Today’s 1/2 was a personal best for me at the ever popular Dallas White Rock 1/2 marathon. The conditions were great. 50 degrees and misty/cloudy. I was a bit apprehensive since I haven’t been eating as lean nor running as much as I have been wanting to the last couple of weeks. The bigger, more organized races have a new “wave” start which is fantastic. Basically when you register for the race, you state what your average pace will be then on race day they set you up in large groups or “waves” with runners of a similar pace. This is great because you don’t have to spend the first 3 miles dodging walkers which is a BIG PEEVE of mine with more community type events such as the Turkey Trot.
So, today. 8am. American Airlines Arena, Downtown Dallas. Exciting and almost overwhelming. I started at a super comfortable pace, slowly increasing my stride and the next thing I knew, I pass the 3 mile marker. I couldn’t believe how fast the race was feeling. A few miles of Dallas downtown. A handful of miles of swanky neighborhoods. Then it was time for the last 3 miles.
This last, downhill stretch was on one of our favorite running spots in Dallas, The Katy Trail. Awesome. I spent a solid 2 miles of this trail on a “runners high” which for those who have not experienced it, is when your focus is on only the good things of running. The pounding pain of your joints induced by your hour-plus run on the wet and damp concrete goes away. The chill that has caused your muscles and tendons to be tighter than normal over the 10 miles becomes irrelevant. It’s as if all negative aspects of running subside as your adrenaline makes your heart smile and your steps feel as light as air. Not to mention a mental block to increase my pace as I flash by people I’ve only seen the back of during the previous miles. Seriously awesome.
Mile 12. My right calf quickly tightened mid stride causing an instant back-to-reality smack to my run. I caught the cramp before it rooted by extending my right leg with an obvious stretch to keep the muscle loose. Whew! All good. Then again. No way was I going to have the best race of my life only to end up with me curled up on the side of the trail rubbing out a calf cramp. No way. I began to pull back a bit as I felt it twinge again, only now from the left leg. Boo. With even more determination to finish the last 1/2 a mile, I ran with the least amount of calf muscle force as possible using mostly my momentum and straightened legs. Silly for sure. At 1 hour 40 minutes and 48 seconds, I finished. Average pace, 7:33 minutes per mile. I surpassed my goal of 7:45. A great and surprisingly memorable race day for me. I loved it.