Bluebonnet Half and Training

When I can find a great deal on a close to me race, my frugal self is going to try to do it & drag some of my running friends along with me. That race was the Bluebonnet Half in McKinney.

I also wanted to squeeze in another half before the weather got too warm to see how I’d do. Since it’s still been basically winter the two Saturdays prior, I was hoping we’d have cooler race day temperatures.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Four of us went to the race together. We’ve been putting in some miles together for early morning runs, and I so enjoy those times together. It makes such a difference in getting up early for a run knowing you have others waiting on you to get there. My favorite workout in the last couple of weeks was one morning we met at a high school track. We were able to do our own workout/pace, and still be together. One mom even brought her son who was getting ready for a local 5k! I couldn’t get any of my kids up that early for a  run.

Race day was cool and breezy, and the sun was out. It looked like the rain would hold off. We were prepared for it if it did though. I wore clothes that I thought would do better in a downpour. It didn’t turn out to be the most flattering option, but at least I wouldn’t have chafing issues.

Didn’t see the guy behind us until later…His face cracks me up.

My motto was “no excuses” and I was ready to run a sub 2 hour half. The course was fairly flat, and I was familiar with most of the route from previous races. We started off with half a lap around the track, then out to a concrete paved path that would wind through some of McKinney’s parks.

I kept my pace around 9:00 for each mile. Whenever we turned into the wind, it actually felt pretty good, but a couple of times I almost lost my visor. I was listening to music for the first time in a race in years, and I think the distraction helped with the monotony of the miles. I was hanging with the 2 hr pacers, but I kept track of my splits on my Garmin to run my own race.

I stopped somewhere along mile 9 to refill my bottle. I had gone as long as I could, knowing that when I stopped my plantar fasciitis might make it hard to start up again.

Have you ever had plantar fasciitis? It’s the only running injury I’ve ever had in almost 8 years of running. 3 years ago in my right foot, and now in my left.

I was able to get going again and almost made up for my stop, but somewhere in mile 10 my left heel was done with the concrete. It was so painful, at one time I felt like my heel would split open. I backed way off the pace, moved off the concrete to run in the grass, walked a little, cried a little, and tried to keep moving. Because that’s where the finish was.

As disappointed as I was watching my sub 2 disappear, I was more worried about the pain. I can be stubborn, but I knew enough to back off rather than risk further damage. This was not a goal race. I’ve heard that the fascia can rupture, and that just sounds awful. Thankfully, the pain subsided enough where I was able to run the last mile. Then the course led back up to the track to the finish. I may be one of the few runners who was happy to run around the track. Soft surface!

My finish time was 2:05:19. Not too bad considering the time I lost in the last 4 miles. I was surprised to check the results and see that I was 2nd in my age group. I tried to make that my positive outcome from the race, even though it felt slow for an age group medal. But it just goes to show you, you never know who will show up.

Overall, it was a well done race: organized, inexpensive, nice shirt and medal, and good snacks. I haven’t been disappointed in any of the Get Racing events I’ve done. The only thing missing was bluebonnets. But there were plenty of dandelions on the course. 😉

I also enjoyed my morning with my running friends.

 

Now, I’m actually ready to take a break from long races. I need my foot to get better, lose a few pounds (as evidenced by my race pics), and build some strength. I’m doing a sprint triathlon in June, so there will be more swimming and biking. My coach will figure out the training, and I’ll get it done.

 

 

 

 

 

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Rock ‘n Roll Dallas 2018

Rock ‘n Roll Dallas half marathon is one of the races I look forward to each year, and this year was no different. I’m a little slow on the recap, but I’ll just leave this right here as my excuse.

 

 

Meet Cleo

Do you know how hard it is to get anything done with this little one scampering around my feet, begging me to pick her up? Cleo joined our family on race day after I got home. My family has been trying to talk me into another dog since before Christmas, and I finally caved. Needless to say, I’m not sleeping as soundly as this.

Anyway, back to the race stuff…

RNR Dallas is one of my races sponsored by Chocolate Milk, and I always look forward to it because I have so much fun. This race holds my fastest half marathon time, but that was before they changed the course and added all the hills. I kind of miss the flatter course.

I went down to the expo with two of my friends on Saturday, and we had a good time talking about running, checking out all the gear that I’d love to buy, but really don’t need.

Then on Sunday, the three of us went down to the race together. Once there, I met up with some of my teammates before the race. I think all of us in this picture are from Texas. 🙂

Temps were in the 60s and humidity was high, but there was a slight breeze. I hoped the overcast skies would hang around, because the sun cooked me last year with the same temperatures.

 

We squeezed into the front of our start corral, because I didn’t want a repeat of the San Antonio weaving.

Cheese!

Leda was going to take it easy with her knee. I wanted to run right under two hours, so my other friend (who’s training for Boston) said she was going to stay with me. I’ve set several PRs in local races trying to catch her, so I didn’t object.

The first few miles went off without a hitch. We settled into a rhythm. Some miles a little bit faster than I thought was ok, but maybe I could hang. My fast friend said she’d pull me up those hills by my braid if she had to, to keep me going. 🙂

The first big climb was in mile 5 when you run up a ramp to get to that darn iconic bridge they keep putting in this race. I don’t like that bridge. I scooted over as far on the inside as I could to make the circular climb, and wondered why so many people were running along the outside edge. It’s just like a track –  you run on the inside lane for the least distance. Especially on a hill. But maybe that’s just me.

On the bridge, my friend got some good pictures. It really is pretty once you get past the climb, but oh man…

The Iconic Bridge

I refilled my bottle around the halfway point, adding 1 1/2 tablets of Nuun. So far I was hanging on to a 2 hour pace. Then the hills kicked my butt. On the last steep hill I couldn’t hang with my fast friend, but I kept running. I took my coach’s suggestion that if the weather was too much, slow and just have fun. When I crested the top, she came back to me. “You’re not getting rid of me,” she said. She ran alongside me, chatting and making sure I was good. I took a couple of short walk breaks, mostly to keep from throwing up. I can tell when the heat/humidity has gotten to me when I feel like puking. I also don’t think it’s worth it to puke in a race. That’s not fun to me. So we slowed down and focused on other things. We saw a few runners down surrounded by medical/runners in the last couple of miles, and we would exchange concerned looks. That always gets to me, because I think about them and hope they’re okay. After the race, my friend told us she kept looking back at me to make sure I still had some color in my face.

We made it to the last bridge and began the descent down to the finish. I do love the way they run the course through to finish. Spectators cheering on both sides, a nice downhill, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and then the last turn. I didn’t have any gas left in the tank, but I pushed through and we finished together.

Then I got my chocolate milk!

Side note: Chocolate milk is my number one choice for recovery after a long or hard workout. More on the benefits of chocolate milk for recovery can be found here: https://builtwithchocolatemilk.com/science/workout-recovery

 

Even though I didn’t hit my time goal, I still had lots of fun with my friends. Finish time was 2:06, which was the same as last year. It’s a tough course, but I did feel like a stronger runner this year. I just need to get my body to cooperate in the humidity. The finish on Reunion Lawn is a great place for a post-race party.

So, what is next?

After training for marathons from August through February, then RNR half in March, and a half coming up in two weeks…I’m actually ready to cut back and run some fast races: 5ks, 10ks, even a sprint triathlon. I’m also working on some other things to get ready for fall. I’m not losing sight of my big goals.