It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
Yes, Christmas, but it’s also that time of year for the Dallas Marathon. While my Facebook feed is full of people sharing Christmas memories, mine pops up with marathon memories.
I’ve been running the Dallas Marathon every year since 2010 (minus the ice storm of 2013) when I ran my first half. My first full marathon was Dallas in 2011 and I’ve registered for the full every year after. The race experience continues to improve, and this year was the best so far.
As I started my taper week, I had all kinds of stuff going on. Let’s just say it wasn’t the most relaxing race week. I didn’t really have the time I wanted to focus on rest, recovery, and preparing my mind for Sunday. But in a way, I wondered if it was beneficial that I didn’t have time to over-think and wonder if I was prepared. Basically I didn’t have a chance to worry.
We planned our trip to the expo on Saturday when the elite ambassadors would be on the speaker stage. I enjoyed this last year, and carried their advice through the race with me. I wanted that again.
I got my bib signed by Desi, Deena, and Ryan Hall. I met Deena and Desi last year, but this was the first time I’ve met Ryan Hall.
To me, that made the 16 weeks of early mornings and long runs totally worth it. I also knew they would be handing out medals at the finish line, and that became one of my race goals since I was oblivious the last two years. I love that they are so willing to give of their time to the running community!
I snapped a picture of my Dallas Marathon history.
I ended up missing lunch, but I made an early dinner when we got home. I never really felt bloated from too many carbs, but I felt like I was loaded and ready to run 26.2.
Race day weather was perfect for me. Temps in the 50s with a little wind. My husband and I got there early with time to chill in the convention center, then I met up with my friend in the start corral.
We ran the first five miles together, and then I moved into race pace. My plan was to run the first 5 miles in the 9:20 range, then bump up to race pace (9:05-9:10). She’s been battling foot pain, so her plan was to finish. I felt good. It was overcast and there was a little bit of a mist to keep us cool.
I felt like I was holding back in the first five miles (which was a good thing) but at mile 10 all of a sudden my legs felt heavy. I took in my fuel about half a mile earlier than planned, and it seemed to help some. Then I was doing okay holding onto my pace, but it felt harder than it should’ve. My hydration was fine, my nutrition was fine, but my legs felt like I had on ankle weights.
My pace started to fall off when I was running by the lake (miles 16-17). There was a crosswind and I got a little chilled, but it didn’t last long. At mile 19, I made a quick porta-potty stop. I lost my sub 4:00 goal, and was losing my 2nd goal – to PR. I negotiated a third goal in my head, and then a fourth. I walked, I ran, I walked, and I ran. In the last four miles – straight into the wind – the goal became to finish the best I could and still be proud of my race. My legs were shuffling and so very heavy. The distance on my Garmin was almost a half a mile off from the mile markers. I finally stopped looking at the watch. I ran the entire last mile, and I felt like I was barely moving.
When I was coming down to finish, I saw one of my Team Chocolate Milk members waving to me. That was encouraging, and so was seeing the announcer at the finish line.
This is my blazing fast finish (10:45 pace) captured by my husband.
I spotted volunteers handing out medals, and then saw Ryan Hall. I waited behind two people to get my medal from him. Then I saw Leo Manzano handing out medals too. That experience was worth the pain of the race, and gave me a positive outlook for my finish. That was also my final race goal – to get my medal from an elite runner. 🙂
I am so grateful for all the volunteers, police officers, and spectators – and especially seeing those who cheered specifically for me. Thank you Jennifer and your pool noodle! 🙂 It made an unpleasant run much better.
I am so thankful to Dallas Marathon for a great race experience! It truly was a great weekend. There will be another race, and I’ll get that sub 4!