, enough time to get a celebratory Starbucks and enjoy my little bundt cake.  It was a very quick but very enjoyable half marathon weekend!

I bought a really great beer glass at the expo, so when I got home I poured myself a beer and kicked back to enjoy it!

A really great beer glass!

Next up: Our play performance weekend and then on to Dallas the following weekend to run half marathon #101/#98.

1 comment:

  1. WooHoo!! Way to go Barb. Big hugs to you.

    And baby goats too.....I love goats, we had two small ones when I was younger.