Monday, May 2, 2016

(03-05-2016) Little Rock - Exploration Day

Allison and I didn't have anything in particular on the schedule for today. We didn't even set the alarm.

As we got up and moving, I opened the window/curtains and noticed that the 5K & 10K participants were running past the hotel. Not long after, I recognized our friend MYMW coming by.  I took a few pictures of her from the comforts of our room.

Allison looked up some breakfast restaurant options and we found one within walking distance called The Root CafĂ©. The line was pretty long when we got there but the people in front of us said that it was moving pretty good.  They were from Ohio; two of them would be doing the half on Sunday and the other two would be doing the marathon. Restaurants like this can often be a challenge for me since I am pretty particular about my food but I was able to find something. I'll be honest, it wasn't as fabulous as I was expecting it to be. The best thing was my orange juice. Pretty sure that was FRESH SQUEEZED!

We then walked back to the Expo to look around some more.

I bought a shirt that I didn't need (but at least it was dog related and not running!) and also got one of the free massages. They did a great job working on my piriformis.

We then went back out and walked around looking for some giant eagle that Allison wanted to have her picture taken on. We eventually found it but those pictures are on her phone.
And we also found a candy shop!  So we stopped.  DUH!!!
Then we walked to that capitol building. Not sure how, why or when it started but I have this thing with seeing a state's capitol building now. Mostly they all start looking the same but its fun seeing how they are different as well.

As we were walking back to the hotel, we saw the start line so walked down there (it was only a block away from us) to check it out.
Back at the hotel we rested before going to the 50 States Half Marathon Club dinner later in the evening.  We had done a lot more walking than we planned on doing - or probably should have been doing - and we never stopped for lunch either. Thankfully I had some snacks in the room to hold us over.

Neither of us had been to a dinner with this club but Allison already knew some of the people.  I'm so glad we went. Although the food was expensive and not that good unfortunately, it was great meeting all these new people and hearing other's experiences and stories.
We walked back to the hotel room and put the finishing touches on everything for in the morning. It was "lights out" about an hour later.

(03-04-2016) On the Road to Little Rock - Travel Day

Allison and I set out on our great adventure to Arkansas on Friday, March 4th.  Although neither of us had signed up to do the 5K on Saturday, we decided to get there Friday night and get settled in.  That way on Saturday we could go back to packet pickup and check out the city at our leisure.  Since Allison was doing the full, we also decided to spend the night Sunday. That way we would be better rested for the long journey home.

I picked her up at her house around 9:00AM and we headed west with trusty OnStar guiding our way.  Surprisingly we didn't make too many stops other than gas and a couple of potty breaks, thus we made pretty good time.

As we were getting closer to the Arkansas line, I noticed that the mile markers along the interstate were in .2 (point 2) increments.  I told her when we reached the 26.2 mile marker we should stop so that I could take her picture next to it.  Initially she thought I was crazy and that doing this would get us killed. But as you can see below, this turned out to be a fantastic photo. And we did not die!
Of course we would still need to stop at the "welcome to" sign.  It is my thing after all.
Once we got settled into the hotel, we walked over to packet pickup. We saw this funny Humpty Dumpty statue along the route and Allison suggested that I mimic it.

Packet pickup was a quick in and out. They had a great setup and getting around was easy. Lots of room to move around. The theme this year was GAME ON and they had all sorts of references to games from my childhood; Mr. Potato Head, Battleship, name a few.

We didn't stay too long at the Expo. We were hungry and the plan was to go back on Saturday anyway when we would have more time and hadn't been on the road for nine hours! I had sent a text to MYMW  and she and her husband were still at the Expo as well but were also about ready to leave.  We decided to meet up and all go to dinner together. Just across the road from the Convention Center was a pizza place called Iriana's and that sounded good enough for all of us.  Allison and I went half and half on our pizza.
After dinner and this quick photo below, we decided to walk a bit of the area and see what else was near by.

I mean, I'm sure I'm not the first person to climb on this rabbit and pretend that it was a bucking bronco, right?

MYMW was doing the 5K in the morning so we didn't stay out too late. Allison and I headed back to the hotel to finish unpacking and getting settled in.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

(2-20-2016) Viking Winter Dash 15K

I regularly get emails from American Multi-Sport and when I saw what the medal was going to be for this event, I was tempted. But Muncie, IN isn't THAT close to where I live so I didn't initially sign up. Then my friend Allison sent out a group email a couple of days before one of the price increases - and she said she would drive - so I caved into the peer pressure and registered. With taxes and fees my total cost was $65.99. This was in early November and the race date was February 19th so like usuall...I forgot about it until it got closer.

All along I figured I would try to dress the part and had planned on getting a costume online.
I posted this "sneak peak" photo on Facebook of the costume but didn't indicate what it was. It is fun to keep people guessing!

Allison met me at the Cracker Barrel just off the interstate since she was coming from the West and we needed to head northeast for the event. The "Barrel" is only about 15(?) minutes or less from my house. I ended up driving to the event and after one interstate snafu - there was an accident so we had to reroute ourselves - we got to the race location in plenty of time.

Pre-race CLEAN SHOES photo op!
The Warrior Vikings were starting to line up!

Trying to strike a fierce Viking Warrior pose!
Pre-race selfie with Allison
The weather for this event was unseasonably warm for mid-February. I had initially worn a black short sleeved tech shirt under my Viking costume but decided to swap that out and put on the long sleeved race tech shirt they gave us instead. I would have been fine staying with short sleeves. I ditched my throw-away after about a mile and there were times - since there was FULL SUN beating down on us - that I got too warm. Allison should not be trusted as a weather barometer since she is very cold natured!

To follow are just a bunch of pictures from the course.  This was only my second true trail event and I'm not a fan of mud. Sorry, I'm just not.  I was trying to avoid it like it was nobody's business. Some guy yelled to me "Embrace the mud, girl!" to which I hollered back, "No way, man!" There wasn't mud everywhere but there was enough for me!

See....deep sloppy mud!

This is also a horse path. Luckily this sign below wasn't for me since you could go left or right!

Which way do I go? Hmmmmm....

Warrior Viking Shadow

Technically, the "trail" ended here but we continued on.

As the sign indicates this was the turnaround and our bib number was checked at this point. But everyone standing behind this gate made me think that they were on display.
 "Please don't feed the people"

So that hill we started on and ran DOWN initially....yeah, we had to run up it at the finish.

You can tell that Allison did not try to avoid the mud like I did.
My shoes are definitely cleaner!

I had the idea to smear mud on my face before the finish.  So when I got closer to the clearing (and that HILL), I actually had to turn back around and find some mud to adorn myself with.  :)

Below is the official race finishers picture.  I let out a great big roar as I was crossing the finish line. Too bad I have my cell phone in my hand!

So this is the medal. It really was the draw for me to do this event but I must admit that in is the size of a letter opener. While it is unique and different I was disappointed.

Final thoughts on this event: although this was only my 2nd trail run, I just don't think I'm a fan. I can't imagine had I signed up to do it last year when they had all of the snow. I mean, I probably would have been a DNS. I'm glad I did it for the experience but I won't sign up to do it next year. The medal next year is some sort of Warrior hammer but seeing how the sword turned is not a drawing point for me. Overall, the race company runs a pretty good race. I wished there had been one more aid station out there since it was so sunny. I did not have my own water with me.  It was a pretty course and would probably be gorgeous in the Fall.