Dallas Half Race Recap

I’m a little behind on blog posts, but for good reason – last week I was out to London for work, then I came home and turned around to go to Dallas to see Laura & Bryan and run a half marathon.  I didn’t know how I’d feel about running right after an international trip, but it actually worked out perfectly.  It probably even helped me to get back on track.  It also gave me the excuse to carb load in London with lots of rice & curry.  Okay, not really, but their curry is quite delicious!  Really quick on London… I bought a few new items for the trip, and I’m so glad I did – it was freezing there!  I found a jacket on sale at RueLaLa and I absolutely LOVE it.  I got it for cheap and had it tailored just a bit in the waist.

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I also got some Clark’s boots; I felt a little old and lame at first, but they are SO comfortable.  They fit nicely either below work slacks or on top of skinny jeans.  I could have walked for hours around London (and in Harrods included as seen below).IMG_0158

Ok, back to Dallas, we spent the whole weekend there, but I’ll cut to the chase and start with a recap of the Half Marathon.  We did the Dallas Half last year under miserable conditions and were completely surprised that Laura & Bryan invited us back to run it again.  So even though we swore we would not do that cold, wet run again, I guess we had been away from it long enough to decide it was okay.  Plus this year, the course and venue were different, so we were ready to give the Big D a second chance.

Race day started with a  pretty early 4:30 AM wake-up call.  I ate a quick almond-butter smeared bagel and got ready, which didn’t take too long considering it was going to be 65 degrees out and I wouldn’t need many layers.  We drove to the DART station and took the train in with a lot of other runners that were also trying to wake up.  The 40-minute ride took us straight to the start of the race and we were saying bye to Laura & Bryan and going to our separate corrals before we knew it. 

Dallas did a great job of getting the corrals set up and organized by pace group this time.  David and I hit the port-a-potties then were back to our 9 min pace area for the long wait.  Waiting at the start is always the worst part of races.  I was very thankful we had brought some throw-away long-sleeved shirts to wear; the wind gave me a cold chill.

David and I had multiple conversations about whether we’d race together (we have run together before, like here, and usually it will make me overly emotional).  We finally settled on running together and treating this like a “training run” since neither of us were planning to race hard or PR.  I was excited for a running buddy Smile  We took our Gus and synchronized our watches, then waited a little more.

The guns finally went off, and smoke shot into the air releasing red, white and blue paper confetti in the shape of Texas; gotta love Texas!  We steadily filtered through the start line and then we were off.  Because of the well organized pace groups there wasn’t a lot of weaving required. 

The first few miles went by so quickly.  There were a variety of musicians along the way, ranging from Japanese drums, to rock, blues, and even a gospel choir.  David and I had fun dancing and waving at everyone on the side lines.  I was really impressed by the crowds and their enthusiasm.  We were chatting away but keeping the 2:00 hour pace group in sight.

At mile 4 – 5 it was getting steamy and hot.  We hit a steep uphill at which David suddenly was checking his pulse.  I asked him if he was okay and he said no, but he refused to walk.  We finally got to a medic and he explained that his heart rate had suddenly spiked and he felt dizzy, but now he was feeling fine.  The medic couldn’t really do anything but check his pulse, so David told me to go on and that he would sag in.  Something similar has happened to him before, and he thinks it has to do with lack of sleep and stress at work.  I was sad to leave, but I knew it didn’t make sense to also sag in, so I told him to be careful and take it easy, and was on my way.

I’d stopped about 3 minutes with David, so I knew there was some catching up to do.  Miles 6 – 8 were in the Uptown area and were a gradual uphill.  At the top of the hill, the half marathon doubled back and the full continued on to the White Rock lake area.  I was very thankful I was not running a full Smile  I continued uphill, powered by country music and knowing that I now wanted to chase down the 2:00 hour pace group.  After turning, you could see all the other runners making their way uphill while you went down, and I entertained myself looking for Laura & Bryan for about two miles.  Unfortunately I never saw them, but the two miles went by very fast!

I took a Gu around mile 9 and got my caffeine boost to help me sail along.  The last three miles winded through downtown.  I finally got the 2:00 hour pace group in sight and chased them down until I passed them; it was really satisfying!  I was surprised to see David ahead of me at mile 12 and glad that he was doing okay.  He had waited with the medic awhile then just decided to skip across the course and run the remainder miles slowly to get just over 11 miles.  He told me to go get my PR so I pushed on (I knew I wasn’t going to PR, but for some reason he always thinks I might). 

At the last turn, I swore I saw the finish line arches, but alas, they were just McDonalds!  Ugh, then I saw the real finish line much farther away.    I was struggling to find speed, but then I noticed a girl that keep leap-frogging me.  Yeah, we were racing.  I punched it up and really all out sprinted towards the finish line then she cut me off into a slow guy… what a B.  But it felt fun to race in.  I finished in 1:59:25 including the break, so I felt pretty good!  Last year I PR’ed at 1:56:51, so doing a sub-2 without pushing it at the beginning and taking a break isn’t bad at all.

I met David, and we headed in to the convention center for food and our finisher t-shirts.  The food was a little disappointing.  I had dreams of  pancakes or tacos in my head, but there was no hot food, just cold snacks.  At least they had chocolate milk and some fruit.  We met up with Laura & Bryan later; they had PR’ed with 2:35, a full 10 minutes off from the previous year!  And that was even though they were sick; Laura had been hacking all morning. 

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Ok, that was a long recap, so thanks if you stuck with me.  Dallas redeemed itself this year, and I’m sure it will only get better.

Pros:

  • Great crowd support, fun bands
  • Nice t-shirts (women’s size offered) and medals
  • Good corral organization
  • Much better venue and route than previous year

Cons:

  • Snack food afterwards only
  • Weather can be really cold, humid, hot, who knows??

Best part of the race?  Going back to the house for homemade pizza!  We’d made the dough the night before so it could rise, so all we had to do was roll it out and top it.  So good.   Here it is before it went in the oven; it disappeared too quickly to get a shot after it was done.

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