First off, I want to give Lesley, from Racing it Off a BIG THANK YOU for all the twitter shout-outs and then to all of you Racing It Off readers for stopping by and joining me on Twitter, I greatly appreciate it!
This past Sunday, the ladies and I were in Tyler for our third half marathon out of four in the Four Season Challenge; I can’t believe we have already done three!! Wow, we rock! Sadly, we haven’t been running together as consistently as we would like and I’ve missed my girls so I was excited to be able to race with them. Lisa left early on Saturday to hit up the expo and pick up our packets for us (according to her it was nothing special at all and we didn’t miss anything!) Michelle and I had things going on all day Saturday and weren’t able to leave Dallas until around 7; good thing it’s less than two hours away! We made good time and rolled into town a little before nine. We may have also hit up the McDonalds as we headed to the hotel….not going to lie, that was some pretty good pre-race food right there!!
Once at the hotel we all chatted for a bit, laid out our race stuff ( I did some foam rolling, my poor muscles sure needed it!!) and then called it a night around 11. Our race didn’t start until 8 (for the record I much prefer earlier starts, I’m an early morning person anyways, so why wait? Let’s just get going!) and the town isn’t that big so I didn’t get up until 6. Once up it didn’t take long to get ready. Lisa and I moseyed to the lobby to see what was for breakfast only to find out it didn’t open until 7, ugh! We watched the weather channel for a bit and found out that it would be slightly warmer than we had planned on, oh well, anything is better than the Hottest Half right?
Once 7 am hit we were in the lobby scarfing down bagels with peanut butter and grabbing bananas on our way out the door. We arrived at the race site in plenty of time and actually laughed at the sight of the start line (no offense to anyone, and we are most certainly not race snobs at all, but it was comical at how small and just uneventful the start of this race was). The parking was a bit unorganized but there was plenty of it. The porta-potties were clean, had toilet paper and the lines moved very well, I must say I was pleased with that.
They had a marathon that day and I think about all of twenty people ran the marathon, but they started at 7:30. We saw them take off and then just walked around until it was time for us to start. Our start was also pretty uneventful and I simply crossed the mat and started my watch and took off. I honestly didn’t pay too much attention to the first mile, I was trying to make sure I didn’t veer too far off pace (starts of races are the worst because I want to go fast with everyone else!).
I do remember miles 1-4 being pretty much a constant, giant uphill. It was the craziest thing ever. I knew going into this race that this course was going to be hilly, we had heard the rumors! But I was not entirely prepared to face what was actually in front of me. We maintained a steady pace and decided to walk for one minute every mile marker we came to. That seemed to work really well for us. The course early on was something that I wasn’t entirely impressed with, there were many twists and turns and some of the neighborhoods were not that great at all. However, as the race went on there were some very beautiful and amazing parts to this course. Nice neighborhoods and just over all pretty areas.
After 4 miles I think we settled into a pretty good rhythm and we weren’t constantly going uphill. There were a few downhills and they were much appreciated. I think I felt the strongest from miles 4-8. I kept right on target and before I knew it we were two-thirds done. Mile 8 Lisa started to speed up and I tried to keep up but knew I couldn’t maintain this faster pace for a whole 5 miles. So around mile 9.5 she stuck in her earphones and went on her way. I tried to keep her in sight but she was much too speedy for me.
This was about the same time that I ran past Lesley from Racing It Off, It was so good to see her and she was kind enough to text me a picture of my rear end. This picture cracks me up because I look so lame, I’m walking!!!! Way to go me!
Anyways, I trudged on until about mile 11.5 and then I hit a slight wall. I would like to say that I didn’t hit a wall at all but at least this is improvement, most of the time I hit a wall around mile 9 and seriously struggle through the last 4 miles, but not that day!
At this point I’m alone and with no music, and I’m watching my watch like my life depended on it. It was mental math constantly trying to figure out just how to keep my time under the 2:50 mark, I wanted a PR so badly. The last .3 of a mile were the worst in my opinion, there was an uphill that seemed like Mount Everest and I blame it for stealing my 2:49 time!
I still did however manage a PR, it was only by 12 seconds but I will take it and be happy with that for sure!! This race course was by far the hardest race course I have ever run on, yet I still managed a PR. I am very proud of that. I kept thinking the whole time just how strong I felt. The hills were brutal and something I wasn’t used to at all, but I managed and made it work, that made me strong. I felt like time flew by on this race, it didn’t drag like it has in the past and before I knew it I was at the 12 mile marker and almost finished. This was an overall great race experience and I’m excited to see what I am capable of doing if I can have a great day on such a hard course!
So what’s next? 13.1 Dallas is next weekend! I’m very excited for this race because I will be running it with my Dad and stepmom Denise as they run their first ever half marathon! I am so proud and can’t wait to have this experience with them.
And stay tuned for my State Fair post!!! Here’s a preview….