March 7, 2010

Night Before the Little Rock Marathon

I had to wake up at 5:45am to get to LaGuardia for my 8am flight, but all went pretty smoothly. I planned to fly from LaGuardia to Baltimore and then on to Little Rock, and when I got to the airport, I was presented with a conundrum: I would have on problem getting out of LaGuardia to either Baltimore or Chicago Midway (my other stopover option to get to Little Rock), but both flights to Little Rock were extremely full. The agent thought I had a slightly better chance from Baltimore, so I picked that one. After a quick check to Kayak, I found that in a worst case scenario, I could buy a walkup ticket on Delta from Baltimore to Little Rock for only about $200 – not what I wanted to spend, but not the end of the world.

Fortunately, I made it out of Baltimore and to Little Rock with almost no problems. The only snag was realizing I had left my laptop charger at home, and needed to go to an airport kiosk to purchase a new one. Luckily, a nice smile at the clerk got me a $20 discount, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been 🙂

Little Rock airport proved to be pretty close to downtown, only requiring about a 5 minute drive. What a nice change from all the recent marathons I’ve done where I had to drive from hours to get to a small town without an airport! To sweeten the deal, I even found free parking only a block from the hotel. After meeting up with my roommate, Aaron, we hit up the expo for a while, picked up my packet, and chatted with Bart Yasso for a while. From there, it was on to the 50 States Club Meeting – Little Rock being the site of the quarterly reunion.

The meeting was really fun! I’m proud to have found my niche there, being known by a lot of members who welcomed me with open arms. I ran into a lot of old friends and got to catch up, and with Aaron being a burgeoning 50 Stater (Little Rock would be his ninth state, and it only takes ten to qualify for membership), I enjoyed introducing him around. The guest speaker for the meeting was Kelly Luckett, who is a below-the-knee amputee who runs with a prosthesis. It was really interesting to hear of the challenges of another runner and how she does it. Kelly’s not the fastest runner to use a prosthetic leg, so I thought it was neat that she had made a name for herself through sheer determination and perseverance. While I would never compare the two of us, I felt a kinship with her for doing that because I feel like I’m kind of doing the same thing: I’m not the fastest (by a long stretch), but where I shine is in my goal setting and my determination to make those goals happen. Running a marathon in all 50 states is something that I think just about anyone can do (I mean come on, I used to not be able to run even a mile!), but I think what people should get impressed by is not my athletic prowess but that I am actually doing it. If I can do it, anyone can! (I really hope this is not coming off as self-promoting).

From the meeting, we headed to the pasta dinner, where I met up with another old friend, Denis. I met Denis at the Steamtown pasta dinner, where I first heard about how he trained his dog to run on a treadmill (how cool is that?!). Since then, he’s actually now run with his dog in a full marathon! Wow. Maybe that will be my new goal after I do 50 states… to get a dog and do it again with her by my side 🙂

After a quick jaunt to Target to pick up some sunscreen for Aaron’s recently shaved head, we pretty much headed up and tucked ourselves in. I decided to lull myself to sleep by reading… but unfortunately, the book I was reading was none too settling. My book club is reading Columbine, a non-fiction book about the shooting in April 2000 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. It’s a fascinating book, written years after all the evidence had been gathered, and it disproves a lot of misconceptions about what happened (for example, Cassie Bernall, who was revered for being a Christian martyr who died for her beliefs, was actually just a random victim). I’d highly recommend it, but it’s definitely not the kind of thing you want to read before heading off to dreamland.

On the bright side, my desire to stop reading before I read of more horrific scenes meant I got to bed really early. And no nightmares either! A very successful night before the race.


5 thoughts on “Night Before the Little Rock Marathon”

  1. I know this isn’t about running, but my best friend (that I met through starting a book club!) actually was at Columbine during the shooting…. when I went to visit her this year in CO, I saw the school and she told me more about it. She has a hard time reading Columbine-related books, but I’m curious about what they discovered. Did they interview any students?

  2. Yes – the book is packed with interviews and first-person stories, as well as tons of excerpts from the killers’ diaries. It’s really comprehensive.

  3. I got to spend a few hours in the airport after the race chatting with Kelly, neat lady. I didn’t go to the 50 states group because I wasn’t sure if I was allowed or not (5 states down). Great course, pretty well organized. Congrats!

  4. Interesting… I had totally forgotten that you have roomates while on the road doing these races. I would totally be up for that – but my wife – not so much. I’ve totally spoiled her with the marriott points…she is a total hotel snob now!

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