Well now that I am finally settled into my new place in Dallas its about time i do a race! I signed up for this half marathon in Irving, TX 2 months ago, and have been taking training semi seriously for it. I did a few track focused workouts that went great, a few long runs that shocked even myself. But the most optimistic run i did was 3 weeks ago...my final farewell run in Seattle.
I mapped out a perfect 13.1 mile run that had a little bit of trail running and uphills within the first 5 miles, then the rest was pancake flat if not slightly downhill. I had picked the perfect route, for the perfect day! It was a perfect 55deg and drizzling rain, my kind of running weather. It went amazing! I ran a 1:20:45 and felt like there were multiple minutes to be had throughout the run...if i were to rate the effort i would say i took it about 85% race pace. This was huge for my confidence, and I thought for sure sub 1:20 was well within reach.
So back to the race. Dallas running weather was the polar opposite from Seattle: hot, muggy, cant breathe. Just the worst! I got in about 10 runs in the 2 weeks leading up to the race and felt semi prepared for what i had gotten myself into. Race morning was 78 deg when i walked out of my place at 5:30 in the morning, and you could feel the humidity in the air. I kept my head held high and still believed that great things were going to come from this race.
The race was set to start at 7am, so i got there about 45 mins before and got in a decent warm up, did some stretching, making sure i was sipping a lot of water. After lacing up the flats and heading over to the line, the announcers said that they were a little behind and the race was going to start a little later than planned. This didnt sit too well for me. It was getting exponentially hotter by the second! Finally at 7:30 they got us up to the line and off.
My goal was to get out and hold on to 6 flat pace as long as i could, and just hang on for dear life at the end. Knowing i had run 6:09 pace I figured 6 flats shouldnt be too much of a stretch and I should have something left at the end.
Through mile 1 the field of 3300 had dwindled down to 6...we didnt go out at a blistering pace, but was a bit quicker than i would have liked, 5:47. After 2 miles the pack of 6 was still in tact and we came through @ 11:42. I was starting to feel uncomfortable, and was worried about the rising temps and humidity...things were not as comfortable or easy as i had planned/hoped.
By mile 5 our six man pack shrunk to 3, and things were starting to really hurt in my world. We came through the 5 mile at 29:55, but my pace was starting to be affected hard by the heat. I was losing time and energy!
I hung on to the pack as long as i could, but by mile 7 they had broke me. Not because they were faster, but because they knew how to run in the heat. Its a totally different game when its hot and I have to respect that. I came through mile 7 at 42:10, but the pace was going downhill quick. It was a struggle to keep the turnover, and was only becoming more difficult.
Miles 9 and 10 were just awful, we started to run into the people running the 10k, and they had no sense of personal space on the course...they were walking 5 abreast on this 3 wide running path, lets just say this didnt help my mood/attitude too much.
I came through 10 in 1:01:40 and was doing everything i could to put one leg in front of the other. shortly after mile 10 i was passed by a guy which put me in 4th which is where i eventually finished. Getting off the path and on the final road was a major relief, but crossing the line was seriously the best. There were times out on that course where i felt like i was back in Hawaii racing ironman Kona, and I did not enjoy it one bit. I know now, that I need to be patient and really be in tune with my nutrition and pacing in the heat or else every result is going to end the same way this one did...barely finishing.
Like I said, I finished in 4th overall, 1st in my age group with a time of 1:24:33. I was disappointed with the time, and especially how i held on at the end of the race, but being unfamiliar with the conditions i know i have a lot to learn from it. A full season of racing tris this summer will be huge in my warm weather racing development, and ultimately my major success at kona in the future!