This race started in Lake Village, Arkansas and ended in Greenville, Mississippi. The first several miles were absolutely beautiful running along Lake Chicot.
Drew and I spent some time talking to an older gentleman who was in the 100+ Marathon club. He was finishing up his 4th cycle through the 50 states with this race. I wish we could have coaxed him into telling us some good stories, but he wasn’t a very longwinded man.
After we turned onto Hwy 82 at about the 6 mile mark the wind got very heavy, but we were entertained by a crop-duster flying up high and then diving down towards the ground. It was impressive and kind of scary to watch.
Miles 8-12 the wind was absolutely kicking my ass, it was coming at us head-on and significantly slowing me down. Finally Drew thought to have me tuck in behind him and draft, which I did for the next several miles. I was running so close to him that I had to stare at his feet to make sure I didn’t trip him. He takes long slower strides and I take short faster strides. It definitely gave me something to focus on for a while.
At about mile 12 we approached the bridge …
The incline of the bridge certainly seemed a lot longer than the descent on the other side, but it was majestic none the less, as was the Mississippi River below it. We got a little laugh as we almost tripped over a dead fish on the bridge. I’m still not sure how that could have gotten there, it was definitely one of the more interesting road kill specimens I’ve come across while running.
At mile 16 I spotted Tim and Lincoln just as we were passing them. I wasn’t actually expecting to see them until the finish line (and I was still busy staring at Drew’s feet) so it was a great surprise. Lincoln made a sign that said, “Run Fast Mommy”.
Miles 18-20 were kind of miserable. My glutes and quads felt like bricks.
At Mile 20 I thought, “Ok, now lets run 2 miles … 3 times”. That’s about all I could focus on was 2 miles at a time. I actually started feeling significantly better at 22 miles when Drew started feeling worse. Still the last few miles were nothing but mind over matter for the both of us, and yet somehow we managed to run a 8:29 pace on our 26th mile.
And then just like that it was over.
My official time was 3:52:28, a new PR by almost 5 minutes!
I was overall really impressed with the race organization. There were buses available to transport all the participants from the finish line in Mississippi to the starting line in Arkansas, where they had bonfires waiting on us to keep us warm before the race. There were water stops at almost every single mile marker as well as portalets. Although the course was open to traffic there was ample police officers to cover all of the intersections. The finish line festivities didn’t seem to be anything special, but honestly I didn’t feel like spending much time there anyway.
So glad to have my 3rd marathon in the books! I think it will be a while before I do a 4th. I think I’ve decided that the Half Marathon is my happy place. In regards to marathoning, I’ll quote Sweet Brown:
“Ain’t nobody got time for that”.