Today’s schedule had a 20 mile run on it. It’s been since the end of January that I’ve run over 16. Last weeks long run of 16 went as good as expected, but I knew that it would be a possibility today that I might run a full marathon. The annual unofficial Square to Square Marathon was today…and it was calling my name!
Leading up to this weekend the forecast looked super sketchy. 80% chance of scattered severe thunderstorms. No one likes to run in that. Also, I recently found out I have Monday off for Patriot’s Day, so I was banking on using it as a long run day if the weather was bad enough Sunday that I bailed on the S2S. Well, checking the weather the night before, the rain was pushed off until afternoon. And I saw a photo posted that there would be fun concrete handmade medals for all the finishers…plus a free t-shirt. Who can say no to that?! So, just to be on the safe side, a friend and I parked a car at mile 20 just in case things went downhill fast for the day and we needed to bail at 20. All that was left was getting all my race gear together and trying to get some sleep!
This morning we all woke up a bit before the first morning light, packed in the Subaru, and headed north to the start of the race on the Bentonville Square. The morning was perfect, no rain in sight, a lovely sunrise, and temps in the low 50’s. It looked as if it was going to be a great race day. About 100 or so (give or take 25!) showed up for this run. It’s one of those bring your own aid type runs, so we had lots of Gu’s and water, plus a few friends with traveling aid stations at our helm. It was great! Super laid back and lots of very happy people!
After a quick group photo, we were off! The race ran South down the Bentonville, AR trails and into Rogers. This is the first time I’ve run some of the new pieces of the trail since the completion of the Greenway. It was great. Lots of friendly faces, mostly flat with a few rolling hills, and bathroom/water along the way. This was the case all the way into Springdale. Before we hit Springdale, our route took us through Rogers and Lowell. When we got to Springdale we hopped off the trail to make our way South down Carly Road to Johnson. This was the hardest portion of the entire route. Minimal tree coverage, shoulder road running, big rolling hills, and ample sunshine made it challenging at times – especially post 16 miles! I ran with two friends and we keep a very easy 10:30 mi/mile pretty much the entire time. This helped in making the run very easy on the body. No plantar fasciitis pain. No leg pains. The only hard part was the lung I felt like I hacked up the entire time due to all the pollen floating around us!
Shortly after Carley, we made it into Johnson. 6 or so miles to go at this point. The most ‘challenging’ part of the race was the creek crossing we had to do! I got a toe of my shoe wet, but nothing compared to the friends taking the creek ankle-deep! On the bright side, it was in the 70’s at this point and I’m sure it felt glorious! After the creek crossing, we hopped back on the Greenway and within a mile or so crossed into Fayetteville. The home stretch! This part of the trail I run on a weekly basis, so it was easy peasy! I knew what to expect, both from the route and my body. We kept a steady pace and breezed into the Fayetteville Square shortly before lunch. The long run was a success and a great primer for my Kentucky Marathon coming up in a few weeks. I’m confident going into it that I can make that a successful race.
Post-race has been filled with the normal day-to-day Sunday doings – reading, grocery shopping, a bit of sitting and catching up on a show or two. I’ve got some almond ice cream for a treat and am looking forward to my next run!