Long sleeved race t-shirt
At 5:30 AM Chasen and I left home for Stuttgart, Arkansas. It claims to be the rice and duck capital of the world! This time of year is the World Championship Duck Calling Contest and Wings Over The Prairie Festival. That info should make a bit clearer the name of the 10K race I ran today.
Stuttgart is located southeast of Little Rock and central Arkansas. It is flat as a pancake! And this time of year is usually freezing cold, windy and rainy over there. Duck hunters paradise!
We made it there in record time. We had oodles of time to wait. Due to hamstring soreness, Coach Terry told me to forego the extra 3.8 miles and just do the 10K. Fine by me! After getting my race packet, we just sat in the warm car until almost 8 AM (race time). Today was a complete dress rehearsal for Memphis. Since it was to be in the 30's I wore two shirts (another long sleeved shirt under my I Run For Elijah shirt).
Chasen got a kick out of my braids. He called me Pippi Longrunner. Ha!
There were 71 racers. Just before we started I saw Annette and the Cabot bunch. I told them all, including Fast Kelly, that I'd be lining up at the back. I was under strict orders to not go much faster than marathon pace. Something very odd happened as we were told "On your mark, get set, GO!" There was no air horn or gun... there was a duck call! Ha ha ha.
Mal R. Duck saw us off (get it - like mallard duck)
I was literally almost the last one on the road. I was running next to an elderly man for the first hundred feet or so. But I was NOT going to run too quickly. No PR today -- just a training run. I soon lost the man (behind me) but I honestly kept it as slow as possible. I was waaaaaay back there, but I didn't care. It was pretty peaceful, actually. It was almost like doing a training run alone -- yet better.
As I mentioned, it was flat as a pancake out there. And freezing cold! There was one water stop. ONE! At mile TWO. Jeez! At mile 4 I took off my jacket and passed a girl that had been a hundred feet in front of me for the whole race. That was gratifying, I must say, even though I was just crawling along.
Like Tulsa, this was a race where I never walked (except while at the one puny water stop). It really didn't cross my mind. I felt super strong. There was plenty of traffic control, and someone was perched at every mile marker calling out splits. I talked to every one of them.
As I came down the home stretch, Annette and Kelly were walking towards me. They asked if I needed any help running in (because they would have run me in). I said no. I had it covered!
Here I come. Chasen thought my bright shirt was a street sign from a distance. Ha!
Almost there! Annette said that I looked like I could have easily run another 20 miles. Thanks!
The finish line was quite uneventful, and that was fine. We went in for snacks and to see the awards presentation. Since it was such a small race, I thought maybe I'd get lucky. Nope! Annette, Kelly, Brenda, Raquel, Joan and Robert (all of Cabot) took home awards. Congrats, Cruisers!
L-R: Annette, Kelly, me (you can see their awards - hand carved duck boxes - on the table)
Chasen and I (thanks, Annette!)
After we said our goodbyes with the gals, we headed over to Mack's Prairie Wings. That is home to all things duck hunting (and maybe other types of hunting, I'm not really sure). Chasen scored some very nice shirts and I bought him a ski coat (for Christmas). We ran into some work friends of his while we were there, so we visited for quite a while. Believe me, I stuck out. A girl in tights does not exactly fit in amongst a sea of camouflage!
You know what? I almost PR'd today. My 10K PR, set in May at the Toad Suck 10K, was 1:08: 19 -- an that was an all-out effort that ended with me not thinking that I could take another step. Today I ran it in 1:08:24 and felt like I could have run forever. Not bad!!! I attribute smart racing (and training) to that. I didn't go out too fast and bonk at the end like at Toad Suck.
Mile 1: 10:53
Mile 2: 11:22
Mile 3: 11:08
Mile 4: 11:07
Mile 5: 10:49
Mile 6: 10:36
Mile 6.2: 2:26
My hamstring felt good throughout the race. It merely whispered at me. Yay! My ankle, knock on wood, was perfect. And Sesamoids - quiet as a mouse!
I'm feeling great about Memphis. It's hard to believe that time time next week my marathon will be done. Wow!