Today we conquered our last half of this season. White Rock 1/2 Marathon. Number 3 of 3.
Traci and I headed to Dallas yesterday to pick up our race packet (bib, t-shirt, other schwag) from the new location for the Dallas White Rock Marathon. Starting this year, the expo and the start and finish were located at Fair Park in Dallas. The same location as the famous Cotton Bowl. After pickup we headed to our hotel then to dinner at Bucca Di Peppo Italian restaurant for some tasty carbs. After dinner we (the food nerds we are) headed to Central Market to check out their awesome selection including more Ben and Jerry’s flavors than we have here in little old Tyler. Bed by 10pm.
We woke this morning to 3 separate alarms, brewed some hotel room coffee, woke to showers, got our running gear on and headed out by 6:00 am. Out into the COLD! Usually long sleeve running shirts are not my preference but it I erred on the side of warmth as the temps according to my Weather Channel Ap said it wouldn’t get above 50 by noon. Our car thermometer read 37 degrees. Onto the dark and barren interstate for about 12 miles to Fair Park. We followed the leader to the parking lots, parked, got our gear together and stepped out. Out into the COLD!
If you know anything about me I have a problem with direction. There. Also, I am quick to make a decision about directions and commit without really thinking it through. We headed out of the parking lot, crossed the street and then proceeded to find the Colosseum where we were told there was warmth and bathrooms to accompany our wait time. Apparently I went the wrong way (shocker!) and we ended up making a huge U as we hustled though the maze of Fair Park. It took about 3 times longer than it should’ve. Joy! We did finally make it to our destination. With about one and a half hours to wait, we did just that in hopes of seeing some of our friends we knew were going to be running the race too. We did find our great friend Lauren and had some time to catch up before heading out. Out into the COLD!
About 10 minutes till 8:00 am (stated race start time) we moved out to join the growing swarms. With 23,000 runners this race like many other big ones starts the crazies in waves based on estimated time of finish. When we registered I stated my run time around my usual pace of about 7:45 per mile which put me in the second wave – B. Traci was set for wave J and our friend Lauren, whom we were still hanging out with was in H. She was running her first ever MARATHON to which we are so proud.
Announcements began and continued past 8:00 all the while we all kept shivering. Like violently shivering. We recently ran in a Manchester New Hampshire 1/2 marathon. The temps were about the same but today was different. Windy, dry and cold. My upper quads and hip tendons were tighter than I have ever felt them due to the cold and my rocking back an forth trying to keep warm. I quickly talked myself into staying with this mid wave as I was scared to run my usual pace. I chickened out and was completely fine with that. I was hurting and we hadn’t even begun! About 8:30 am (that’s 40 minutes of blood thinning coldness), when it was our waves turn to start, we walked towards the starting line, the announcer counted down from 10 and said go. With that and some random pyrotechnics we were off.
One step at a time we began our jaunt. My teeth were chattering as I cautiously took my first few handful of steps. Literally chattering. My muscles felt like tight rubber bands, stretched to their limits. Not good.
This year, along with the new location for the race, the route was different. Having run this exact 1/2 marathon 3 previous years, I was super skeptical of this new location and route. Last year was just plain awesome and took us along some of my favorite running spots in big D. This route took us out of Fair Park, thru the adjacent ghetto hoods, down to the outskirts of down town, thru the hip uptown, the mansions of Highland Park and then back to Fair Park for the finish. This brought about the sites of old run downs, sky scrapers, pampered creeks adorned with covet inducing houses and good ol’ Dallas freeways.
After about 2 miles my legs were loose and my form was semi-normal. My breathing and pace were good, side by side with my beautiful running partner for the day. I was enjoying the downtown sites and as we crossed Woodall Rogers Freeway (I-35) around mile 3 my iPod died. Ironically, I was thinking to myself only minutes prior to this that I was really digging having some Damien Marley motivating my run. I rolled up my earbuds and clipped it back onto my shorts. Once again Traci began singing to me as to help with my recent loss.
About a 9:30 pace and mile 6 my left knee and ankle began to feel tweaked. Not good. Also, I for whatever stupid reason wore some thicker than normal socks which made my shoes tighter and tighter as they continued to swell thru the run. Not good at all. Typically my joints feel a bit more tender with the cold but this was different. Within my stride, I tried to bend and stretch (not bend and snap) these problem areas to keep them happy. My left knee and ankle have seemed to be trouble these days. Time for new shoes as I’ve exceeded the life expectancy of both my long distance pairs.
My pains did not subside. Time to grin and bare it and count down the miles as we passed the white markers. Traci did great with her usual consistent pace and seemed to be showing very small signs of fatigue. Mile 9, mile 10. Man my feet were hurting! “3 more!” I said to myself which at this point is internal yells of motivation. Mile 11, mile 12. “One more!” we started to see Fair Park in the distance and the end was immanent and boy was I looking forward to it. We crossed the street into the Park and rounded the barricade chute on our way to the goal. We finished! Thank the sweet Lord Jesus!
We headed into a building, received our customary metal, another “I finished!” shirt, some snack bars, bagel bites and out to our car for our iced down, post run chocolate milk we picked up at Central Market. A quick change and back to Quitman for lunch at mom’s and a viewing of the terrible Redskins game.
Our friend Lauren was successful and finished her first full marathon today too. 4 hours and 45 minutes of running! That’s determination and a whole lot of running.
Overall the experience for us was OK. Not my favorite 1/2 marathon of our running season due to the extreme cold and I am still pondering the new location and route. A bit too spread out and cheap feeling to me. I am however so thankful for the opportunity and the health to do it. My knee is still sore as of 9:30 tonight and am hoping it get back to norm ASAP.
Next up, Austin 1/2 marathon February 20th.