Hello, folks! I hope you all had a tremendously fun Valentine weekend, and, if you are one of the lucky people who has today off, please tell me you’ve spent the day lounging on the couch watching too much Netflix and thinking about those of us who didn’t have the option Not that I’m begrudging you. As I tell John all the time, I have so much time off that I can’t very well complain on those few and far between days where I’m at work and most of the rest of the country isn’t!
We had a fun if not necessarily romantic weekend. Dad came up to spend the weekend with us because it was Ft. Smith Marathon time once again! Some of you may remember this was our February race last year during our 12 in 12 in 12, and it, since it is a race that I can do and still sleep in my own bed the night before, is one that I will probably do several times in the future. In fact, I’m fairly certain I made up my mind to run this past weekend minutes after I crossed the finish line last year, but let us begin at the beginning.
Dad, John, and I headed over to the Fort Saturday morning for packet pick-up. 2015 was the inaugural year for the Fort Smith Marathon, and it was readily apparent that it has grown since then. The expo featured several new booths, and was moved a few blocks to a slightly bigger location. Nevertheless, that space was PACKED when we were there around noon so, after grabbing our packets and taking our picture, we hot-footed it out of there. I don’t do large crowds and small spaces!
As we are wont to, the three of us decided to take in a movie, and spent the next three hours watching Leo DiCaprio dragging himself through the mountains. My quick and dirty take on The Revenant? It is an extremely violent movie with gorgeous scenery that is little too long but very good, and I’ll never watch it again. One other quick thing: I am definitely one of those people who think it’s a travesty that Leo has never won an Oscar so I’m glad it looks like he will for this one and he deserves it, but, in my humble opinion, the best acting performance in that movie is definitely Tom Hardy. But I digress!
We spent most of the rest of the evening carb-loading and watching TV, and were all in bed my 9:30. We had an 8:00 race start, and we were at the start line around 7:40. The big story was the weather as the temperatures had taken a dive overnight, and we were looking at overcast skies, 35 degrees, and wind that could knock you over. Not the best racing weather, and I was glad I had put on some layers!
This course is by far the hardest one we do. There are a ridiculous amount of hills including a really steep one around mile 4. When you combine that aspect with the weather, I knew this wasn’t going to be my sub-2 race. Mostly what I was looking for out of it was to redeem myself from last year. The 2015 edition of this race was extraordinarily tough for me. That was back when I still ran with an extreme forefoot strike which means I ended every race with pain in my feet. Right before this particular race, I tried to solve the problem with insoles. Bad idea. These were completely wrong for me, and I was in pain from about the first half mile on. It was a horrible race, and I had an equally dismal time of 2:18:40. I’ve progressed so much as a runner in the last year, and I didn’t want my 2015 showing to be the final say of what I could do on this course.
I won’t break the course down mile by mile for you. Instead I’ll tell you that I felt good from the word go. My body felt good, and, once we got started, the cold wasn’t too bad. The wind was pretty aggressive which was not easy to battle through, but I don’t even remember thinking too much about it. I felt strong going up the hills, and I credit the hill training that I’ve been intentional about in the last month or so.
I honestly felt great the entire race. So much so that I was able to joke a little with John and some of our friends that came out to support at mile 7. I started to tire during the last mile and the last push to the finish (always hard for me!) was a bit of a challenge, but we crossed the finish line at 2:05:24.
I couldn’t be prouder of that. All things considered, I don’t know that I really could’ve done better at this moment in time, and I definitely got the redemption I was after. This is the first race in several that I came away with absolutely no regrets or disappointments, and that is a fantastic feeling! Now for a few days of rest, and then I have to get back after it. I’m racing again in two weeks! I know, I know-I have a problem. But I’m taking a break after the next one. Probably 😉