Dallas 10K

It’s been just over a month since the Dallas 10K and Marathon. I had a blast of a weekend, but never wrote about my 10K experiences. I arrived in Dallas the Friday before race weekend and was able to beat weekend traffic. I took an Uber to the hotel, got checked in and robbed off my bags. I ended up walking over to the expo to pick up my bibs, shirts and all that fun stuff. The Convention Center was about 1/2 mile from where I was staying, so it was a quick trip. I found the expo on the second floor of the Convention Center. I got my marathon bib and 10K as well as my shirts, poster and socks for doing the challenge. I as I was wrapping up, the fire alarm started going off. Not going to lie, we kind of ignored it at first. Convention Center personnel started coming through the expo and having everyone evacuate. We headed outside where we waited. And waited. And waited some more. I headed over to a restaurant that was attached to a near by hotel. I could see people being pushed back some more and then police showed up. Turns out, there was bomb threat in the convention center, leading to the evacuation. I hung out until about 530, when it was ultimately closed down for the night.

There were people who were on their way in for the expo, especially since if you were running the 5K or 10K on Saturday, you had to get your bib on Friday at the expo. What ended up happening was the Dallas Marathon organizers had bib pick up race morning and post race shirt pick up at the Expo. Then again, some people weren’t thrilled with this, but it was something.

I worked my way into the corrals, which wasn’t that well marked at the back in on where to go. Once you were in, the 10K could go to either side. The race itself started at 8 with the 5K following at 820 AM. Shalane Flanagen was at the start and gave us all a pep talk before joining the 10K. We were off and running and at some point during the first mile, I was side by side with Shalane for a whole 1/10th of a mile. Before I was next to her, I had seen someone pass me bringing out their phone, which should have been my first clue to pull out mine. Though I didn’t get a picture, I can say I ran with Shalane. I’ll take it. We went out about a mile and a half before doubling back into town and going down Main Street. We turned on Walton before coming back on Canton and Commerce Street.  The course was flat overall, and I ended up finishing under 56 minutes and PRing by 20 seconds without trying.

After you finished, you were sent to medals and water. If you were doing the weekend series (a race on Saturday and a race on Sunday), you stopped by a tent in the chutes to pick up a wrist band to present on Sunday for your extra medal and your jacket. You then were directed to food boxes and then towards the exit.

Overall, a good race I think. Pretty well run for a first time event and weekend series. I wish they’d let other people pick up bibs for other runners at the expo, as I think that’d help with some of the pick up frustrations some people had. If you’re ever in Dallas, look this race up for sure!

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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!

Pacers Jingle All the Way 8K

I had no intention of doing another race until the Emerald Nut Run on NYE.  I decided to do a last minute trip to DC this weekend for a Living Social event at 918 F street.  Being the runner I am, I looked for a race and found one put on by Pacer’s.  The Jingle All the Way 8K is an event benefiting Habitat for Humanity in DC.  When I got in yesterday, I stopped my hotel and checked in (about 3 hours before check in started, but that’s besides the point) and headed over to the Pacers Logan Square location.  One of new things that they’re doing is assigning runners a bib as they pick up their packets instead of prior to the race.  I think it works for smaller races, but for bigger races, I’ve heard of there being issues with it.  I enjoyed me some DC, found a holiday market and found a Holiday Market where some Christmas shopping occurred when I went on my afternoon run.  While taking advantage of the nice weather and on my run, I was attacked by some sidewalk and landed flat on my side.  No injuries except to my ego and some bruises.  I’d expect that to happen to me in heels, not in my running shoes.

This morning, I got to sleep in until 7:30 as the race didn’t start until 9 and, as it turns out, was about 1/2 mile from my hotel. As I was leaving, one of the bell hops told me he expected me to win.  All with a laugh.  I left around 8:30 and used it as a warm up to the race.  Prior to the start, I enjoyed a banana and a chocolate carmel santa clause (breakfast of champions, I know).  I ran into some reindeer, a gingerbread man and some people who happened to be from Ohio and knew my neck of the woods (that rarely happens).  We got lined up and instead of starting of 9 like we were suppose to, we ended up starting at 9:10.  Shortly after the start, I found a running menorah.

photo

Happy Hanukkah!

 

We somehow ended up running the flat part of DC, which I have absolutely no problem with.  We passed mile 1 and about 9 minutes in, we saw the lead pack passing mile 2.  We’re all jealous at the point (who wouldn’t want to run 5 minute miles?), but cheered them along because that’s what we do.  The race had loop turns but people would see friends running the opposite direction and give them high 5s or hoots and hollers.  It’s always good to have races where people are out enjoying themselves.  After mile 2 came in went, I was keeping a good pace and we found some water.  Since the leaders hadn’t hit the second water stop yet, those volunteers were bringing some of their cups over to help the first water stop. We kept on chugging along and I found people I wanted to pass and not let beat me.  Hey, you can’t let the 10 year old kid beat you, ya know?  The streets were quiet, unlike a morning race in NYC, Chicago or Philly.  Not complaining about that one.  We passed miles 3 and 4 and you knew you were close to being done.  We had one last loop turn before arriving back at Freedom Square and crossing the finish.  My official time was 44:00 flat, a PR of 2 minutes.  Not expecting that, but I’ll take it!

My friend the Garmin broke my splits down as this:

Mile 1: 8:51, Mile 2: 8:42, Mile 3: 9:03, Mile 4: 8:57, Mile 5: 8:19

I finished 215/979 of 25-29 year old women and 1,391 of 4,702 overall.  It was cloudy, damp and about 52*, but I’ll take it for Winter.  A good race to do if you’re ever looking for a December race!

Narberth CF 5 Miler

After last weekend’s issue of not paying enough attention to detail and going to the wrong place to register a race, I made up for it this weekend.  I was (luckily) able to come home from my rotation in Renovo, PA a day early and was googling what to do this weekend.  I found the Narberth CF 5 Miler last weekend on Active, but had kept it in the back of my head since I didn’t know what my plans would be.  Yesterday, I made the 10 minute drive to Narberth to register and pick up my bib since it’s not a regular occurrence to have races over 5 miles or so.  That, and it was practically in my backyard and for a good cause, so how could I say no?

This morning, I left around 8:10 to have enough time to park (hey, it’s the Philadelphia area, parking is always a problem).  Since I’m familiar with the area, I knew there was a shopping center with a parking lot close by and I (along with a whole bunch of people) parked over there.  Since I was planning to do more than 5 miles, I pulled up RunKeeper on my phone and just started running and warming up.  After 1.75 miles, I headed to the start.  This was one of the more organized races I’ve run.  They had stuff to keep the kids entertained, you knew where to go, and better yet, it was small.  A few minutes after 9, we were off.  The course was one of those runs where you go through side streets to get your miles in, or at least that’s how it felt.  There were also more hills than I thought there would be, but I don’t run out there often (OK, so this was the first time).  My first 3 miles or so, I was running just under 9 minute miles and I was excited because it was turning out to be a fast course, despite the hills.  Then, I have no idea what happen.  I got somewhat shaky and didn’t feel right.  This is one of those you should probably eat something before you run or hydrate more.  By the time I got to mile 4, I had run a 10 minute split but was able to get myself together.  I made up some time and survived some more hills to finish in 46:03, at 9:12 minute/mile pace.  A 5 mile/8K PR for me :-).  What I liked about this race was the amount of people who came out for it, especially for a small race (all of 690 ish runners).  At one point, some guy came running out of his house shirtless (but wearing shorts) to cheer on runners.  Little kids had water stands set up for runners along the course and people had come up with teams supporting friends of theirs.  It reminded me why I like the smaller races :-).

The weather was also perfect.  It was in the low 60s ish, but it felt humid to me.  I was sweating buckets (or so it felt like) by the time I finished.  Water and some bananas/oranges at the finish made me feel better.  I still haven’t figured out why I felt bad during that one mile stretch.  It wasn’t the runner’s wall that I’ve felt before, but just shakiness and feeling off.  As much as I didn’t feel like racing today, I liked this race.  Local, for a good cause, kids race after the main race and a local restaurant was giving away a free beer to runners who came in with their bibs.  Take a look at them, definitely a race to do!  Did you run?  Run the Day has results posted!

Broad Street Run 2011

It’s almost 10:30 pm and I’m just getting more than 30 seconds to write about Broad Street 2011.  I was determined to get as much sleep as possible so I didn’t wake up until 615 or so.  I ran last year and got to the start way too early.  It was one of those I don’t know what to wear in terms of weather for whatever reason and left the house with multiple long sleeve shirts on over a dry fit.  It took 15 minutes to get to the Sports Complex where I parked in the V lot closest to the 76W exit (as I was going to be bolting pretty quickly when I got done).  I left one of my long sleeve shirts in the car because it had warmed up (or maybe it was because the sun was out) and caught a shuttle down the start and was there by 8.  We all know port a potty lines are ridiculously long at these things so I ducked into a gas station where indeed there was a bathroom that required all of 3 minutes of waiting (instead of 20 like last year).  I was in the Gray corral this year but decided to jump in the Green corral (one ahead) because I had an 1137 AM train to NYC and wanted to make sure I got out on time.

Come 830 AM (and an awesome new running playlist later), the gun sounded and corrals started moving.  It took about 10 minutes for me to get over the start and off to the races with 30,000 other people.  About 1/4 a mile in is a church where, last year, a priest and his congregation were out cheering us along.  This year, they were out in full force again.  I made good time with my first mile, however didn’t appreciate the “You’re Almost Done” sign at around 1.25 miles.  I ducked into a McDonald’s (with 5 other people behind me for a second bathroom break and then went back to work.  For some reason, BSR felt so much easier this year.  Last year we were fighting 85+ degree heat and humidity.  Additionally, my feet were killing me because I didn’t train right with my Vibrams (and ended up with an IT band injury because of it).  The fans were out in full force which is always a good thing since this is also a good race to watch.  I never hit a wall with this race like I have with other long runs and that was a major plus.  Around mile 5.5, I (along with a few other runners) saw a guy go down.  Not sure if he fell or was a little on the dehydrated side but we talked to him until medics came over- fingers crossed he was ok.  At around mile 7, a bunch of people at the water station were dressed up in tutus/skirts and crowns.  I’m guessing they were in London this weekend.

I loved the last mile where fans were in full force.  People from Jimbo’s Squad, Student’s Run, and friends and family.  I was thrilled to see the Navy Yard Gate as that means only 1/4 mile left!!  I was picking people off left and right and ended up running a new 10 mile PR of 1:38:52.  This beats my Cherry Blossom time by 3 minutes and my BSR time from last year by 14- YAY ME!!  I was able to make it through the shute, get my medal and food all by 10:23 (note there’s an 11:37 train) and started weaving my way back to my car.  I was there by 10:40 and on the road in no time.  Since there was no traffic, I had enough time to get home and have a luxurious 3 minute shower before scurrying over to 30th Street Station at 11:30.  I had my tickets printed out at 11:33 and was on the train with (no joke) 2 minutes to spare.

I spent most of the afternoon with my grandparents as my parents were doing the Td Bank 5 Borough Bike ride, but there was some sort of back up where they ended up stuck on a bridge for an hour, had to walk another hour and then had to wait an hour to get on the Statan Island Ferry back to Battery Park. My grandparents and I went out to dinner with a friend of mine from Ohio who lives in NYC and then I showed my grandparents down to the theater where they were meeting up with my parents for a 7 pm show (which they finally got to at 703 pm).  I saw my parents all of 1 minute and then decided to head back to philly a few hrs early do to being worn out.  Hope BSR treated everyone well and glad the weather cooperated!!

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler- My NEW PR!

Yesterday, had an awesome run in Washington, DC at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  I took the train in Saturday morning, quickly dropped my bag off at the hotel my family was staying at (more like bag check since my parents weren’t getting in until early afternoon) and headed over to the Expo at the National Building Museum.  When I got there, the line to pick up bibs and shirts was out the front door and literally around the building.  Since I was volunteering, I got to sneak in the back door to head to the volunteer check in.  The organizers had sent out emails reminding people that it was a. easier to take the metro than attempt to try and park in DC (in any major city with public transportation, this makes sense since parking is usually horrendous- this coming from someone who’s lived in Chicago, NYC for a few months, been to DC and living in Philly), have your confirmation sheet with your bib number. My volunteer job was to point people towards the 10 mile pick up or the 5k pick up.  Despite the big sign pointing to the 10 mile or 5k packet pick up, people still asked which way to go.  No matter how many times I announced where the solutions office was too look up numbers, people still asked where it was.  There was a steady line of people the entire 3 hrs I was there.  My suggestion would be for the 10 miler pick up to have two rooms- one for numbers 1-10,000 and a second room for 10,001 onwards and then a room for the 5K.  I will say kudos to them for having a shirt exchange so if you had a L and wanted a M or something, you could do that.

There was also an opportunity to meet Bill Rodgers, the guy who managed to win 4 straight NYC

With Bill Rodgers at the Cherry Blossom Expo

marathons, 4 straight Boston Marathons, 22 Marathons total and 4 Cherry Blossom Runs (I’m wondering if 4 is his favorite number?).  He is a super nice guy.  He was talking with people for a few minutes per person and really asking people about races they’ve participated in all the good stuff that comes with running.  He signed my bib for me in addition to a picture of him from one of his Boston Runs.  Needless to say, he was getting a steady flow of runners coming by to meet him

On race day, we left the hotel around 7 since we were only a few stops away from the National Museum where the race started.  we got to the race at 7:32 (the race started at 7:40).  My sister was coming later to the 5K (but never made it because she overslept).  I ended up racing to the orange wave (my parents were in the green wave behind me) and we were off 10 minutes into the race.  We started at the Washington Monument and then headed out from there.  The entire course there were Cherry Blossoms in full bloom.  The race itself was a steady stream of runners.  Usually after a few miles, things thin out, but that never happened.  There were 6-7 runners across in the roads, a good 5-6 runners across if it was on the running trails.  Steady stream, the entire time!!  There was a gorilla with a cow bell cheering on runners, two teens dressed up as statue of liberties, and a guy with a sign at mile 7.5 with a sign that read “Free beer and oreos“.  Yes, the guy was handing out beer (yuengling) and oreos to runners.  The course was fairly flat, but there were some pretty sharp curves in there and then a mild hill at the end.  I couldn’t see the finish which, wasn’t ideal, but eventually I saw the wonderful line that welcomed me home.  I finished the race in 1:42:53 which is a PR for me in a 10 mile race!

Overall, a really good race.  I have a guaranteed entry into next year’s run since I volunteered this year.  The race changed to a lottery system this year since it sells out rather quickly.  I will say the expo either needs to be moved to a bigger location or the bib pick up needs to be changed because picking up bibs was horrendous.  Apparently some people took over 40 minutes to get their bibs.  Good run though overall!!

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