Sunday was a fantastic day! Not only did I get to race for the first time in months, but I to combine my love of running with my love of my friends! (Isn’t everything better with friends?) Totally worth the trip to Dallas.
Pre-race festivities started the night before when Stephen’s mom created a delicious home-cooked meal of pasta, salad, brisket, asparagus, and appetizers. After all the time we’ve spent in hotels lately (two weeks straight!) a home-cooked meal was just what the doctor ordered and perfect for the night before a race.
Race day started early early early.
Stephen and I managed to get dressed, fed, and hydrated in plenty of time. We had no trouble at Fair Park getting our race bibs and spent a good hour chatting with friends getting excited for the race to start.
A few minutes before go-time, we lined up in the back of the starting herd. I was running with my best friend, Mary Beth, and her life-long friend, Charlotte. Our plan was to stick together and enjoy the miles. MB had a loose time goal in mind. We talked about starting out on pace and aiming for an evenly run race.
- Mile 1: 12:27
- Mile 2: 12:3
- Mile 3: 11:59
We lucked out with great weather. (Last year was humid and drizzly – yuck!) It was cool and breezy with plenty of cloud cover at the start. We managed to get right in the target pace the first few miles. (Mile 3 had some downhill, thus the speed!) It served as a great warm-up. All three of us felt strong and were having fun right from the start.
- Mile 4: 12:10
- Mile 5: 12:48
- Mile 6: 12:54
Another strong three miles. I walked through the water stops, but MB and Charlotte ran these all non-stop. We swung by White Rock Lake and got a nice breeze and some great views.
- Mile 7: 13:06
- Mile 8: 13:29
It started to get harder in these miles. The course is deceptively hilly (and billed as not hilly at all). Those hills had started to take their toll. MB’s knee was giving her some trouble, but her lungs felt good and she wasn’t tired. We kept on pushing.
- Mile 9: 13:14
- Mile 10: 13:14
- Mile 11: 14:27
We started taking walk breaks as needed. Sometimes they were a mile or half mile apart, other times they were closer together. I encouraged Mary Beth to listen to her body, which she’s great at doing. She had no problem saying when she needed a break. I don’t know about Charlotte, but my body was talking to me, too. (I felt some minor joint pain.) We took it slow and easy, which I think is the best approach.
- Mile 12: 13:33
- Mile 13: 13:51
- Last .1: 11:47 pace
Those last few miles were the toughest. The sun had come out, making us all feel tired and dehydrated. Little aches and pains were hurting more. Walking breaks were longer and stretches of running were shorter. We were emotionally ready to finish, but still had to push through those last miles.
- 13.1 mile finish time: 2:53:22
- Average pace: 13:02
Charlotte was feeling good, and took off for the finish with half a mile to go. I stayed with Mary Beth, and we finished together. It was the highlight of the day! She was hurting, but she still managed to finish strong, with her head held high, and beating her goal! We had a big hug after crossing the finish and having our names announced and there were definitely some tears. I couldn’t help but think about how hard she had worked (she had a baby 13 months ago and works a full time nursing job) and how far she had come. I was so proud of her and so thankful that I got to share in the moment with her!
At the finish we found the incredible Bianca! Big D was also her first half, and she had a great day out on the course. Stephen ran the race, too! He had talked about running with us, but he has long legs and natural speed, so he took off at the beginning. (He ended up finishing around 2:15 with absolutely no training! What a beast!)
The day’s successes were celebrated at Ihop. We got the chance to relax and eat – two things we all needed at that point.
Stephen and I went back to his mom’s house where we ate some more and showered. Then it was back to El Paso with our butts! I’m really glad I got to run Big D. It’s a very special race to me, and it is even more dear now that it is MB’s first half and the first long race we ran together! I have every intention of running again next year. See you in April 2014!