I meant to do a post last weekend about how ready! I was for this race, and how I just knew! I would PR, and how incredibly relieved! I was to be almost done with my half marathon training.*
But December, as a working mom of 3, is brutal, with little time to breathe never mind blog about training for half marathons. So, briefly, here I was before my December 6th 8 miles, excited for just one. more. long. run.
I had a great run that morning. 8 solid miles with negative splits with a 10:55 min/mile pace. I finished just knowing I would PR on Sunday. I have trained hard for this race, including a 14 mile run (my longest ever), and 2 x 13 mile runs.
And I did PR. But not like I wanted to.
It wasn’t the race’s fault.
It was my first time running the Dallas half marathon, but it won’t be my last (I will skip next year, but would love to be back in 2016). My other 2 half marathons were decidedly smaller, so I had no idea what a “big” race would be like. It was my first expo. First corrals. First jumbotron at the start/finish. First race with fireworks. I’m not sure of the exact number of runners registered, but I saw bib numbers in the 20k range, so at least 20,000?
There were a lot of people there.
Starting line: (me and several thousand of my new running friends count down to the firework display start). Woo-hoo! I’ve been standing here shivering in this corral for over 30 minutes. I’m ready to run, baby!
2 minutes later: I haven’t moved.
2 minutes later: I haven’t moved.
6 minutes later: aaaand I’m slowly walking towards the starting line, like herded cows with everyone else in my corral.
(Roughly 11 minutes after the first runners left): And I’m off!
Mile 1: Okay! I feel loose. I feel good. This is going to be a great race! Look, a drum line. I should talk to Alyssa about that. It would be awesome to run by Sam and his cymbals.
Mile 2: I’m 2 miles in and there are still people cheering everywhere. This is awesome. I can’t believe how many spectators there are.
Mile 3: What?! A band? There are bands on this route? No way.
Mile 4: What is this? “Luke’s Territory”. Wait, why are they all funneling us into this narrow pathway? Um. Okay, wait, I don’t want water. I don’t need water. No thank you. Gah, they’re squeezing us into a 12 foot wide path with water people on either side. No. Where. To. Go. Okay, I guess I’m walking a bit. Sigh. After 4+ miles of (amazingly) little dodging and weaving needed for so many runners, this seems like poor race planning. Damn you Luke’s Locker! *shakes fist at sky* *only not really because I’m in the middle of running a half marathon*
Mile 4.5: this is the most awesome downhill ever. I’m flying! My splits are gonna be awesome! I’m totally going to PR!
Mile 5: that is the 2nd English mastiff I’ve seen. I love mastiffs! This race is great!
Mile 5.5: woman holding a sign “if this was easy, it would be your mom.” Best. Sign. Ever.
Mile 6: someone next to me says “We’re running over Central!” Wait, what? We are! We’re running over 75. This is crazy. Cars are honking as they drive under the overpass. There’s another band. The bands are cool but they’re kind of messing with my playlist.
Mile 7: I’m starting to feel tired. Um. That’s not good. I’m feeling mile 10ish at mile 7. Ruh roh.
Mile 7.5: another mastiff. I’m pretty sure all the mastiffs in the Metroplex are at this race. It’s a sign. A sign I should be on the sidelines cheering with Zelda instead of running this damn race.
Mile 8: I thought we were supposed to split from the marathon people by now. Oh god, I should have looked at the map more closely. What if I missed the split? WHAT IF I’M STUCK ON THE MARATHON ROUTE? OH GOD HELP ME.
Mile 8.5: people are yelling “beer and margaritas! Come get a beer or margarita!” There are actually people giving out free beers and margaritas to runners. There are actually people drinking the free beers and margaritas in the middle of this race. I am cracking up.
Mile 9: There’s the split! I didn’t miss it! Oh THANK YOU GOD. Got it. Half marathon, stay to the right. Why yes I will stay to the right. Godspeed, you crazy people hanging a left.
Mile 9.5: Hello naked man holding a guitar. Thank you for making me smile.
Mile 10: the woman running in front of me turns to her friend and says “Only a 5k left. We got this.” Exactly. That is exactly what you say when you are running a half marathon and hit the 10 mile mark. It’s almost like I’m a runner or something.
Mile 11: oh god I’m tired. I’m so tired. I have 2 miles left. 2 miles is NOTHING. I can run 2 miles in my sleep. Or drunk. Or crippled. I can do this. But I’m so tired.
Mile 12: there are so many people starting to walk. I want to walk. Okay, just walk for 30 seconds, and then run faster. Come on, you’re almost at the part where the crowds are going to get really thick again. Think of all those eyes on you. Run.
Mile 13: Almost done. I can hear the announcer on the microphone. Sounds like someone just proposed? He’s talking about someone proposing right as they crossed the finish line. That’s romantic. My husband won’t even run with me. Why won’t he run with me? HE SHOULD BE IN MISERY WITH ME.
Finish line: Done. PR, but crappy PR. I cannot believe I trained that hard and ran that many miles and only did a 2:26. Boo, Tracey, Boo. (mood: sour)
5 minutes later: a medal! and a foil blanket, like runners I see on tv! And a finisher bag! And beer! (which I don’t drink but how cool is that?). And I saw my friend Sarah! This race is awesome! I’m totally doing this again! (mood: celebratory)
Unofficial splits according to Runkeeper:
- Mile 1: 10:49 min/mile
- Mile 2: 10:40 min/mile
- Mile 3: 10:45 min/mile
- Mile 4: 10:53 min/mile
- Mile 5: 10:50 min/mile
- Mile 6: 10:54 min/mile
- Mile 7: 10:59 min/mile
- Mile 8: 11:13 min/mile
- Mile 9: 10:59 min/mile
- Mile 10: 11:04 min/mile
- Mile 11: 11:16 min/mile
- Mile 12: 11:31 min/mile
- Mile 13: 11:20 min/mile
- Last .33: 10:27 min/mile
Official time: 2:26:26 Placed 361 out of 737 in my age group.
Final thoughts: I can’t really complain, since I did PR by almost 2 minutes. But I really thought I would be able to keep those sub 11 min/mile splits, and finish under 2:25. I expect (hope?) to continue with PRs for a while longer, given I’ve only been doing serious running for the past year. I’m not sure what happened, since I did the training, and I felt like conditions were pretty darn good, both personally (my diet, my taper, etc) and with the course (it’s supposed to be a fast course, weather was pretty good).
But a PR is a PR, right?
It was still a great experience, and by far the best race I have been in.
*Until the beginning of January when I have to train for my March half.