In Northwest Arkansas we have hills. In south Arkansas they have humidity. I can now honestly tell you I'd trade the humidity for the hills any day of the week. I can walk the hills if I need to… but there's no escaping that heat.
Saturday morning, Jeff and I got up early and drove from Arkadelphia to his hometown of Smackover for the 33rd Annual Oil Run. The town holds a festival each summer called Oil Town and this 5K is only one of many, many activities planned throughout the weekend. Everything from turtle races to drill bit throwing contests and everything in between. We settled for the 5K. And my friend Lauren was visiting her family in south Arkansas for the weekend, so she drove over for the race, too.
Jeff takes his job as 5K paparazzi very seriously and during this race he convinced a friend to take him around on a motorcycle to various checkpoints during the race so he could snap photos of Lauren and me throughout the course. The race wound mostly through residential areas, and people were outside cheering us on. Several people even had their water sprinklers pointed at the road so runners could get a little shower as they ran past. Nice touch, I thought.
I was pacing to hit my elusive 30 minutes, but I didn't consider how the heat and humidity would affect my last half mile. And my ability to breathe. So — again — I was SO close.
9 seconds, people! But no worries. It's still a new personal best so I was pretty pleased with that. After the race, we found some shade and caught our breath. And hung around waiting for the last few finishers. By this time, they'd set up the awards and we marveled at the trophies they give away at this thing! Huge!
So we were messing around, listening to the prize drawings for things like cash and barrels of Smackover Crude Oil! Hands down the coolest door prize I've seen at a race! And they eventually started the Age Group awards, so we were now only half listening — sure neither of us had won anything.
All of a sudden, they called my name!
Bam! Second place in my age group!
See, the other trade-off between Northwest Arkansas and other places in the state is that up here you feel like you're racing against the entire Razorback track team in a local 5K… because you kinda are. There's a pretty hardcore running community in NWA and they show up in droves to support local events. Which makes it hard for us mere mortals to feel competitive.
But not today!
2nd out of 21 girls in my age group! And 35th out of a total of 169 female runners!
It was definitely fun to take home some hardware and you better believe I'll be back next year for another chance at a barrel of Smackover Crude Oil! Thanks for hosting such a great race!