The week marks exactly one year since I ran my first (and so far only) marathon! Completing the Dallas White Rock Marathon is one of my proudest personal moments. It took so much time, effort, dedication just to be able to line up at the start. During the race, there were many moments when the finish line felt unreachable. But after months of training and hours of running, Stephen and I crossed the finish line together.
To celebrate, and because I thought it would be fun, I participated in the same race again this year! This time around, I walked the half marathon with my mom.
When I went to bed on Saturday night, I didn’t know for sure if my mom and I would actually participate in the race. We had a plan in p lace to skip the whole thing if it was colder than 40 degrees and/or raining really hard. When I rolled out of bed at 5am, it was lightly raining and cold, but not horrible. Are we in or are we out?
Game on! I gathered up all my gear, took care of Geronimo, slathered some peanut butter on a piece of toast, and headed to my mom’s house. As we made the drive to Fair Park, the rain oscillated between heavy, light, and none at all. Even though we were going to be walking the race, we were both pretty nervous. I’ve never walked 13.1 miles at once, let alone in the rain, wind, and cold.
We arrived at the race location and sat in the car people-watching for a while. It was interesting to see how people approached the bad weather. (Some wore shorts and tanks, some wore many layers, some wore trash bags. I saw a girl wearing three pairs of gloves on each hand. A handful of people had tied plastic grocery bags on their shoes.) I went with an Under Armour shirt and pants, a sweatshirt, and a wind breaker. I had a hat on my head, the hood of my jacket pulled tight, and gloves (one pair) on my hands.
When we lined up in our starting coral, I have to admit, I was nervous!
How would we handle the weather? Would I end up with major blister issues? Would I get sick after walking for hours in these conditions? Finally (40 minutes after the first groups started), we crossed the starting line! Go time – no turning back.
We started at what felt like a comfortable-fast pace. I told my mom to let me know if I was going to fast or too slow. We managed to maintain a pace between 16:30-17:30 for the entire time even though we were hurting and felt slow at some points.
I spent most of the race chattering on and on and on. I normally run solo and with music on. It was a nice treat to be able to talk to someone! It made the time go by a lot faster. I found myself saying, “We’ve already gone another mile!” multiple times. The race as a whole felt l.o.n.g., but each mile seemed to fly by.
When we were not long past the halfway point, it started to get really tough mentally. My gloves had completely soaked through as had my shoes. With cold, wet hands and feet, it felt a lot more difficult to stay motivated. My buns were sore. Every time the rain would pick up, things seemed more and more difficult.
It was very strange being among the very last people in such a big race (25,000 participants!) A few back of the pack observations:
- All the throw-away clothes created a mine-field. I was really scared that I’d trip. I probably spent the entire time looking at the ground. (I have an irrational fear of tripping on billy pots, wet ground, brick roads, train tracks – all of which I came across during the race.)
- I was scared to use the porta-potties (I don’t want to sit there after all those other people!)
- Some water stations were completely water-less by the time we got there. Thankfully it was only a few and they were at the beginning. (I just drank from the water bottle I was carrying.)
With one mile to go, the half and full courses converged. That meant that the slowest half competitors (aka us) and some pretty fast marathoners (4-hours finishers) were heading to the finish line together. It was really inspiring to see how determined the runners were. They were all pushing hard to the finish line.
- 13.26 mile finish time: 3:45:58
- Average pace: 17:02/mile
Finishers were ushered into a large building where there were medals, finishers shirts, bananas, beer, and water. I thought it was strange that the water they offered was in cups and not bottles. (I just completed a half marathon, and all I get is think dinky cup of water?) We hung out for a little while, then high tailed it back into the elements so that we could get in the car, get food, and go home!
Even though I’ve run one full, I’ve run 4 half marathons, and I’ve completed over 20 races (almost all of them as a runner, not a walker), walking this half marathon was one of the top 3 hardest races I’ve ever completed. Fighting the weather and staying motivated was a real challenge! I greatly admire the thousands of people who ran the race (especially those who were first-timers and those who managed to PR)!
I love that I did this with my mom! She’s spectated at many of my races and walked some of the ones that I’ve run, but this time around we to experience a big enchilada race together! We can proudly say that we completed White Rock 2011!*