Monday 11/28: 3 mi run + Power Yoga class, 1 hr
Tuesday 11/29: Yoga Yoga for Runners, 25 min
Thursday 12/1: 3 mi run
Friday 12/2: Rest
Saturday 12/3: Yoga Yoga for Runners, 25 min
Sunday 12/4: Race Day! 13.1 miles!
Well, I was hoping that the forecast would change but it just kept getting worse. Sunday was very rainy and about 44 degrees when the race started. The temperature actually kept dropping during the race.
I wore my favorite Athleta capris, a short sleeved t-shirt and a long-sleeve lightweight half-zip shirt. I had worn this same outfit in colder weather, so I knew I would be able to stay warm. I also added a baseball cap to keep the rain out of my eyes-- great decision!
There was a huge organizational snafu at the start. As I walked with the crowd to the area where the start corrals were, the start line (and corrals) were separated by a chain link fence. Well, we all kept walking (HUGE crowd, over 25,000 runners) looking for an opening in the fence for us to get to our corrals and there wasn't one. o_O It was very odd. The wheelchairs started and I knew that my corral (6th) wasn't too far back from the start. I had already passed it, so I turned back around, went back to my corral and asked a few people on the other side how they got there. They had jumped the fence and helped me do the same! I have never seen a start line such a madhouse. Everyone around me was jumping the fence and griping about it. Michael told me that later people started tearing parts of the fence down. What the heck?!
Thankfully, things went better after that. My corral started about 10 minutes after the gun time and we moved pretty quickly. I tried not to let the weather get me down, I couldn't do anything to change it and just kept reminding myself we were all in the same boat. I tried to avoid the puddles for a while but after a few miles it was just unavoidable. My clothes were soaked completely through but luckily I didn't feel cold.
I took my chews at miles 4 and 8. I might have taken a couple more at about mile 11 but I honestly can't remember! Around mile 7 as we were running through HP, a guy came up beside me and asked if he could pace of me for a while. He said I was keeping a good pace, about a 9 minute mile. I was so surprised that a) I was going that fast because I felt like I'd been going slower and b) that somebody actually thought I looked good enough to be a pacer! He and I ran together through HP and then he pulled ahead but it gave me the confidence boost I needed.
The other confidence boost came from the spectators. This race is a huge event in Dallas but I wasn't expecting many spectators this year. I was pleasantly surprised at all the people who came out to cheer, hold signs, ring cowbells and shout encouragement! Amazing support from Dallasites! My fellow runners were also a great source of support, lots of laughing and positive words.
There were no clocks along the course, I'm assuming because the rain made it dangerous, so I wasn't sure how I was doing towards the end of the race. I could feel myself slowing down and my hands felt frozen. I texted Michael at mile 11 to tell him where I was, hoping that he would get to the finish line in time to see me cross. When I crossed the finish line, I realized I had a new PR!
As soon as I crossed the finish line, I got a mylar blanket and stopped to watch the marathon winner cross the finish line. Amazing that he could run a marathon in the same time that it took me to run the half marathon! I got my finisher's medal, t-shirt and grabbed a bagel (loooong lines for food and beer). At this point, I put my mylar blanket down and left it, not realizing I would have to go outside again to get to the family reunion building.
I called Michael as I walked into the family reunion building and was upset when he said he wasn't at the finish, he was on his way from the half-way point of the course where he'd cheered on some of our friends (he got there after I had passed). So I had to wait for a while and walking through the cold rain again had really chilled me. I tried to find a warm spot but could not warm up. I was shivering and couldn't stop. A guy next to me asked if I was okay and even offered me his jacket. I said no but it was so nice of him to offer.
Michael finally came in the building and as soon as he saw me looking like a drowned rat, he wrapped me in his wool coat and helped me to the car. I had trouble getting my legs to move, I was so cold. Once we got in the car and blasted the heater, I started to thaw out. I had put some dry clothes in the car, but honestly I was shivering and my hands were so numb that I didn't want to deal with it, so I just put a towel on the seat and got out of my wet shoes. I took a long, hot shower and finally felt better.
What an experience! It was certainly a memorable race and all things considered, I would still rather run in the cold rain than the heat that I experienced at Wounded Warrior in June.
Up next: Rock & Roll on March 25, 2012!