The Dallas Marathon and Half-Marathon is the last race of the season and I went into it with zero expectations, zero training and coming off of 3 weeks of pure recovery from Ironman Arizona. For the past three weeks I have been on my trainer very little, run very a bit and swam a total of 2500y. Needless to say I felt rested heading into this race as this time acted as both the perfect recovery and an opportune taper.
When I signed up for the race the whole point was to pace Karen for the first 9-10 miles and let her go onto a PR at the 26.2 distance and I would peel off and just finish off the half-marathon. After I was done with the race and the food tent I as going to go back out and find Karen around Mile 24-25 and run her in the rest of the way. Of course the plan also called for temps in the 40s-50s and unfortunately we did not have that, nor the final run to the finish for Karen.
A few days before the race I finally looked at the map and noticed that the new route would take me 7 miles out and 6.1 miles back which meant that I would only be with Karen for 7 and not 10 miles. I was bummed because I wanted to run with her as much as possible, but it is what it is and I just had to run what I could and enjoy the miles we did have. Getting to the race site was fairly easy and as we made our way to the start line I enjoyed the walk with Karen and her running the group, White Rock Running Club. These people are a tremendous support crew for Karen and I enjoyed my time because I didn’t have a care in the world and so my game face wasn’t on.
At the race we had to sneak Karen into Corral A because they were actually checking. When ‘security’ told Karen she couldn’t come in we asked who we could speak with to get her into the Corral and when they pointed out who I should talk to I turned and told Karen to walk in and just keep walking and I would talk to the person in charge. I stood there for a few minutes while he talked to a police officer and then I just turned and walked into the corral to find everybody since there really was no control over the situation. Once we were all in the corral and ready to go I started to get the butterflies and knew I was ready to get Karen to Mile 7 ready to crush her PR.
We started out and hit Mile 1 at 8:58 then I lost her trying to get water. I finally figured she must have kept going and so I ran to catch her and that was right at Mile 2 at a pace of 9:02. We hit the first two miles easy, even though the course was ridiculously crowded. There really was no room to maneuver around the course and once you had your line you had to stick with it. We kept on trucking and Mile 3 was at 8:58 and Mile 4 was at 9:02. It was at Mile 4 where the slickness of the road by the aid stations caught up to people and set in motion my plan to not go near an aid station the rest of the way.
As we were nearing the aid station Karen asked me to get her a cup of water and I obliged. As I was heading to the table I saw one runner go down and then another and finally a third. The first runner who went down started screaming and pushing and I gave him a piece of my mind. I was beyond pissed off at this guy for acting like an idiot after falling down and with a crowd as big as there was. Karen calmed me down and I grabbed her a cup of water and poured some down her back. The temperature was near 70* and the humidity was about 100%. It was a slugfest out there to say the least.
We kept right on going after the incident and the miles clicked off at 9:06; 9:15 and 9:11. It was after that last mile that it was my turn to split off and for a second I considered running with Karen for the whole marathon since we were going at an aerobic pace and my HR was hovering around 140bpm. I’m sure my coach would have been proud of this moment, but then it all changed. If you have read this blog for anytime you know that I love to compete, even if it is just against myself. I had told my coach that I was going to run 9:00/mi with Karen and then 8:30-8:40/mi after I left her.
Once I turned the corner I picked up the pace and the next mile was 8:28 and I was right there. Then I saw a Fueled By Beef shirt and my eyes lit up. Chase them down, chase them down. I passed him and immediately another came up. I was running with such a passion that I have no clue what the next split was because I never heard the watch beep. Then after passing the 2nd I found a 3rd. Where were they all coming from? Either way, there they were and I just kept on trucking. The next mile showed up and it was at 7:40…..ruh-roh raggy! I thought I needed to pull back but I found a guy with a CrossFit shirt and well I just had to catch him too. Passed him fairly easily and the miles kept ticking off.
After making a 180* turn I knew it was time to head home and the route was net downhill. I kept on going and then as I got closer to the finish line I powered down the final 200-300 meters and crossed in a rather solid 1:53:18. Coming off of Ironman Arizona I am happy with this time considering I ran the first 7 miles in 1:05.
After the race I went to the food area and ate EVERYTHING then had to figure out how to get out to Mile 24-25. As I exited the Convention Center I saw the top male finishers coming in and started walking in the direction from which they came. I walked about a mile to an aid station and was situated there about 3 hours into race. I knew that Karen wanted to run a 4:15 so I had about and hour or so to wait and so I began cheering and picking up the garbage around the aid station.
While waiting I saw lots of people from Karen’s running group along with my buddy Juan. After the 4:30 mark I started walking toward the finish line figuring I had missed Karen. As I walked I heard my name and it was Jeff calling me out to tell me that Karen was in medical. My first thought was dehydration, but he quickly told me that she may have suffered a broken foot. We walked rather quickly to the finish and when I saw her she had her foot wrapped and it broke my heart. I know how hard she worked for this day and to have to stop after 14 miles because of a tremendously painful foot injury was dis-heartening.
We are fighters here at Team Baha and we will live to fight another day.