Race Review Dallas Marathon- The Monkey Off My Back

Marathon #9 is finally in the books. This past weekend, I was in Dallas for the Dallas Marathon (and 10K, more on that later). How I ended up on Dallas, I have no idea, other than I figured it would be warmer than the Inland Northwest. I spent most of the first part of the year doing races every other weekend and then took most of July and all of August off of racing for a mental break and focused mainly on cross training and weight training. I started picking up the training trail again Labor Day weekend, while still cross training and weight training.

With working every other week, training got a bit tricky. I ended up contacting a former trainer of mine, who came up with a training schedule working around my work schedule and with the races I was already signed up for and keeping in mind I was doing the Dallas 10K the day before the Marathon as part of the BMW Dallas Marathon Series (more bling and free stuff, what can I say). Speed work, spinning, weight training and trying to gain muscle while marathon training (because it makes perfect sense to do endurance training at the same time as attempting to gain muscle) took up most of the last 3-4 months.

Friday, I headed out to Dallas and arrived mid afternoon. I took an Uber to my hotel downtown and checked into my hotel. I walked over to the convention center afterwards (about 1/2 mile away) and picked up my bibs and shirts for the weekend. As I was finishing up with shirt pick up, the fire alarm went off and the entire building was evacuated. Initially, I think everyone thought it was a false alarm, but things kept getting drawn out. I went across the street to a sports bar and got some food, and could still see people waiting outside to get back into the convention center (there was a video game convention going on at the same time). I eventually walked back over because I wanted to check out the rest of the expo, but found out that there was a bomb threat that essentially had the entire building shut down. Ultimately, the rest of the expo was shut down on Friday because the building was still being cleared by Dallas PD and it was a long process. People were less than thrilled, but what can you do.

After the 10K on Saturday, I was able to go back over and explore the expo. I got some gear and wandered around for a little bit before heading back to the hotel. I went for some lunch, stayed off my feet for a bit and headed to 4 pm mass at a chapel 1 mile from the hotel before finding dinner and calling it a night.

Bright and early (around 630 AM) Sunday morning I woke up and changed, had some breakfast and headed to City Hall, where the start of the race was. I had a bag I ended up checking with some extra food and post race change of clothes, just in case. I initially tried to use to the porta potties, but the lines were long and the B corral was set to close at 8 AM so ended up running to try and get into them. The routes in weren’t that great, you had to cross a street that was limited flow due to gates and then security was checking bibs to make sure you were entering the proper corrals. Announcements were done and we got words of encouragement from Shalane Flanagan and Meb. At 8:10, corral A was sent off and 7 minutes, corral B was let loose.

The course itself had some hills, but we didn’t see them until after the first 10K or so. It didn’t seem too horrible, but I also had some pretty decent hills in the PNW that serve as a reality check. The first 8.5-9 miles, the half and full marathon were side by side in downtown Dallas, Uptown, Oaklawn, Highland Park, etc. Around mile 9, we split and things definitely thinned out. We got a bit of a downhill and headed towards White Rock Lake. As I was passing miles 10-11, the leaders were already on their way back towards the finish. I hit mile 11 and realized that we’d be hitting an uphill on our way back when we hit mile 20. I wasn’t looking forward to that. I was hitting good paces and crossed the half marathon point at 2:03. At that point, I was thinking I’d likely PR, but I still felt like I had another race in itself to finish. We looped around the White Rock Lake and I was keeping a pretty steady pace. By the time mile 20 rolled around, my legs were starting to stiffen up some, but I also didn’t want to stop moving and make things worse. Whomever thought hills between miles 20-21 of a marathon was a good idea, is insane. I slowed down a little bit in order to get through it and by the time I got through Mile 22, I knew I had a PR in the bag (I was still sub 4 hrs at that point). I crossed the 24.7 mile time sheet at 4:02 and at that point, was in the home stretch. The last mile and a half, I kept the 4:15 pacer in sight and passed her at the finish. Ultimately, I finished in 4:16:28, 16:30 better than my 2012 Chicago Marathon time and a PR that I’ve been trying to break for 5 years. Better yet, I get Burpees out of my trainer (5 for every minute I PR’ed by….I should have asked for more!).

Water stops: every 1-2 miles, really kind of depended. Had water and gatorade for the most part

Post Race: the finisher chute had you get medals first, then water. If you completed the Marathon Series (either the 5K/10K on Saturday and the Half/Full on Sunday), there was a tent where you checked in, showed the black wrist band you received after finishing your Saturday race and your finisher medal from Sunday and you picked up your series medal and Jacket. Afterwards, you picked up food (in a box) and a finisher shirt if you did the marathon. I wasn’t a fan of the boxed food. It had Edamame trail mix, oreos and tortilla chips. I really wanted a banana or an orange and some Chocolate milk, but the only carbs I saw was iHop Pancakes. There was beer at the finish, which doesn’t work for me and I’ve never been a fan of. A bunch of people were asking for chocolate milk and bananas at the finish, so it’s something I would look at for next year.

Overall, a decent race and a good course. I think the expo needs to look at letting people pick up for other people, especially if people are coming a distance to pick up bibs or if people are working and can’t get to the expo. There also needs to be more than one corral entrance. Having to go around fences and then through gates on one side really made no sense to me and there was a bottleneck of people trying to get in. Having food on course would have been helpful….something with salt or carbs, especially for the marathoners. And can we look at some bananas and chocolate milk for the finish???? A fun time, though, and I finally got the monkey off my back and my trainer doing Burpees!

About drrunner
8 time marathoner, 65 ish time 1/2 marathoner with a bucket list item to hit all 50 states. BibRave Pro, Doctor and a mix of insanity

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