The Verdathon is complete!!!!!
Little Rock 5k…Saturday morning, took this one really easy. It was a pretty small race, simple, but semi-challenging course (gradual uphill for the first half, and rolling after that). I (of course) was rocking my Epic! Cape (which I ended up wearing for most of the weekend). Finished in 29:46. Several minutes off my best, but thats what I was going for.
Capital Hotel Detour 10k…This happened Saturday afternoon right after the 5k was complete. The Capital Hotel hosted a speaker series this year, which was kicked off by a brand new 10k. Turns out it was an untimed fun-run where you guided yourself through the unmarked course with a map they handed you in the lobby. I actually thought about just leaving because there was no real reason I needed to do it (it was free after all) but I stuck around. The run turned out to be led by Jeff Glasbrenner, and amputee who has completed 22 Ironmans!! I wasn’t nearly at his speed, so I ended up running faster than I wanted to try and stay with. I didn’t really succeed, but I ended up with a 10k just under 60 minutes. What a cool experience!!
Then it was symphony the rest of the day…rehearsal in the afternoon and concert that night. I was dragging by the end of the concert, absolutely no energy left. I am very lucky that Verdi Requiem is not a particularly demanding cello part…although we do have a very very exposed section at the beginning of the 3rd movement. Thankfully it isn’t extremely difficult, and I’ve been playing it in orchestral repertoire class for over a decade already!!
Little Rock Marathon…I was originally going to run the half. But lets be honest, I never wanted to do the half. I was originally signed up for the full, changed to half because of coached advice. I had talked my friend Katherine into doing the full with me, and then basically ditched her for the half. I felt bad, I felt lame for only doing a half (I know thats insane, but we know that I am not quite right in the head)…so when I was at the expo, I made a brief inquiry, and before I knew it, I had a full bib. It was at that moment that I become uncontrollably hyper for the entire weekend. I hadn’t really trained for a full, I was being completely insane!! (admittedly, while I hadn’t officially trained, I hadn’t exactly not trained, having completed Dopey a little over a month before)
So Katherine and I set out to run the full together. Turns out? We are amazing running partners. Disgustingly positive, cheering others on, pacing each other perfectly: pushing when needed, holding back when needed. I kind of hated us (even though we were AMAZING) The weather was perfect at the start, high 50’s, light drizzle…delightful really. We were having a grand old time…and to our great surprise, were continually passing the 4:25 pace group.
About 16-17 miles in things started getting real. We hadn’t noticed for a long time (because we were so pumped up being ridiculously positive) that temperatures had been dropping…QUICKLY. Our hands were red, and it was creeping up our arms. It was really windy, there were random downpours of freezing cold rain. Really dark clouds were starting to move in. We heard thunder. We started to realize that it was actually completely awful out there.
Then around mile 20, the volunteers started telling us the race was canceled. Thats when we hit our dark place. We were waaaaaay out in the course, the very furthest point from the finish line. The volunteers were telling us to take cover…but there was nowhere to go. Thunder and lightening. Freezing cold downpours. Completely numb hands. We walked a great deal at this point, because we were so confused. But we just kept pushing on. No shuttle came for us, aid stations were vanishing, volunteers insisted we take cover (even though there was nowhere to take cover).
About two miles from the finish we were offered a shuttle back to the start and told if we continued on there would be no more course support. But we were only two miles from the finish and concerned that if we waited for the bus, it would take longer than just running it out. So we did. Katherine got a HUGE burst of energy at this point. I could hardly keep up with her anymore. But she insisted I keep running, and I did. And we actually finished…we really didn’t think we would be allowed to.
And then surprise of all surprises…I got a PR of 4:27:20. Complete crazy talk.
We got our giant medals, stuffed finish line snacks in our face, and then quickly shuffled home. We had only an hour to change into formal concert attire to play another orchestra concert at 3pm. Surprisingly, the concert wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected it to be. I did conserve energy in some of the louder passages, just in case I needed it elsewhere. But we were both able to get through just fine…probably because we were riding our race high.
I’m still very confused as to what happened at the end. Everyone on the course told us the race was off…but in all of the official statements, the race was only re-routed. There was obviously an error in the line of communication. But I am thrilled Katherine and I were allowed to complete the entire course, as many were not.
It was certainly an epic and completely unforgettable weekend, and while it was grueling and tough and insane, I loved every second of it and would do it all again in a heartbeat.
I guess that what makes me completely insane.
The Little Rock Marathon is a MUST for everybody. The race has so much heart and is just such an amazing experience. Please make the trip down here soon!!