Yesterday I arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas after leaving Denver late Thursday afternoon. This was quite a trip and I made it by car. When I left Denver a snow storm was pounding the city and the traffic conditions were horrible. My plan was to leave Denver at around 5.00 PM on Thursday, but due to the weather it was closer to 6.00 PM and the snow storm had created bad driving conditions and traffic was just awfully slow. It took me about 75 minutes before I left the city behind me, but the storm was moving south-east and so driving conditions along I-70 were not very good. The roads looked icy and some parts of I-70 had snow cover, but overall I was at least able to drive with some decent speeds.
I spent the night sleeping in my car on a truck stop east of Burlington, CO. where I had stopped to fill up the car with gasoline. I parked next to some trucks that were overnighting as well and caught a good 5-6 hours of sleep I would say. It was not the most comfortable night I had, but it was Ok. I had rented a larger sized car and had gotten a nice Infinity Q70 with all-wheel drive. The backseat boosted enough space so that I could sleep.
I woke up at around 3.00 AM and it was snowing outside. I decided to get going because I did not know how bad the weather should get. It was a long day of driving and I had snow falling and wet or icy roads the majority of the drive. It got particular bad in Oklahoma and Arkansas, but I made it. Funny incident shortly after I made it into Arkansas. A Highway Cop had just finished up handing out a ticket to another car and while the car continued on driving the cop started monitoring traffic. I had pulled over to the left lane when I saw the police car to give them space and at least in Colorado it is the law to make room when you see them on the side of the road. I used my turn-light to go back over to the right lane and the car that I am driving has this “convenient” quick-turn feature where you just tap the turn switch and the car uses the turn signal 3 times and then stops. The cop started driving, pulled in behind me, and turned on the “party lights”. I knew had not been going too fast, so I was not sure what was going on. Was something with my car or did that license plate of the rental car had some history?
I stopped on the side of the road and the officer walk over to the right side of my car. I opened the window and greeted him and asked politely what was going on. He told me that I had made a lane change without using the turn signal. I know there was another car between him and me when I had switched lanes and so he probably did not see the 3 light turn signal that I had used. I apologized and explained that I had used this quick-turn feature of the car and even showed him in person. I explained that this was a rental car and I had assumed this feature would work. He saw the sleeping bag on the backseat and asked me about it. I explained that I was on my way to Little Rock for the marathon and that I had left Denver in the snow the night before and that I had slept in the car on a truck stop. He wanted to see the rental car contract and I showed that to him as well. Now here it got funny – he explained that would let me go and that I should use the full turn light from now on, but he asked me on “how the heck did you (I) get an Infinity for $175 for a week?” ? We chatted briefly and I explained the reason for my trip and how I had planned the rental car situation and scored this deal. He smiled and laughed and I was off the hook.
I drove off and continued on towards Little Rock. My car had a navigation system and I had entered the address of the Hotel I stayed in. Well, the car navigation system seemed confused and when I “arrived” there was certainly no hotel. As a matter of fact, I felt the need to drive away as fast as I could. This part of town did not look very safe to say at least. Quite a few parts of town did not look very pleasant, but I made it to the hotel and all was good. I checked into my room and then left for the convention center to pick up my race package. Parking in downtown Little Rock near the convention center was awful, but I made it and picked up my package about 30 minutes before the Friday evening closure.
I went back to my car and then wanted to find some place to eat, but man – there were simply too many bad areas. Maybe I am exaggerating, but Little Rock does not seem to be a very safe place. I drove around a bit and finally found an area that looked a bit better and when I saw a fast food joint with 3 cop cars parked outside because the cops having dinner I felt Ok to park my car and to pick up some food. I am not easily to scare, but it was dark and a city I was not familiar with and I had already seen too many bad neighborhoods this evening. I got my food and drove back to the hotel to eat.
Bill Clinton Presidential Library
Today I got up at around 7.00 AM and got ready for the day. At breakfast I met a handicapped woman and she was here for the marathon as well. She would do it in the wheel chair and we chatted a little bit. She had arrived late last night and apparently somebody followed her and she did not feel very safe either. We talked about running a bit, but then parted ways. I left to find a grocery store to pick up some items I wanted for the day (carbo-loading). Then I drove downtown to visit the Bill Clinton Presidential Library. Due to the morning activities of the marathon (kids race, 5K, …) many roads were blocked off. I finally found a parking spot near the main post office and walked to the Clinton Library from there.
I spent some time at the “William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library” and really enjoyed being there. This was my very first presidential library visit of any president and had no idea what to expect. So, this was good and very interesting. If you ever make to Little Rock, put the Clinton presidential library on list of things to see. It is worth it. Some pictures below.
Little Rock Marathon Weather Situation
The weather has been a concern for me all week. First the snow that made it difficult to get out of Denver and to Little Rock in general. The forecast for Little Rock for tomorrow started looking grim all week and rain and colder temperatures have been dominating the forecast. I do not have a problem with cold weather, but the idea of running for about 4 hours in cold temperatures AND rain does not make me feel happy. So, when I saw rain in the forecast I started researching of how I could make myself better prepared for this. Up until this week I did not even own a rain jacket. I will write an additional blog posting about how to run a marathon in the rain, but here is a brief review of how I have been preparing.
So, I bought a rain jacket and will have that with me tomorrow. I also bought water repellent spray and covered my entire running gear with a thick layer of water repellent. That means shoes, gloves, running hat, running shorts, and my running jacket are now somewhat water resistant. The Gore-Tex jacket of mine is already water resistant and also protects me against cold winds, but everything else needed to be worked on. I will also carry my Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Running Vest tomorrow and so have some room to carry an extra pair of running socks, another hat, and maybe a second T-Shirt or long-sleeve technical shirt. Those items will be in Ziploc bags to stay dry during the race, but if I get too wet and cold I can at least switch some layers out during the race. I would have carried the running vest anyway and so it is not a big deal. I also bought AquaPhor – which is like Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly and will lube many parts of my body tomorrow for the race. Running in wet clothes and rain brings another meaning to the word chaffing and so I want to be prepared. I also have bodyglide and BlueSteel anti-chaffe cream with me as well = all will be good. At this afternoon the forecast predicts a 25% chance of rain up until 1.00 PM tomorrow and then this goes up to 75% chance of rain. Keeping my fingers crossed hoping that the rain will hold off until after the race.