Monday, March 15, 2010

Water Stations as Big as TEXAS, Dallas Rock N Roll Half Marathon

From 2010 Dallas Rock N Roll Half Marathon
Dallas Rock N Roll Half Marathon
March 14, 2010

Completing the Dallas Rock N Roll Half Marathon marked 6th event completed in my personal challenge to complete 24 events in 2010. The half marathon was a great race with good weather and a nice course, plus I got to share it with good friends and oh, 9200+ other runners. There were lots of things to keep my mind busy too; lots of bands, crazy runners, pot holes, LONG water stations, mile markers and my constant need to calculate how long to the finish. My finish was nothing to call the media about, 2:40: 29, but I finished and considering my pre race training consisted of running 2 5k races, I am pleased with my race performance.

As with the Dash Down Greenville 5K, the pre-race weather was FREEZING! My friend Ginny and I huddled behind a bus near the exhaust to keep warm. Funny huh? We thought so too when we say people huddled around the back of the buses, then we tried it and wow, what a difference! We stunk like exhaust and I'm sure it wasn't good to inhale the nasty exhaust but we were a little more warm.

We dreaded handing over our gear check bags, doing so meant giving up warm layers of clothing. We waited as long as we could, then quickly got into our corrals in hopes of benefiting from the group body heat.

After San Diego's marathon race, Ginny and I decided we could run races together, just not TOGETHER, so she was in corral 7 and I hung back in corral 8 with my TNT buddy, Rhonda, and my TNT mentor, Susan. Rhonda and I have run several races together and we already know at some point we would probably get split up and that's ok, we just run our own races and see each other at the end. Susan I knew ran faster than me so I had already planned on "meeting her at the end."

As we stood there shivering and waiting patiently , I looked around at the other runners and noticed a cute pink shirt on a girl. On the back it said "Please God let there be someone behind me to read this shirt." That's what I was thinking! "Please God, just let me NOT be last in my age group!"

 My strategy was simply, don't over due it, stick to my intervals and just get to the finish line in a reasonable amount of time. Rhonda and I started off together with our 5 minutes running, 1 minute walking and that seemed to work well. We were almost to the American Airlines Center when I turned my head to the right to notice and older gentleman pull out a race map and look at it like he was sightseeing! I was dying! I poked Rhonda in the arm and just pointed in the guys direction. We both laughed as we ran off. Too funny. I guess he wanted to know what interesting things he was passing, surely he didn't need help knowing where the course was, there were plenty of runners to help with that!

About mile 3 there was a down hill part and we were on a walk. I said to Rhonda, "we should run, its down hill." Rhonda looked at me was said, "No. No need to over achieve Carolyn, especially since we haven't trained! We are sticking to our intervals." LOL Ok! Sticking to intervals! Heck, I didn't really care anyway, I'm not an over achiever lately....if I was I would have at least run more than 3.1 miles at a time in a training run. My only goal was to finish so we walked down the hill.

What was up with the water stations? They were the longest, most well stocked water stations I've ever seen! They were definitely prepared for lots of runners. The only minor irritation was when someone wanted Cytomax, it was all the way at the end which seemed like a quarter mile down so you almost had to run from the water to the Cytomax or you totally ruined your time. Not complaining though! Would rather have TOO much water than not enough. Just thought they were funny, they made for good distractions.

Somewhere along Turtle Creek Blvd. or maybe Beverly, there was a pretty long, steep hill. I had already agreed with Rhonda to stick to the intervals so when the hill came up, I ran it, didn't like it, but I did it. What was great was the lady beside me for part of it, she was chanting to herself "flat course, flat course" all the way up the hill, and she ran up the whole thing! You go girl! Pretty amazing how the mind has so much power, you can do amazing things just by telling your mind you can. I'm not sure but I gather the lady hadn't run many hills and it was clear she didn't like them. :)

And who does right? Hills are just annoying, running or cycling. They are some of the few times in life when flat IS better! And thank you spectators for being there, cheering us on, always telling us when a hill was coming up or if the rest of the course was flat or down hill. I find those sorts of things very helpful, when accurate. At one point though, I think one spectator was a little loose with the definition of  "downhill."  We were nearing Mockingbird Lane and ran on part of Airline where my old company is located. So when a spectator yells out, the rest is down hill, my first reaction is "oh, thank you!", then I round the corner onto Airline and immediately wonder what that person was talking about. Airline is NOT downhill. It isn't uphill either but it certainly isn't downhill. And I already knew there was a long incline on Mockingbird to Skillman so I wasn't sure what "downhill" the person was thinking of. Regardless, this thought stuck in my head for at least a quarter mile or so helping distract my mind.

The hill from Mockingbird Station all the way up to Skillman was just plain annoying. The only good thing about it was I knew after I finished and turned the corner onto Skillman, I would be at mile 8 and well on my way to the home stretch. The last miles were the hardest, I guess that is to be expected.

At mile 9 I tried to calculate how long it had been and how much longer I thought I would be running. The thought of running another 48 minutes was irritating so I started calculating smaller increments. At mile 10 I was feeling pretty good. I knew I was going to be past my last half marathon time, there was no way I was going to be able to make it up but I just kept running anyway. I could have run faster by why bother? I had less than 3 miles left at that point and a minute or two was not going to make or break my race but stressing myself out or hurting myself from running too hard would have been detrimental to my new life goals, so taking it easy vital.

About half way through mile 11 I hear a guy tell his friend, "when we see mile 12, we are golden, we've got this." His friend was a bit more winded than he was yet still managed to say, "Dude, we already got this, we are doing it." Love hearing other people's comments along runs. Mile 12 took a long time to come around, seemed like forever. I had started chanting to myself "Come on, you can do this, stay focused, you can do this, eye on the goal, just keep moving" somewhere around mile 5. By the time I got to mile 11, I was chanting it all the time and at times shouting parts of it to push myself to keep moving.

As I ran the last mile, my speed increased a little and I just kept thinking, "I'm almost there. Almost there." It was a great feeling to run into Fair Park and see all the people cheering us in. There was a little boy, maybe 5 standing there shouting, "you are almost there!" So cute. That last quarter mile was rough but as the course wound around I could hear the cheering and the announcer, I knew I was near. Then I saw the mile 13 marker....time to pick it up. I rounded the corner and sprinted as fast as I could into the finish line, 2:40: 29. A few minutes slower than my White Rock Half Marathon time from December and oddly, just a few seconds off from my Big D half marathon time last year.

From 2010 Dallas Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Overall a great race, will run it again next year for sure, hopefully with a little training under my belt! Now that I'm done with this race, it is time to start thinking of my next big run, the America's Run in Arlington, Texas in April. I know, I've said it before but really, THIS time I am plan on actually TRAINING for the half marathon. Really!

Check back for updates on how that's going. LOL

From 2010 Dallas Rock N Roll Half Marathon

From 2010 Dallas Rock N Roll Half Marathon


  1. Things to do.....start blogging, get an iphone, learn how to upload all this stuff on a fun page, take pictures at my events, take pictures of my medals, blog about you, post pictures of us at races, actually be at the finish line when you get there.

    Oh, and run a half marathon in MAUI for your birthday. This is a good list.....great blog. :)


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