Dallas Rock and Roll Marathon was not a race that I had planned at the start of the year. It wasn’t until Amy Perkel of Boundless Nutrition sent me an email asking if I wanted free passes to the race (it is nice to have sponsors) that I added this event to the list. Of course my first question to myself was how do you recover from a Half-Ironman? And the obvious answer was to run a half-marathon. Shortly after accepting this kind offer did Karen ask me if I wanted to run the A2A Half-Marathon on April 1st. This time I emailed Coach and she said it would be fine because she would just add-on miles to the run or make it a hard run. One way or the other my recovery from a Half-Ironman was to run not one but two Half-Marathons.
When 70.3 Ironman San Juan ended I checked Training Peaks and noticed that the run was NOT going to be a recovery run, but instead a 10 minute warmup followed by a steady tempo pace. Scratching my head I thought…….really? Then I looked at the Saturday training and saw that it was to be three hours on the trainer followed by a 30 minute run. Seriously what were my legs going to do in this race? I had no clue.
After exchanging text messages with my Coach on Saturday night it was determined that the ‘tempo’ pace was going to be 8:30-8:45/mile. I wanted to be close to what I figured my pace at Ironman Texas was going to be and this was a compromise with my coach.
On Saturday morning Chico was running a race as well. He had a 50 yard dash scheduled and it was quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever seen. The race director was going to count down from 10 and by the time she hit 6 all the kids (about 100) took off running. They were moving so fast that Chico got run over, but the brave soul popped back up and kept hustling. As soon as all the kids hit the finish line, they just wrapped around and raced each other to the medals. I could not stop laughing and did not get one good pic of them.
After that I met Robert over at TriShop for a 3 hour CompuTrainer ride on the Ironman Arizona course. I managed to get in 57 miles for a 19 mph average that made me happy considering I had no recovery or taper for this ride. After that we bounced off and put up 3.25 miles in 30 minutes for a 9:12/mi pace. This was a great day of training. Later that night we hosted Karen’s sister who would be running her second half-marathon, and first since the Debacle in the Desert (Yes, the RnR Las Vegas.) We had ordered vegetable pizza and some salads for dinner. By around 8:00pm my eyes were fading fast and by 9:00pm I managed to walk to bed. Within moments I was asleep. I don’t remember saying good night to anybody. I don’t remember turning on or off the TV. I just remember the alarm going off at 3:30am.
Thankfully I put out all of my morning food and clothes. I was dressed and eating by 4:30am when Karen’s sister came out and joined me for some hot coffee. A little chitter chatter, Karen finally awoke and we were on the road by 6:15am. It was crazy getting to the race site. There was so much traffic and at one point we went about 10 feet in 5 minutes. Boundless Nutrition was kind enough to provide me with VIP parking passes (Thank You Amy — these were a life saver) and we were able to park right at the finish line. On the shuttle to the race start and I laughed so hard. There was the bus driver who had more energy than me and was hilarious. We laughed the entire time to the race start and I’m sure we annoyed plenty of people but I was relaxed.
We got into Corral 6 which was a 2:00 projected finish time. Let me just say that all the people in the 1:50 to 2:10 projected finish time have all the right in the world to complain about proper seeding in a race. Normally I am in Corral 1 or 2, but seeded myself back here because I did not know what my legs would provide on race day. As we walked up to the start line (approximately 10 minutes) I had planned to take it easy for 10 minutes and figured I would be right with everybody else. Before I knew it I was passing a ton of people and even walkers……really? Walking within the first mile? I was so frustrated but knew I had to maintain my plan as that was far more important than the pace.
I hit the first mile at 8:54 and felt strong. OK, so now I need to hit the paces of 8:30-8:45 per mile and picked it up a bit. My legs felt very strong, even through the hardest part of the course. This course sets up like a mountain. Uphill until Mile 8 and then downhill from there on out. My goal was to run up the hills at the same rate of perceived exertion and ignore my watch (this is a story for another day and one I am very much perturbed about.) As I hit one hill after the other and I was passing runners and feeling strong I made up my mind that come Mile 10 I was going to forget the 8:30-8:45 pace and just run.
Each mile ticked off and they were all faster than 8:30 and I thought…..where is all this leg drive coming from? Splits from Mile 2 to Mile 8 were:
- Mile 2: 8:31
- Mile 3: 8:06
- Mile 4: 8:23
- Mile 5: 8:13
- Mile 6: 8:15
- Mile 7: 8:09
- Mile 8: 8:04
It was at this point that I wound up next to a runner who was looking fluid and for whatever reason made it my mission to not get beat by this guy and to bury him. Why? No clue. I was probably trying to deflect any pain that I was about to endure and push it away from my brain.
We started running in lock step. He would pull slightly ahead and I would catch him. We would run together for a bit and then I would surge ahead a tad. This went on and on from mile marker 8 to mile marker 10. It was at Mile marker 10 that I said it is time to set the best 5k of the entire race so far.
I pushed any and all ideas out of my brain and just ran. My leg turnover was solid. I was landing mid-foot. I was not breathing too hard and I felt like I was on cruise control. I was smart enough to hide my heart rate on my watch and only had total time and pace. Next time I race a half-marathon I am getting rid of pace as well.
When I hit Mile 12 I then spoke to myself and said you can do anything for a mile and started running harder. This race was going to end with the fastest mile yet even if it meant tossing cookies or passing out. I can say that for the first time in a while I had a little stitch and felt hungry. Either way this was not going to stop me from running as hard as my legs would carry me. I also started doing math and knew there was a time I wanted to beat.
As you enter into Fair Park I saw another runner wearing an orange singlet and it was like a bull seeing the red cape. I went hard after him and I passed him, but that must have made him mad because he surged as well. Except guess what mister orange singlet…..I’m only in 4th gear and BOOM down to 5th gear and blew him away.
When I crossed the finish line I was hardly panting and felt so strong that if I had run at this pace the entire race and negative split is as well I would have set a PR this day. I felt so strong out there and my HR stayed relatively low for the pace I was running. Mile splits from Mile 9 on:
- Mile 9: 7:59
- Mile 10: 7:57
- Mile 11: 7:50
- Mile 12: 7:57
- Mile 13: 7:40
- Final: 7:08 pace
My final time was 1:47:22. This cruise control run placed me at 117 out of 782 M35-39 or Top 15%. Overall I finished 863 out of 11312 or Top 8%. I am very happy with my result considering where I am in my training and having just raced a Half-Ironman. Next week brings another challenge because on Saturday I will be riding for 5 hours and then traveling to Oklahoma for another Half-Marathon. I do know that this upcoming race will be slower with a goal of finishing between 1:50 and 1:55 since the first 5 miles will be in Z1/Z2 and the final 8 miles at my goal race pace of 8:45-9:00 per mile. Execution, again, will be the name of the game.
- 5 Km: 26:47
- 10 Km: 52:41
- 7 Mi: 59:40
- 10 Mi: 1:23:10
THANK YOU FOR READING AND ALL YOUR SUPPORT