We have a guest post from Ashley Ederington who blogs about running and life with her boys on a hobby farm in rural Arkansas. She loves running and anything pink. She has a degree in Biology and isn’t easily grossed out, Lisa has tried.
Last week I joined my local running club, the Spa Pacers, and signed up for the Grand Prix. I’ve been running races around Arkansas for the past two years, but I’m more of a wallflower. Meeting new people sends my heart rate well out of my optimal training zone, but when Lisa and I ran 3 Bridges, she knew every runner we passed. I unofficially met more runners that day, than any other day of my life. It was the perfect, low-pressure way for me to come out of my shell.
So, what made me finally take the plunge and join a club? At the Mississippi River Marathon, Arkansas Road Runners Club of America State Representative, David Meroney, gave Lisa and me plain potato chips at miles 16 and 20. They were the best tasting chips on the planet, and I figured the least I could do was join the club and sign up for the Grand Prix to pay him back. Anyway, I get sidetracked sometimes and I’m supposed to be writing about Run the Line Half Marathon, not chips.
When I arrived in downtown Texarkana and took my place in the start corral, all the runners were talking about the same thing: the perfect weather. It was 42 and partly cloudy. Some of us had raced the weekend prior in freezing temperatures and multiple layers of clothes. The ability to feel our toes at the starting line insured this would be a great day to race.
This was my first time to participate in Run the Line, and the only thing I knew about the course was the water and port-a-potty location. Thankfully, both were perfectly positioned approximately every two miles. I really didn’t have a plan or a set pace for this run, so I just eased in, and within two miles I met up with fellow Spa Pacer, Josh Drake. I was able to keep up with him, and we stuck together for the remainder of the run.
This course is great for first-timers and seasoned veterans. We meandered around Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas getting a beautiful tour of the cities. We ran on coned-off city streets and paved trails, with handy volunteers and police officers guiding the way. The last half of the course had a few long inclines that were just steep enough to be a challenge, but not demoralizing.
As you approach the finish line, the course is slightly downhill, you can hear the crowd cheering, and smell the hamburgers and hot dogs cooking. Nothing makes me run faster, than the smell of food. Everyone was treated to hamburgers, hot dogs, fried pies, fruit, cookies, water, sweet tea, and beer. My favorite part of every race is enjoying the after party and watching people complete the distance for the first time. The joy and utter relief on their faces is priceless and brings back great memories.
I’m tapering for the Little Rock Marathon, and this half was a great way to relieve the jitters induced from the reduced mileage. Also, there is still plenty of time to participate in the Grand Prix Series this year. You have only missed 3 races, and with 17 left, you can make up points quickly.