Dallas Marathon Weekend 2019

My favorite race weekend of the year came the following weekend after RNR San Antonio. I have participated in a Dallas Marathon race every year since my first half marathon in 2010. I have a lot of history with this race: first half, first full, worst full, worst weather, first cancelled marathon, and so on. But the race is special to me because it was my first half and full, so I make it a point to run it every year.

Last year (2018) was the first time since my first half that I decided to run the half instead of the full. My training schedule this year was different too, since I ran the Fort Worth Marathon in November. So I went with the same plan for Dallas for 2019, with an added twist.

I received a complimentary entry to a Saturday race from Dallas Marathon late in the game. Since I don’t get to run many 10ks, and to make it worth the extra drive down, I registered for the 10k. I wasn’t considered a Weekend Series participant, but I would have the chance to do something different for me.

On Friday of race weekend, I went to the expo with one of my friends.

We picked up packets and had enough time to find our names on the car, sign the big race sign, and look at the history banners from past years. I always enjoy looking at these banners with the year, picture of the shirt and medal, the temperature, number of finishers, and winners’ finish times.

A picture of me taking a picture of my name. 🙂

We were in and out, and back home in time to pick up kids from school. #momlife

Saturday morning, I headed back to Dallas with my other running friend. She was going to shop the expo and pick up her packet while I raced the 10k. My plan was to go ahead and go all out and see how I would do. After my disappointment from RNR San Antonio, I wanted to have at least one race in Dallas where I felt I ran to my potential. The weather was great. A little on the cool side, so I wore shorts and long sleeves. By the end of the first mile, I was pushing up my sleeves trying to cool down a little. I was surprised when I saw the split for mile 1 – 8:12. I hadn’t done any fast running since the marathon, and didn’t have any sub 9:00 miles in San Antonio. I told myself to just keep charging. It was 6 miles, so if I struggled near the end that was ok. The second mile went up a hill on a bridge. I thought this was supposed to be a flat and fast course! Then we made a u-turn and came right back down. That helped a little. My pace was still under 8:30 for the second mile. I held steady. I kept ticking off the miles, feeling strong, cranking out consecutive paces I hadn’t seen in a while. I was so excited when I made the turn and saw the banner with 100 meters to go.

My official finish time was 52:20 making my goal of sub 55 minutes a reality. Honestly, I got a little choked up because I was proud – and surprised – with what I ran.

That’s a great feeling!

The post-race chocolate milk was a nice bonus too. 🙂

On Sunday, the three of us headed to the race to run the half distance. The weather was not as cold as Saturday had been. I was in shorts and my RunRelated tank. It was cloudy, but a little on the humid side. Once we got into the start corral, I was comfortable. That’s not necessarily a good sign, but typical for me at Dallas. But I was still riding the high from the 10k, so I was just going to run what my body would let me run. No excuses.

I was excited.

The first few miles went well. I was probably averaging around 9:00 with a little variation due to congestion and settling into a rhythm. The sun came out around mile 4 and it started warming up. I didn’t have my music, so I focused on the atmosphere around me. My legs were holding up pretty well, even through the big hills. Every aid station from mile 7 through the finish of the race, I took a cup of water – one sip, and I’d dump the rest over my head. It was heating up out there!

My legs started whining, but I didn’t take my foot off the gas. I was hanging between 9-9:15 minute miles. I wanted it to be faster than San Antonio, and I was on track. When the half split from the full, I knew the uphills were behind me. The last 4 or so miles are a gradual decline – so gradual you really can’t see it, but the climbing was done. At mile 12, my legs were really complaining. It was my slowest mile. But then I rallied and found another gear. We passed a big number 8, signifying 800 meters to go. The guy next to me asked, “are we almost there?” “Half a mile,” I said. “Let’s go.” Then the big 4 to show 400 meters. So close.

I had an advantage since the finish line was the same as the day before, so I knew how the turns led us to the finish. I made the final turn and saw the 100m to go sign, and kicked it in.  It wasn’t a negative split race according to my Garmin, but I was happy with the effort I pulled out in the final half mile of the race.

My finish time was about 4 minutes faster than San Antonio, and neither course was flat. For Dallas, I had no stops, no walks, no talking myself down from a time goal, no excuses – not even the weather. I just dealt with it the best I could. I felt strong and confident the whole race. After the tough previous races, I sooooo needed that. My mental attitude was strong in both races, and I felt like my old self.

Yay for chocolate milk!

Very Important Information!

Then I celebrated with my friends.

Next year is going to be Dallas Marathon’s 50th Anniversary. It’s going to be a big deal.

I’ll be celebrating an entire decade of running, and I’ll be there for it. Maybe it’s time to go back to the full marathon…

 

Dallas (Half) Marathon 2018

The Dallas Marathon was my first half marathon in 2010, and my first full marathon in 2011. I’ve participated in it every year, always opting for the full marathon after the first one. This year, due to my goals, I discussed with my coach and we decided the half marathon would be a good way for me to still carry on the tradition, without compromising my training for Houston.

Results of my past full marathons in Dallas reflect my love/hate relationship with this course: 4:32, 5:12, 4:31, 4:17, 4:26, 4:46. So honestly up until before race week, I felt okay about running the half instead.

To be honest though, I was a little sad on race week. Nostalgia and all. But not stressing about running 26 miles while walking around the expo was kind of nice.

I made a stop by the Cowtown booth to “ooh” and “aah” over the 2019 race shirts and medals. Don’t forget, if you want to run this great race you can still register under my team “Anyone Can Run” and use promo code AMBASSADOR5 to save a total of $10 on a Sunday race. 

On race day morning, the weather was perfect – for a marathon. 🙂 High 30s, slight wind. The high for the day was only going to be in the 40s. I take credit for the great forecast, since I wasn’t running 26 miles. My friend and I lined up in the start corral, and I also met one of my RunRelated teammates who is also training for Houston. I was in shorts, with long sleeves (that I could push up), throwaway gloves, and my headband.

Tip: save heat sheets from previous races to stay warm at the start! (Mine was around my legs)

Then we were off. I focused on a consistent, steady pace, only looking at my Garmin once or twice a mile. I kept the Garmin on the lap screen so I didn’t see the total time, only lap distance and pace. Mile 3 went a little bonkers, because my pace showed some unrealistic 6 and 7 minute paces, then buzzed quite a bit before the mile marker. I knew that one would be off. But I didn’t let it bother me. The hills in the middle of the race can be tough if you’re not prepared, but I knew once we were past 15k, the course would flatten out. Much better than how San Antonio had that crazy hill at mile 11.

Throughout the race, I had pulled off my gloves and tucked them away. The sun peeked out, and I moved my headband to my wrist. I pushed my sleeves up and was starting to sweat.

When the half split from the full at mile 9, I wasn’t even sad. After the turn, I saw the mile 22 banner across the road (where the full course joins back up). I smiled when I realized I was running strong and I wasn’t crying on this stretch of road for probably the first time. 🙂 It cooled off a little with the wind and some shade, so pulled my sleeves back down as I covered this last part of the course. I tried to pick up my pace for the remaining couple of miles to finish strong. It looks like the hills took their toll. I didn’t look at my overall time until I crossed the finish line and stopped my Garmin.

As I made my way through the finisher chute, picking up all my post race goodies, I was smiling. I had run a good race at Dallas for the first time in a few years. It was my fastest half marathon all year – and my fastest half since 2016. I sat down on the curb with my chocolate milk and took it all in.

Yay chocolate milk!

Mentally, I would have liked to be a little faster going into Houston, but physically this is what I accomplished. Hills and all, I’m proud of what I ran. It was consistent, and it shows progress. I’ve basically decided the half is the way to go at Dallas, because I closed out my 2018 racing year on a positive note.

 

 

 

Next up, Houston!

Dallas Marathon 2017

Oh goodness, how I hate to love this race! I’ve written in the past about my love/hate relationship with the Dallas Marathon, but each year I grow to love it even more. 

It was my first half marathon in 2010, my first full marathon in 2011, and  my slowest marathon in 2012. I’ve planned to run this race (the marathon) every year since, even though it’s not always the best time of year for me. 

I miss my goal more often than not, but the experience for the runner has improved a lot from my first time in 2011. 

This year, my friend and I signed up for the (inaugural) Weekend Series, which included a race on Saturday and Sunday. By completing the series, we would get some nice bonuses, namely a jacket.  

I went to the expo early on Friday, and was excited that I had the chance to meet Shalane Flanagan. I mean, it’s not every day you get to meet an Olympian who also happened to win the NYC marathon last month. 


I picked up my race bibs for the 5k and marathon, my two race shirts, and for being part of the weekend series – a poster and socks. Not a bad haul so far. 

I stocked up on more Nuun at the expo, and found my name on the car. 


Then I stopped by to check out the Cowtown table. 


Saturday, Leda and I went together to the 5k. Our goal was to run easy and have fun. If we finished under 30 minutes that meant we ran too hard. My goal was to not look at my Garmin and enjoy the run. It was cold! Our time was around 31:00, and I never looked at our pace. Yay me! We kept it easy and had fun. Mission accomplished!

Sunday for the marathon, the weather started off nice and cold. Temps were in the mid 30s but it was supposed to warm up to high 60s for the day. I used my Cowtown disposable jacket to stay warm at the start (and tossed it by mile 3).


 Leda and I had our race plan. We were going to run it together. My job was to hold her back. Her job was to keep me from settling for lesser goals. One of the runners from our group ran past us at mile 10 and yelled hello. He was running his first marathon. Then at mile 12, we saw three other friends from our group on the course cheering and taking pictures. It was great! 


By mile 13, Leda started pulling ahead and I didn’t feel like I could hold that pace. My stomach was feeling off, and I ducked into a porta potty somewhere during mile 15. She was too far ahead for me to call out, so I knew we were probably done running together. I was on my own. 

I held it close to race pace for a couple more miles, then made another stop close to mile 20. I had also refilled my handheld bottle a few times since that first stop. I used my Nuun tablets just like always. 

After the monster hill I walked up  in mile 20, I tried to pick up the pace. But whenever I pushed, I had to back off due to nausea. I continued drinking from my bottle, and settled into a run/walk for as long as it took. I’d either feel better, or I would just finish for the jacket. I did notice for the last few miles that I was very thirsty. I probably refilled my bottle 4 times in the second half of the race, but my mouth was still dry.  I also noticed that my top wasn’t drench in sweat like it was earlier in the race. When I made it to mile 25, I mustered enough energy to run a slow final mile. I crossed the finish, smiled at my friends cheering, and picked up my jacket. Then I worked my way to where my husband, Leda, and her husband were waiting for me. 

When I finally stopped moving, my face started feeling funny. A tingle and a wave of nausea had me headed to the nearest trash can. Then both of my arms started tingling, feeling numb. My stomach was still upset, so we walked over to the porta potties. When I came out, we were right by the medical tent and Leda asked me to get checked out. She said this wasn’t normal for me. I explained what was going on, and the nice guys had me take a seat. They checked my blood sugar, pulse, blood pressure, etc. They had me stay until my numbers came closer to normal and I was feeling more like myself.


 Really, I just wanted some pancakes, but IHOP had packed up long before. 

When I felt steady, we searched for a good place to take a picture, and ran across Meb. He graciously signed our bibs and took a picture with us. It was great!


Then we got our picture together, tying a bow on our 20 weeks of training together. Leda did get a PR by a couple of minutes, and I’m so glad she had a good race. 


Me, I’m going to work on my nutrition. I didn’t carb up and hydrate enough in the days leading up to the race. I think that definitely played a part in my race. I’ve heard from several people how fast it warmed up, and I guess I just didn’t notice it.

I was happy with all the goodies from race day. Two medals, a finisher shirt, and a jacket just for finishing Sunday’s race. I loved the medal this year too. You can flip the top back and make it stand. Dallas has done a good job improving the runner experience each year. I liked the course layout this year, even with the monster uphill. 


If you made it this far in the post, thank you for reading! I felt so much support and encouragement going into this race. I will keep pushing, and one day I’ll get to run the race I trained for.