Update from the Dallas White Rock 1/2 Marathon
If most of you were to take a guess at what I do on my breaks, I bet you would imagine it involves a lot of evenings out with friends, copious amounts of beer, and sleeping in until noon before heading over to IHOP for some bacon and pancakes. And you'd probably think that if I packed my running shoes, they'd only be there for long shopping days at the mall. Ah yes- that is the dream.
But the startling reality (especially since none of you ever see me come out of my hermit hole to train!)- is that on my first full day back, I ran in the Dallas White Rock 1/2 Marathon.
I got into Dallas after two days of travelling, at about 5pm, with just enough time to file my lost luggage report and make it to the convention center for my race package pickup. An hour drive from the Dallas Convention Center out to my fiance's home in Ft. Worth, followed by spaghetti dinner of course, brought us to 8pm. One hour until bedtime and just long enough to get to some stores and buy new shoes, shirt, and pants for the morning's race. Luckily I had an old pair of runners at Ryan's house.
We were up at 5am and driving back towards Dallas- it's a strange thing to see a rush hour line-up on the freeway at 6am on a Sunday morning. Unbelievably, I just barely made it through the porta-potty lineup and into the starting corral for the 8am start. My luggage was delivered 5 minutes after the race start. 18 minutes after the race start, I crossed the starting line. The even was capped at 17,000 entrants- I told Winston it was 37,000 because I just knew there were a lot! It was a strange feeling, to go from my quaint surroundings on Nevis, to being coralled on a city block with that many people, plus all their friends and family out to cheer them on. Guns went off, fighter jets flew over, and the news helicopters circled the start the entire time it took for the swarm to start moving and spread out.
I'd never run through Dallas before, had no idea where I was, or where I was going- so I just chugged along and appreciated the cool weather. It later warmed up to 64F, and I was thankful to see Ryan on the side of the course so I could pass off my windbreaker. (I was the only person wearing one at the starting line up- almost as if I were the only one who'd flown in from the Caribbean the day before). As I moved along the course, I got to enjoy musical entertainment at every mile marker, and cast my vote to the solo guy singing "Eye of the Tiger" at mile 3. They should've put him around mile 10!
Kids came out from the houses along the route and offered us Christmas candy and chocolate- I made it a point to only grab the ones from the kids who read my race bib and called out to me by name, otherwise I would've finished in no less than 5 hrs and would be on an all day sugar high.
The last 3 miles were sufficiently brutal. The course was level and went through parkland rather than on the road, and by all means I should've been able to pick up momentum along the chute... but my legs were starting to revolt. It wasn't until the last 1/2 mile, when the course widened and the cheering crowd was visible that I could really get excited and gear up for a strong finish. I am certain my last Hershey's Kisses from mile 11 hit my bloodstream at that point, and I sprinted across the line with an official time of 2:24. One minute slower than my personal best, but the mile 5 porta-potty lineup took 6 minutes, and I feel that since I was respectful enough not to squat in some back alley, I should be allowed to subtract that wait.
Ryan missed my finish. He'd gone to McDonald's for breakfast and then had a nap in the car. There's a guy that knows how to enjoy a vacation! But he did catch up with me in time to get one photo from the race for me to share with you all: