This year was the third year for Rock & Roll in Dallas and my second year running. Rock & Roll really puts on a good race, I have been impressed with the organization both times.
We left the house about 7:00 in order to make it to the runner drop-off area downtown by 7:30 for the 8:00 race start. The race started downtown near City Hall and finished at Fair Park. Runners could park at Fair Park and take a (free) shuttle to the start line but we decided to have friends drop us off. We used our extra time to wait in line for the Porta-Potties and then made our way to Corral 7. I was assigned to Corral 6 but we had decided to start together, so I went back one corral. Our wave started about 10 minutes after 8:00 and we were off!
The course was exactly the same as last year, which I loved. The beginning was crowded, as to be expected. I dodged and wove through the pack and lost Michael pretty quickly. Whoops! (He was fine with it, he told me later he decided to start out slower and save his energy. A good tactic!) The entire first half of the race was a gradual incline with a couple of pretty steep hills in Uptown. Dallas is not known for its hills, but we found them!
I really had trouble with my energy this race. My legs felt strong but the rest of me felt "off." I had a hard time keeping my breathing regular, probably because of allergy congestion. I usually breathe through my nose but I kept ending up mouth-breathing even though I knew I wasn't pushing that hard. I also kept feeling like I had side stitches, but on both sides of my waist. This was probably also due to breathing issues.
Finally around the 3.5-4 mile mark I settled into a pace that felt okay. By then, it was really warming up! The temperature had been pretty mild the last few days but Sunday it spiked up over 80 degrees. I took water or Gatorade at every station and by the last stations I was taking 2 cups. I knew I was getting overheated and was even getting chill bumps. I took a couple of walk breaks in shady areas and it seemed to help.
The support along the course was great! There were so many great volunteers and so many people came out to cheer. There were some really funny signs, my favorite was "Worst Parade Ever!" Runners Drink Beer was handing out little cups of beer on Swiss Avenue, I grabbed one and while I wish it had been colder, it really hit the spot! There was also someone with a sprinkler hose standing on a roof as we ran through Deep Ellum (near the finish line)-- needless to say, he was everybody's best friend!
When we entered Fair Park, there were lots more people there to cheer us into the finish. I tried to push myself, but I was spent! I finished in 2:10:30. Not my best time, but not my worst. Considering the heat, I'm happy with it! I am also happy when I compare it to the exact same course last year. The weather was perfect and I finished in 2:12 and some change, which was a PR at the time. So clearly I am getting faster!
7 mi 1:06:22
10 mi 1:37:26
Avg pace 9:58 (Clearly I slowed down a lot the second half!)
I grabbed a bag of pretzels, a Gatorade and a bottle of water as soon as I got through the finish chute. I wanted an ice towel, but it was too crowded for me to get over to them, so I just skipped it. The finish chute was super crowded and the family reunion area was even worse! Instead of waiting by the correct letter, everyone just crowded around the finish chute exit. One of the volunteers was on a bullhorn and was trying to get people through. He finally said, "These runners are thirsty and need beer! You are keeping them from beer!" HA!
Michael did great for his first half with a finish of 2:28! Awesome job!
I hope to be able to update with some pictures soon! I think this will be my last "long" race until the weather starts cooling off. It's going to be a hot summer!