This weekend I had a mini-vacation down in Texas, a vacation that included a half marathon. The first time I have ever traveled for a race! I had been wanting to drive down and see my brother + family for a while, and knew that if I were going to stick to my training plan and get my weekend long run in, I needed a race to motivate me to make sure I didn’t spend all weekend shopping and eating.
Why did I pick this race?
- Location: it was close to where my family lives in an area that I am very familiar with.
- Time: this weekend my training schedule called for a 13 mile run or half marathon so how PERFECT was it to do this race!
- Course: there was another half in Grand Prairie but the course didn’t seem as appealing as this one.
- Competition: I felt as though this was a race I could do well in.
- Cause: the Heels and Hills is an advocate for women’s fitness and health in the DFW area which I loved, this was also a big event for Team in Training.
The race was the smallest half marathon I have ran (roughly 1100 runners) and about 90% of the race was on trails throughout Irving, which were well paved and shady but definitely NOT spectator friendly. One thing I though was strange were the pacers; there were 2:00, 2:20, 2:25 and on pacers but nothing in between. I started with the 2:20 pacers (and maybe I should have stuck with them) but I got in my own comfortable groove and got a good warmup in the first mile or so. I also remembered that I forgot to factor in the heat when setting my goal time. Slap in the face! It was kind of hot.
Running solo allows you to eavesdrop, and I heard a couple of guys talking something about a half marathon course that was only 12.5 miles, so naturally I inquired about this race hoping that it was the full distance. It turns out, one of the guys, Jason, is a 2:15 pacer for several Dallas half marathons (yesssss!) so I hung with them for about 5 miles, then Jason picked up the speed a bit and I hung back, and the other guy hung back farther than me, so there I was running solo once again. Honestly, I didn’t mind it; all of my long runs have been solo so I relaxed up and reminded myself that this was just a training run.
Apparently crazy people run half marathons in Texas. Right after Jason and I parted ways, I noticed this lady in front of me who was running in booty shorts (like you could literally see her cheeks) and matching bra, with a white tank top over it…which doesn’t make sense. But anyways, she was wearing headphones and carrying an iPod in her left hand, and waving her right finger like she was practicing telling someone off. Up came a curve in the trail and she started weaving which is very rude and annoying to do in a race. Then she cut me off and I didn’t say anything because she was too busy waving her index finger and probably wouldn’t have heard me. “Whatever,” I thought, some people just don’t know race etiquette. She started to slow down, so I went on her left to pass her…just like driving because we’re all Americans here…and after I passed her and was a decent distance ahead of her, I hear, “Oh well just go ahead and cut me off, that’s rude!” and I signed and thought “WTF??” I though of probably 8 things I could have said, but I just sighed and kept on my way, she clearly had problems. The next 20 minutes were the most awkward running moments of my life because she finally caught up to me and we ran side by side without a word for nearly two miles. I was keeping an eye out to make sure she wasn’t going to swing at my or poke my eye out with her index finger, eventually I let the woman pass me and I’m pretty sure she was cussing me out to herself whilst still waving her finger.
Then I was alone for what seemed like forever. Though there weren’t a ton of spectators, but many people gathered by the water stations and were very awesome at cheering us on…I loved it! They also had motivational signs every quarter mile or so which
gave me something to read helped. After the crazy lady incident, I found Heather and JJ, both moms, both running slower than they wanted, and so we pushed each other the last 3.1 miles. It. was. awesome. It was so nice having someone there to chat with and to motivate/be motivated by. The Team in Training coaches also were cheering everyone on, not just TNT runners.
The last mile my legs were on FIRE…I just wanted this ‘training run’ to be over with. It was hot. It was 90 degrees when I was on the last mile. I made a mental note to race in Texas again when it is winter everywhere else. And then before I knew it…I was crossing the finish line. I can say that I loved the feeling of pushing through and sprinting at the end which is something I NEVER do on training runs. I sprint when necessary, only.
I wanted to set a PR this race, but didn’t because I (doh!) forgot that it is still summer in Texas.
I left the race happy that I had a solid run; I maintained a pace nearly 2 minutes/mile faster than my recent long runs which is right at my goal marathon pace. Later on Sunday night when the official results were posted…I found out I got second place in my division! I was ecstatic but wanted to curse when I saw that I was beat by 12 seconds. Naturally, I thought of all I could have done to have gotten first (pushed harder) but calmed myself down; I have never placed this high in a race in my life and I decided to be happy about my finish.
My awesome uncle, grandma and aunt who were waiting at the finish line!
What I have learned: sign up for small races with people slower than you. Then you can win every time! Ha!
I needed this race to break up my training, I’m finally more than halfway through! Also very much looking forward to this half marathon in a little over two weeks!
PS. THANK YOU to everyone who encouraged, supported and congratulated me on Sunday, it means more than you know and you are totally amazing 🙂