When a race really excites me, I just know it's a good idea! Once I brought up the possibility of racing the White River Half 2 weeks after the Indy Monumental Marathon and 2 weeks before the California International Marathon, I became almost giddy with excitement about the option. My coach and I talked it over, and since I recover well and would be doing my biggest workout of this very abbreviated training cycle on November 24 anyway, we decided to go for it! I ended up winning the race outright (men and women), and running a small half PR of 1:20:18 (although I'm unofficially counting my Strava time of 1:19:37 - details in the longer recap). I ran alone the entire race, so it wasn't unlike a long workout, and I was proud of my pacing and how I pushed myself without anyone to work with. I also had the best girls' trip to the race with my dear friend Amy!
My Strava activity is here.
With Amy at packet pick-up
Ever since I ran the White River Half Marathon in 2016, I've been eager to return to the race. In 2017 I was obsessed with doing everything absolutely perfect en route to CIM, so when my coach at that time told me that racing a half two weeks before a full wasn't ideal, I crossed it off my schedule. In 2018 I was injured at the time of the event. This year my friend Amy expressed interest in running the race, and I told her that if I got the OTQ at Indy I'd run it as well, but if I didn't I was going to switch my focus to CIM.
After missing the OTQ at Indy, I took White River off the table, but as my recovery went well I started itching to bring it back up. Amy still wanted to go, and my coach and I brainstormed about it together and decided it was right for me! Every marathon recovery is different, and every person is different, but we really looked at how I had no trouble training right through the Indy Women's Half (I ran 21 miles on race day, then 14 miles the day after and felt great doing all of it) and at how quickly I'd bounced back after all of my long workouts when making this decision, plus I've had success with similar turnarounds in the past. In addition, the fact that I was jumping out of my skin to run it said a lot.
Amy decided to run the full marathon so she wanted to drive the 1:45 down to the race the evening before. We picked up our packets and located our hotel about 10 minutes away from the small town the race started in, Cotter, Arkansas. The trip held many memories and inside jokes, and I'm sure glad that God connected us through our shared love of running. I also ran into the Loop's very own Jenster at the expo!
We travel light, bahaha! This is Amy's luggage alone.
Race morning we arrived around 6:20 a.m. for the 7:00 a.m. start, then had to wait in a line of vehicles to park. The latest I wanted to start my warm up was 6:30 a.m., and I ended up getting started at 6:32 a.m., only because I parked in a very muddy field to avoid waiting any longer. I was worried my car would get stuck but figured I'd deal with that later! Note to self: arrive earlier next year.
Pink power for me, & Lulu power for Amy
I ran a 2 mile warm up with a little uptempo running followed by a few strides. I didn't have much extra time, so hurriedly changed into my race shoes and discarded my jacket and pants at the car. I made my way to the starting area, where a woman approached me and asked if I was Tia's friend, to which I replied, "Yes - you must be Chelsea!" I think I was identifiable by my racing crop, as Chelsea was by her bun huggers! Tia was also running the race and I'd asked her if she knew of anyone aiming for about 6:00 pace, since she knows most every runner in Arkansas. She'd told me that Chelsea was aiming for about 6:15. I talked with Chelsea for a few minutes and she told me 6:15 was her goal and she'd brought several men to pace her.
It was past 7:00 a.m. with no indication the race start was imminent when they announced that the start was delayed until 7:15 a.m. I was not disappointed with this since my warm up had felt rushed, so I was able to do drills, jog more, and pee again before we started 15 minutes late.
My race recap continues with part 2 here, and I post it here in Loopville in the near future!