Where do I even begin? I will start at the beginning I suppose….
I rode to the marathon with my two sole sisters Trina and Rebekah. As soon as we pulled in the parking lot I saw our dear friends Heather, Christine, Erin, and Dan. We all hung out and talked for a little by the car about whether or not we dressed appropriately for the weather conditions. The temperature at the time was upper 40’s, but we knew it was supposed to continuously drop. We all made sure we had our trash bags because the forecast called for rain. We then all headed to a local hotel that allows you to use the restrooms and hang in the lobby until the race starts. Thank you Heather for this information or we would have been using porta potty’s in the cold!
As soon as we stepped in the lobby I saw some of the people who have inspired me most in my life!! Sonia not only has inspired me with running, but her and her husband David are the ones who spiked my interest in becoming a Respiratory Therapist. This was Simone’s (far right) first half marathon. I have been following her journey on Facebook. I am always inspired my new runners/walkers!
When I saw Stacy Cates my heart just beamed! I met Stacy my first year doing the Women Can Run Clinic. Her hair was still growing in from her treatments for breast cancer. With my mom being a breast cancer survivor her story immediately touched me. I thought to myself if she is out here being positive and moving forward after all she has been through then so can I. She knows now, but had no idea what an impact on my life she had. During our runs she would say “Anyone can do anything for 30 seconds.” That touched me and motivated me more than she could ever imagine! I still tell that story to new runners and even sometimes I tell my patients that!
This was also my sweet friend Angie Madding’s first half marathon! I have known Angie for years, but running has brought us closer and we have a much better friendship now. Angie suffers from Ulcerative Colitis. She has had some struggles during training, but she has pushed through it and completed her goal. Over the last year I have watched the light in her begin to shine again. I am so proud of her.
Ok here we go… It was time to get to our corrals! It had begun to sprinkle so the trash bags went on! This year they decided to do a wave start. I am not personally a fan of this. We waited 45 minutes to cross the start after the first corral. It was raining and cold and all my enthusiasm from seeing my friends and hearing the National Anthem was gone by the start.
As soon as it was our time to start Rebekah said “I have to use the restroom.” Really? First porta potty we will stop! When we passed the first set there was a line so we kept going. We wanted to stay just in front of the 5:25 pace group. I was the one with the Garmin. I think I said slow down 500 times to my counter parts. They had the adrenaline from all the people and wanted to go way to fast! The 2nd set of bathrooms… a long line. I guess after waiting almost an hour in the corrals everyone had to use the restroom. Crossing the Broadway bridge going into NLR we saw Angie and Vickie! YAAYYY we cheered and chatted for a second and my enthusiasm was restored. Right before mile 3 there was a large group of porta potty’s and although there was a line we decided to go ahead and stop. At that time the 5:25 pace group passed us. Just around the corner was our cheer squad! Now they deserve medals!! Yes I am going to list them all because I feel they don’t get enough credit for standing out in the cold cheering for everyone!! We had 20 people there for us! My mom, my brother and his girlfriend, my husband and son, my cousins and their 2 kids. My best friend drove in from Memphis with her boyfriend and 2 kids. Trina’s husband, son and his girlfriend, her best friend and 2 kids came all the way from Florida. Rebekah’s husband and one of her kids. They were loud and so encouraging! They took this picture of me at the first stop! As you can see I was excited to see them!
At mile 4 I started to get warm and decided to take my very fashionable trash bag off. It was still drizzling on and off, but i was getting warm. We saw our entourage one more time on the NLR side before they moved to the LR side of the race. We were doing good and our pace felt good going back over the Broadway bridge. We passed the 5:25 pace group and walked for a few seconds while we ate our nutrition. We were moving right along dancing when we heard music, talking, and really taken in the beautiful homes in the Govern mansion neighborhood. We had settled into about a 10:30 pace. I had given up on telling them to slow down. Just before the split at mile 11 for the half marathoners to go right and us to go left we saw some more Cabot Cruisers! Loved seeing BrendaDuhamel! Always a joy! Then we heard the THV crew playing Footloose! Well of course we all three broke out into a weird run, dance. This motivated us and we were feeling great. We talked about how far we had all three come in our running and how in 2012 when we ran the half for the first time at that point we felt like death.
Just after mile 12 we met back up with the half marathoners for a short time before we turn off to the left to head to the state capital. This is when the wind and rain started to pick up and I could tell the temperature was dropping. I had just a block to go to turn left out of the wind and my family would be there by the capital. Then right at the turn off we watched them barricade the road. What!? We saw everyone go straight. We could her the women police officer saying something, but couldn’t quite make it out. It only took one more second to realize what she said. “Race is cancelled, go straight to finish, extreme weather.” NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! My heart sunk. I was deflated! We just stopped running and I started to cry. I immediately thought of my family. I had trained so hard and spent countless hours away from home. They all are out here in freezing rain to watch me run a full marathon. This can’t be happening! I called my husband and he did not answer so then called my mom to tell them it was cancelled to go to the finish line. At that time we weren’t given an option to continue at our own risk. The road was barricaded and we had no option but to run to the finish with all the half marathoners. Rebekah said lets finish strong and we did. At the finish I really didn’t know if I should take the full marathon medal. I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I was just so disappointed. I had a million things running through my head! This was going to be my only marathon. I don’t have the time to train for another. It put a lot of strain on my family.
We took our finisher picture with our medals. At this point I was now freezing and couldn’t feel my hands. We saw Trina and Rebekah’s family. I fell into Trina’s husband Jason’s arms. He could tell my heart was broken. My family had parked on the NLR side and hadn’t made it over to me. I hugged everyone and told them thank you and headed over to where my family had parked. It was now a steady rain and the temperature had dropped into the 30’s. On my way the Michelob ultra people were packing up. She said “you look like you need this” and I did! It was so good!
My family met me on the bridge and hugged my neck. My mom gave me her jacket and we hurried to the car. We all went to eat and they all told me how proud they were that I even did 14 miles. I appreciated them more than they know and I love them all so much!
I was never angry with the race directors for their decision. I was just heart broken. I know everything happens for a reason. I absolutely love the Little Rock marathon! I am not sure if I will be doing the Full or not next year (yes I am now throwing the idea around), but I will at least be there for the half! The volunteers are amazing. I know they had to all be freezing and I know they were soaked!
We are planning a virtual marathon in a few weeks. We will all bring our medals and run our 26.2 miles. (I have to earn that 26.2 sticker for the back of my truck). With running we know that the weather can change our plans and mother nature got us this time!!