Texas Marathon Race Recap

My first marathon is….. not technically in the bag. I skipped it and went straight to the “Ultra Marathon”

Confused? I can explain…

The race weekend started out great! We flew into Dallas and got to the packet pick up in no time (despite my apparent lack of attention to emails I’m sent… sorry Beth…)

As we pulled up the the Hyatt House, Pixie flew out of the building with an awesome glomp of joy!

There was no pomp or circumstance with the pick up- just a folding table where they checked me in, gave me my number and shirt, and a map of the race on an easel.

Race number

We collected our things and headed to McKinney to relax, have dinner, and walk around town. All these things were necessary as they are the best thing to do to get your mind off of what the following day will hold. I went through all of the stuff that I had brought with for energy and clothing and made decisions about what to put in my pack and what to wear.

There are so many options for fuel, and I brought most of them with me: carb boom, sport beans, Hydrate, chews etc.

Feeling like I had done all I could do, I set my alarm for 4:50 and headed to bed.

Sunday morning I was calm, like creepy calm. B made my oatmeal while I got dressed. Everything was already in order, so I was able to mindlessly get everything on. On the way down to Fair Park we swung by a Starbucks so I could get my mocha. I was thrilled as punch, as I had cut off caffeine for the 3 weeks leading up to my race and this would be my first jolt of coffee energy in a long while!

Arriving at Fair park we pulled in and made our way towards the festivities. They had rows of porto potties, and we must’ve been early enough that we didn’t have to wait very long to use them. Inside the hall they had vendors, maps, photos etc. I’ll be honest, it was really nice to have somewhere light and warm to wait for the race to start. It wasn’t very cold that morning, but knowing how hot it would be later, I was dressed rather lightly so the heat was appreciated.

photo (6)

As they began to announce that our start was 10 minutes away we made our way towards the starting line. The marathon portion of the series was rather small- only about 500 runners- so it was nothing like the mobs of Colfax or Bolder Boulder, and that was a good thing.

Pixie and I started getting our tracking devices ready and I was programming my watch to the target pace she and I had agreed upon: 11:45. While I was doing that I noticed that there weren’t waves, like I had originally thought, but rather PACE groups! I have never run with a pace group before (it had never even crossed my mind!) but while I had my phone out I opened the calculator. I told Pixie that the 5:00 pace group would be running roughly 11:27 per mile! We both instantly agreed that we would stick with them as long as we could.

The excitement culminated as the announcer said that it was time!

Excited!

5. 4. 3. 2. 1!!!!!!

We were off!

It was so hard to not go off like a rocket, but having the pace crew in front of us, I felt confident and happy! We followed them through twists and turns and in a bit my garmin (and everyone else’s) beeped with 1 mile. There were no course markers, but I didn’t think anything of it. When my garmin went off with another beep alerting me to 2 miles, and I could see a one mile marker off in the distance I knew something wasn’t right. I tried to not pay attention to it- we were having a great time with the 5 hour pace crew, and I was really enjoying the run.

There were a lot of hills, but nothing that my training had missed, so it wasn’t too bad. We stopped at the first water stop for a Pixie potty break and got moving again to try to catch the crew. We stayed near by them, but never quite caught back up to them.

The Whiterock Lake Park was beautiful, and I was super grateful that it was overcast and cooler outside. I felt like we were going along at a good clip, and around 8 miles (by my garmin) we slowed to take some fuel. I decided to use my Carb Boom first, and I have to say the kiwi strawberry was pretty tasty. I have had GU in the past, and it never set well on my palate, but this product was delicious. I had Herbalife Hydrate in my pack and used that to wash down the goo.

We started back up again with the jogging, and while we were slower than the 5 hour crew, I was still happy with our pace of about 11:50/12:10.

The water crew people were great- they said they were competing to win a prize, but I have yet to see where I would vote on that? Oh well!

At the top of the lake we left the park and went into a neighborhood to the north. We wove in and out of the neighborhood, and the trees and shade was great, as the sun was starting to come out and slowly roast me…

My half marathon split time was 2:34:51 and this is a MAJOR PR for me! (Prior half PR was 2:43:15ish) I was making great time!!!

As we left the neighborhood and began to make our way around the other side of Whiterock Lake, the sun was really starting to get to me. I could feel my body temp rising and no water stop had water that was cold enough to bring me back down.

Also, the mental battle of knowing that we would be running over a mile longer than we had planned was starting to become very real to me. I didn’t want to run that far. I felt cheated and lied to with every mile marker that we passed.

Around mile 16 we saw my hubby and Beth. I felt a little silly because we had slowed to a walk and we talking, so in the picture we look like we are just going for a leisurely stroll around the lake. I promise, we weren’t!

Finally around mile 19 I decided it was my turn to use the potty. I was glad that I did! It was nice to sit down, but I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get back up, so I didn’t stay in there long!

I quickly caught up with Pixie and I noticed that we were both starting to feel a little defeated. At mile 20 there was a wicked hill that we walked up, and I was so tired that I used the fuel given to me at the water stop at 20, instead of trying to get into my bag for my own stuff.

At mile 21 I hit the wall. It was bound to happen, given the extreme heat and sun as well as the negative emotions regarding the mistake that was made somewhere on the course that was forcing us to run longer that we wanted.

At mile 23, right after another potty break, my garmin died, a little over 5 hours into the run.

Note to self, run my race in less than 5 hours next time!!!

I came out of the bathroom and didn’t see Pixie anywhere. I started to jog, back at my 11:45 pace, even though I didn’t really have it in me, because I needed to catch her wherever she was!

At the 24 water stop I finally caught up to her, as she was coming out of the potty- she thought I was next to her and was far off before she realized I was gone!

We spent the last few miles lamenting about our energy/heat/emotional level.

We cheered to ourselves as we crossed 26.2 miles, according to her Runtastic app, and then struggled to continue going.

I was getting so tired of people leaving the park telling us that we were “almost there”. Ok, folks. The worst thing you can say to someone finishing a marathon is that. You and I have very different definitions of what “almost” means and 1.25 miles is not almost. Sorry.

At 27 miles we saw our friends and they were cheering for us, waiting to feed us BBQ!!!

NF Team

At long last we saw the finish line.

We joined hands and raced through, together!

Medal

27.35 miles in 6:16:03!!!!!

A final picture that sums up everything……..

Psalm 26.2

Advertisements

Commitment Day 5k 2013 Report

I don’t normally write up a race report for my 5k’s. Not because they are insignificant (they aren’t) but because I do enough of them that they usually start to meld together in my mind…

This one was special.

Resolutions don’t work for me. In thinking about it, I’ve tried to come up with a reason why- and maybe this will ring true for you as well. When I think of what it means to resolve something I usually go to math or problem solving. When an issue is resolved it’s fixed- no further action is required.

I don’t know about you, but nothing in my journey leads me to say I’m fixed. And more action is always required.

In January 2010 I made a different choice- I committed to be a better me. To realize that I had inside me a strength that needed to be acknowledged and tapped into. To understand and admit that I stumble and fall but that I can also get back up and keep going.

I didn’t resolve to be/do/change anything; the simple changing of a year on a piece of paper does nothing to “fix” my life.

Any kind of life change that happens requires me to be an active participant in the process- to commit to the plan.

So on January 1st, 2013, exactly 3 years and over a hundred pounds lost later I stood at the starting line for the Commitment Day 5k in Denver, CO. As I stood there with my friend and my fiance I thought back to the beginning. I thought about how hard it was to walk around the block and how I never thought I would ever be able to get around my neighborhood. I thought about each race I have participated in, getting faster and faster and how each finish line was a sweet reminder of the person I was becoming. I thought about how blessed I am to have such loving and supportive friends around me.

If it weren’t 12 degrees out, I would have cried.

Krista, Me, and Brad

On our bib it had a spot to make a commitment, so here’s mine:

Bib

The race starting line was full of people (1,500 they said), but they did a great job of making it pretty easy to see where things were and what we should be doing. There was a banner with markers where we could all sign our names and next to that there was a person taking pictures of runners, walkers, family and friends. Even though it was frigid outside, the feeling was warm and light hearted- everyone seemed so excited!!!

The race wasn’t chip timed, but there was a time clock at the starting line. The race course was a pretty straight forward out and back. The streets were plowed (we had recently gotten some snow in Denver) so there weren’t many slip danger spots.

At Mile 1 they had a water station, which you then passed again at Mile 2, and while I didn’t stop I know a lot of folks who were just like me 3 years ago loved having the refreshment!

Some races do a really great job caring for the runners and then turn around and slight the walkers, but Life Time did a great job making sure everyone was cared for well.

As Krista and I were coming down the final stretch the Run Club coaches (who I’ve been running with for the last year or so) ran by us shouting FINISH STRONG!!! It was the last little push I needed to do just that- finish strong and PR.

The swag bag we got went way beyond my expectations. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like all the little coupons (I never use them) and granola bars (I’m paleo) that most finish bags have (and those are usually in a grocery bag).

This race had an awesome hardcover journal- the kind with a calendar, tips, hints, encouragement etc (not just a printed cover and some lines):

Journal

….a nice back pack:

Swag Bag

And best of all, my most favorite race t-shirt ever (seriously, I’d wear it every day if I could)

The super awesome shirt!

At the finish line there was a lot of fanfare, and I recognized that most of it was from the staff at Life Time, which I thought was really top notch.

As Krista and I crossed the finish I looked down at my Garmin and realized that even on this freezing cold day, just one day back at altitude I had PR’d

My PR: 29:59

Again, if it hadn’t been so cold I would have cried.

My friends and I finished up, waiting for the last of our crew to come in and then headed off to breakfast.

On the way there, my training twin Amanda  sent me her time from the Commitment Day in Houston (we are running our first full together in Dallas in April this year)

Our times

That’s right- we are seconds apart (never mind the 1,000 miles).

All in all the day was so special to me, I just had to write about it. I was so proud of myself and all of my friends and all that we have accomplished.

I just know that 2013 is going to be big- but it’s not about that date on the calendar. Life is big. And I’m here to LIVE it!

Me and Krista