Dallas Running Club Half-Marathon Race Report

Sunday November 6th was the date of the Dallas Running Club Half-Marathon and just a short two weeks after having raced 70.3 Austin.  In between the Half-Ironman and Half-Marathon I completed the following training:
  1. 18 mile run at a 7:51/mi pace.
  2. 13.1 mile run at 7:36/mi pace.
  3. Cycled for 1.5 hours and covered nearly 37 miles at a 17.5 mph pace with the second half into a dead headwind.
  4. Over 5,000 yards of swimming
That is just the big days of training as I prepare my mind and body for a run at a Boston Qualifying time at Rock N Roll Las Vegas.  Needless to say the legs are tired and Coach and I discussed this not being a true A race so we didn't worry about taper and were using it as a training day for that December 4th marathon.
That being said I had a very good day at the office and following is my race report for my 3rd run at the Dallas Running Club Half-Marathon.
[caption id="attachment_4638" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Flashing the bling after the race"]karen-Jason-DRC-halfmarathon-race-report[/caption]
Pre-Race:
The alarm went off at 2:48 and I was up and ready to go.  Typically I would drink a smoothie and go back to sleep before heading out to train at 5am.  Today was different though as I had a 5 mile run scheduled before the race.  Remember this was not an 'A' race and a training day.  Today's schedule called for 18 miles and I told Coach that I wanted to do them first so that once the race was over I could come home and watch football and not have to go back out for more running.
 
At 4:30am I set out for a 5 mile run that I wanted to run at an 8:30/mi pace.  True warm-up.  When I got home I was dripping in sweat as the humidity was high and reminded me of the summer here in Texas it was that bad.  When I checked my watch I had covered the 5 miles at a pace of 8:31/mi.  Score one for following a plan and pacing properly.
 
Inside the house I made a smoothie and ate a bowl of granola with a banana which is my typical pre-race breakfast.  Made a cup of coffee and we got into the car to head down to White Rock Lake.  This is a course we have run plenty of times so we knew what we were getting ourselves into.  We parked the car, walked to the event, checked our bags and got in the porto-potty line.
 
Longest part of the day as we spent nearly 30 minutes in line.  Fortunately waiting allowed us to see Lesley of Racing It Off fame.  A few quick hellos and I finally get into the stall take care of my business and walk to the starting line.  I gave Karen a kiss good-bye as she was going to run with the 2:10 pacers.
 
I walked up to the 1:40 pacers as my goal was to run a plan that was hatched earlier in the week with Greg.  A lot of people gave me great advice about what I should do to run this race.  There were those that said take it easy, those that said to run the race, others who said pay attention to heart rate and whatever pace that was stick to it.
 
My plan going into this race was to run those first 5 miles at 8:30/mi and I did that.  Now at the race I was going to run the first 5 miles at a pace of 7:45/mi, then the next 5 at 7:20/mi and hammer home the 5k at what I was hoping would be sub 7:00/mi pace.  I have no clue what that would have equaled in terms of overall time but I wanted to run and see what I could do on tired legs and continue to build my confidence for Las Vegas.
 
Race:
When the gun went off I was about 50 yards behind the 1:40 pacers.  I had figured that a 1:40 half-marathon was a 7:38/mi pace and sitting back here I could comfortably run the 7:45/mi pace I had planned.  As we went out it was no more than 1/4 of a mile into the race that a woman across the road from me tripped and went down.  She yelled she was find and hopped back up pretty quickly.  As soon as that happens I think immediately that I need to stop and just run with Karen who has a tendency to fall but I also know that we spoke of her focusing on her stride and getting past this.  We talked so much about it that when I left her I said to her:  Keep The Rubber Side Down.
 
I kept on running and we immediately hit a hill.  I remember this hill from last year and power up it and run past people.  I catch up to a woman who is breathing so hard it's annoying.  I have to kick it in to get past her as I can't stand it.  I push past her and the mile marker shows up and my watch beeps.  I look down and we just ran the first mile in 7:37 and I am still behind the 1:40 pacers.  This guy is running fast I think to myself but I check all my facilities and I feel great.  I'm not breathing hard and my legs are feeling awesome.  This is a process I will do at every mile marker as I don't want to push so hard that I affect my next 4 weeks of training.
 
After a hair-pin turn we get out around the lake and this is my course.  Before I know it we are at Mile 2....check the watch and it reads: 7:33/mi and I am still behind the pacers.  What is this guy doing?  Plan on positive splitting this race?  As I say out loud:  This guy is going way to hard for these runners two guys run up next to me and say:  Thank you for confirming that as I thought it was me.  We converse for a bit and then we go our separate ways.
 
At this point I have forgotten everything about this course from last year and I am just running.  I get to a point where we tackle another hill and I say:  Yup I remember this.  Not a big deal.  We get over that hill and make a right and it hits me like a ton of bricks.....there is a long uphill run before we cross over a bridge and then head down for about 50 feet before we have to start climbing again.  Miles 3 and 4 at a pace of: 7:33 and 7:35.
 
I am getting near Mile 5 and I am ready to execute my plan of dropping down into the 7:20s after Mile 5.  It is at this point that one of the 1:40 pacers says to another runner that if we can get past Mile 6 we are good to go.  Oh yeah, there are more climbs and Mile 6 just feels like an almost vertical climb.  As I get to Mile 5 at a pace of 7:33 and see the climbs I think to myself well you can drop down after Mile 6 is passed.
 
I pump my arms and my knees.  High knees up a hill and pump those arms and you don't lose your stride and can essentially climb with no issues.  It is using this method that I pass a host of runners who are panting.  I can tell that they are practically shuffling their feet up the hill.  I wonder if it is because the 1:40 pacer is going faster than 7:38 but I cannot be concerned.  I am not breathing hard, my legs don't feel sore.  My feet are not generating any hot spots so I pump up the hill and HELLO downhill.  I pass Mile 6 at 7:34.  When I see this I know that I can hold this time throughout but I want to drop and this hill will certainly help.
 
You essentially go straight down hill and this can do a number on your legs with the pounding but I glide down the hill and before I know it I get chicked.  I just smiled and laughed because I can here the pounding of the pavement this woman is doing and I know here quads will be shot as soon as we make the right hand turn to what is known as the Dolly Partons.  A couple of climbs and sure enough we make that right and we begin to climb Parton #1 and I pass her with ease and that would be the last I see of her.  After climbing #1 and going down hill I climb #2 with no issues and notice a woman with a neon yellow shirt that is holding a very solid pace and I want to hang with her.  We make a right and are finally running flat.  Pass Mile 7 in 7:23.  Plan is being executed.
 
After you pass Mile 7 there is 7-11 hill.  I call it this because there is a 7-11 on the corner and I immediately think that going up this hill is going to take 11 minutes and start laughing to myself because I never put two and two together before.  As you make the right turn to go up the 7-11 hill you have to first cross a bridge.  With the number of runners on the bridge it just bounces all over.  Remember when you were a kid in the bounce house and if your legs did not meet the platform perfectly you would almost get a dead leg?  That is what running over this bridge is like.  I am caught up to neon yellow girl and she makes a comment to another girl that this bridge sucks.  I comment to both of them that if we run faster we won't spend much time on the bridge and I pick up the pace and I power through 7-11 hill.  Off the bridge and make a turn toward Mile 8 and as I pass it I see: 7:28/mi.
 
The section between Mile 8 and Mile 9 is mostly flat and where the pictures are taken.  Time to get out my big smile for the camera.  After the pictures are taken it is time to get back to work.  Time to focus on those 7:20s as we are coming up on Mile 9 then Mile 10 and time to drop the hammer on the 5k portion.  Before I know it I'm passing the Mile 9 marker and the watch reads 7:34/mile.  OK, time to re-check my legs, breathing, feelings.  All feels really good.  There is some soreness in my legs and I realize that I've already now run 14 miles but that doesn't not mean that I can stop.
 
I climb the last, I believe, hill as I head toward Mile 10.  I am so ready to drop the hammer and it is a great feeling.  I had decided that I was going to toss my handheld at the last aid station which I assumed was Mile 10.  Wrong assumption a I had just passed the Mile 9 aid station.  I think to myself OK hold on to the bottle until Mile 11 and then toss.  I am ready to get going and Mile 10 shows up and the watch flashes: 7:38.  It is time to go.
 
As I start to drop the hammer the feeling is that this is uncomfortably comfortable.  Perfect I think and before I know it I am at Mile 10.5 and think OK only 2.5 miles and you can hold this.  I am just cruising right now.  I pass a few more people and pick up a few more targets.  It is all about target hunting now to keep me going until the finish line.  Quickly Mile 11 is upon me and my split for Mile 10 read: 7:20.  OK, I am dropping my times from the previous 10 miles.  This is good.
 
I pick-up another female runner and we run past a guy who was looking good and then just stopped.  She yells at him to keep going as it is not a time to stop.  I yell' c'mon baby we got less than 2 miles.  You can do anything for 2 miles.  Let's go.'  I have no idea if that helped him or not as we cruised past him.  It is at this point that last year's race hits me.  It was last year that I hit a wall at Mile 12 and I was promising myself that this was not going to happen this year.  I was going to push until I could not push anymore.  This was going to be REDLINE RACING.  I pass the Mile 12 marker and my watch reads: 7:36.  What just happened?  I'm running harder but going slower?  I then decide to lengthen my stride.
 
Lengthening my stride allows me to control my breathing.  It is at this point that I realize that the woman I passed was literally running on my shoulder.  I could basically feel her breathe on my neck. I turn around and ask her what her goal is.  She says I don't have one but am I bothering you.  I tell her it is not a bother (it really is) but that this is not an 'A' race and I want to pace her the rest of the way to her goal.  She says well I hit the wall back there but hanging onto your heel as helped me tremendously.  OK, then let's go.  We start running hard.  I get to Mile 12.5 and I can feel that I am losing my fuel in my tank.  She is now outpacing me.  I then hear a few more footsteps and sure enough another runner was on my right and I was going to do my best to not let him pass me.
 
We turn the corner and it is the finisher's chute.  I've got nothing left and put it into cruise control to avoid injury and he passes me but by only a few feet.  I hang with him as long as I can.  As we come up on the finish line I see the time and I think to myself.....REALLY!  I cross through the finish line and move quickly to my left and put my hands on my knees.  I want to collapse but I know if I do two things are going to happen.  1- I won't get back up 2- The medical people will be there in a rush and it will take forever ton convince them I don't need help.  I walk a few steps and bend over again.  After a few moments I walk to get my medal and a bottle of water.
 
It is at this point that I look at my watch and see my overall time for the event:  1:38:42 unofficially.  This is just two minutes off of my 1/2 Marathon PR.  I am so fired up because I had just run a half-marathon two short weeks after a half-ironman at a pace of 7:31/mile.  I needed some confidence building and validation that I could run 7:15s in Vegas to qualify for Boston.  Having no taper and lots of wear and tear on my legs from the year and to put up a time like I did I am beyond ecstatic.
 
Post-Race:
[caption id="attachment_4639" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Getting Ready To Load Up At Breakfast"]shannon-karen-jason-drchalfmaratho_race_report[/caption] I waited at the finish line for Karen to come through.  I did something that I almost never do and that is stretch.  It was great to actually loosen up the muscles and need to follow that more often.  Of course it was then that I started to notice that my feet were hurting.  Iran this race in my new Brooks T7 racers which I love but probably not the smartest move to run in them today.  That being said as I'm writing this my feet feel great now.
 
After the race we headed over to Cafe Brazil with Shannon of Iron Texas Mommy along with firends Marcy and Steve.  This was the perfect place to end a great day.
 
My plate consisted of:
  • 2 Egg White Veggie Tacos, Sweet Potato Fries and Guacamole
  • 1 Pumpkin pancake from Karen with honey and maple syrup
  • Copious amounts of water and Decaf Holiday Blend Coffee (which is really a Fall Blend and was great)
I am going to enjoy watching Football and now and then this evening pack up my swim bag as training continues tomorrow and I have my eye on the prize:
 

3:10 (7:15/mile pace) at the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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