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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Settling with my Running Pace

Well, I’m still waiting on that routine to fall in place, but….it’s getting better. I had an emotional week last week. The first part of the week, I was struggling with different things with the kids. I was irritable, edgy, and ready to crash by 8:30 every night. By Thursday, things started to turn around. It started when I was notified of the races I’ll be able to register for sponsored by Team Chocolate Milk, and that night we found out my daughter was picked up for the Navy ROTC scholarship for her top school choice – the University of Texas. As you can imagine, that was a pretty emotional moment – with more to come. 🙂

Also, last week’s training went pretty well. It included a ride on the bike trainer, a weight session at the gym with a friend, and a swim. All that, and I still managed to get over 40 miles of running in.

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I also got my heavy medal from doing two Rock ‘n Roll races this year – as a part of Team Chocolate Milk.

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The only drawback was Saturday’s long run. I felt okay starting off, running with my friend (who also decided to do Cowtown), and we were running 9:30s up until about mile 6. I felt sluggish and blah. As the miles continued, we slowed. I wasn’t warming up much either. My friend was feeling as blah as I was. We (I) decided not to worry about pace and just get the miles done. This was harder for me than for her. I’m usually pretty pace oriented on my long runs. I know that every run can’t be great, but I tend to be a little hard on myself sometimes. Or so I’ve been told. At least the sun finally came out around mile 12 to warm us up a bit.

Mittens are still on so it must be cold!

Mittens are still on so it must be cold!

After bouncing some ideas off my husband later that day, I decided to quit being so worried about my running speed. I need to spend some time getting ready to train for the half ironman. It won’t hurt me to cut back a bit on the run miles to work on my weak areas. I’m not under the pretense that I can knock out a sub four hour marathon 10 weeks after a strong 4:17 – and I’m totally okay with that. In fact, the bike and swim will probably help me more at this point.

I’m trying to look at the big picture. Right now, this is what I see.

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Rock on!

Sunday I ran the Dallas Rock ‘n Roll half marathon. This was my second year to run this race and I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t have experience with any other Competitor races, but for a big local half marathon this is a great one to do.

Dallas skyline at 6 am

Dallas skyline at 6 am

UPS does gear check too?

UPS does gear check too?

The weather was a little cool and windy, but thankfully no rain.

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I was overdressed with a 1/4 zip pullover and capri tights. Usually my legs get warmer faster than my upper body, but this time the pullover had me sweating extra by mile 3. I unzipped and pulled the thumbholes back but it didn’t help much. The course was not as windy in the first half as I thought it would be. Combine that with the hills that dominate the first half, and I was struggling.

Going in to this race, I didn’t feel strong enough to run the time I thought I should be capable of (sub 1:50:00) but I managed to hold a pace around 8:23-24 for about the first 10 miles. I bumped it up for the last 5k telling myself to just hang on – “it’s not a marathon, it will be over soon.” The elevation drops in the second half helped out a lot.

The spectators were great and some signs made me laugh out loud. My favorite was a lady sitting on a couch with cold cream on her face, rollers in her hair, wearing a robe, and a sign that said: “You got me up for this? Go Trudy!”

The finish is in Fair Park, and I’ve done enough races there to recognize when I’m close. I stopped checking my Garmin and tried to focus on finishing strong, but several people ran past me in the last 1/4 mile. I think they had too much gas left in the tank, because surely I wasn’t slowing down. I was surprised my time was so close to hitting my “A” goal. I took almost two minutes off of last year’s time.

PR!

PR!

 

After the race, there was this nice bonus:

American Authors!

That would be American Authors on stage. My 16 year-old daughter is so jealous.

Thanks again for a great race, Dallas. Here’s to another 5 years!

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