Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Big D Half Marathon Race Report - I Thought Taking It Easy was Supposed to Feel Easier

Let me start with how I feel about Big D, because I'm already biased.  Big D was the first half marathon I completed in 2005.  I walked the whole thing during my Komen 3-Day training and finished in 3:33.  I then ran it as my first half marathon "back" after my daughter was born.  Marissa was only 5 1/2 months old when I came back on the running-half-marathons scene in 2008 and finished in 3:07.  I then ran it again in 2009 and came home with a new PR of 2:42.  So that race has been good to me in my running history.  Plus the race director of Big D was involved with the Dallas Running Club years ago and was the race director of the Dallas Running Club Half Marathon ("The Half") for several years and took that race from 2000 to 3000 people.  He then mentored my friend Paula as a race director who then mentored me (we're both past DRC Half race directors), so I have a lot of respect for him as a race director.

I had been off on my training in recent weeks. A vacation then super sick toddler then being pretty sick myself with a bad sinus infection meant only about 5 workouts in the last month, and I wouldn't say they all went that well.  Then I supervised packet pickup for three days at Big D Marathon at the Run On! Dallas store - that's 26 hours of bending, twisting, alternating standing/sitting.  And worse, it's thinking about smoothly providing packets with little to no line to thousands of runners for three straight days.  So in addition to minor tweaks, I went to bed with a brain that didn't want to shut off and I have a tendency to sleepwalk & sleeptalk when stressed.  So I spent the entire night before the race filling race packets for invisible groups of runners. :-) I'd wake up every half hour or so sitting up, hands in the air handing off a race packet. :-) Needless to say, I was exhausted when I got up at 5:50 am!

I made it down to the race site with little to no problems and time to spare.  I was gearing up and prepping at my car after I arrived and a gal walked over and asked me how to affix the Chronotrack D-tag timing tag. So that's how I met Crystal who was running her first half marathon, so I told her if she waited a second I'd walk to the start with her, and she looked relieved. :-) We've all been there.  Along the walk, ran into Veronica, Heels and Hills Run Team member - always a good person to see before a race because of her infectious positive attitude.  Then, I heard my name called and there was Lesley J. who I had just met during packet pickup but she's read my blog here for a while - always nice to meet another running mom.  Everyone scattered when we arrived at the start.  I just happened upon a small tweetup of runner friends that was going on.  A great ten minutes of chatting with Caleb, Eric, Kris, and AaronKristin, another running tweep, came out of nowhere and said hi - I guess my picture makes me recognizable enough, which is really nice to know.  So wonderful to make new friends at the start line!!!

I planned to take it easy for this race, so I was glad I kept myself casual, hanging out with friends, at the start and not focusing on where I wanted to line up.  The race started on time, I had to do some dodging early on, but fell into a good rhythm.  About a mile in, Lesley J. found me again.  Her group of friends had gone out a little fast to hang with a faster runner and she was being smart and holding back a little to reserve that energy for later in the race.  We're a similar pace and it was her second half so I think we were both stoked for the company.  I will say I think I was nervous about holding Lesley back, even though slow was my goal for the day, and I went just a little too fast mile after mile.  Add to it the high humidity and cloud cover - I hate humidity - it zaps my energy!

At mile 6, I felt like I really needed to pull it back and declared I needed a big recovery walk break and told Lesley to go ahead.  I didn't feel awful but I definitely felt like I was easily getting worn out when I'd pick up the pace.  I tried to keep the "take it easy" mentality and would take nice big relaxing walk breaks.

I finished in 2:39:41.  While not a PR, and I wasn't going for a PR, it was still a course record for my 4th time to tackle this race (down from 2:42 last year). The whole race never felt as "easy" as I wish it would have.  And two days later, I'm finding I was a lot more exhausted and sore after this race than I expected.  But I'm excited to recover and tackle more runs!

Review of the Race:
This is a solid, affordable race.  Manage your expectations - this is not a huge profit-making conglomerate like Rock N Roll.  There are no pace leaders, lower levels of spectator support, no energy gels on course.  That doesn't bother me at all but I'm meeting more and more runners with high expectations.  About 4000 in this race, spread about 800 in full, 2400 in half, 800 in 5K. Pretty course. Good amount of hills but nothing unreasonable - nice rolling ones.

Mile Splits:
Mile 1: 11:01
Mile 2: 11:32
Mile 3: 11:41
Mile 4: 11:13
Mile 5: 11:41
Mile 6: 12:00
Mile 7: 12:30
Mile 8: 12:18
Mile 9: 11:57
Mile 10: 12:42
Mile 11: 12:36
Mile 12: 13:11
Mile 13: 13:16
Last 0.1: 10:45


  1. You didn't hold me back at all! It was awesome to have company for about 6 miles, and it made running the last 6-7 easy. I'm so glad I went the pace I did at the beginning. And I think we broke off at the right time too. Thanks again! See you in 3 weeks at HnH. BTW, that was a pretty nice announcement you got as you crossed the finish line...

  2. Sorry you were so tired before the race even started but great job! Now give yourself a little break to recover. :)

  3. Congrats on a course PR! That is a huge sign of just how much you must have improved - running faster than last time even though you didn't feel great! Hope you get some good rest and feel great for the next one!

  4. Good job to you for getting it done on a tough day!! Erik and I are still talking about how tough that one seemed. It was my first time to do Big D, but I loved it! Might become one of my favorite annual traditions.

    PS I am also a sleep talker/walker, there are some really funny stories out there--including one that happened while at a conferece, I said the Pledge of Allegiance in my sleep!!

  5. Very cool recap -- glad you had a good time!

  6. Definitely a tough day to race. The humidity was sucking the energy right out of me! Great job and congrats on the course PR!

  7. So what's your next race to run?

  8. Your calendar for 2010 is bare for running now! Come back!

  9. @Lesley, thanks, the announcer is a friend and I blushed at the overly gushy cheering he gave me coming into the finish line. People did NOT need to hear a run-down of my Dallas running community outreach resume! LOL
    @Quix (Leah), good perspective on the course record. Thanks!
    @Michelle, LOL, told my husband about your Pledge of Allegiance comment. In my corporate days I led many a meeting from my bed in the middle of the night!
    @Anonymous - hey, get a name! :-) Any race recommendations?!? Right now, I'm first trying to get through race directing Heels and Hills Half Marathon May 2. It seems the Dallas race scene gets kinda quiet until September too!

  10. Great to hear that you got out for another Half, Libby! Congrats on your Big D PR.

  11. I'm doing the Big D half this year. Thanks for your review.