Getting ready for a race can be almost as exhausting as actually running the race! Yesterday during my lunch break, I drove down to Luke’s Locker to pick up my race packet for the 13.1 Dallas Marathon. Since I registered several months ago, my race bib was personalized with my name (BONUS). I also like the technical t-shirt even though I have a feeling it is going to be a little big, since the package said it was a men’s small.
While I was at Luke’s, I also tried on some new running shoes since I have had my current pair since January. One of the sponsors of the 13.1 Dallas race was Karhu and they offered a discount this week on their shoes. After comparing the Karhu shoes to the Mizunos, I preferred the Karhus! Even better, these shoes will get me noticed everywhere I go.
As soon as I got home from work, I set out all of my gear for the race. The weather forecast showed morning temperatures in the low 60’s, so I decided to wear with my running shorts instead of my Under Armour capri pants that I had been planning to wear. I also decided to NOT wear my hydration bottles, which weighed me down during my last half marathon.
I think Vanilla Bean GU is still my favorite race fuel and the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cliff bar is my post race meal.
I spent the rest of the night trying to stay off my feet, which meant sitting on the couch blogging and tweeting. After setting my alarm for 4:45 AM, I went to bed around 10:30 and tried to get some rest.
After getting up, getting dressed and trying to figure out how to keep my hair out of my face during the race, I made a toasted bagel thin topped with Barney almond butter and ate 1/2 a banana. If you know me at all, you will not be surprised to hear that I ate my breakfast in the car on the way to meet up with my ride to the race.
We arrived at the Dallas Arts District around 6:30 AM and found a parking lot close to the start of the race. After a fairly quick trip to the porta potties, we lined up and started the race exactly at 7:31 AM. My race plan all week had been to start out slow (10/10:15 pace) for the first few miles, then maintain a 9:30 pace the remainder of the race. Unfortunately, the battery in foot pod for my Garmin died a few weeks ago and I still have not replaced it. That meant I had no way to pace myself, except for the race clocks at every mile marker.
As with almost every race, I have a hard time during the first few miles. In fact, at around mile two, I end up telling myself that I will never run a long distance race again. I blame it on the fact that my body is just warming up and I have such a long race ahead.
Around mile 4, I always shake off the negativity and start enjoying my time on the course. This morning, I saw that my time for each mile was getting shorter (meaning I was running negative splits) but I was worried that I may be running too fast to last the next 9 miles.
Mile 6 is where I hit my stride and I almost felt like I was running on auto-pilot. Despite my best efforts to slow down, I knew I was probably running a little too fast but we were running through some beautiful Dallas neighborhoods and I was enjoying the scenery.
When we got on the Katy trail (I think it was around mile 8), it was only wide enough for about 3 runners at a time and the race atmosphere got a little competitive while we all tried to find a comfortable space on the trail. Towards the end of the trail, which was around mile 10-11), I realized that I had a chance of completing this race under the time that I had originally planned.
So I started slowly picking up my pace and kept myself motivated by trying to pass the other runners one at a time. In my head I kept saying, “Bam – I passed you! Bam – I passed you!” I also kept repeating my favorite running mantra, YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK with each step.
We passed the American Airlines Center, home of the NBA Champions the Dallas Mavericks, and were treated to the pounding beats of the Mavericks drum line. I wish they had been on the course around mile 2 to get me pumped up. My calves were starting to cramp up but I reminded myself that I should enjoy these last two miles because the race was almost over. As I turned onto the last main street, I searched for the mile 12 clock and saw that I had 10 minutes to reach my goal time. No problem, right?
WRONG. The last mile was up an excruciating long hill that made my calves scream in protest. Then I saw my friend, Dan, about 15-20 seconds ahead of me and decided to just keep him in my sights. We turned the last corner and the finish line was so close! I was cheering and smiling when I crossed the finish line (so I could get a good finish line photo) and was so proud when I got that medal.
After the race, we stuck around and enjoyed all of the post race activities in front of the Winspear Opera House. The weather was absolutely beautiful and there was a live band playing on the Michelob Ultra stage.
I have to compliment the race organizers of 13.1 Dallas for putting on such a great race! It was well organized and the post race atmosphere made everyone want to stick around and celebrate!
A special thanks to the Dallas police officers who worked hard directing traffic to keep the runners safe during the race. This course resulted in a LOT of road closures, so there was a large force of officers working this morning.
Then I made myself a batch of pumpkin pancakes topped with caramel apple butter (oh my goodness, this was the most delicious topping ever!) and curled up on the couch to take a nap.
When I woke up, I finally looked up my official race time…
WHOOHOO! Since I have only been able to run a few times in the past three weeks, my goal was to run this race around 2:10 and I totally shattered that time. In fact, my time was only 1 minute slower than my PR that I set in Mayof 1:56:47. I am so psyched!
What did you do on this beautiful fall Saturday? Did anyone go to a Fall Festival, a Pumpkin Patch, Homecoming dance, or run a race?