Sunday, January 31, 2010

Three Halfs Marathons in 14 Days - Race Review of Texas Half Marathon

Today I ran the Texas Half Marathon at White Rock Lake in Dallas.  When I woke up the weather was 25 degrees with about 15 mph winds, windchill in the teens.  As the morning went on, the temperature stayed about the same, the wind picked up even more, and we even had an occasional snow flurry.  It was a cold day for running 13.1 miles!

This race was day 26 in a streak of straight days I had run at least a mile (usually more), always outside.  More significantly, this was the third half marathon I had raced in only 14 days. 

Jan. 17 - Houston Half Marathon - new PR of 2:29:23
Jan. 24 - 3M Half Marathon in Austin - 2:35:57

I never should have tried to race the Texas Half.  The weather was not at all conducive to it.  The race started and immediately I could feel how stiff every muscle was in the cold.  I had packed on the layers too!  For my top: a tighter short sleeve tech top (Fort Worth Runners Club Labor Day 15K shirt) with a long sleeve tech top (Heels and Hills shirt) over it and then a good tech jacket (DRC Black Cocona jacket, made of recycled coconut husks) above that.  For my bottom: Under Armour tights with yoga pants over them to keep the wind from hitting my legs so bad.  I had my Pearl Izumi wind mitt running gloves and my Brooks ear warmer.  So I was prepared.  Now I should also be mindful that with my fibromyalgia, the cold makes my usual muscle stiffness worse and I'm more temperature sensitive also because of it.

But I went out at an approx. PR pace anyway.  I was so miserable out there, I just couldn't warm up.  You know it's a bad race day when I glance down at my Garmin and literally thought, "We're only 3 minutes into this?!? Only 2 1/2 more hours of this to go." Not a good mental place. 

Every other mile or so, I would come upon a runner friend just out training, so the quick hi was always a nice pick-me-up.  The wooden bridges on the west side of White Rock Lake were pretty icy and I had to briskly walk several segments after catching myself before falling.  I walked the mile 5 water stop while I took my Gu.  I wanted to try it out since I think gulping the Gu down quickly while still running race pace at the 3M Half the week before might have been partially to blame for my stomach/GI problems midway through that race.  My stomach held up, but my heart didn't.  By halfway through the race, I just wanted it to be over.

About a mile and a half from the finish, who's coming back my way but dear runner friend, EW!  I had run into EW about the same distance from the finish last May at North Trail Half Marathon and he had been a huge help at that hard half marathon by running me in.  Well, he immediately fell in step with me today and said he would run me in.  He had been on the fence about running the half or the 5K this morning, and now he told me he had "wussed out" and run the 5K.  I'm thankful for that because it meant he was very eager to get a little extra distance in with me!  He provided a steady stream of encouraging words this next mile and a half, as I struggled to keep the pace at the speed I'd had throughout the race, and I was nearly crying.  The last tenth of a mile is a big hill, a couple hundred feet elevation.  EW reminded me to breath with each step, keep a comfortable stride - he was such a help. 

As I ran into the finish, I was reminded again how blessed I am with this running family I've developed over the years ... The announcer, Cliff Couch, a wonderful guy I had worked with when I directed the DRC Half Marathon past years and still as I direct Heels and Hills Half Marathon, saw me coming in and, boy, what a welcome he gave me.  He announced to the whole crowd how this was my 3rd half marathon in only 14 days.  Cliff added, "Isn't that insane?" I was feeling pretty insane then.  I had finished in 2:31:55, faster than the PR I had set at White Rock only a month and a half before (although just a little slower than the newest PR I had set in Houston two weekends ago).  My three 2010 half marathons were already faster than I ever could have done even just 4 months ago.  This increased running to strengthen my legs was really paying off.

After finishing, EW wrapped an arm around my shoulder and basically dragged me into the building to get some food and deliver me to my chiropractor's table (so thankful my chiropractor was the official chiro at this event!).  I must have looked like how I felt, someone asked if I was okay. :-) My chiropractor worked on a couple sore muscles and adjusted me.  And I hung out for a long time by the space heater he had brought.  I just could not get warm for the life of me.  It was probably about 3 hours after I had finished the race before I finally felt like I was warming up!

What's Next?
Now that Half #3 of 2010 is done, I get the next weekend "off" before I go to the Surfside Beach Half Marathon on February 13.  I'm excited for my first beach race.  I'm currently not excited about the fact I have to run at all tomorrow to keep my running streak going.  But I have to say that the easy run, active recovery run, the day after the race really does seem to be helping me learn to bounce back.

Friend Elaine completed her 4th half 6 days after we ran 3M Half together!

Chip Finish Time: 2:31:55
NEGATIVE SPLITS - First six miles averaged 11:34, last size miles averaged 11:28
Mile 1: 11:35
Mile 2: 11:17
Mile 3: 11:30
Mile 4: 11:16
Mile 5: 11:39
Mile 6: 12:04 (walked the aid station to take my Gu)
Mile 7: 11:20
Mile 8: 11:25
Mile 9: 11:08
Mile 10: 11:28
Mile 11: 11:43
Mile 12: 11:40
Mile 13: 11:28 (Thank you, EW, for helping me push myself!)
Last 0.1 miles: 10:17 pace (forgot to stop the Garmin for 27 more seconds so mental note for myself that the Garmin will show 12:04 for this split)


  1. Good job, great time especially since you've done two other half marathons in last 2 weeks. You must be so proud of yourself, you're awesome! Good luck on your next half.

  2. Great job, Libby! I think you're a 'little' crazy for doing so many half marys, but I love you for it, too :) Good luck on the beach!

  3. You are such a rockstar! I have to have downtime but I think it's really cool that you're streaking! 2 more weeks until mine, and reading your blog definitely is helping me get excited! Wheeeee!

  4. Great job on the 3 half marathons in 3 weeks! Enjoy your weekend "off" and have fun at Surfside!