On January 29th, I trekked down to DFW to see my family, spend time with Dominique, and initially to travel with my dad down to see the kiddos and family for a belated Christmas. He decided not to come so it was just me solo for the trip. I had been stalking the weather leading up to the race, and was very concerned it would be too warm. Keep in mind many of my runs have been below zero training for this race. This race was far from a "goal" race, but more or less something to have on the calendar to make sure I didn't sit on my butt all through December and January when it is SO VERY EASY to sit on your butt, because brrrr (see also: below zero all day e'ery day!).
Going into the race I thought I would run it between a 2:12-2:15 based on my training. I wanted to follow a similar training program as I did for the Monster Dash Half: 1st 3 miles at 10:15, 2nd 4 miles at 10:00, 3rd 3 miles at 9:45, and the final three miles all out. The weather was gorgeous; low 40s, breeze. Yes I was one of a handful in shorts and a tank. All week long people had been freaking out about the weather. I was cheering for the cooler temps!
I started out the race WAY TOO FAST. I don't know if I got caught up with the rush of runners or what, but at one point I looked down and I was running a sub 10 pace, but my heart rate was incredibly low, so I didn't worry about it too terribly much. We ran around White Rock Lake for the majority of the race and it was such a beautiful day that I spent most of the run taking in the sunshine and the NON FROZEN LAKE. Whoa. I kept it fairly steady in those first five miles.
My brother had mentioned he would be around the turnaround, so I was shocked and thrilled to see them much sooner than that. And Dom! I didn't think her and her kiddos would be able to navigate and spectate so I was super excited to see everyone! It definitely put a pep in my step. Which was needed because immediately after I saw them I ran on a bridge that bounced as I was running on it. PANIC. WTF. Gaaaaaah!
Shortly after this point we started to reach the nice long incline of the race, and once we conquered that, we were met head on with the wind. Uff da. Coming off of the water it was hitting me much stronger than I expected. I swear I didn't feel this at my back! It was around this time that I started to notice how far over my mile splits were. I'm not a tangent running wizard, but it was a little bit out of control. When we hit the half turnaround for the out and back race, my watch read 6.95 miles. Uh... my brain isn't great at doing math when I'm running, but I don't think 6.95 x 2 = 13.1.
I caught Dominique on the way back and she managed to snap pictures of me where I was trying to tell her that the course was super long, and I'd be at the finish around 2:14-2:15. Instead I just looked like a crazy person ranting, and I don't think she heard or understood me. Normally, I would give up knowing that my goal time was out of the question, but I put my head down and kept going. I knew that the sub 2:12 I had been on pace for was a 10:00 pace, so I would focus on whittling down my overall pace as my new goal.
Around mile 8 or 9 I was again surprised by my family and Dom, and all of the kiddos were ready to give me a high five for an extra boost! Which was great, because I was getting tired, and thirsty. OMG so thirsty. Can I drink out of the lake??
And then I saw my family yet AGAIN. As I saw my brother come to a stop in his car, and the kids piled out and sprinted down to the bike path to cheer me on. I think we have future runners in our lineage. :)
Usually with a 5k to go, I can put my head down and go to work, but I was pooped. We had a longer incline during the second to last mile, and did I mention I was THIRSTY?!? There was a water stop in mile 11 and 13 so I walked through the stops to chug two glasses of water. I had packed my salt pill in the pocket of my shorts so I didn't get questioned by security at the airport, and then ended up wearing a different pair of shorts for the race. GAH. That would've been helpful to have. I did work as hard as I could during those last few miles.
I finished 13.39 miles in 2:14:03 for a pace of 10:00. Exactly. Whoa.
I posted a picture on instagram, and another racer mentioned that a mile sign was moved on the out portion of the out and back, and everyone was talking about the course being long at the finish, but I didn't see any other mention of it anywhere. Oh well. My pace was pretty spot on for where I thought my fitness level was in the middle of a base building session, and I was thrilled to see I had a smidge of mental toughness in me when I realized the race course was going to be long and my time was going to be much slower than I was working for. Baby wins, I'll take 'em!
Half marathon no. 28 done!
Thanks for all of the amazing pictures and video Dom!