City Review: Little Rock Arkansas: A Great Way to Start a Great Trip (May 19, 2017)

Friday, May 19: Little Rock Arkansas is not high on many people’s list of places to visit. It wasn’t on mine either as we left for our week long vacation but I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed my time in the city.

On the way:

Leaving Bright and Early!

We left early in the morning (around 5:30 am) to make sure that we got there with plenty of time to explore the city.  The drive was an easy one with no traffic since we did not go through any large cities (we only skirted Memphis) and we arrived in Little Rock before 11 am so we missed any morning commute traffic.

First Stop: Clinton Presidential Library


We decided to make one step before we had lunch.  That stop was the Clinton Presidential Library & Museum.  We had only been to the Lincoln Library in Springfield, IL so we did not know what to expect to find at the museum. The museum was two stories and in the first story, there was a replica of the cabinet room and a long corridor that was arranged based on the years of the presidency.  Each year had its own panel in the center with sections based on topics surrounding them.

Mitra sitting in the President’s Cabinet chair

On the second floor there glassed in sections that held many of the gifts that President Clinton was given during his 8 years in office.  Also, Bride’s favorite part of the museum was the last thing that we got to look at.  There was a life-size replica of the Clinton Oval Office in the museum that we were able to walk through and take pictures in.  This room not only was impressive because it was the oval office but reading about all the symbolism found in the items that are located throughout the office. Overall the museum was a great experience, and some of the artifacts are priceless pieces of American history.

Second Stop: Lunch

From the Clinton library, we walked downtown to the River Market District and had lunch at the covered food hall located in the district.  The hall had multiple stands and restaurants, similar to the standard mall food court.  Although this one had a variety of small and diverse stalls to choose from.  You could eat from a different stall every day and could come back every day for over a  week or two without eating from the same place twice.

Third Stop: Arkansas Capitols

Little Rock has some similarities to Springfield, IL.  It has been the state capital for a long time and with that distinction comes the fact that there has been more than one capitol building in the city.  In Little Rock, the old capitol is in the downtown district right on the river.  The old capitol is open and is free for anyone to walk around and look at the displays throughout the building.  The displays include the history of the building, an overview of every Arkansas governor as well as a new display focused on the first ladies of Arkansas including dresses from the first ladies, including Hilary Clinton.

Last Stop: Big Dam Bridge & Little Rock’s Running Path

Northwest of Little Rock is Big Dam Bridge.  The bridge is the longest bridge in the country designed only for pedestrians and cyclists.  According to the plaques at the beginning of the bridge, this was the only bridge ever designed to be added to a dam.  All other bridges that span dams were designed as part of the dam structure but when this dam was built it was not meant to have a bridge over the dam.

Little Rock’s Riverfront Running/Cycling Path

*I am planning a larger, more in-depth post of this path later*

The bridge is a focal point of a 16-mile run/bike path that spans both sides of the Arkansas river.  The path connects Big Dam Bridge to a bridge near the Clinton Presidential Library.  The path is really developed and you can tell that Little Rock, as a city, is committed to making this path part of its community.  The path connects the Riverfront outdoor amphitheater, the Clinton Presidential Library, the Big Dam Bridge, Junction Bridge (pictured to the left behind Bride) and everything in between.  I am looking forward to coming back to Little Rock someday and spending some quality time pounding the pavement on the riverfront trail.

Overall, Little Rock has plenty of stuff to keep you busy for a long weekend or even a little longer.  It has a great mix of history, modern entertainment, and a great path to workout on.

Look for another post on our next city later this week!

-Runner

Vacation Posts Begin

Currently, I am in the middle of a 12 state 10-day vacation.  This vacation will include visits to Little Rock, AR, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, TX as well as Panama City Beach and Ginny Springs in Florida before coming back home during the memorial day weekend.

In the next few days, I will begin posting the first in a series of reviews of the cities that we are visiting.  These reviews will not only hit on the attractions that each city has to offer but will also have pieces on the running/cycling trails that each city has and my opinion on how good each city is in welcoming runners, cyclists, and triathletes.

Little Rock and the beginning of my vacation will be the focus of tomorrow’s test.

-Runner

Back at It!

I heard the pop.  The sound that makes everything move more slowly.  I heard that sound and knew before I hit the ground that everything was going to change.

On Wednesday, September 7, 2016, my athletic life changed quickly.  I was playing a soccer game with my law school soccer team when an innocent play for a header turned into a trip to the emergency room that night and 8 months of recovery since.  That pop was my patella dislocating and relocating due to the impact of my fall

That pop was my patella dislocating and relocating due to the impact of my fall.  It caused a Medial Patellofemoral Ligament (MPFL) tear and pieces of cartilage to break off.  I got surgery on Halloween and was in physical therapy since before the surgery occurred.  I cannot speak highly enough of the team that has helped me recover in the last 8 months, but now the hard work begins.

Despite physical therapy and all the work I have done so far, I am still not as strong as I was on September 6, 2016, but I am well on my way to be not only as strong but stronger than I was before my injury.  The assurance that I will grow to be stronger than before my injury has allowed me to once again look forward to my next athletic challenge.

THE NEXT CHALLENGE
Although this is a new challenge it is one that is familiar to me.  Before my injury, I was working to finish Ironman Louisville that was less than a month after my infamous soccer match.  My new challenge seeks to update and complete this unfinished goal.

I plan on competing in Ironman Texas next April!  Ironman has not announced the exact date yet for the 2018 race but, assuming it is on the same weekend as it was this year, I am just 48 weeks away from finally becoming an Ironman!

I am nervous to train through the winter for a race but this race will symbolize more than just triumphing over my injury.  Just a few weeks after this race I will graduate law school, signifying a new chapter in my life.  I see this event as culminating not only a long term athletic goal but also an educational goal that I have worked so hard to accomplish.

Before that race, I have a million steps that I will need to take but they will all be taken with one goal in mind…to become an Ironman!  More coming later!

-Runner

Where Have I Been!

September 7, 2016 is a date that will have repercussions for a long time to come.  I was playing a soccer game in the adult soccer league that I have been a participant in for multiple seasons.  During a routine corner kick a unique and life changing accident occurred.  A player on the opposing team fell onto my knee and I immediately knew it wasn’t good.

POP!!! I immediately heard and felt it as I hit the ground.  I rolled over and my teammates knew something was wrong.  I tried to get up and hobble off but I could not put any weight on it at all.  I needed to put my arms around two people just to get me to the bench on the sidelines.  I went to the hospital and x-rays could only show there was no break.

After multiple other doctor visits, an MRI and what seemed like forever, it was only 8 days,  I was told the bad news.  I had dislocated my patella.  I was happy that it wasn’t the ACL, MCL, PCL, or a full knee dislocation but this still wasn’t good.  I was signed up for Ironman Louisville in less than a month and I knew I had no way of participating.  I could not have surgery until Halloween and have been rehabbing my injury ever since.

The journey since the injury has been an eye opening one.  I am now on the road to recovery and am able to swim and bike without any pain.  But my down time has taught me more about exercise, endurance sports and life than swimming, biking or running has.  I will continue to share those lessons throughout my healing process.

As I have begun to feel that I am getting back to my normal self I thought it was time to reinvigorate this site and I am glad to be back.

-Runner