As most people know, for a while I contemplated running the Dallas full marathon. After a twenty miler, I realized I had no interest in that and signed up for the half. I lived west of San Antonio in 2014 and have driven through Dallas before. My husband and I both like BMWs, and since this is BMWs first race in the US, it seemed like a fun December trip.
As time drew closer, my body began feeling like junk. I was making intervals and workouts but not feeling great doing so. It’s something I still don’t have an answer for. After dropping the ball at the Philly half a few weeks prior, I had no idea how the race at Dallas would go.
Despite running a 1:24 at Runner’s World half in October, if I were faster than the 1:27 from Philly I would be pleased. My father in law was running the full marathon and my husband, and I were running the half. Whatever happened, it was still going to be a great short vacation.
We arrived the Friday before, and I felt sore and tired. When doing a shakeout run the next day, I felt just as bad. The closer it got to the race, the more I was disconnected. Like Philly, I tried to psych myself up by posting too much on the internet. It seemed to work.
We arrived at the starting line on Sunday around 7:15. It was drizzling rain and a little bit windy. Overall, the weather was definitely better than the majority of races I’ve run this year (realistically that isn’t saying too much). The first coral closed at 7:50 and I made my way to the start.
The half, full and relay all went off at the same time, so it was crowded. I started several rows behind. They introduced elites Meb, Ryan Hall and Deena. I am disappointed none were at the finish line when I crossed though! They were passing out medals, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that didn’t motivate to finish…
All of a sudden the race went off at 8:05 and it was crowded. The race started uphill, and I still felt sore out of the gate. I was running elbow to elbow with several people. We made a few sharp turns and a young guy, and myself collided. Neither of us fell, and we started chatting. I crossed the first mile in 6:32 which I was extremely happy and surprised with.
I mentally told myself that I wouldn’t complain about a 1:25. During the second mile, I felt okay. I didn’t feel good or bad. I crossed the second mile in 6:20. In halves, I give myself until the 5k to decide how my body will feel. The third mile went without too much note, and I crossed in 6:21. I hit the 5k in 19:57 which is always pleasing. The 20-minute 5k barrier is a huge mental block for me.
The plan (per Coach Mckirdy) was to run the first half at a moderate pace but not too overdo it. The course itself does have a few hills but the second half is significantly faster. If I could make it past mile 8 and still feel good, I could crank then.
I saw my husband just up ahead at mile 4, and we ran both 4 and 5 together. It wasn’t his day, but we ran a 6:14 and 6:12.
Mile 6 began a few uphills, and I kept telling myself I just needed to make it to the halfway and then past mile 8. I hit the 10k at 39:37 and was proud of my negative split thus far.
I found both miles 7 and 8 to be the most challenging. I noticed two women in front of me, but I had no idea if they were running the half, full or a relay. I focused on passing them. The crowds were huge, and I ended up high-fiving kids and even a professional player from the Mavericks. I fed on the crowds and ran a 6:22 and 6:27. The half and full finally divided and there were a few men who went the full route but no women.
By mile 9 I was running alone. A relay went by me as if I was standing still. I hit the 15k in 59:39. I’ve run several 15ks in Upstate, New York but never had an official time under an hour so that time motivated me too. Each mental time checkpoint went well, and I built confidence each time.
I could see runners about 15 feet in front but had no idea where I was overall place wise. I hadn’t seen a lot of women up ahead, but I knew they were there. I noticed a women dressed up only 20 seconds in front and I made it my goal to try to catch her. I wasn’t feeling good by any means, but I needed something to pull me along to the finish, I ran a 6:19 9th mile and a lonely 6:20 tenth.
Around mile 11, I caught the woman and she asked: “do you know where the relay exchange is?” I said I had no idea but the last one I saw was two miles ago. She panicked and peeled off. I felt extremely bad because she had missed it and that is a lot of extra miles to run.
Around 11.55, I realized I had charged too early, and I paid the effects during the last mile and a half. Despite the miles being downhill, my stomach began cramping, and I didn’t have anymore leg speed. I was just focusing on the end, and it began a 13 minutes left…12…11..11:59…
The last 600 meters had signs that said 600 meters to go, then 400 then 200. It’s a downhill finish, so at 600 you can see the massive finish line shoot. I took my mind far off of racing. I was thinking about everything but the race pain. I hurt but focused on the expensive BMWs lining the street.
As I approached the finish line, I felt the need to fist pump as I crossed. They announced me as “fist pumping all the way from Jersey.”
Don’t ask why I raised my hand. An hour and a half of racing does strange things. I had done it, I had my run my third fastest half at a race I wasn’t even sure I would be able to run faster than the Philly half.
I crossed in 1:23.44 and as fifth woman overall. I had no idea of my place until I later looked up race results.
I’m extremely happy with the race. I didn’t anticipate to be able to string a race this strong at the end of the year. As I’ve mentioned in several training logs, I’ve made intervals but haven’t great doing so. When I raced my two faster half marathons (Carlsbad 1:22.57) and April Fools 2015 (1:23.23), I felt like I was on top of the world. When I raced the Dallas half, I didn’t feel fantastic or fabulous. I have no complaints. I’ve continued to recover well during the last week and I’m looking forward to hopefully PRing in 2017.
Questions for you:
Have you ever been to Dallas?
When was the last time you surprised yourself?