I ran a half marathon. Again.
I know it looks crazy, but let me explain. I didn't originally intend to run two in a row, it just kinda happened. I was training for the Vegas race the first weekend of December and as I started meeting more local runners and doing my weekend long runs with a group of new friends — I realized most of them were training for a local race – the very next weekend. The 2nd Annual Fayetteville Half Marathon.
So… I started thinking. I'll already be trained up to that distance… They're a full week apart… It's local – no travel required… And, worst case scenario, Vegas totally kicks my butt and I don't feel like running another one – no biggie…
So I registered.
What the heck, right? Once you've run 13.1 miles, what's ANOTHER 13.1 miles?
Part of the appeal for me of these two races was how different I thought they would be. Vegas was a night race, completely flat terrain, and really crowded. Fayetteville would be a traditional morning race, hilly, and I'd be able to run my pace.
So a week after running my first half marathon, I ran my second.
One thing that was consistent across both races — the COLD. I braved it and went for shorts this time and after my legs thawed out around mile 2 I was pretty happy with my choice of wardrobe. The gloves eventually came off, too – but I was glad to have them for the start. C-O-L-D, my friends.
The race started at the outdoor track facility on the University of Arkansas campus and ran an almost double loop around the west part of town. And because it was in Fayetteville you know it had some good hills. I run in Fayetteville all the time so I thought I was prepared for the "rolling hills" I had kinda missed in Vegas, but there's not much that can prepare you for this!
Vegas elevation chart:
Fayetteville elevation chart:
It WAS nice to have that downhill at the end, but hoo boy was mile 11 a beast.
See the very top of that first big hill on the elevation chart? Well, I was focused on putting one foot in front of the other, pounding through what is easily my least favorite mile to run – ever, and as I looked over I saw the Marathon Mamas! My friends Amy and Meghan (who ran a half marathon in Dallas last week in the POURING RAIN) were there with signs and cheers and support — and I almost forgot that I was running mile 2 straight up a hill! Those girls are the best and they put a smile on my face at the time I needed it most.
Since it was a loop course and we were in familiar territory, Jeff was able to sneak around the course and meet me at different spots for a check-in and some encouragement. I loved knowing he could show up around any corner!
It's funny to look at these pictures and compare them to the pictures of Vegas. The crowds in Vegas seem even more outrageous when you realize there really aren't any other people – at all! – in the Fayetteville photos. There were hundreds of runners instead of tens of thousands of runners — I could run my pace and not worry about elbowing someone or tripping over a walker. As the race unfolded it became an unbelievably beautiful day to run. Cold, yeah, but perfect running weather.
The last leg of the race — after the nice, long downhill run down Maple Street then Razorback Road — was a victory lap around the outdoor track. So cool. This is the Track Capital of the World, people. That track is home to the most decorated team in Razorback athletics.
(My friend Tena is peeking right behind me in this shot. She braved the cold to come cheer me into the finish!)
And there I am on the big screen!
And the finish line!
Official time — 2:15:48. A new PR!
Not the 2:10 I was dreaming about before the week began, but I shaved almost five minutes off my Vegas time, even with all the spirit-crushing hills!
Becky kept Colt for us since 2+ hours is way too long to ask the little guy to wait patiently, but they did meet me at the finish line! (After they "borrowed" a banana from the finishers' area…)
And here I am with our friend Greg who is also a member of the "2 Half Marathons in 2 Weekends" Club. He ran the White Rock in Dallas the weekend I was running in Vegas. He writes a great running blog, HERE – and… evidently makes me look incredibly short!
So there you have it – Half Marathon #2 in the books already. I'm thrilled I did both. My legs were angry for a few days after those hills and after not truly taking a day off to rest/veg between the two races, but I learned so much. Night vs. morning. Crowd control. Flat vs. hills. It's ALL good. I even think I might have found my favorite distance to race. I suspect 2012 will mean a handful of half marathons and far fewer shorter races. But who knows…?