Thursday, April 9, 2015

Race Recap State #6: Texas

Race: GE Irving Marathon
Date: April 4th, 2015
Result: 5:21:25
Charity: Our Children's House at Baylor Irving
Money Raised: $245

So after running the Hogeye marathon on Sunday in Arkansas we drove down to the middle of the state the next day to take the kids to a diamond mine and play some real life Minecraft while I worked on getting my calves back to normal with my best friends Foam Roller and Tiger Tail.  After a night in Texarkana where we encountered the friendliest hotel staff of all time at the Hampton Inn & Suites, we drove on to the Dallas area where my cousin Antonette and her family graciously put us up for the week.

The day before the race we drove over to Luke's Locker, a local running store, for packet pick-up. I ran in and grabbed our bibs, a souvenir visor and some Margarita Clif Bloks.  We toured a bit more of Dallas and checked out the World Aquarium.  I took every opportunity to sit down while the kids explored every exhibit in the building. We then took in a few innings of a Rangers exhibition game against the Mets. Another MLB park crossed off the list! Maya and the family made it on the scoreboard after I tweeted a picture hashtagged with #rangersscoreboard. I took the opportunity to visit the State Fare booth where everything offered up was deep fried. Since they were out of deep-fried S'mores I settled with funnel cake fries and deep fried twinkies.  Not an ideal pre-race dinner but since I wasn't going to really race tomorrow I figured why not.

Pasta dinner
The morning of the race once again I failed to eat or drink anything at all, and missed the official 7:30 gun time because the bathroom line inside the convention center at the start line was actually longer than the women's line.  Mae, who was running the 5k at 8am, made it through her line faster than I did.  By the time I ran outside it was already 7:32 and the other marathoners had already taken off.

I headed out alone across the start line as the half marathoners hung back and waited for their 7:40 gun time.  It was kind of cool having my own personal start.  I took off at a 9 minute pace as I caught up to the back of the packers.  Early in the course my left hip felt pretty tight and just never loosened up.  Other than that I felt pretty good and I kept an aggressive pace until I simply couldn't anymore, around 10 miles in.

This was as scenic as it gets
Remember in the Flintstones when they would drive somewhere and the background would repeat over and over?  That was kind of what it's like to run this course.  It took us through miles of corporate parkways, a bit of a park trail, and a looooong out-and-back stretch through an upper-middle class neighborhood for miles 13-21.  I felt lousy during this long stretch and there weren't a lot of runners around and spent a good percentage of the time walking as my feet started to hurt more and more. I think I taped my feet too tightly and was really feeling it. There were so many intersections that we had to cross that it was the only thing keeping me running in the back half was crossing each intersection where the cops were holding up traffic for us. It also helped a bunch seeing Mae at this part of the course as she chased me around in our car.

Final stretch
Although the scenery wasn't the greatest, I was thrilled that the course was pretty damn flat and the temps were in the mid 50's for most of the race.  It did get a little warm by the end but considering the temperature got into the upper 80's earlier in the week I didn't really mind.  The volunteers were very nice and there was plenty of water and Gatorade but the cups were so tiny (jello-shot sized) I would have to get 2 of each cup at the stations.  No biggie, though.  There were very few spectators, and since it was an out and back you'd see them cheering enthusiastically on the way out and much less enthusiastically on the way back in.

At mile 25 a runner pushing her grandmother in a stroller with a sign that read "Stop Polio" passed me and that inspired me to at least start jogging.  I was able to jog the last quarter mile where the kids had just arrived in time at the finished since they just finished up Easter egg hunting and were upset the bounce house had just closed at 1pm.  I received my medal and a bottle of water which I promptly lost, and headed right off to get some Hard Eight BBQ not too far away.

At Hard Eight BBQ after the race
I was surprised with how normal I felt after the race and the day after and drove 11 out of the 15+ hours home.  I didn't really push too hard and I could have run this one much faster but with the fear of relapsing and since I really was in no condition to do this, I'm ecstatic that I was just able to finish and will have many more opportunities in the future to PR.

Race registration: $95 + $10.45 service fee
Flight: N/A
Hotel: N/A

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