Saturday, October 22, 2011

13.1 Dallas Race Recap

~1.5 mile w/u
13.1 miles @1:19:58*
3rd female, $250; Results
Total: 14-15 miles
*includes bathroom break (oops)

As is always the case at 13.1 races, I was up way too early for a Saturday morning to help set up the Craft and Karhu tents. Fortunately my parents arrived yesterday, which means I was able to stay with them at the Marriott mere blocks from the start instead of at the ghetto LaQuinta with the external rooms where I had the pleasure of sleeping with one eye open on Wednesday and Thursday. So I got to sleep in until the indulgent hour of 4:45, which was lovely.

Immediately upon stepping outside into the early morning darkness, I was chagrined to discover that the air was significantly warmer and more humid than any other day since my Wednesday arrival. Earlier in the week I'd run in capris and long sleeves, but with the temperature hovering around 65 and a humidity percentage in the 80s, I was already uncomfortable in my lightweight jacket. This did not bode well for my upcoming race performance, but there wasn't exactly anything I could do about it. I jogged over to the start/finish area and spent the next 90 minutes setting up our space and preparing for a morning of sales. Before I knew it there were fewer than 30 minutes until the start which left little time for dawdling. I quickly warmed up with my friend A
ndrew, then hustled over to a construction site with the hopes of finding a port-a-potty without a line 30 deep. Victory attained, I stripped down to my skivvies under the Karhu tent and then made my way to the start. I recognized several familiar faces from my previous time in the DFW running community, as well as a few speedy ladies who I knew would be contending for the prize purse. One was Melissa Cook, a multiple-time All-American from Texas A&M and a multiple-time Olympic Trials qualifier as well. She's been around for years and is legit. I also spotted Justyna Mudy, whom I recognized from her 1:17 performance on the horrific hills of 13.1 Atlanta a few weeks ago. No question they were both fit, and likely out of my league. I spotted a few other potential contenders but was confident I could run with anyone else in the field.

Once the race began, it quickly became apparent that the placing would be anticlimactic, at least from my perspective. A relaxed 5:58 first mile put me at least 20 seconds behind Melissa
and Justyna and the same distance ahead of all the other women in the field. Though a considerable gap would form on either side of me as the race progressed, my placement would not. Around mile 2 I caught up to a group of guys and inquired if I could tuck in for a few miles. "Sure!" they enthusiastically replied before sprinting off and leaving me alone once again. For much of the race this is how I would remain, though I didn't mind much. Years of living in this area enabled me to recognize almost every street on the course, which was surprisingly comforting. Though my legs were heavy, my breathing felt calm and relaxed, and I made it through the early miles by repeatedly reminding myself that the Katy Trail section would begin at mile 7. This would mean a straight, gradual downhill for almost four miles, and I knew I could use that real estate to make up for some slower early miles as we gradually meandered to the top of the trail.

During mile 9, however, a situation arose. Had my personal race been closer, had a championship of some sort been on the line, perhaps I would hav
e tried to fight through it. Instead, with several minutes separating me from the next woman on either side, I didn't think twice about scampering into a port-a-potty near the side of the trail a few minutes later. Ironically, my split of 6:26 for this mile (including the stop), my slowest of the day, would've actually been my fastest had the brief detour not been necessary. Oh well. Mentally the break did nothing to dampen my spirits as I knew the finish line was within reach, and once we exited the trail near the American Airlines Center I had no doubt that I could push through for two more miles. It certainly didn't help that the last of those miles was almost entirely uphill, the steepest and longest grade in any direction on the course, and with mere minutes to go I got passed by two guys who had been trailing me for the entire race. I desperately tried to latch onto them, succeeding for a few strides, before watching helplessly as they pulled away. Frustrated, I almost shut things down and shuffled in until I rounded the final turn and saw that I could still edge under the 1:20 barrier. I crossed the line just a few ticks under, happy to set a new (admittedly weak) PR and score a few bucks. The last time I raced a half in Dallas was at the 2007 White Rock Half-Marathon, when I was pleased to run 1:26:30 and just barely miss a then-personal best. It's easy to get discouraged now when the top women finish leagues ahead of me, but looking at how far I've come helps put things in perspective.

Karhu Sisu congratulates me, Melissa and Justyna

But enough about me. Let's discuss the real noteworthy Nedlo performance of the day, that of my dad John. Not only did J-Ned win his age group, but he also ran his fastest time in years, a blistering 1:36. Oh, and did I mention he is 62?! Simply incredible. I wish I could've seen the faces of the guys half his age as he left them in his dust. After several years of struggling with injury and motivation, rarely breaking 1:45 in his half-marathon attempts, my dad has finally been able to string together an entire year of solid training (and, not coincidentally, an entire year of solid training in Karhus), enabling him to absolutely crush his goal for the day. Congrats, Dad!

Me, Andrew and my coworker Tinley slinging shoes post-race


Mad said...

great race! and yay $$ :)

mfranks said...

With a bathroom break? Haha. You crack me up. Nice job, good luck with the 10 weeks!!